Sex chat with a robot

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In real life, pioneers of human-android romance now have a name, “digisexuals,” which some academics and futurists have suggested constitutes an emergent sexual identity.Whether the notion is absurd, inevitable or offensive, it raises more than a few questions.

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But the idea that flesh-and-blood humans may actually forge fulfilling emotional, or even sexual, relationships with digital devices is no longer confined to dystopian science fiction movies like “Ex Machina” and “Her,” stories in which lonely techies fall too hard for software-driven femme fatales.

According to the website Socialhax, which tracked the Twitter feed, “Tay’s developers seemed to discover what was happening and began furiously deleting the racist tweets.” The site also suggested the developers had lobotomized the less-than-savory areas of Tay’s computer brain.

“They also appeared to shut down her learning capabilities and she quickly became a feminist,” the site’s report said, citing a tweet in which Tay said, “i love feminism now.” Microsoft, free of First Amendment concerns because Tay is, after all, a robot, shut the experiment down less than 24 hours after Tay went live.

For starters, in a world where sex toys that respond and give feedback and artificial-intelligence-powered sex robots are inching toward the mainstream, are digisexuals a fringe group, destined to remain buried in the sexual underground?

Or, in a culture permeated with online pornography, sexting and Tinder swiping, isn’t everyone a closet digisexual? Kondo is not the only person to go public about his deep feelings for a digital apparatus in recent years.

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