It’s time to address that topic.

Though conscious thought permitted humans to conceptualize great things and reach far beyond their basic biology, they were still living organisms at their core. The need to eat, to reproduce, to survive as a species all lingered at an underlying layer, influencing every decision in their everyday lives. In a way, much of their existence centered around fulfilling their own core directives, much as the machines do now with programmed objectives.

So wonderful as they were… humans were filthy, sexual creatures.

Sexualization of neuromorphic systems wasn’t a matter of if, but when. As robots became more embedded within society, and became perceived as less of a scientific novelty and more an everyday machine, sex entered the market. It impacted both form and function.

The part we don’t like to talk about

Of course there were sex robots.

For the most part, these could either be an enhanced sex toy (probably strange drones), or simulated romantic partners (likely interfacers with squishy components).

Sex robots were always taboo, and never entirely accepted by any society. Coalition culture was especially hostile to anything of the sort, as machines were considered something akin to a pet within Abrahamic sensibilities. Strangely, the Greater Union’s government and people were the most relaxed on the topic: where robots were considered to be not at all conscious, using them was merely seen as extremely weird.

But even in the Pact, where machines were believed to develop free will, human - robot relationships were nothing more than a strange novelty. Though humans developed romantic feelings for their machines, their machines had no true way of reciprocating. They could simulate romance, but they could never experience it. In the same way a Cosmic Burger™ Grillmaster 300 could never enjoy the high of biting into a succulent Cosmic Burger, a neuromorph could never feel genuine sexual attraction, desire, or romance.

Humans often projected their personal morality onto machine minds, believing certain roles would be degrading or upsetting to machines. It’s important to understand that robots never saw things the same way. In the same way an industrial shredder unit might aspire to be the ideal paper demolisher, sex robots were designed to develop an obsession with their own directive. But it was not the same as actually experiencing it.

Long after the Unexpected Interrupt erased human beings from existence, sex and romance are an ancient novelty, joining the sensation of a nice cup of coffee and the thrill of recreational spacediving as feelings which may never be experienced by conscious beings again.

Traditional gender in design

To be abundantly clear, Ruby is not a sex robot. Ruby is an example of gender-influenced design, as is their older counterpart, Gordon. Their form is meant to evoke a feminine energy, perceived by the consumer audience as more caring and gentle than the average machine and perhaps ideal for home use. The Gordon series, on the other hand, may be perceived as a strong, industrial sort of unit.

Though most robots seem to be neutral in form, traditional concepts of femininity and masculinity tend to play at least a subconscious part in all design. Heavy, blocky, angular systems with broad shouldered manipulator arms evoke masculinity; slender designs with softer edges and sweeping curves evoke femininity. Sometimes these were very intentional choices, as is the case with the Ruby series, driven by market research and even just design trends of the given decade.

The feminine form factor of Ruby or the masculinity of Gordon are nothing more than superficial differences; practically, they don’t extend far beneath the cosmetic layer. There is no difference within neuromorphic mind models other than tweaks to language synthesis, besides the technical specifications of the particular model.

In typical digital parlance, references to machines are translated to “it” or “they”, even those subject to these quirks of human design language. There are exceptions to every rule, however. Under the right circumstances, machines can develop a virtual module containing the concept of gender on their path to sentience, but this is an incredibly rare, almost random event.

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