Taffy is Mills’s sex robot. He gave her that name because it sounded young and playful. This month, Mills and Taffy celebrate their two-year anniversary. Which is to say, Mills had her delivered in June 2014, from a company called Abyss Creations in San Marcos, California.
Taffy is the “RealDoll2, Body A” model, with silicone skin and stainless-steel joints. Her $7,149 price tag included an extra $500 for custom freckles because Mills wanted her to look more realistic. The doll also features, per Abyss’s website, “ultra-realistic labia,” “stretchy lips,” and a hinged jaw that “opens and closes very realistically.”
But back to the very real woman, he’d brought back to his place. “I didn’t want my date to walk into the room and suddenly see Taffy,” he says. “Because if you’re not expecting her, she’s kind of terrifying.”
“So I say to this girl, ‘Give me a minute.’ And I run into the bedroom and quickly throw a sheet over Taffy.” He laughs like it’s the kind of story he tells at dinner parties.“That was a close one.”
Mills looks down at Taffy, who’s lying on his bed covered with a blue blanket and a pile of dirty laundry. Her face is the only part of her that’s visible, and with her vacant stare and unkempt blonde hair, she looks like a dead body, the equivalent of a fresh corpse peeking out of leaves in a forest preserve, waiting to be discovered by an unsuspecting morning jogger.
But judging from the way Mills looks at her, we’re obviously not seeing the same thing. “I wouldn’t exactly call this a relationship,” he says, hesitantly. “I think one of the misconceptions about sex robots is that owners view their dolls as alive, or that my doll is in love with me, or that I sit around and talk to her about whether I should buy Apple stock. In other words, the owners are batshit out of their minds.”
Aside from the doll in his bedroom, there’s nothing especially off-putting about Mills. He’s 57, with a curly mop of brown hair, a goatee, and a pear-shaped physique. He calls himself a loner, but he’s effusive and friendly with strangers and prone to oversharing. He’s an author—he wrote the 2006 book Atheist Universe, which still sells well enough to keep royalty checks coming—and is living off what he calls a “modest” family inheritance.Mills is twice divorced—his first marriage, to a Polish immigrant, lasted for 18 years, until he met his second wife on the Internet. He has a daughter, a 20-year-old college student, of whom he speaks fondly. Yes, his daughter is well aware of Taffy’s existence, but Mills says, “We don’t really talk about it, just like we don’t talk about my television set or washing machine.”
Mills has lived in the same modest three-bedroom home in West Virginia for his entire life. “I was brought home from the hospital to the room where Taffy now sleeps,” he says. It’s sparsely decorated, with a framed, hand-signed letter from Albert Einstein (he paid $9,000 for it) and a photo of the comedian Bill Maher with his arm around Mills’s daughter.
Taffy stays in the bedroom because at 85 pounds she’s too heavy for Mills to carry around. “Moving her from the couch to the bed is like trying to move a refrigerator,” he says of his bedmate. “I bought a stand for her, which is like a gigantic tripod, but it’s not very sexy. So I just leave her here.”
He still dates, and he occasionally tells the women about Taffy. And sometimes, sure, they freak out. “They’ll be like, ‘Don’t call me anymore, I’m unfriending you on Facebook, stay away from me and my children,’ that sort of thing,” he laughs. “It happens. But I’ve met some women who were into me because of the doll. I’ve had sexual experiences that I never would’ve had without Taffy.” By “sexual experiences,” he means exactly what you think he means.
“There was one time where…let me think…” He pauses, trying to remember where he was on the bed in relation to the other two women, only one of whom had a heartbeat. “I was sucking on Taffy’s left breast,” he finally decides, “and this girl was sucking on the other. It was great. Really hot. I think she was bi-curious.”
He gestures toward Taffy, a permanent fixture on his king-size bed. “Sometimes it’s annoying, always having her here,” he says.“But she can also make life interesting.”
If She Only Had a Brain
This wasn’t what we were promised. Sex robots were supposed to be sexier. Or at least not as creepy. When you think of cyborgs with functioning genitals, you probably imagine someone sleek and beautiful—aesthetically perfect—and capable of staggering carnal hydraulics. Like Daryl Hannah in Blade Runner, or Kelly LeBrock in Weird Science, or Nicole Kidman in The Stepford Wives. Last year’s sci-fi drama Ex Machina summed up our expectations perfectly when a tech mastermind explained his sex-bot creation with this blunt poetry: “If you wanted to screw her, mechanically speaking, you could, and she’d enjoy it.”
Is that asking for too much? Well, apparently it is because sex robots in 2016 are more reminiscent of Mattel’s Chatty Cathy dolls from the 1960s, which couldn’t do much besides coo “Give me a kiss.”
The two biggest names in U.S. sex robot technology— Abyss Creations and True Companion in Wayne, New Jersey—are already selling robotic lovers, but both companies offer more promises than realistic intimacy.
Abyss’s RealDolls come with an abundance of options; you can choose from 19 faces, five eye colors, 15 hairstyles, and 11 different styles of labia. Who knew vaginas came in so many variations?
Meanwhile, the “RoxxxyGold” robot from True Companion—with a base price, before the extras, of $6,995—offers such enticing options as “a heartbeat and a circulatory system” and the ability to “talk to you about soccer.” Plus, regardless of your skills, it will always have an“orgasm.” And of course, the reason anyone wants a sex robot: She has an off switch.
Taffy and her ilk are laughably primitive. But then again, so were the Wright Brothers’ prototypes. We went from “this is a fantasy” to “I want more legroom in premium economy” in less than a century.
In 2007’s Love and Sex with Robots, artificial intelligence (AI) expert David Levy predicted that by 2050, “love with robots will be as normal as love with other humans.” He even predicts that Massachusetts will be the first state to legalize marriage to robots.
Stowe Boyd, M.S., a futurist and analyst of emerging technologies, went even further, claiming in a 2014 Pew Research Center report that by 2025 “robotic sex partners will be commonplace, although the source of scorn and derision, the way critics today bemoan selfies as an indicator of all that’s wrong with the world.”
The people actually creating this technology aren’t as conservative with the timeline. Abyss founder and CEO Matt McMullen thinks it could take only a handful of years before we see a robot capable not just of ultrarealistic sex but also of “expressing the illusion of emotions.”
Douglas Hines, the founder, and president of True Companion, expects that even before the end of this year, we could have commercially available robot partners that don’t just submit to sexual fantasies but also offer “unconditional love and support.” That’s right, these robots won’t just screw you. They’ll fall in love with you. Which presents a moral quandary. The sex robots of today aren’t especially tempting. But the sex robots of tomorrow might just embody everything you want from a woman. For the right price, you could have a partner that thinks exactly like you and shares your beliefs and interests. She’ll be tailor-made to your tastes, with none of the compromises that come with having a relationship with a real woman.
Wait, Somebody Actually Pays for These Things?
True Companion won’t share its sales numbers, but McMullen claims he’s already sold more than 5,000 lifeless soul mates since the late ’90s. Customers run the gamut: surgeons, lawyers, celebrities (Mötley Crüe singer Vince Neil is a proud RealDoll owner), Nobel Prize winners, sheikhs, professional athletes, wounded vets, and regular guys who just want to screw a robot. The market is still small. You’re not going to see Google investing in sex robots anytime soon. “I think the idea of a sex robot probably appeals to a lot of people, but only a small percentage will admit it,” says McMullen. “And only a fraction of them are able to afford it. A sex robot is a major investment, like buying a small car that you hide in your bedroom.” But that will eventually change, he predicts. As the technology improves, the price will drop and sex robots will become mainstream, McMullen insists.
That might sound naively optimistic, but consider this: When the infidelity dating website Ashley Madison was hacked last summer, we learned that the vast majority of male users weren’t actually interacting with real women. Instead, they’d been lured by “chatbots,” computer-generated programs that created around 70,000 fake profiles, nearly all-female, that initiated flirtatious email exchanges with subscribers.
Now that the dust has finally settled, Ashley Madison would have us believe that its business is better than ever. In fact, the owners contend that the site has attracted 6.5 million new members since the hack.
If that’s true—and whether those numbers can be trusted is certainly debatable—it means guys are returning to Ashley Madison despite being well aware that they may be exchanging dirty emails with robots. So millions of men have allegedly made the conscious choice, “Sure, I’ll have an online affair with a woman who may be more software than estrogen.”
McMullen knows that not everyone has an extra seven grand lying around to invest in a robot mistress. So he’s planning on developing less expensive options. Within a year, maybe less, he’ll release a RealDoll Realbotix app that helps users design a virtual partner. “You can create an avatar for her that you can see on a screen, whether it’s a smartphone or a tablet or a computer,” he says. “She’s entirely unique to you and your tastes, constructed from your likes and dislikes.”
If you want her to exist solely on your smartphone, that can be the extent of it. Or you can splurge for a head and body. “The app is basically like Siri, if Siri were all about helping you explore your fantasies and learn more about your sexual identity,” McMullen explains.
That’s what McMullen finds most exciting about a sex robot. He insists that it’s not some masturbatory sex toy for outcasts and weirdos. It’s about sexual self-discovery. “They may learn things about themselves where they’re, like, ‘Wow, I didn’t know that mattered to me until I was allowed to try it with a robot,’” he says.
The argument for sex robots almost always comes down to comparing them to sex toys. It’s the first defense used by both McMullen and Hines. RealDoll’s husband Mills thinks any criticism of sex robots is a blatant sex toy double standard. “Women have dildos and vibrators and g-spot stimulators and all kinds of buzzing things, and nobody thinks anything about it,” he says.“But when men have the audacity to buy a sex toy that looks like a woman, suddenly they’re perverts who need to be locked up.” One could argue it’s unfair to compare sex robots and dildos, as dildos don’t have legs or arms or faces with eyes that stare back at you. And they definitely don’t have custom freckles or come programmed to talk to you about electronic music…
Discover How Good Are You At Lip Syncing Thanks To Artificial Intelligence
Lip syncing is incredibly popular, you just have to look at the success of TikTok to see the evidence. Today you can try LipSync by YouTube in order to find out how well you can do it. Google’s artificial intelligence technology Tensorflow.js is behind this interesting challenge.
LipSync by YouTube will use your device’s camera to detect landmarks on your face. You’re then encouraged to sing along to the popular hit “Dance Monkey” by Tones and I, ending with an assessment of how accurate you were. It doesn’t matter if you don’t know the song. You can play it as many times as you like to familiarise yourself. Google promises all facial data and processing remain on your own machine.
When you’re satisfied you’ve done your best, download your attempt as a GIF before sharing your score with others. Of course, you can challenge your friends and family to do better. I just hope in the near future they include more than just one song. Best of all, if you like this AI-powered challenge you can donate to the ALS research to help find a cure to amyotrophic lateral sclerosis.
1 Simple Rule To Boost Your Musical Creativity Is By Walking
Walking is the best possible exercise to boost your musical creativity. If you’re a singer, producer, or songwriter you should habituate yourself to walk very far. Researchers have traced numerous connections between walking and generating ideas. A Stanford University study found that participants were 81% more creative when walking as opposed to sitting. According to the study, walking outside versus on a treadmill produces the most novel and highest-quality analogies in participants who walked and then sat down to do creative work.
The movement aspect of walking is obviously key. You’ve probably heard the phrase, “exercise your creativity,” which refers to the brain as a muscle. Our creative mindset is triggered by physical movement, which is exactly why walking with your dog, a friend, or alone feeds creative thinking, especially in the musical field.
But the scenery is almost as important as the sweat. The National Human Activity Pattern survey reveals that Americans spend 87% of their time indoors. Being inside, you’re more prone to stagnation, the antithesis of energy. Without energy, you can’t create new songs or write unique lyrics. Disrupting your routine with a walk can be a catalyst for garnering fresh insights into problems or projects.
Just by going outside, you are stepping out of your habitual surroundings and your comfort zone, which is necessary if you want to open your mind to original ideas for your music projects. You can walk through a tree-filled neighborhood. You can walk through a park and observe people sauntering or birds singing. Even when you walk down a busy street, you can’t help but get distracted by the sweet cinnamon smells wafting from a food cart.
Our brains work harder to process in different environments, so walking outside fosters our ability to glean fresh ideas, to take in new sights, sounds, smells, and flavors. Shinrin-yoku is a common form of relaxation and medicine in Japan. It was developed in 1982, and recent studies demonstrate that being in the forest and walking among the trees lowers your stress levels. The effects are so powerful that shinrin-yoku is now a government-endorsed policy over there. But you don’t have to live near a forest to receive the psychological benefits.
Research has shown that immersion in nature, and the corresponding disconnection from multimedia and technology, increased performance on a creative problem-solving task by a full 50% in a group of hikers.
So instead of setting a fitness goal, why not set a creativity goal that starts with walking? Engage more closely with your surroundings for the next four weeks. Turn off your phone and give yourself the chance to be present in the world, to hear conversations and natural sounds, to notice the way people move, the way the sun reflects in a puddle. Walk not just for exercise.
Are you still sitting there reading this? Get walking now!
These 4 Considerations Will Help You Buy The Perfect DJ Turntable
The mental image of a DJ churning out fresh tracks is too strong. DJ’ing fits the bill of a second job, a business you can run on weekends or as the occasion demands. Who knows, your next gig may be at a large music festival.
That being said, you are eyeing a turntable to add to your plethora of DJ equipment on your table. How do you end up buying the right one for you? Stop by here a moment, and find the answer to your question.
Do DJs Still Use Turntables?
Yes, despite the digitalization of music coupled with the rise of more complicated equipment. Turntables and DJ’ing go a long way back, so these devices never go out of style:
● Scratch. Nothing beats doing the scratching and spinning on a real analog player. The large platter contributes to the tactile and raw experience.
● Sound. Vinyl records are at the heart of turntables. This graph shows that the music on vinyl is better than on CDs or cassettes.
● SL-1200. This record player has become a standard for DJ’ing. Turntablism is proof.
The merits of the device for practitioners like you have been discussed. What would factor in your choice?
If you have little to no knowledge of this DJ equipment, do your research first. You will come across lots of details, including but not limited to the following:
● A belt drive or a direct drive? Each turntable has a platter where the record rests and a motor that rotates the platter directly or through a belt. The sound quality is a common point of divergence for audiophiles and DJs where the belt-drive type offers little to noise vibrations while the other one provides interesting sounds that DJs appreciate.
● Is it manual or automatic? The choice sometimes boils down to convenience and preference in moving the tonearm and turning the device on/off.
● Is a cartridge included? The cartridge fulfills a critical role in playing the record. If you are buying a new one, you are likely getting it with the unit. But play safe and ask.
The turntable is arguably the foundation of DJ’ing. Whether you want to specialize in scratching or mixing your beats, get the unit that lets you do that. As far as learning to scratch is concerned, direct-drive turntables have been the go-to choice. Some, however, use the belt-drive counterparts.
Think of Features
Don’t be misled by the traditional label of turntables. They have evolved to cater to the ever-changing demands in the world of music and disk jockeys, aiming to combine the analog and the digital.
● USB connectivity when you want to digitize your vinyl records
● DVS to vinyl switching
● Compatibility with DJ software
● High torque
● Pitch control
The list can go on, and you have to go over the technical aspects and features of each product.
Factor In the Money
How much do you plan to spend on a DJ turntable? Your budget will more or less determine your choice, taking into account the quality. If the more sophisticated ones are out of the question, you can opt for entry-level to practice. Also, look into buying a used turntable or financing the purchase.
There’s Another Kind of Table
You are pretty much excited to own a turntable. The next question is, how’s your setup looking so far when you perform? DJ equipment is no joke, and you want to set it down somewhere safe and stable, as well as sleek and stylish for the audience to see.
Pick a reliable DJ table. It can be a foldable type that you can bring to any stage or event or a full-fledged DJ’s booth that is still portable. The look always matters, and facades or screens provide the quintessential setup for a night of dancing and partying.
We hope you find the perfect turntable soon and expand your DJ skills.
Top 10 Cool Musical Instruments
Every musical instrument is special in its way. It depends more on the musician how he/she plays it such that it sounds cool and attractive to the audience. Be it classical music shows to operas to live pop concerts, the same instrument can be used to produce a variety of tones as per the requirement that fits the occasion best. While it is very difficult to choose the top 10 coolest instruments of them all, here is a list based on how some of these instruments are played in a funky way to give a song that additional boost it requires.
You will always see a harmonica or a melodica accompanying jazz and blues musicians. The harmonica takes the winds out of the sails. The harmonica is a reed instrument and is commonly known as a mouth organ in several parts of the world. The various air holes are sized in such a fashion that when you blow air, the seven notes of the natural scale are played. Scale changing harmonicas are also available that let you play more than one scale at a time. The Melodica is a similar instrument but has keys in it. It is like a keyboard that has a pipe where you blow air into. The classic Piano Man by Billy Joel uses Harmonica extensively.
The Cello is much cooler than you think it to be. Predominantly used as an accompanying instrument, the Cello is the backbone of any orchestra. It can be considered to be the equivalent of an acoustic bass guitar in an orchestra. With the advent of the electric Cello, there are no boundaries to what can be done on a cello. Apocalyptica has infused the Cello in heavy metal songs. 2Cellos is a band of two cellists that has blown the roof of some of the biggest stages of the world by belting out solos on Cellos taking center stage.
The Violin is one of the oldest stringed instruments known to mankind. While the general notion of the sound of Violin is sweet and mellow, some of the greatest violin players of the world have proven it to be otherwise. One of the best violin performances of today’s time is by Lindsey Stirling when she performed Phantom of the Opera. Electric versions of the Violin are more in trend now, but the acoustic ones are still to be matched for sound. Not to mention, Albert Einstein loved playing the violin. If it could intrigue one of the best minds of the human race, it ought to be special!
Bass Guitar is the spinal cord of every rock and pop band. Although the sound of a bass guitar fades amongst the other instruments, without it, any song would crumble. Traditional bass guitars have 4 thick strings. These are available in both acoustic and electric variants. Paul McCartney of the Beatles was one of the first musicians to show to the world the variations and playing styles that one can use on a Bass. The ‘slap’ playing style has led to bassists now playing solos in rock gigs. Mohini Dey, the bassist in AR Rahman’s ensemble is currently one of the best bass players in the world.
The saxophone is a thing of sheer beauty. It belongs to the wood-wind instrument family and is usually made of brass. It is played with a single-reed mouthpiece. The saxophone became cool right when Louis Armstrong walked on to the stage with a saxophone and sang ‘What a Wonderful World’ which is known to be one of the best performances of all times. Louis Armstrong’s rendition of La Vie En Rose also has some serious saxophone in it. This instrument is mostly used in orchestras.
As the saying goes ‘Old is Gold’, the piano never dies. It is baffling to see how a set of keys on a huge structure has transformed music over centuries. To this date, every renowned musician still composes a new song on a piano or a keyboard. Starting from Beethoven, Mozart, and Rachmaninoff to Yurima, Stevie Wonder, and Freddie Mercury, the piano has been constant and ever mellifluous. Some of the contemporary piano players and composers are Chris Martin of Coldplay and John Legend. Piano is probably one of the few instruments that you can sit and listen to without blinking for hours together. Garageband happens to have the best library for piano now, after the recent update.
Drums is a rhythmic instrument that controls the flow and tempo of the song. It is the envelope and crutch of any song. Being a drummer is not an easy task. It requires a lifetime of dedication as it can get emotionally and physically draining at times. What people see in live performances is only the hands of a drummer moving so fast. It is just the tip of the iceberg as the footwork requires even more practice to master. Not to mention double bass players. If you are curious, look up a double bass player’s footwork on YouTube. You will be nothing but amazed!
Electric Guitar is one of the most crowd-catching instruments. If one plays a good solo, no matter how well the singer sang or the drummer improvised, the guitarist is bound to leave a mark on the audience. Such is the power of a set of 6 strings. The list of great guitarists is never-ending. There is a hidden guitarist in every household now. With the help of cool accessories like processors and pedalboards, there is no tone you cannot sample on an electric guitar.
Mandolin is considered to be one of the sweetest instruments. It is a part of the lute family and has 4 strings. 5 and 6 stringed mandolins are also available. The normal way of playing this instrument is picking strings in quick successions such that every note you play has a lingering echo to it. This kind of instrument is commonly used in folk and country music frequently.
If you are moved by deep emotional sounds, the Sarod is going to tinker your emotions. It is a stringed instrument that is used in Hindustani Music. The sarod is increasingly being used in fusion music to create a perfect blend between eastern and western music. Unlike the guitar, the Sarod does not have frets so continuous transitions can be made between notes. This is known as meend. One of the greatest Sarod players to have lived is Pandit Amjad Ali Khan. He played with Pandit Ravi Shankar on one too many shows and projects.
Online Gaming Streamers Becoming The New Music Tastemakers
For years now the music industry has been leading the way in online content streaming, resulting in playlists from apps like Spotify being as commonplace on people’s mobile devices as Google Maps or WhatsApp.
However, the change in how music is consumed and displayed has been huge, with music magazines and stodgy old critics being shunted onto the sidelines by online influencers who have adapted to the tech landscape quicker than their more outdated counterparts.
Among those influencers are online streamers, who often start as one-man bands, streaming everything from video games to beauty tips. Pretty soon, their growing channels allow them to become the go-to people in terms of music suggestions.
Here are just some of the most influential online streamers today, who are harnessing the power of music like no one before has ever managed to do.
Card Sharks, Chess Pros and Fall Guys – Filling Tension-Filled Silences with Carefully Curated Beats
Many online gaming streamers have too many crashes, bangs, and wallops going on in their live streams while pumping music simultaneously, while other streamers play the sort of game that is ideally suited to some soothing background grooves.
A growing subset of these streamers are pro poker, chess, and Fall Guy players, who often stream tournaments for hours on end.
As players whittle down at the business end of a tournament, and the streamer is required to make fewer plays, the music he or she uses becomes all the more important. Many pros such as Lex Veldhuis or GMHikaru have made their personalized playlists a highlight of their content, meaning these pros are now on-hand to show people how to conquer 1,000-players-strong tournaments on the world’s biggest gaming sites such as PokerStars and Steam, all the while sharing their musical vibes.
Dr DisRespect – From Online Fragger to Music Video Super Star
The most popular streamers on the planet are undoubtedly those that play battle royale video games such as PUBG or Call of Duty, with many becoming so popular that they can take their content to the next level with help from editors, tech support, and sound teams.
No more so is this true than with one of the greatest of them all, Dr DisRespect, whose 6-foot-8 frame, flowing black mullet and red bulletproof vest have become iconic in the eSports world and beyond.
Not content on featuring other peoples’ music on his YouTube Gaming channel, the Doc has taken to collaborating with recording artists such as J+1, who create retro synth beats and lace them with voice samples from the big man himself to create tracks that have garnered millions of views and plays online.
Music Streamers – Using Twitch Donations to Launch a New Career
While there is every reason to suspect that gaming streamers of all varieties are having a meaningful impact on peoples’ music tastes and preferences, there are also those streamers who dare to beam their very own music around the world and direct to listeners on platforms such as Twitch.
This means that whether you are an acoustic guitar whiz or a crooner with dulcet vocal chords, there is an audience out there who want to discover new talent. Now, new fans of an artist can not only listen to their newly discovered singer-songwriters but also gain personal insights from them regarding their everyday life or indeed how they go about writing their material or playing their instruments.
With many top DJs already using such platforms to perform in front of fans who cannot make it to stadium or club gigs, this seems like one music trend that is only just getting started. In a couple of years, we will see even the more popular gamers combine their love for online play with exquisite taste in music. Who knows, maybe you will be one of them?
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