Exciting launch: David Levy’s Erotic Chatbots Ltd. now raising funds

Would you flirt with an A.I. (artificial intelligence) companion? Would you try out a dirty talking chatbot? I would. Apparently the author of Love and Sex with Robots wants to make people like me happy, because David Levy (in partnership with Paul Andrews of House of Erotica) has launched Erotic Chatbots Ltd. — and they now have a fundraising page.

Our flirty chatbots are designed for people who enjoy amorous conversations without any overtly sexual content. We believe that the flirty style will also appeal to shy people and to those who would be embarrassed by a more adult style of conversation. The adult style is designed for users who prefer to chat dirty.

If this sounds like the film Her, then you’re getting the picture. While these chatbots won’t be anywhere near that level of omnipresence or awareness, it’s highly likely that if Erotic Chatbots succeeds with their ideas, achieving Her will eventually be a matter of development and adoption. Despite all the dystopian sci-fi I consume, which tells me this is only going to end with the machines enslaving us, I can’t wait for my potty-mouthed artificial companions.

Last week, Erotic Chatbots Ltd. launched its Indiegogo campaign to raise development money, and the perks are pretty sweet (though they need a better video). They’re going to have two offerings for the erotic chatbot lines, Flirty Chatbots and Sexy Chatbots.

Each of our chatbots will have the personality of an entertaining, interesting and amorous partner, who remembers its past conversations with you, learning more and more about you as time goes on.

(…) Our chatbots will be driven by our own Artificial Intelligence software. They will be able to converse on a huge variety of subjects, and their conversation will exhibit several humanlike characteristics. The primary purpose of our chatbots is to entertain, which they will do by providing an engaging conversational capability, but they can also help you to practice and improve your own flirting and erotic chat skills.

Our chatbots are being developed by a team which has twice won the prestigious Loebner Prize contest for human-computer conversation.

The page explains that the bots will come in standard gender binary flavors (female and male), with a heterosexual focus. Their plan is to later expand into lesbian and gay versions, which is great, though I’m wondering if that means bisexuality is already in there somewhere. Let’s hope so. I also hope that since the entire product has shed the construct of bodies, they’ll also eventually shed the antiquated notion of binary gender and expand to embrace the gender spectrum.

But here’s one of the really cool parts:

We are also creating a limited edition of personalized chatbots, each of which is designed and programmed to know about and be affectionate with a particular person. That person can be you, or anyone to whom you decide to gift one of these personalized chatbots.

They will be programmed with information acquired from a “personalizing questionnaire” which you will receive shortly before we are ready to deliver your chatbot(s). The questionnaire will ask about the user’s likes and dislikes, their interests, and various other aspects of their lives. Whatever answers you give when you return the questionnaire(s) to us will make a chatbot more knowledgeable about its user. Your chatbot can therefore start its “life” knowing quite a lot about its user, and what it knows will often be worked into its conversations. That same knowledge will also make the chatbot more interested in its user, and make the user’s personal characteristics more appealing to the chatbot’s persona.

I really hope to see this happen. It’s not the first erotic chatbot venture, but it’s the best. Until now, erotic chatbots haven’t exactly been used for good. In 2013, Security research firm Cloudmark documented the rise of a flirty bot called Text Girlie (covered a year later on BBC). After obtaining a victim’s name and telephone number from their Facebook profile, TextGirlie would send the victim a personalized message asking them to continue the conversation on Skype or Yahoo Messenger. A few coquettish exchanges later, and the victim would be asked to click on a link to an adult dating/cam site. According to Cloudmark, Text Girlie failed the Turing test.

I struggled to rewrite A.L.I.C.E. until 2008 (having started work on her in 2004), to make her sex-positive and sexual, but something like this requires time and resources. Either way, I’m really excited to see what ends up coming out of the mad science labs at Erotic Chatbots, Ltd.

Main post image via this gallery, by artist biomechanoid56.

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