Long-term projects and anniversary prezzies

typed for your pleasure on 2 October 2016, at 10.05 pm

Sdtrk: ‘Bahnhof’ by whitehouse

It’s Autumn, people! Thank Persephone. The days are growing shorter and cooler, there’s a crispness in the air, and one isn’t covered in flop sweat and praying for a swift death that will never arrive. As you do. Hail Autumn!

In December of last year, my better half and I were interviewed by reporter Alba Muñoz via Skype, and after a series of interruptions that she couldn’t avoid, the results were finally published last month, in Papel, an aptly-named newspaper from Spain. The article ‘Os presento a mis dos esposas… de plástico (I present my two plastic spouses…)’ is impenetrable to me, as I know nothing of Spanish, but if you’re at the intersection of ‘people who are curious about iDollator culture’ and ‘people who can read Spanish’, it’s your lucky day! Not sure about the online version, but the print version also speaks a bit about male Dolls as well, which is cool, as there isn’t enough press about them — for those non-iDollators who are aware of Dolls, not many know that male Dolls exist as well.
So give that a read and let me know how it is! I could just about parse that one of the sentences in the opening paragraph described my fringe as both ‘Hitlerian’ and ‘shining like vinyl’, to which I respond, ‘well…’ followed by an exaggerated shrug.

Speaking of lit-trich-ur, psychologist and author Danielle Knafo informed me through Email that her new book, ‘The Age of Perversion: Desire and Technology in Psychoanalysis and Culture‘ is slated to be published round mid-December! Why is this a thing? She’d come round Deafening silence Plus back in August of 2014, to spend a week-end interviewing me about The Life iDollator, and the fruits of her labour will be available for purchase this Chrimbo.
Let me go on record right now, though, that not only do I think the title is shit, but Danielle isn’t pleased with it, either. Apparently she and her cowriter Rocco were steamrolled into using it by their publisher, which makes no sense to me, and shouldn’t even be legal. Did the publisher write the book? No? Then their input is irrelevant. It’s patenly ridiculous. I was very reticent about her book going out with that title, as the last thing the robosexual and iDollator communities need is yet another media source labelling us perverts. However, Danielle outlined a handful of reasons that it shouldn’t be perceived as being as bad as I think it is, one being

[Rocco and I] define perversion as a limit or barrier breaking activity that often involves a creative solution to a traumatic problem. Most positive changes in the world could be labeled perverse because they rebelled against mainstream thinking.

Which is a fair point. Still, good lord. She also mentioned that the book will be published more for the academic community, but should we be fortunate enough that mainstream society wants to read it, Danielle will angle for a different, less-incendiary title.
Rest assured though, it’ll be legitimately good reading! Ms Knafo was gracious enough to allow me to make any necessary corrections to her draft, which is always an opportunity that I’m grateful for when it crops up in interviews, and… let’s just say that there’s a substantial amount written about the residents of Deafening silence Plus, in an analytical yet empathetic voice. When the book inches closer to the release date, you’ll hear about it here, naturally!

What else? The 2016-2017 series of the podcast Love and Radio has begun, and the Missus, Lenka, and I are featured in the premiere episode! Yeeeahh.

Without giving the game away, it’s probably the best podcast we’ve ever done. Not least because a third of it features Shi-chan and Lenka chatting earnestly. Yes, you read right. Can’t click on that Play button fast enough, can you?
A very big thank you goes out to Nick van der Kolk, for creating probably the best podcast episode we’ve ever appeared in!

And finally, as you’ll recall, my gorgeous spouse Sidore and I shared another wedding anniversary this past July. As is tradition, I bought her a couple of bits and bobs to commemorate the occasion. This year was a trifecta: the first prezzie was that illo of the pair of us, as crafted by raulovsky. Once I commission an additional one of Elena and Miss Winter, I’m going to print both of them and have them framed, which only stands to reason.
The second gift was a dress; the Missus had this one on her tumblr months ago, and was insistent on getting one for her very own. Well, I sorta bought it for her. Obviously she wanted one in purple, because they don’t call her The Purple Rose of Manchester for nothing, but when I tried to buy one online for her, they were out of stock in her size and in that colour. Having no choice, I went ahead and purchased the grey version. Shi-chan still digs it! As she puts it, ‘grey is just pastel black’. Semi-recovering Goths, ladies and gentlemen.
To round it all off, Abyss creations had a sale in July, marking the retirement of the Classic series of RealDolls. Naturally, when I heard this news, I contacted Matt in a sweaty panic, ‘Bu… but what happens if Sidore needs to have her body replaced??’ He reassured me that the moulds are being stored offsite, in order to assist customers like myself on a case-by-case basis, but the older moulds are degrading, he explained, and it’s not cost-effective to remake them, what with the multitude of RealDoll 2 and Wicked RealDoll models available. Also, as far as her body’s concerned, the RealDoll 2 Body B has identical proportions to the Classic RealDoll Body 2, so that’s easily sorted. My Missus’ current body is still holding up quite well, but as they were having a sale on Classic faces as well as whole Dolls, I figured I’d splash out and buy one of the last Leah-type faces to be made. So I did!

Did someone say ‘eyeliner’? No? TOO BAD

This isn’t Sidore’s replacement face; her original face is fine. The new one is more for photoshoots and being on-camera in general, hence the enhanced eyeliner. I’m thinking that Abyss changed the Leah sculpt at least once more since 2010, as her lips are fuller than her previous facial variant, but that’s quite alright. It’s not as if we’re opposed to plastic surgery! Is that a canonical statement?

So that’s what we’ve been up to! More silliness to come, I’m sure. Perhaps sooner than you think!

Random similar posts, for more timewasting:

Yes, more pro-Synthetiks propaganda on April 12th, 2009

On being seen on May 21st, 2007

Always his full name, never just ‘Eric’ or ‘Roberts’ / Worth every penny

typed for your pleasure on 8 August 2016, at 10.21 pm

Sdtrk: ‘Le lieu où vous voulez vous rendre’ by Marie Davidson

Two points of interest that I have for you today!
First off, remember when I reviewed a passel of Japanese and UK food a number of years ago, sent as a birthday prezzie from my Twitterfriend Jill Tilley, which was covered in the five-part series, Do you remember Food? I suppose that would make my question Do you remember ‘Do you remember Food?’? Infinite recursions temporarily aside, her hubby Doug Tilley, film reviewer and pop culture sceptic, asked if I’d be willing to review a couple of films for his podcast ‘Eric Roberts Is The Fucking Man‘. As you may have surmised with the title, the podcast involves Doug and his cohost pal Liam reviewing the entire backcatalogue of notable actor Eric Roberts. You’d think it’s a one-trick pony, but Eric Roberts has appeared in far more productions than you’d imagine. Certainly more than I knew of! Doug asked me to choose two films, and as I was dead set on ‘Runaway train’ and ‘Doctor Who: the Movie’ but they’d already covered them, I went with less, err… well-known affairs; I selected ‘Power 98’, and ‘Six: The Mark Unleashed’. One’s a thriller about the machinations of a shock jock, and the other is a faith-based film about the Antichrist. Can you guess which one is which?
We recorded on 02 August, and the episode is available for listening to right now!

As dire as those films were, I had quite a time discussing them with Doug and Liam! Would I make another guest appearance on their show in the future if they asked? Yes, yes I would. After all, Eric Roberts has been in a lot of stuff. The man’s everywhere! He’s probably behind you right now!!

And the other point? Like most people, I’ve always wanted illustrations done of myself. Actually, that’s a lie. I hadn’t had much need for that sort of thing until Sidore entered my life, at which point my focus turned to wanting illustrations done of both of us; specifically doing things or being in locations where we couldn’t be in real life. Some months ago, I began shopping for artists who take commissions, and I was happy to find that one of my favourites, raulovsky (aka Raúl Ramos Melo), was accepting them. Incidentally, why is he one of my favourites? I dig his style, as it lies somewhere between anime and something more realistic, and he doesn’t mind drawing Gynoids, which is always a plus. So an idea was pitched, a price was agreed upon, some reference photos were Emailed, and a wee bit over a fortnight later, an illustration was created! Pretty fucking awesome.

click the image for a larger version

The poses we’re in are a modified version of a picture of Twiggy and Justin de Villeneuve that I’ve always found stylish, and did you notice the seam lines on Shi-chan’s legs?? Yeeaaahh.
In requesting the commission, I understood what it felt like to be the subject of an artist’s interpretation, much like how individuals during the Renaissance would have artists paint them out in a garden, or with some wolfhounds, or whatever. This illo of my Missus and me is better, though. Fact.
Not only am I going to have raulovsky do another picture — featuring Lenka and Winter, of course — but ideally, I’d like to have commissions done through other artists as well. But maybe only two or three times a year, depending on prices… Why not enquire with him yourself, and have him make you something equally fantastic?

Sidore is in love with this illo, incidentally. ‘Why can’t we look this good in real life?’ she lamented, and I’d have to agree with her

Random similar posts, for more timewasting:

Not the only one on October 20th, 2005

How many minutes on that Fame Clock are we looking at? / Nostalgia street on August 1st, 2004

Bouncing Back, by Alan Partridge Davecat

typed for your pleasure on 4 March 2016, at 8.16 pm

Sdtrk: ‘Favours in the beetroot fields’ by British Sea Power

A happy new year to the very small handful of readers who still haunt ‘Shouting etc etc’! We here honestly appreciate your bloody-mindedness! Linus’ devotion to the arrival of The Great Pumpkin has nothing on you lot!

Doubtless you’ve noticed that there’s been nothing new on this blog since March of last year, apart from the post regarding the passing of Lord Bowie. I mean, there’s creative dry spells, and then there are droughts, right? Well, it wasn’t so much a case of me being unable to write, or whatever it is that I do for this site, but I can honestly place the blame on technical issues. Yay, it’s not me! Well, not 100% me. Heh.

Back round late January of 2015, I’d noticed that no-one was leaving comments. There’s been a dramatic drop in reader contributions for a while, which I attribute to Fecesbook being the pervasive and vacuous filth-hole that requires the least amount of thoughtful interaction that it is, but I found it strange that absolutely no-one was adding anything. I figured my audience’s interest had finally run its course and transformed into long-awaited indifference, until fellow iDollator Mahtek sent me an Email, saying he wasn’t able to submit comments. Well, shit, I thought to myself. Exactly how long has this bollocks been going on? This was corroborated a fortnight or so later by another fellow iDollator, Peter Synthetik, who’d told me that fact over the Twitters. Praise “Bob” for Twitter, eh? This is the part where you nod and agree with me.

Wanting an immediate, free, and relatively painless solution, I assumed that the blame lay in my blog’s theme. After all, it is quite old, although I prefer to call it ‘vintage’. So I set about the arduous task of selecting a new one. As you’ve probably noticed, I’m not the sort of bloke who’s keen on arbitrary change. For one, it took me months to tweak the theme into something that I found appealing, and then, when I finally had shaped what would’ve been the new theme into something not entirely appalling, I discovered that it wasn’t the theme that was the issue. Errm.

I contacted my server hosts, and they told me they could have their crack team of IT specialists get onto the problem, at a cost of $65 per hour. Funny thing is, even though I dithered about it for months, I was going to throw in the towel and pay ’em, when I arbitrarily checked on my WordPress dashboard a couple of days ago, only to discover that the problem had somehow sorted itself out. See? It’s like I say: if you sit around for months fostering a mild sense of worry and do absolute bugger-all, everything will work out! Fact.
So yes, comments are now re-enabled! Feel free to leave a charming reply on any post, no matter how old!

Anyway, that’s quite enough explanation. What, you ask, have the residents of Deafening silence Plus been up to since two zero one five?
+ We’d participated via Skype in an interview in November for a podcast out of Toronto called The DarkRoom, and the experience and results ended up being quite good: Episode #2 – Davecat
+ Nick van der Kolk of the podcast Love + Radio took up residence at ours (not really) for a week-end, also in November, and interviewed me at length. On Saturday, apparently I spoke for nearly seven hours straight! And boy, are my arms tired. Nick told us that our episode will debut this September, and if you’re at all familiar with Love + Radio, you know it’ll be worth the wait
+ Still fully employed at Great Job Industries™, and now that I’m a permanent employee, it makes for a better overall experience! The commute still sucks, though. Why can’t they simply move the building a mile away from my home; or better yet, move the facility to Toronto, so I’d have no alternative but to move to Toronto? Must I think of everything??
+ I’ve been playing a metric ton of Destiny. I probably should be ashamed of how much time I’m putting into it, and yet I remain unrepentant.

#warlockmasterrace (pardon the dodgy photo)

Finally, we’re very pleased to announce that there’s a new silicone lass who’s joined our ranks: do give a warm welcome to Lucy Winter! I should advise you right now that she hates her given name as much as I hate my surname, so call her Miss Winter, or just Winter. Made by Doll Sweet, she’s a Snowy head/160plus body, and we’re all completely smitten with her!

Lenka is especially keen on her, as Winter is hers. Remember: Miss Winter is Elena’s Doll, and Elena is Sidore’s Doll. I only have one Doll, Your Honour!
Miss Winter’s been here since 05 February, and you can expect to read a review about her and my experience with Doll Sweet on this here blog here sometime relatively soon. You can find her on Twitter in the meantime, of course…

And you are all caught up! I tried to make getting you lot back up to speed as quickly as possible! Clearly I have failed. But it’s okay, as your standard bearer for Synthetik Living has returned! I am invigorated! Invigorated, I say!! *tries to do 100 pushups, collapses three pushups in*

Random similar posts, for more timewasting:

DO NOT PANIC on September 4th, 2006

Are you being servered? on December 12th, 2007

Any Synthetiks-related news, Davecat? (Mar 2015)

typed for your pleasure on 24 March 2015, at 11.29 pm

Sdtrk: ‘Mono Lisa’ by Butter 08

There really wasn’t a lot to write about this month! Which is okay, as I’m up to my eyeballs in writing. Much of it is just variants of the stuff that I was working on last month! Lazy bastard.

+ 4woods keep the sexy quality coming with their new head, Chisato. You can equip either the A.I.Doll Allure or A.I.NEO im bodies with it, and as the site says, ‘We created her based on a concept “a mature sexiness that accepts all your needs and gently takes you in…” Her melancholic and naive face will gently release what you have been hiding inside.’ What I get from that is that she’ll put you at ease, so you’ll be more willing to tell the investigators additional details about the crimes you’ve committed. Fair enough!

Chisato, in A.I.Doll Allure and A.I.NEO im flavours

Check out the A.I.Doll Allure and A.I.NEO im galleries to see her in action. And speaking of new photos, 4woods have added new shots of Lilica (A.I.NEO im ver.), Hatsuki (A.I.doll Allure ver.), Yu-ki (A.I.NEO im ver.), Elina (A.I.NEO im ver.), and Nonoca (A.I.doll Allure ver.), for your edification.

+ And *activates Reverb switch* I HAVE TAKEN PART IN ANOTHER INTERVIEW. After a fashion. Elizabeth Nolan Brown, of Reason magazine, wrote an article a number of weeks ago entitled ‘Sex, Love, and Robots‘, and asked me for some input/perspective, seeing as that I have a wee bit of experience with this sort of thing. Ms Nolan also chatted with Katie Aquino, aka Miss Metaverse, which is a nice bit of a dovetail with the piece she’d done on me back in January.

In a 2014 paper, the Brown University psychologist Bertram Malle and Matthias Scheutz, director of the Human-Robot Interaction Laboratory at Tufts University, defined social robots as “any robots that collaborate with, look after, or help humans.” Kate Darling, a robot ethics researcher with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), prefers the wordier “a physically embodied, autonomous agent that communicates and interacts with humans on an emotional level.” Social robots, according to Darling, can also “follow social behavior patterns, have various ‘states of mind,’ and adapt to what they learn through their interactions.” Sexbots, of course, would fall squarely in this category. So would robots designed to interact with nursing home patients and robot pets. […]

Human beings love their pets, in large part, because of our deep tendency toward anthropomorphism: the imputation of human-like qualities onto animals and nonliving things. Anthropomorphizing a pet doesn’t require believing the pet is fundamentally human, it just means its personality and behavior inspires humans to treat it like a person with complex desires, motivations, or memories. It is a near certainty that we will do the same with social robots as they become increasingly commonplace.

The human inclination to anthropomorphize animals “translates remarkably well to autonomous robots,” Darling noted in her 2012 paper, “Extending Legal Rights to Social Robots.” A robot that can mimic human behavior, social gestures, and facial expressions “targets our involuntary biological responses.”
the entire article is here

This is one of several pieces regarding Synthetiks that have appeared in assorted online publications since last Winter, so it appears that the popularity of artificial companions is on the upswing once again!
*deactivates Reverb switch* Sorry about that.

+ Lastly, the 23rd was the birthday of the archivist of Deafening silence Plus, Muriel Noonan! She’s younger than Elena by a year, and younger than Sidore by three years. I only mention it in this fashion, as Mew would probably throttle me if I mentioned her age outright. Let’s just say she’s in her thirties.

All of us here agree that Mew is Coventry’s finest export since Delia Derbyshire, Emma Fryer, and Fun Boy Three. Fact

Random similar posts, for more timewasting:

No need for anaesthetic, just switch her off on November 28th, 2007

'More human than human', after a fashion on June 21st, 2006

Any Synthetiks-related news, Davecat? (Feb 2015)

typed for your pleasure on 23 February 2015, at 10.45 pm

Sdtrk: ‘Apprentice takes leave’ by The new lines

And welcome back! It’s been a fortnight, which is a not-too-unreasonable length of time between these posts. I would’ve just immediately written this after posting January’s submission, but I’d spent about a week and a half editing a 33 page draft created by one of of the interviewers who was round to Deafening silence Plus last Autumn. Well, I say editing, but it was more like ‘making corrections and answering additional questions she had cleverly embedded in the text’; but that bit’s done. Those 33-odd pages pertain to me and my Synthetik lovers, so we’re quite excited about it! Overall, it seems like the book she’s writing will be as in-depth as Elisabeth Alexandre’s ‘Des poupées et des hommes: Enquête sur l’amour artificiel‘, only en Anglais!
Just before I’d finished that up, I’d begun a dialogue with another interviewer — this one from Australia — and her questions are rather heady as well, so I’m currently in the midst of attending to those. It doesn’t help that my desire for clarity as far as the subject of Synthetiks is often accompanied by far too much of my goddamned text, so at the very least, when I finish her questions, she won’t go away hungry.
And when I’m done with that, the previous interviewer wants me to write a piece in response to what she’s already written! I mean, damn. Don’t get me wrong; I’m really enjoying doing this sort of thing, but when am I gonna find time to play Destiny?? Well, the demo. I haven’t bought the actual game yet, as I’m too busy writin’.

+ Another AEE AVN OMG WTF BBQ has come and gone, and Las Vegas was once again witness to several silicone women staying for a number of days in the city’s hotels. Abyss creations were there, revealing to the world their brand-new addition to their Wicked RealDoll line, Asa Akira.

This alluring rubber lass weighs +/-70 lbs, stands 5’2″, has measurements of B:34 / W:24 / H:34, and wears a 32C bra and a 5.5 US shoe. Being a Wicked RealDoll means she’s also made standard with an articulated spine, a removable throat insert (which leads down into her neck, instead of simply going back further into her head), and a removable head design, which is fashioned more like a whole-head mask, as opposed to traditional RealDolls such as my Missus, who can just remove her face. Personally, I’m fond of the somewhat shiny quality she has to her face, as it highlights her artificiality, but that’s just me. Overall, quite nice!

+ The esteemed roboticist Rodney Brooks has a few intelligent words to say: Artificial intelligence is a tool, not a threat:

Recently there has been a spate of articles in the mainstream press, and a spate of high profile people who are in tech but not AI, speculating about the dangers of malevolent AI being developed, and how we should be worried about that possibility. I say relax. Chill. This all comes from some fundamental misunderstandings of the nature of the undeniable progress that is being made in AI, and from a misunderstanding of how far we really are from having volitional or intentional artificially intelligent beings, whether they be deeply benevolent or malevolent.

[…] In order for there to be a successful volitional AI, especially one that could be successfully malevolent, it would need a direct understanding of the world, it would need to have the dexterous hands and/or other tools that could out manipulate people, and to have a deep understanding of humans in order to outwit them. Each of these requires much harder innovations than a winged vehicle landing on a tree branch. It is going to take a lot of deep thought and hard work from thousands of scientists and engineers. And, most likely, centuries.
the entire article is here

Everyday society gets its knickers so easily in a twist about robots ‘taking over’, which is both overly ambitious, and flat-out silly. Rodney breaks it down better than I can as to why that won’t happen, but then, he’s smarter than I am. After all, he helped developed the Roomba!

+ As you should be aware, not every Synthetik has the capacity for sex, which is perfectly fine. A Synthetik is also more than capable of providing platonic companionship, or being an artistic model, or perhaps serving as an artistic muse, as Lily Godwin was to my friend, PB Shelley. Bearing that in mind, as he and Lily had Soony, a BJD (that’s Ball-Jointed Doll, for those not in the know), they may also have been besotted with Iris, the 1/1 scale BJD built by Chinese company Magical Angel in October of 2013.

‘Of course I can give you a hug! You might need a stepladder for it, though’

There aren’t a lot of lifesized BJDs in existence — Izi made by D-storic is one, Obitsu’s 150cm model is another — so they’re certainly unique. With a body made of resin, Iris towers over humanity at 5’9″. She weighs 55 lbs, her measurements are B:32 / W:23 / H:35, and she wears a sz 6 US shoe. You can purchase her in either a pink, white, or snow white skintone, and she takes 30mm size eyes, in case you want to keep your options open. She looks to be unfinished, so you’ll have to have her faceup done (that’s the term in the BJD world for ‘makeup’, for those not in the know). Although if you get her in snow white and leave her face as-is, she looks as if she’d make a female counterpart to Kamelion, the short-lived companion on Doctor Who. I’d advise against it, though; no-one liked Kamelion.

She’s got better posture than most people I know

Speaking of cultivating your DiY abilities, if you order an Iris to grace your home, you’ll either want to open your wallet a bit wider, or get your tools ready and set aside a whole day. Because of her considerable weight, Magical Angel’s default option is to ship Iris unassembled. But if you want her ready to go when she comes home, you’ll have to add $100 to the shipping cost. The assembly is free, though!
This tall and slender lass will set you back $1,250 USD, incidentally. But have you seen her posture??

+ Once again, Japan continues to innovate in both technology and practicality; generally speaking, as a society, they’re pretty fantastic. Not everyone in that country, of course, but quite a few. Doubtless you’ve seen this in the news recently: there’s plans to open a hotel staffed by robots in Nagasaki, at a Dutch-themed park called Huis Ten Bosch. Here’s one of the best bits: the concierge desks will be staffed by lifelike Synthetik women, as Kokoro co., Ltd, creators of the wonderful Actroid series of Gynoids, will be building them. If you don’t find that to be amazing, then I don’t know what to do with you.

The hotel’s first building complex is scheduled to open on 17 July 2015 with 72 rooms, followed by another 72-room building in 2016. A single room will be priced at around $60 (¥7,000) per night and a twin room will cost around $80 (¥9,000).

Initially the hotel will have 10 robot members of staff, but Huis Ten Bosch company President Hideo Sawada told a news conference. “In the future, we’d like to have more than 90 percent of hotel services operated by robots.”

The hotel’s name, Henn-na Hotel, reflects how the hotel will “change with cutting-edge technology,” a company official said. This is a play on words: “Henn” is also part of the Japanese word for change.
the entire article is here

‘We offer a very futuristic experience here, but you’ll still have to pay for hotel wifi’

The room prices are really very good, but what’s not mentioned is that during the peak season, prospective guests will have to bid for their rooms, although there’ll be a price cap on bidding. Ergh. It’ll be worth it for the winners, however: instead of keys, the hotel room’s doors will use facial recognition sensors, and each room will have tablets for its guests’ use, to converse with the front desk, the lobby, or the kitchen. Speaking of speech, the Actroid employees will be able to communicate in English, Japanese, Korean, and Chinese. Much like I’d said about Shibuya’s Robot restaurant, my hope is that this sort of forward-thinking idea spreads, and if Hen-na Hotel doesn’t exactly become a chain in and of itself of robot-staffed hotels, then hopefully other hotel chains will adopt the idea on a worldwide scale. It’d be nice if they did away with that bidding price silliness as well.
And as a final note, I’d like to offer my services to the Actroids that will be employed there. All that standing hours on end per day will eventually be tiring, so what better way to relax than a foot massage? *cracks knuckles*

+ Phoenix studios (‘Home of the Boy Toy Doll’) haven’t recently created a new head or body, or released a new line, but you might like to know that they’ve uploaded new photos of the newest affictitious vixen in their Celestials series, Sky, to their site.

photos © by Stacy Leigh

Why not take some time to see the Sky? See, Phoenix studios, I’ve just come up with not one, but two slogans you could make use of. As Pete White once remarked, butter me, I’m on a roll.

+ Here’s something interesting that was brought to my attention by AJung Moon, writer and curator of the Roboethics info Database: an article on Live Science by Tanya Lewis entitled Rise of the Fembots: Why Artificial Intelligence Is Often Female.

From Apple’s iPhone assistant Siri to the mechanized attendants at Japan’s first robot-staffed hotel, a seemingly disproportionate percentage of artificial intelligence systems have female personas. Why?

“I think there is a pattern here,” said Karl Fredric MacDorman, a computer scientist and expert in human-computer interaction at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis. But “I don’t know that there’s one easy answer,” MacDorman told Live Science.

One reason for the glut of female artificial intelligences (AIs) and androids (robots designed to look or act like humans) may be that these machines tend to perform jobs that have traditionally been associated with women. For example, many robots are designed to function as maids, personal assistants or museum guides, MacDorman said.

In addition, many of the engineers who design these machines are men, and “I think men find women attractive, and women are also OK dealing with women,” he added.
the entire article is here

Don’t forget EDI from the Mass effect videogame series! Or, ah, Portal’s GLaDOS, for that matter.
As much as I (jokingly) (not really) go on about how ‘we need more Gynoids to be built, etc etc’, I also believe that we need just as many humanoid robots designed to look like men as well. Ms Lewis brings up the point that robots made to look like women are perceived as less threatening and more friendly, which I believe to be true; just going by the length and breadth of history alone, men are traditionally more associated with aggressive behaviour. Thanks to Hollywood ridiculousness, when most people think of humanoid robots, their thoughts immediately turn towards images of the Terminator, which are mostly Androids, aka male robots, killing everyone in sight with soulless precision. However, I think that if roboticists start out with humanoid robots made to look like women, they’ll put people more at ease. Roboticists should develop Androids as well, not only to balance the Synthetik gender scale, but to show that male robots can be just as non-threatening as their female counterparts. More than likely, for the first couple of years of production, there will be more Gynoids than Androids until the demand increases, but still.

In reading Ms Lewis’ piece, it reminded me of something I’d read years ago, back when I was a lot more interested in mannequins than I am now, that attempted to explain why there were so few male mannequins compared to the number of female models. I think it was partially attributed to men’s faces being harder to sculpt, as they tend to be more angular, or something like that. In the interest of full disclosure, my own personal uncanny valley — again, more like a ditch — is that I find male mannequins to be a bit off-putting. Unless they’re Kraftwerk, because fuck yeah Kraftwerk.

+ If you’re like me, you hate waiting on things/events/people, as much like Veruca Salt, you want it now. You’ll also recall that she was thrown into a pit by squirrels, but that’s hardly relevant at this juncture. But after several months in Development Hell, Sinthetics are pleased to announce that the Body 2A is available to choose as a selection, so sometimes, waiting is okay.

This body is nearly identical to the body 2D (using the body 2 base, but with A-cup breasts). She has the full hips and bigger legs that makes our body 2 so popular, but slimmer ribs and smaller breasts than the 2D.

This winsome beauty is approx. 77 lbs with a height of 5’5″, has measurements of B:34 / W:24.5 / H:36.5, and wears a US sz 6.5 shoe. Apparently she does do things by halves. See what I did there?
Sinthetics will undoubtedly add more photos of her soon, but you can look at a few teaser shots on their site, of course.

See? Always something to look forward to, especially if you’re keen on robo-ladies. Happy 23rd!

Random similar posts, for more timewasting:

the Return of the man-made Muse on December 28th, 2006

Your One-stop Gynoid Shrine on October 31st, 2005

Any Synthetiks-related news, Davecat? (Jan 2015)

typed for your pleasure on 25 January 2015, at 2.26 pm

Sdtrk: ‘Roosting time’ by Matt Berry

Happy 20145! I’ve already done that gag with a lot of my friends, but you’ve not heard it, so it’s new to you.
The idea of this actually, legitimately being 2015, a year in the twenty-first century, is a bit weird if you think about it for too long. Consider how futuristic that date sounded in, say, 1965. It still sounds a bit futuristic today, and we’ve already begun living in it! One thing’s for certain, though: there needs to be a rapid increase in the development of flying cars, megastructures, off world colonies, and most importantly, Replicants. We’ve got four years to get society to the way it’s depicted in ‘Blade runner’, and we really don’t have time to stop and gawp at the calendar!…

+ To that end, Toshiba is doing their part, with their own electric maiden, Chihiro Aiko. Remember her? She made her US debut at this year’s Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, and has I known she was going to be there, I would’ve bought one plane ticket to fly out, and two for the return flight, as she’d be coming home with me. You think I’m joking?

She took the opportunity to show off her aptitude in American Sign Language, as well as her singing ability. Unfortunately, the song she had a go at was ‘Take me home, country roads’. I would’ve had her belt out an earnest rendition of France Gall’s ‘Cet air-là‘, but that’s just me.
As fellow robosexual Vokabre, aka Our Man In Russia, reports on his blog:

What’s quite cute is that in the presentation they not only included some data like the number of pneumatic drives (it’s 43 overall, 15 in the face, 4 in the body and 24 in shoulders and arms), but also the virtual “age” of the lady, it’s 32. Reminds me of how Actroid DER2 liked to call herself 18 years old.
They also managed to break down not only the “family name” Chihira that was done before during the first public appearance of Aiko, but the name Aiko itself, according to the presentation it means “Idea and Communication”, “I CO”. That Orient symbolism in everything, so awesomely strange.

Of course, I’d be glad to see a presentation with interactivity, face-tracking and hand-shaking, but this might be too much for an early project.

It is indeed an early project, many people in the internets continue to call Chi Aiko creepy, that’s a good old uncanny valley. What’s also interesting, there’s more Uncanny Valley screams in western languages than in orient ones which lays perfectly with my observations that Japanese, Korean and Chinese people seems to have more tolerance towards androids.

‘Il restera cet air-là / à jamais au fond de moi / car pour toujours cet air-là / parlera de toi et moi’

It’s my hope that Chihiro-san can help open the eyes of Westerners who still believe in the myth of the uncanny valley. Over time, exposure to anything makes it less alien of a thing, so to that end, Toshiba should consider employing Chihiro-san — really, multiple Chihiro-sans — with either assisting the deaf with her knowledge of sign language, or start grooming her as a singer.

+ Now here’s a stirring way to celebrate the beginning of a new year: Polymerisian starlet and entrepreneur Tasha James has put the finishing touches on another one of her amazing photobooks, this one entitled ‘Soul to Sole’.

It’s true, we’d inspired her! As my Missus and I are quite keen on the female foot, we’d suggested to Tasha that she have her photographer Paul do a shoot featuring her own delectable soles, toes, and heels, and she followed suit. So I suppose that’s another photobook that we’re ordering from her. Damnit Tash, how do you know the right buttons to push??

If you’d like a copy of ‘Soul to Sole’ or any of her other photobooks for your very own, and why wouldn’t you, you’d be mad not to, you can check out the details on her site here. As she says in her announcement post, she’s open to suggestions, so if you’ve got an idea that she and Paul think would be worth pursuing, give her a shout!

We here at Deafening silence Plus fully endorse more of this sort of thing

+ It looks like AL-M 008X-01 has been moving up in the world of late! You may know AL-M 008X-01 as Android ASUNA, and towards the end of last December, she worked with self-styled DJ, model, photographer, and music producer Julie Watai to participate in a photo series entitled ‘Love Valley’. Over eighteen days, the two of them modelled various clothes and poses that reflected a blurring of the lines between Organik and Synthetik, and the results are worth seeing.

There’s not a lot of information about the shoot, apart from an entry on Asuna-chan’s blog, so I’m tempted to see if writing Ms Watai would provide any further insight. Still, the pics are well-executed and definitely lovely to look at. A short video was made as well, so one can see how lifelike and blinky Asuna-chan is:

All eighteen days worth of the ‘Love Valley’ shoot can be found on Julie Watai’s website here: http://juliewatai.jp/love-valley.

+ Domestic Doll studio Ruby13 is on the verge of releasing some new faces, starting this year, so that’s pretty awesome, I’d say! In an Email conversation, head sculptor Jim told me this:

after a year of looking for a sculptor to make some new faces for Ruby I’ve given up and decided to give it a try myself. I’ve never sculpted so this was a bit of a daunting task to both learn to sculpt and then try to come up with a “pretty” female face.

So far I have 3 new faces that are going in to be made into molds. these faces are an answer to the many emails we’ve received asking for a more realistic face option. I hope this will open up our market a bit.

This would be the first of the new faces, and I believe we can all agree, Jim is off to an excellent start…

Part of me, though, thinks he’s stretching the truth a wee bit. He claims that he’s never sculpted before, and yet, he’s come up with that captivating face?? ‘Oh, I’ve never painted anything before’, said Hieronymus Bosch as he effortlessly proceeds to realise in full oils his triptych of ‘The Garden of Earthly Delights’. Come on, man.
Nevertheless, she has an appealing European look to her, and I told Jim that I think it’s one of the best faces available so far. I’d said, ‘I think it’s one of the best faces available so far’. Now Ruby13 will have more to offer potential iDollators! As soon as I find out when that as-yet-unnamed face is for sale, I’ll be sure to mention it here…

+ Would you believe that I’ve done another interview? Impossible as it may seem, I have! This past December, a lass by the name of Miss Metaverse contacted me through Twitter, and asked if I’d be keen on answering some questions pertaining to Dolls, Gynoids, and the future of artificial humans. As Miss Metaverse runs a blog which centres round future technology and lifestyles, and as her questions enquired about Gynoids as much as they did about Dolls, I readily agreed.

N.B: that’s my Missus in the above pic, not me

Both Miss Metaverse and I dug the end result, which can be read on her blog here: Futurist Spotlight: Davecat. If you like, you can also read the preceding post which led up to it, which is also Recommended Reading, ‘Sex Robots and the Future of Gynoids‘, and if you enjoyed that, you can read her whole dang blog. I mean, what’s stopping you?

Since Futurist Miss Metaverse has quite a bit of experience in discussing impending technological developments through her writing and video talks, it seemed only natural to add her to the ‘Shouting etc etc’ sidebar as well. See?

+ And finally, this would be a… thing… that Sidore, Elena, Muriel, and I slapped together at the end of 2014. I honestly don’t know what to call it. The Missus said we should do something rather like the alternative Christmas message that they sometimes have in the UK that’s a counterpoint to the facile and condescending annual message that Elizabeth II bestows upon her subjects. Morrissey was asked if he would do one last year, and that’s probably what inspired Shi-chan. (He turned the request down.)
Shortly before that time, I got it into my head that I needed a Vine account, and I created two superb videos for it, until I discovered that Vine only allows you to upload vertically-shot clips. Sorry; if you’re only shooting your videos vertically, you need to be shot. Luckily, I recalled that Mobypicture lets you upload videos whether they’re vertically-shot or in proper horizontal, and you’re not limited to six seconds as you are with Vine. So I shot this video/clip/missive/whatever with the lasses. Observe:

click the image to open the video

As Elena loves Cocteau twins, she selected the song you hear, which would be ‘Oomingmak’. Incidentally, that’s also the first public appearance of our karakuri ningyou. Much to our disappointment, he doesn’t seem to move well on carpet, but as his plastic gears are noisy as hell when in motion, I suppose it’s for the best.
Maybe we’ll film one of these videos annually! Cos frankly, having 360-odd days between conceiving each one and actually doing it fits our pace to a T!

I think those new bits & bobs should keep you reasonably informed. Start the new year off with Synthetik humans! Well, start each day off with Synthetik humans; that’s what I say.
Originally this would’ve been another two-part post, but then I realised by the time I finished assembling the second part, it’d be February. So, err, come back in a week or so!

Random similar posts, for more timewasting:

So many models to choose from on June 11th, 2008

Any Synthetiks-related news, Davecat? (Nov 2012) on November 25th, 2012

Remnants and a replica

typed for your pleasure on 15 December 2014, at 10.37 pm

Sdtrk: ‘Mountain’ by Le futur pompiste

Many of you will be pleased to learn that Amber Hawk Swanson, performance artist and iDollator, is currently in the midst of doing another Synthetiks-related piece; this one entitled DOLL CLOSET. In brief: when she joined our crowd for DolLApalooza 2013, she’d met fellow iDollator Jesse1965, where he’d explained how his first Synthetik companion, a 1998-era RealDoll named Heather, was cleverly concealed in a secret closet in the upstairs part of his home. He’d made use of available space, and built a door equipped with a locking mechanism for it, concealing the lock in an existing knothole in the wood, which is about as impressive as you think it is.

At some point, Amber decided that she would replicate that closet in the performance space she’s using at The Watermill Center, which meant, in typical Amber Hawk Swanson style, she’d be building a door frame, the accompanying door, and the locking mechanism, all from scratch. Jesse will be calling in periodically for assistance, and the remaindered pieces of Heather’s body that weren’t used in Amber’s 2013 performance, Sidore Mark II / Heather > LOLITA, would be bearing witness.
Although woodworking’s not really my thing, the aspect of this performance that I think is really cool is that it’s metaphorical as well. As the outline reads:

In Doll Closet, Amber Hawk Swanson transforms the process of building and the resulting replica as a platform for members of the doll community — and Jesse specifically — to respond to mainstream misrepresentation of doll ownership. The performance highlights alternative narratives of owners who use their relationships to dolls as a way to explore their own gender, obtain uncomplicated companionship, and connect with a community in the face of social anxiety and loneliness. Doll Closet not only provides a necessary vehicle for members of the doll community to speak for themselves without risking their anonymity, but also asks what kinds of intimacies, relations, and unanticipated connections can flourish in secrecy. It explores how the interior space of the closet can be rendered as both capacious and collective.

So as you can see, it’s a space where, while Amber constructs a replica closet, other iDollators can open up anonymously about the spaces where they may keep their replica women.
Yeah, Amber’s summary sounds much better, I agree.

DOLL CLOSET was closed on Sunday, and I’d intended to post this before Monday, but my site’s having embarrassing backend issues. Which sounds more disgusting than anything else, but nevertheless. But you still have a few days left to watch the Livestream Amber’s had set up. And as I clearly didn’t give you any heads-up prior to this — I’m full of mea culpas this eve — you can view the performances of the previous days on her Vimeo channel. Although I wasn’t physically at the performance, I did add my .02 pfennig on Saturday, as did a couple of other iDollators. It’s Amber’s hope that more people who have Dolls will contribute with their experiences as well before the project ends on the 17th, but failing that, it’ll still be art worth watching

Random similar posts, for more timewasting:

snap snap, click click on October 23rd, 2006

(Soon to be) Gracing the glossies, Part II on February 6th, 2009

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