Sex robots could replace high-end sex dolls, like this one named Sandy. (Wikimedia Commons)

Rickter Scale: Rubber match

Love on the rebound

Rick Stiebel/Columnist

You can’t always judge a magazine by its cover, especially when it comes to Vanity Fair.

Once you get past whatever celebrity graces the cover and the parade of glossy ads pitching the latest in lifestyle and fashion choices, a selection of excellent writing ranging from politics to science, arts, opinion and culture lies within.

It was Tina Brown who rose above the glass canopy when she took over as editor in 1983 to steer the monthly in a bold new direction. With her hand at the helm until 1992, Vanity Fair hired new writers who raised the periodical’s literary standards, and the shadow of Brown’s fingerprints hover over the magazine to this day.

An article in the May 2015 edition that the bride brought home from our local library caught my wandering eye. I found it buried inside despite the initial distraction of a cover pitching a feature and photo spread on Sophia Vergara, who I consider visual Viagra.

The article, Dawn of the SEXBOTS, takes an in-depth dive into the work of Matt McMullen, the artist and owner behind Abyss Creations, the manufacturer of RealDolls.

These silicone sirens look so lifelike that I would wager a month’s salary that you couldn’t pick one out of a crowd if it was dressed up sitting on a bus or reading Vanity Fair in a doctor’s office.

I’ll double that wager to bet that most of the people who shell out $3,500 to $10,000 for one of McMullen’s creations have limited interest in what the dolls are wearing as well.

READ MORE: Rickter Scale

RealDolls serves up a selection of 11 different body types and 31 faces, including some celebrities, with their stamp of approval. The attention to detail in each doll is underscored by the fact there are 40 types of nipples to choose from. McMullen, who sells six to 10 of these personalized Barbie-like creations a month, also offers a selection of Ken dolls, which may or may not explain why one in 10 of his customers are women.

Before you quickly dismiss people who purchase these products as a bunch of whack jobs, I must point out that a writer, ironically named George Gurley, interviewed several owners, including a well-known author who spoke intelligently and candidly about the reasons behind his decision to pick one up.

Reading the article and perusing Jonathan Becker’s startling selection of photos does raise issues, for sure. Dr. Henrik Christensen, chair of the European Robotic Network in the Royal Institute of Technology at the University of Stockholm, provided his perspective in 2006 that humans would be having sex with robots within five years.

While that turned out to be ahead of the curve, an expert in a Pew Research Center report predicted in 2014 that robotic sex partners would be mainstream by 2025. He did, however, add that the popularity would be initially greeted with the kind of scorn critics today reserve for selfies.

Artificial intelligence expert David Levy, an international chess champion, suggested by 2050, “Robots will have the capacity to fall in love with humans and make themselves romantically attractive and sexually desirable to humans.”

At the bare minimum, it makes you wonder what’s on the horizon. With two businesses offering doll services opened already in B.C., it makes part of me wish I’d copyrighted when it first crossed my mind.

Rick Stiebel is a semi-retired local journalist.

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Rickter Scale

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Langford Legion hesitantly re-opens with new hours

President says doors open Tuesday to Saturday from noon to 7 p.m.

Sketch outside, connect with nature through Bateman Foundation program

#MyNatureSketch initiative encourages Canadians to become ‘bright-eyed three year olds’

Victoria arcade coins new business model to reopen

Quazar’s Arcade is allowing group bookings for two-hour time slots

B.C. Conservation kills bear in Langford amid growing problem of habituation

Officer demands garbage lockdown for residents in bear territory

Killing of Discovery Island wolf was legal, says BC Conservation Service

Takaya was shot and killed by hunters on March 24

VIDEO: A Vancouver Island black bear takes weekend nap in eagle tree

Videos captured by Terry Eissfeldt shows the bear arriving Saturday night and sleeping in on Sunday

Vancouver Island grizzlies: moving in, or just passing through?

Lack of data makes seeming increase in grizzly sightings on the North Island an open question

COVID-19 birthday drive-by celebrations snuffed out in Island community

Bylaw officer visit with threats of a fine mean parade trucks taken off the road

Vancouver Island Regional Libraries to offer ‘takeout’ style services

VIRL will offer the service on a branch-by-branch basis

George Floyd asphyxiated by sustained pressure: family autopsy

Death sparked a wave of protests across the U.S. and abroad

COVID-19: B.C. commercial landlords can’t evict if they decline rent assistance

Emergency order ‘incentive’ for federal program, Carole James says

Duncan’s Queen Margaret’s School pioneers thermal imaging in school reopening

Private school is first in B.C. to use new tech post-COVID-19

Investigators probe death of CN employee at Surrey rail yard

Transportation Safety Board is investigating an ‘occurrence that took place during switching operations’

Most Read