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Sexbot too expensive? Live-cam with 'Cardi-Bot' and tell it to twerk

Live-camming site CamSoda is letting users talk dirty with an AI sex robot that shimmies and twerks.

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CamSoda

Sex robots are officially a thing, but buying one will cost you at least five figures. Now, curious cheapskates have another option: free live camming sessions with a dirty-talking sexbot, plus private one-on-one connections where big tippers can tell the bot to twerk.

CamSoda didn't respond when I asked if this GIF was sped up. It seems to move much faster than previous versions of the art piece the design is based on.

CamSoda

Futurama episode? Rick and Morty, maybe? Nope, this is real life.

Far from the first twerking robot CNET has seen, the sexbot in question is named "Cardi-Bot." It's the latest in a long line of PR stunts from CamSoda, an adult camming site that bills itself as "a virtual strip club with no cover."

CamSoda users have long been able to log on and view live feeds from a variety of adult performers with the option of tipping or paying a premium for a private session. Now they can do the same thing with an android that dances. 

Cardi-Bot will be available once a week for free public broadcasts where users can spin a tip-wheel to request different movements and conversation options. Users who like what they see also have the option to enter a private, one-on-one session with Cardi-Bot where they can tip to request more intimate interactions.

"We wanted to offer people a free chance to interact with robots, which are cost prohibitive for most," said CamSoda VP Daryn Parker, who calls Cardi-Bot the world's first sex robot people can control over the internet.

"We wanted to put our XXX spin on robotics," Parker added, "which is why Cardi-Bot can not only mimic human-like behavior, but also get down and dirty, all with the quick click of a button."

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For more on the intersection of sex and tech, click here.

For now, the "down and dirty" stuff appears limited to sexy dance moves. Cardi-Bot features five motors -- just enough for a few select motions, it would seem.

The heels-wearing Cardi-Bot, the result of a collaboration between CamSoda and self-described scrap metal artist Giles Walker, is the latest version of an existing, well-traveled art installation. It was initially designed to sex up the voyeuristic nature of the surveillance state, hence the CCTV heads.

CamSoda says Cardi-Bot is capable of "full conversations," driven by machine learning and natural language processing. But color me extra skeptical on that front. For comparison, look at RealBotix, the Abyss Creations side project responsible for the "Harmony" chat engine found in the company's AI-enhanced RealDoll sex robots. After years of investment, the platform still falls well short of holding full, nuanced conversations, and feels less erotic than, well, robotic.

Now playing: Watch this: My conversation with Harmony the sexbot
3:05

In addition, CamSoda says Cardi-Bot will support "teledildonics," which uses cloud-connected "Lovense" sex toys to offer an intimate virtual connection between user and performer.

"We've been working with Lovense for years now and making this an add-on to Cardi-Bot seemed like a natural evolution," Parker said. "We can actually remove the pelvic area and replace it with the requested teledildonics tool, such as a Lovense Max or Nora. The user can then receive the feedback from the sex toy, once it's successfully paired up."

Parker didn't offer specifics on how mechanics of the connection between person and machine would actually work, or what the user should actually expect to feel. We'll let you know if the company responds to our request for follow-up.

Some of CamSoda's previous attempts at grabbing headlines, which include the "Ohroma" VR porn gas mask and an app that lets you lick your phone to measure your oral sex capabilities, seem like little more than crude jokes. Its partnership with RealDolls, which lets people use teledildonic sex dolls at home to simulate sex with a live performer on their computer or phone screen, seems more genuinely forward thinking. Perhaps unsettlingly so.

Cardi-Bot falls somewhere in the middle, maybe. It's an obvious gimmick meant to grab attention and pull visitors into the site above all else, but one that also might hint at a future where virtual sex workers blur the lines between fantasy and reality. And, regardless of where you fall on the subject of sex robots, the thing has grabbed enough of your attention to get you through this story, at least.

You know, maybe it's not too early for the human performers to look into getting a union.

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