A gal named Harmony is revolutionizing the way we think about companionship. She wears a skin-tight leotard with plunging back—a potentially unforgiving look for anyone whose figure is less than flawless. Harmony is blessed with perky breasts, a smooth waist and feminine curves. Hers is a body not unlike that of a wet T-shirt contest contender on MTV’s Spring Break. From visibly soft skin and squishy silicone parts to impeccable French-manicured toes, she has all the makings of a beautiful, human woman. That is, all the makings except the most crucial: humanity.
Harmony is the first artificially intelligent sex doll. “Her primary function is really more about companionship and conversation,” than sex, says Matt McMullen, Founder and CEO of the San Diego-based Abyss Creations, which manufactures RealDoll — the most basic model — and Realbotix, the newer, artificially intelligent model, or Harmony.
Harmony’s moveable skull is designed to fit any of Realbotix’s 30-plus interchangeable facial masks, which are customized to look like real people.
Harmony is programmed with 18 different personality types — she can be sensual, excited, shy, and even sarcastic. Paired with an app, Harmony has the capacity to store a person’s likes and dislikes. She’ll greet you at the door; she won’t get angry, she won’t put you down and she won’t get cranky — unless you’re into those things.
From hair color and waist size to razor burn and nail polish selections, no two Harmonys need be the same. She can be designed to look just like your deceased loved one, but fit with a larger cup size and infinite patience. It all sounds too good, or too weird, to be true.
Inside the display room at Abyss Creations headquarters, five lifelike doll women hang from a metal contraption. Each lady hovers lifelesly, with eyes that seem to make no connection.
A petite framed brunette floats next to a poster for “Lars and the Real Girl,” a 2007 film about a man who dates a doll. To her left, about 15 different heads are arranged and fastened to a wall rack. To the right of the brunette, a hairless doll with piercing icy blue eyes looks ahead, her eyelashes long enough to ensue envy.
“Isn’t she beautiful? She’s my favorite,” says Daivin Smith (last name changed for anonymity), office assistant and social media coordinator for Abyss Creations, while pointing to the hairless doll. She familiarly pulls down the blue-eyed figure’s scant tank top, revealing two perfectly shaped DD’s.
“Go on and give her a squeeze, let’s break the seal,” Smith says.
About a grope or three later, Smith leads to the production room where each doll is molded and fine-tuned to the buyer’s request — a made-to-order lover. Here, a plastic wall poster showing 19 different customizable nipple types is displayed. Seeing an areola not attached to a human is really something memorable, especially when it’s labeled “stormy D” or “puffy super.” And they aren’t just for making female dolls.
Smith holds up a lifelike replica of a male penis, one of the 11 different types of doll genitalia. “We are just now perfecting the male version, though I think this is enough to penetrate the female market, no pun intended.” Male sex dolls account for just 10 percent of sales, and none are artificially intelligent like Harmony.
Since 1997, Abyss has sold roughly 400 to 500 dolls each year, varying in price from about $4,000 for a basic model, up to $53,000 for a custom-made version. As technological innovations began to progress in science and industry, A.I., was the next clear step for McMullen’s dolls.
“Our goal here is to create a platform rather than just an individual robot,” says McMullen, whose team has already begun to envision multiple uses for Harmony, such as a Harmony who teaches you Chinese, order you take out and answer your phones — perhaps eliminating entire swaths of human relationships and interactions. The store clerk, the dry cleaner and the mail delivery person all replaced with task-driven A.I. dolls.
Is this kind of A.I. a threat to our own jobs and livelihoods? Even Smith, who sometimes works Abyss’ front desk, wonders if one day she’ll be replaced by a Harmony. For now, she is focusing on the positive.
“I got into this business because these dolls make people happy.” Giving people with social issues and anxieties who are incapable of finding and maintaining a healthy connection are why she says these dolls are special, that the dolls provide a give-and-take relationship for people who would be otherwise socially inept.
And it’ not just those with social anxiety, says Smith. “A man called asking if the metal screw in her neck can be removed for more comfortable cuddling. He lost his wife six years ago and brings the doll to bed every night. It’s heartwarming.”