Viral images emerge of sex robot with ‘Glasgow’ accent

A clip of a lifelike sex robot – which has 20 different personality traits – has gone viral, but a bizarre detail has the internet laughing.

An old video of a sex robot speaking with a distinctly Scottish accent has resurfaced online, sparking a new wave of interest in the “sextech” industry.

The clip, from 2017, features Realbotix CEO Matt McMullen explaining how the company’s newest Harmony 2.1 sexbot works.

The footage quickly went viral after it was posted by pop culture page Barstool Sports, featuring AI’s Glasgow accent that left Twitter users angry.

Naturally, Glasgow natives were surprised by the specificity of the robot’s voice.

“American sex dolls with a plain Glasgow accent who would have thought,” posted one.

“Why did they give him that accent?” The next train to platform 1 will be – on – 12.15pm – to – Glasgow Central,” said another.

Although light-hearted, the video shone a light on the growing AI sex industry, with the last half-decade having seen seismic progress with techno intimacy.

Harmony 2022 doll has 20 different personality traits available, including shyness, kindness, insecurity, jealousy, humor and happiness.

The current models are also programmed to know the families, the hobbies and, of course, the sexual preferences of the users, with the possibility of simulating hyperrealistic conversations.

A troubled future

As the demand for sexbots grows worldwide, the storm clouds of ethical conundrums are gathering.

Simulated physical reactions become more realistic and visceral, with internal and external sensors now being updated to more accurately respond to human touch.

Realbotix will also launch its first-ever male doll, Henry, later this year (and for the record, he’ll have a British accent).

However, “fake” sex partners tailored to the user’s fantasy have opened a Pandora’s box, with growing concern among experts around the prevalence of robots made in the image of children.

Duke University researcher and engineer Christine Hendren told the BBC that “some robots are (intentionally) designed to look like children”, while others have been “programmed to protest and create a rape scenario”.

“One of the developers of these in Japan is an avowed pedophile, who says this device is a prophylactic against him harming a real child,” Ms Hendren said.

“But does it normalize and give people a chance to practice these behaviors that should be treated just by eliminating them?”

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Australia has no laws regulating or prohibiting sex with robots, although the Commonwealth, South Australia and Queensland have imposed restrictions on robots that relate to minors.

Speaking on ABC Questions and answers in 2018, social commentator Vanessa “Van” Badham also warned that opting for encounters with androids over humans could ultimately lead to deepening isolation for many people.

“You have a phenomenon in Japan where people age without having sex, without forming partnerships or families because their lives are dominated by work,” she said at the time.

“If you provide someone with a sex robot and say you can have that instead of a relationship, you reinforce that loneliness and that feeling of isolation.”

One thing is certain – regardless of the ethical question marks, the sextech revolution is in full swing and generating huge profits, with the industry estimated at $30 billion in 2019.

The onset of the global pandemic has further boosted the industry, with some businesses seeing up to 125% increased traffic during shutdowns.

Experts have advised sexbots to be able to walk, talk and simulate real everyday relationships in the near future.

However, you will have to shell out between $5,000 and $15,000 if you want to try out any of the robots yourself.

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