Hard artificial intelligence and soft rubber doll dreams
In an exclusive interview, EvoNews collaborator Godfrey Joseph Pereira talks to Matt McMullen of Abyss Creations, and creator of Realdolls in San Marcos, California.
Futurists see a world, where one-day robots will be used for chores, from house cleaning, factory assembling, solving diagnostic tangles and conducting repairs, and personalized sex objects with startling artificial intelligence…. Yes, a near human being made out of essential rubber, who will satisfy you physically and mentally, unconditionally. And yes, you can love her, and she will love you back in return, with all the lust programmed into her silicone soul. And how do you ascertain, that she truly feels for you, cares about you, worries about you? Well, she will tell you. Does that sound far-fetched? Well, she is here, and so are other robotic wonders.
There is a brave new world coming, powered by artificial intelligence which has the necessarily programmed chutzpah to be unapologetic and unafraid. Where almost human-like dolls are concerned, Realdolls promises to travel to territories where no other silicone dolls have dared to venture.
“Look around you;” says Matt McMullen, creator of Realdoll and head of Abyss Creations in California, “There is artificial intelligence everywhere.”
In Tracy, California, 3,000 orange robots called ‘Kiva’ pick up goods at the Amazon warehouse, buzz around shelves, picking up merchandise and delivering them to appropriate stations. This has cut down, the time frame, of picking to packing drastically. What used to take hours is now done in minutes. Kiva robots now work in 10 of Amazon’s warehouses in California, Texas, New Jersey and Florida. These robots avoid crashing into one another and by pass obstacles by using sensors that talk to one other. And there is a score of other examples, like the iRobot Roomba 690 that can vacuum your home. Using Wi-Fi and a simple app., you can get your floor vacuumed when you are at work.
So back to the “Love Dolls” as McMullen affectionately calls his creations. What started off as a hobby, turned into a professional interest and Abyss Creations was born. McMullen remembers: “I used to work in a factory making Halloween masks. And then gradually I began working in my garage, creating two-foot tall figurines that looked like exotic dancers.” He considered them “funky art.” The dolls sold quickly and people started buzzing him about creating more silicone dolls, which he did, and later McMullen began toying with the idea of incorporating artificial intelligence into his dolls, and realdoll.com was born. He put together a team of engineers, who had worked for Hanson Robotics, and his dream was on, to project life into a doll that would be a companion, sex partner, occasional therapist, and full-time lover who would stay faithful forever and never play games behind your back.
Today his company, Abyss Creations, in San Marcos, a beach town, north of San Diego gives birth to his love doll creations 9 to 5.
Reporter: What material are these life-like dolls made of?
Matt McMullen: All our dolls are constructed from the finest medical grade prosthetic silicone available. I call it Platinum Silicone.
Reporter: In a world, especially in big cities, where urban isolation is becoming more and more prevalent, do you see your “Love Dolls” as adding to this problem?
Matt McMullen: No, I don’t see it like that. There are people who are not good at mixing with people socially; you can argue that it is part of their personality. My platinum silicone dolls, male and female, are not about sex alone, they are about providing essential companionship. This doll will have a definite presence in their lives, give their lives more substance.
Reporter: But in reality, this is an inanimate object. How can anyone have a good healthy relationship with a doll, even if he or she talks?
Matt McMullen: See, take a car. The owner buys accessories for the vehicle. He treats it well, looks after it, polishes it, and maintains it. He develops a relationship with the car. He loves his car. He gets great pleasure out of it. With my dolls, she or he loves you back. Like I said, there is more to my dolls than just the one track of sex. And yes, you can have sex with my creations, if you want to.
Realdoll offers a variety of woman dolls, with names like Harmony, Tanya, Stephanie and Amiee. There are the ‘Wicked Realdolls’ with names like Lupe, Jessica, Stormy Daniels and Samantha Saint. There are hybrid dolls, where all faces are compatible with all body types, so a client can mix and match, according to his or her preferences. There are also transgender dolls for those who get a kick out of variety and experimentation. There are also male dolls to satisfy the female lonely hearts club market. Realdolls have an uncanny human resemblance, and their ability to talk and communicate, makes them a real life alternative possibility, for people who are looking for alternate realities to add to their existence.
A typical statistic for a female doll states:
Weight: Under 60 lbs.
Bra Size: 32B-32C
Shoe Size: XXS-S
Gel Implants in Buttocks
Reporter: What can your dolls with artificial intelligence really do in terms of communication?
Matt McMullen: Well, these dolls can talk. She or he can frown, smile and has many subtle expressions. Each doll can have a different personality trait. The height and weight can be customized, so can everything else. The doll is programmed to communicate on a variety of levels, so a client does not get the same typical answer all the time, thus creating a detachment and boredom. Besides this, we have kits that our customers can use to program their dolls, and change the settings, to keep the relationship fresh and exciting. If you want a jealous companion, well you can have one! The body is not animated, not yet, but it is an expressive being that expresses opinions and ideas.
Reporter: What happens if a customer wants a custom made doll?
Matt McMullen: Well, we can do that. We can create and construct for an exclusive customer, a woman or man of their dreams and fantasies, right down to the height, weight, freckles, skin tone, eye color and eyelashes. There are some customers who insist on an exclusive doll that no one else can buy. These dolls cost around 50, 000 and they usually take up to 6 months to create.
McMullen’s company is steadily growing. He now has over a dozen skilled employees. And fame has started rolling his way. His doll Bianca made an appearance in Lars and the Real Girl, starring Ryan Gosling. His dolls have also been featured on television shows on HBO, CSI: New York and House. Today McMullen can boast of an 800sqm factory and a roster of impressive clients that range from doctors, lawyers, teachers, businessmen, the ordinary average Joe, and even a Nobel Prize winner. Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, so the saying goes. McMullen’s dolls now have competition from Candy Girl in Japan, and Micdolls based in China.
McMullen is aware that competition for a business like his can come from all over the world. He aims to stay ahead of even his own game by constantly striving to make his dolls better. He is constantly innovating and experimenting; and is presently working on trying to incorporate body temperature into his creations, so his clients can have a warmer realistic human experience when they come back home to their dolls.
Reporter: So basically what you are saying is, your creation helps someone who would come back from work and be home alone?
Matt McMullen: Sure. For a person who is lonely and isolated, for whatever reason, this is a great thing. For someone to say that this is bad thing, well that is not right. If a person enjoys the Realdoll, derives satisfaction from her or him, and enjoys the experience; what is wrong with that? There are a variety of people out there who are lonely and need comfort. And if a Realdoll gives that to them, and enhances their lives, makes them happy… there is nothing wrong with that.
Reporter: Can a Realdoll be programmed to suite and fit a certain personality?
Matt McMullen:: Sure it can. That is the fantastic and wonderful thing about artificial intelligence. And there is more to it than this. Just like the owner of a car does; the customer can go out shopping for a Realdoll, buy the doll clothes and various accessories; and the doll can communicate its thanks and pleasure. These Love Dolls make terrific companions and serve a number of psychological needs.
Reporter: What is the average price of a Realdoll?
Matt McMullen: Prices range from $ 3,999 and 5,749 to 50,000 for a customized creation. There are also accessories one can buy. It is all listed on the website. Our Realdolls will be available all over the world by the end of this year. We have six locations in the United States, and clients who want these dolls, are from all over the world.
McMullen is happily married and lives in San Marcos, California with his wife and 5 children. He says that he is doing what he loves to do. He considers himself an artist and an innovator, and sees the future of Realdoll as an exciting progression in his creative life. With advancing technology, he hopes that one day, he can present the world with a near human being, with a heart and emotions. Till then, he creates and sells platinum silicone dolls, customized to fit the flesh of your dreams.