“I am so happy and lucky to get this doll. She likes to hide around the house and scare people and crash parties on the weekends,” boasts a customer in one of many happy testimonials on RealDoll.com. Since 1996 these fully poseable, customizable, lifelike sex dolls have made a name for themselves around the world. Priced between $5,000 to $10,000, we ain’t talking cheap blow-up dolls here. These ladies are as real as you can expect, given they’re cast from silicone and identified by letter and number (I’m partial to Face 17, or Kaori, but can’t decide if she’d be better in Body 3 or 7). But the creator of RealDoll, Matt McMullen, insists his work is not finished. He is dead set on inventing the world’s first sex robot, and his new project, Realbotix, aims to move dolls beyond inert physical objects to ones that can arouse—and be aroused—emotionally, intellectually and physically.
His robots have dreams: “I dream about becoming a real person,” says Denise, a creation recently featured in the New York Times. “About having a real body. I dream about knowing the meaning of love.” If you’ve seen Blade Runner, you might have concerns about how this pans out, but McMullen insists it’s only as creepy as you want it to be. “The idea is to put as much control as possible into users’ hands,” he explains. “People will be able to make choices based on their own taste.” Thank God, because we have no intention of letting our doll prattle on about the meaning of love. But how about a girl who possesses encyclopedic knowledge of World War II tank tactics and gives a great handjob? Or perhaps a breezy flirt with a wry sense of humor and mad cocksucking skills? While McMullen says he still has “a ton of work to do” to perfect his perfect female, he’s shooting to get an early version out by 2017. Till then, there’s always a “casual encounter” from Craigslist, which may or may not turn out to be human.