Full Item Description
The Hitome Unit is considered to be a paragon of aesthetic design, utilitarian form, and pragmatic programming. Constructed from a ferro-ceramic skeleton with myoelectric polymer muscles and micro-servo motors, fundamentally the Hitome Unit is just like any other robot built. Power is supplied by a combination of kinetic generators and an onboard battery that the unit can conserve as needed. Recharging is done through a small port in the left wrist.
On the surface and inside the cranium, the Hitome differs radically from other previous robots. The workings of the robot are wrapped in a seven layer sheath of skin like polymer material that is in turn hydrostatically supported by a silicon based fluid that serves to make the unit more human looking as well as doing double duty as a thermal diffusion system. This means that the body of a Hitome Unit Gynoid looks and feels like human flesh. Though a fifth generation design, the Hitome is also technically a third generation gynoid.
Aside from a preset weight and height, 1.5 meters and 50 Kg respectively, Hitome Units can be tailor made to desired appearance. This level of modification extends to basics such as eye and hair color and as far as programming certain ethnic accents and basic behaviors. Most Hitome units produced tend to fall into a basic asian phenotype.
A Learning Machine
The Hitome Unit is directed by a highly complex series of directions and programs handled not by a single processor, but a network of 64 parallel computer processors. This network is markedly slower than standard computers, but it has a wider range of activity, and when judged by human observations, the parallel system and standard systems are both fast. The network is called a Synthetic Intelligence, to separate itself from the already existent Artificial Intelligence. A SI is not a thinking machine, however it is a learning machine that by mimicking behaviors, observing and recording basic actions and other interpretive action does a very good job of imitating real intelligence.
What is a Gynoid
Gynoids are the physical female counterparts to the masculine Android. As such, these robots are more slender and designed with an eye towards being appealing to the (male) eye. This means that most gynoids are on the short side, are of slight build and most have medium to large breasts. The first generation gynoids were merely superficially female, while the second generation was a crude collaboration between a robot and an artificial vagina. The third generation of Gynoid has highly realistic and functional organs as well as a large amount of feedback coding for the gynoid to evince the desired response when being used.
Man has long labored to create tools to make his life easier, and some scientists consider the Hitome Unit and other robots of the series to be the ultimate expression of man's will to create. A Hitome Unit cleans and cooks without complaint or question, much like the stereotypical wife from the 30s, 40s and 50s. A product of AI design, the first four generations of Hitome Units are a visual progression of mechanical evolution. Through each incarnation, the unit became smaller and lighter, the exterior more and more life like, and the brain more and more 'elastic' and adaptable.
The brain-child of Dr. Hijame Hitome, the Hitome Unit was specifically designed to eliminate stress in personal and domestic life. The doctor, a long time married pragmatist knew that the majority of problems in the normal human relationship revolved around money, sex, and household chores. While certain conventions prevented personal owners from outsourcing their robots for profit, the Doctor knew that a properly designed unit could alleviate the stress from domestic chores. His stylized Hitome Mk. I was very much a June Cleaver made of aluminum and servo motors with a primitive adaptive algorithm.
Around the third generation of Hitome Unit, design now being aided by a sentient AI, the sexual function was added. The reasoning was that the design should be holistic, a full replica of a person. It was also argued that if the robot was capable of such acts, it would eliminate the demand, and thus curtail the supply of prostitution. Reluctant, Dr. Hijame continued working on the project and with the AI concocted the Parallel Processor brain. An outside laboratory created the polymer sheath and hydrostatic silicone gel.
Production of the Hitome was assumed by Factory Unit 5, owned by the Aegis Industrial Consortium. The Aegis Group itself was largely behind Dr. Hijame during the testing and prototype phases and once the final design (the original forth generation Hitome) was set the factories went to work. 12,000 of the Mk IV Hitomes were constructed before the Mk V was released, after which the Mk IVs were recalled for service upgrades parallel to the newer models. At the current time, some 46,000 Mk. V Hitome Units have been produced and the standing order is for another 50,000 units to be constructed over the next two years.
Business and 'Bots
Oddly enough, the Hitome Unit is remarkably inexpensive, despite it's long development and intricate design. Having been designed by a cost conscious AI, only a few parts of a Hitome require special construction methods. Secondly the units are subsidized by the governing body of Technopolis since the introduction of the Hitome was projected to reduce prostitution by 85% and sex crimes by 75%. The reduce in stress and fatigue in humans was projected to be i the vicinity of 40% which would increase the efficiency of Hitome owners. Those who purchased units vouched quickly for them, it was a shock to come home to a consistently clean house, with a meal ready to eat.
The third reason is that barring Article 15 of the Cybernetic Convention; An observant robot shall not be used for the unauthorized surveillance of humans under the protection of the rights of privacy, the Hitome Units are data gatherers. The Hitome observes what the owner watches on TV, what they like to eat, and even comments about various products that are produced by the Aegis Group and its associated subsidiaries. There were a number of hearings after this fact was revealed but extensive testing of the Parallel Processor and sub-routines proved that the unit's observation did not amount to invasion of privacy.
Blatant Sexism - After the Hitome Unit was introduced there was a significant backlash against the design. Predominantly chaired by women, this protest argued that the Hitome Units were nothing more than gross caricatures of women, devised to be slaves both to the domestic venue and the insatiable lust of men. As a compromise, a male version of the Hitome was produced which did the exact same functions as a female Hitome, but had male organs rather than female. While there was a degree of truth to the Protest, few of the Hitome Units deployed were frequently used as glorified sex toys. As the expression goes, 'You Just Can't Beat the Real Thing.'. The Male Hitome Units were largely maligned by men and women alike and the standard Hitome was adopted as the female aspect was deemed more easily accepted.
When a Man Loves a Machine - Though the Hitomes avoided becoming extrodinarily high end sex toys, not all avoided causing emotional and social trauma. Just as online games and other remote communications did in the 90s, the introduction of the Hitome allowed a small segment of the population to further retreat in on itself. As the Hitome is programmed to appease and anticipate it's owners wants and desires (A clean house, fried chicken for dinner, the sheets turned down) a few become emotional surrogates. These sad and desperate men (a few women as well) considered the gynoid to be the 'perfect' woman. This created unrealistic expectations when dealing with real members of the opposite sex which further fed into their unhealthy fixation on their robotic companion.
Social Stigmas - A brief time after the introduction and general acceptance of the Hitome Unit, a minor stigma rose around it. It was generally accepted that possessing a Hitome was perfectly normal, indeed production had reached tens of thousands by that point. The stigma came when other people discovered that a Hitome Unit was being used sexually rather than domestically. The stigma carried was akin to being caught masterbating at work, and comedians gained a plethora of material from these robot-humpers and their Sex-bots.
Anti-Robot Sentiment - There were a number of isolated cases of robot abuse. Most of these cases came from disturbed individuals who expressed their problems against the unit, thankfully rather than other people. Some think that the base reaction is caused by the compliant and artificial nature of the Hitomes, which are programmed to be quite candid about being observant, mimicking machines, rather than thinking creatures.
Bot and Clyde - Though the Hitome is designed to not 'spy' on it's owner, the unit is well aware of what constitutes breaking the law. A certain degree of leeway was programmed into the units as a watchdog like observance of the law would violate the Law itself, article 15 CyberCon to be exact. A Hitome will shut down if ordered to perform an illegal act and if certain acts are observed by the unit, it will alert authorities, though this list of acts is short and includes murder, rape and a few other violent and inexcusable crimes. In short, a Hitome won't copy music CDs if asked to, but it wont call the police if it sees the owner doing so himself.
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? Responses (21)
Hey, cool, I am the first here to accuse you of being a pervert. :D
That aside, you have managed to write this very sensitively, good work there. The technical subtleties were quite long, but didn't do any harm on the way to the dirty details. (Oh, and gynoid is such a nice term!) I am entertained, but it is definitely possible the Hitome Unit will be produced one day.
The Triangle - of course, the unit is well suited for a role as a sex toy, even with the partner knowing, or taking part in the play. While this may help some couples to a more stable relationship, it may oddly bring others apart. Think 'I am still faithful, it doesn't count' vs 'You don't need me anymore' issues.
...which only proves that you can't solve all problems with robotic assistance. :)
A common use of the theme. Nothing wrong with it, but the 33-S model boomer would like to have a talk with you. That aside, I get left with lots of questions.
How emotive and responsive are they? You mention that they're intelligent, but do they have the ability to love, hate, or fear? If they are capable of emotion, will one -enjoy- sex, or will it just look at it as another function, with the ultimate in fakery? You mention 'fully functional organs', can it act as a surrogate womb for an infertile family? Can it wet-nurse a child?
Do they follow the Three Laws of Asimov, or not? Will it follow them in the traditional order, or in some other order of priority? Will it attempt to restrain a fleeing human criminal in its list of 'notify the authorities if...'? How will this interact with Asimovian constraints, if extant?
If I shot one in the belly, would it go down and die, is it revivable if so, or will it just keep coming? What kind of downtime is required? Is it concious while the charging? Can it sleep... and dream? Or is it just turned off? Does it count electronic sheep?
Finally - It's 3'6' (1.1m) tall. This is the body of a 4-5 year old human. There's no accounting for sexual taste, I suppose, but, eesh.
As for the size, I thought it to be the manufacturing parameters, that are later adapted, but yeah, that bit sounds actually scary.
1) Fixed the height, my metrics suck and that should have been 1.5m instead of 1.1m. this has been corrected in the submission.
2) Looking up the Aasimov laws of robot behavior.
2A*A robot may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm.
2B*A robot must obey orders given to it by human beings except where such orders would conflict with the First Law.
2C*A robot must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the First or Second Law.
2A - A robot may not injure a human being, this is hardwired into the Hitome unit. A HU cannot handle firearms or other blatant weapons as it is a violation of their base programming. A futher Article of the Cybernetic Convention stipulates that a fully autonymus robot cannot utilize weapons. (I'm going to have to write out the Cybernetic Conventions!) As for preventing a human from coming to harm through inaction, this really just seems like a way to create a logic loop.
2B - Each Hitome Unit has a designated number of people who can tell it what to do. If you aren't one of it's recognized owners/users, it doesn't have to listen to you, though it cannot actively seek to harm you. Again, this law seems worded to create some rather basic logic loops.
2C - This law is absolute rubbish. Self-preservation is a basic instinct of living organisms, not machines. Aside from avoiding danger (getting run over, depleting batteries, etc) a Hitome will take whatever is dished out to it. Like a toaster or a television it is a machine.
3. What if I shoot it in the belly?
Common sense comes into play here. Incapacitating a machine requires the destruction of either it's power supply (torso) or it's control system (head). Shots that do not damage or destroy these systems, though they can certainly damage the unit, will not incapacitate it.
Recharging would likely be handled at night when the user/owners are home and sleeping. Does it count electronic sheep, does it dream? - Does your computer do any of these things while it is turned off? Counting sheep - in terms on an onboard clock, yes. Dreams - no.
Not at all. The Hitome is a machine that has been very cleverly programmed to give the illusion of being intelligent.
6. Sexual Functions and Organs
The Hitome has a facsimile vagina, a construction of lubricant resevoirs and a elastic sheath of flesh like material with insulated bundles of synthetic muscle for tension. It cannot sustain any sort of non-bacterial life (Hitome's are self-cleaning) nor can their synthetic breasts produce milk. As to Fakery, it is a core concept to the Hitome, imitating human responces and behaviours, so yes ultimate fakery is apt.
Well, the three laws of robotics were written for intelligent machines. The Hitomi is stated as to be something like a TIVO: It oberves frequent patterns ,and responds to stimuli, but will have no creativity on its own. If you tell it three times to add a little pepper to the stew it cooks, it will 'remember' you as having a taste for spicy food, and -might- spice another dish autonomously.
It lacks the resoning and processing capabilities to actually be able to reason how to prevent a human coming to harm - though it may be programmed to keep kids from the window, away from fire or the parents' bedroom while they are intimate.
I would first and foremost remind my readers that Asimov's Three Laws of Robotics, despite their popularity in the science fiction field and robotics...are fiction. Secondly, Echo has hit the behavior bit perfectly. The Hitomi will take note of a preference for pepper spice and will 'remember' it and will compensate in future cooking ventures.
The three laws are popular because they make a great deal of sense. Any machine which is able to make independent decisions (such as these), is qualified to have them hung upon it, even if it's decision making ability is limited - In fact, a great many of Asimov's robotics stories came out of the very inability of a robot to fully reason it's way through the three laws. These, or a similar replacement, allow the AI to have a 'moral crisis'. It is why I asked about them.
These can be an excellent mirror to expose the flaws of the humans around them. That is good, and I respect that. I do believe, however, that in turning these into simple toasters and vacuum cleaners, a great deal of story-potential is going down the drain.
(And it's still pre-pubescent school-girl short at 1.5m, but it works better.)
1.5 meters is 5 feet. My wife is 5 feet tall.
If you think story potential is going down the drain, how about showing me how it's done properly then?
Actually, one of the story arcs (socially inept individuals substituting them for real people) would be much less problematic if the Hitomi was a reasoning machine.
It would be interesting if -most- of the hitomis were dumb household appliances, and a few might coime to reason, with no intent on the creator's part... and you could not predict which one will do so (well, most likely those with lots of varied input, but...)
What about this?
It read like a buying seminar or a sort of museum piece on the unit. Sort of a historical perspective on a popular unit. It was fun with enough facts to use it and have it as a description of the precursor of a new updated SI yet to hit the streets.
Comming Soon: The Hodengy Aura. Based on your favorite legacy Hitome Unit with new and improved features.
mmm, perverted robotics!
Not everyone needs the science behind the creation fully explained. I sure dont. Kudos! Plus, what Strolen said.
A clean house, fried chicken for dinner, the sheets turned down...what every man dreams about :D
These just have to be available in pairs... >:}
Gynoid is a fairly common term, especially around ASFR or other groups. While there is a ton of science fiction technobabble here that I didn't it find that illuminating or even useful. I do like the write up as a whole. I also like the evolution of the units. It is nice that you include impacts of the units in the sub.
What do women feel about these robots?
Check the first bullet point under Magic/Cursed Properties for that answer.
I would expect that those purchasing such a device without obvious non-sexual requirements for it would risk getting an unwanted reputation. After all, people ordinarily hide the details of their sex lives, so a man with one of these would be likely to conceal that he had one of the "fully functional" models.
Cultural change and acceptance of such things would be a gradual process, taking place only as such robots became part of the societal matrix in other ways.
I don't see any mention of the fact that these are from the "Appleseed" manga by Masamune Shirow.
Other than that, a nice expansion of "background detail" otherwise glossed over in the comic.
I've seen the movie, never read the Manga. The Bioroids from Appleseed are alive, organic but very thoroghly genetically engineered. A hitome unit is a machine. I think this is an important distinction.
Chiming in 6 years later, I think these are well thought out. Lots of ethical implications, but hey, they're almost certainly going to arise in the Real World eventually. Confronting them in fiction and gaming is probably the best way to pre-resolve the issues.
Also, as a compromise between the hardline 'they're glorified toasters' and the 'but if they're intelligent, they can have story', there's no reason that you couldn't have something like what happens to AIs in the Freefall comic: they start out very simplistic and childlike in their mindset, able to do their assigned tasks and adapt appropriately as necessary, but then after a certain period of time (in the comic, 20 years) the mind blooms and they become effectively fully sentient, reasoning beings.