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By the end of the year, however, the goal is to put the same software that drives Jackie into the heads of a new generation of technologically advanced Real Dolls with expressive, animatronic faces, blinking eyes and customizable voices. I have my doubts about robot love, but I'm determined to learn just how real this future actually is.
The idea isn't just to have sex with them, but to talk with them. The Realbotix effort to sell synthetic companionship might seem like something straight out of "Westworld," but it's right in line with what Abyss has been offering its customers for decades: realistic dolls, so far without the AI.
That worked for Tom as far as the doll's slender, lightly tanned body was concerned, but he had something much more specific in mind for the face.
"It was one of only a few such projects that were in such detail," says Abyss Creations CEO, founder and chief designer Matt Mc Mullen.
Any one of them -- the dolls, and the fantasies they inspire -- can be yours for the right price.
Preconfigured models start at a few thousand dollars, while the highly customized doll Tom purchased cost nearly ,000.
"I know how peculiar it sounds," he tells me over the phone. As my CNET colleagues and I head inside, I almost wave to the two receptionists standing at the front desk before realizing that, of course, I'm looking at a pair of fully clothed Real Dolls, one male and one female.
Behind them is a makeshift showroom featuring a squad of scantily uniformed dolls and a corner lined with rows of doll heads that showcase the available hairstyles and facial designs.
The rest of the walls, meanwhile, are lined with framed, posterized photos of Real Dolls in a variety of imaginative settings and inviting poses -- a sexy librarian reaching for a tome on the top shelf, for example, or an Amazonian bombshell sprawled out seductively on a chaise lounge.One such customer is a man I'll call "Tom." Tom lost his wife of 36 years to cancer in 2015.Stricken with grief in the weeks that followed her death, he grew lonely -- and eventually, that loneliness led him to the Abyss Creations website.An artist by trade, Mc Mullen personally took on the challenge of crafting the exact face Tom was envisioning.Over the course of a few months, he emailed the self-described perfectionist countless revisions and tweaks.