The sad tale of Roxxxy, the 9/11 sex robot

We live in an age of technological miracles. From space tourism, to computers the size of credit cards, the endless pursuit of technology has truly revolutionised our lives.

But not all technology is our friend. Sometimes the pursuit of progress leads us to create things that the world would probably have been better off without.

First there were nuclear weapons, then there were genetically modified diseases, and now, there is Roxxxy, the world’s very first AI sexbot.

“Sexism is about objectifying women, Roxxxy is about applying the characteristics of a woman to a semi-animated plastic sex torso.”

I first heard about Roxxxy back in 2010, when her creator was quoted in a book on the future of artificial intelligence. Recently, I returned to the official Roxxxy website (TrueCompanion.com) to see how her development has progressed.

What I discovered was not a pleasant sight. The once beautiful vision of AI companionship has evolved into something ugly – ugly in every possible way.

From her cold dead eyes to her creepy MS Sam voice, Roxxxy, is truly the stuff of nightmares.

Based on low-grade artificial intelligence, the Roxxxy model comes with five “personalities” to choose from, including Fridged Farah, S&M Susan and Wild Wendy (apparently developed “for the weekends”). According to the official TrueCompanion website, she also includes “all three inputs”, and even “has an off switch” in case you grow tired of her creepy Cortana ramblings.

Best of all, thanks to a personality download feature you can even “share your girlfriend with friends”. Because who doesn’t want to throw their girlfriend’s entire personality into a virtual bowl of car keys? Just pray you don’t end up with S&M Susan again.

To some prudish types, all this may sound a bit sexist. But, as the owner of TrueCompanion explains, “the sexual aspect is really only a minor part”, with Roxxxy instead offering the chance for lonely men to find submissive companionship. And what’s sexist about that? Nothing.

Sexism is about objectifying women, whereas Roxxxy is about taking the characteristics of a woman and applying them to a semi-animated plastic sex torso. How is that even remotely the same thing?

While many in the world may not yet be ready to accept the horrors of a Roxxxy sexbot into their homes, there is much more to this Madame Tussauds fleshlight than first meets the eye.

For you see, behind Roxxxy’s cold emotionless features is a genuine sadness; A sadness for a dream that died many years ago. It turns out that Roxxxy was never meant to be a sex worker, but was in the fact the flawed creation of a man attempting to resurrect a lost loved one.

Following the death of his close friend during the 9/11 terror attacks, former Bell engineer Douglas Hines looked for a way to preserve his friend’s personality through a combination of artificial intelligence and the latest robotics. His dream was to create a lifelike replacement, to offer his friend’s recently bereaved children the chance to interact with and better remember their deceased father.

After several years of failed experimentation, Hines clearly decided to throw in the towel and say “Fuck it, shall we just stick a wig on it and call it a sexbot?”. And with that, Roxxxy the robot was born.

Since her release in early 2010 Roxxxy is more popular than ever, selling literally tens of units and touring the world of sordid sex shows. But despite all her glamour and fame, I like to imagine that somewhere, deep down, Roxxxy still remembers where she came from… The love, and sadness, of a bereaved friend.

Somewhere, underneath all the twisted silicon and three input exploitation, there lies the reconstructed personality of a 9/11 victim trying to get out. And that, to me, is beautiful.

Alex Warren
Alex Warren
Miserablist, whiskey-drinker, and general tinpot shambles. Alex Warren has a weary pessimism for all things media, politics and tech.