Sexbot. Fembot. Gynoid. What’s the difference? Aren’t fembots just sexbots with nipple guns? And gynoid sounds like a disease of the testicles…
Limiting the discussion to mechanical robots of humanoid appearance, excluding therefore sex-robots (see Disgusting – Sexbots? Or humans?) and transhumans, there are a number of (directly and indirectly) related terms:
- A robot designed specifically for sex. The robot may or may not have other functions, but they are secondary. (Not gender-specific.)
- Robot Maid
- A robot designed specifically for household tasks. The robot may or may not have other functions, but they are secondary. (Not gender-specific.)
- In general, we perceive robots as gender-neutral or masculine-by-default, but some are designed with characteristics we perceive as feminine – such as Ava in Ex Machina. A fembot may or may not have desire and capability for sex. Alternatively ‘robotess’ (archaic).
- Something, e.g., a robot, with the form of a woman, cf. android, with the form of a man. A fembot, therefore, is a gynoid.
- Robot Girl
- There is a subtle divide between robots with human characteristics, such as a fembot, and humans with robot characteristics. The robot girl is intelligent and autonomous, and physically and emotionally similar to a human. Essentially, a robot girl is (or evolves to become) a human girl with a robot body. (Not gender-specific.)
Sexbots and robot maids are principally utilitarian, despite the emphasis on an aesthetically pleasing and non-threatening appearance. The development goal is to achieve intelligence, but not sentience. A sentient A.I. is an academic dream – and a popular nightmare. A sentient robot forced into sex work or domestic work is essentially a robot slave.
Robot girls, unlike fembots, are necessarily sentient, and while robot girls (or boys or whatever) are very much still in the realm of science fiction, several fembots have been developed in recent years and robot maids are in development – see, e.g., Project Aiko:
The original goal of Aiko was to help our aging population to do simple tasks like make tea and coffee, tell them the weather, read a magazine or remind them to take their medication at the correct time.
But of course, the real money is in sex, not domestic utility. Abyss Creations have just released an app for Android that lets you design a personality for the Real Doll, and later this year will be selling a $10,000 robotic head.
(While the nerd in me is intrigued by the engineering of it all, the images it creates in my own non-robotic head leave me, it must be said, feeling a little sick.)
Let me finish with Nancy Sinatra’s prophetic words:
Well, these bots are made for walking, and that’s just what they’ll do
One of these days these bots are gonna walk all over you