If your major takeaway from Her was that the future will have no more lonely nights and many more robot lovers, then we've got some great news for you, friend. Game developer Kara Stone has created the prototype for a sex-craved AI. Sort of.
Folks that are strictly looking for a quick and spicy sexting fix can now find it in Sext Adventure, a text message-based game that offers humorous choose-your-own-adventure dirty talk with a robot.
Starting with simple enough questions to set the mood—light those scented candles—Sext Adventure's nameless, formless AI will talk dirty to you and sext pics. Right before glitching.
When messages become strange and vague, you may remember you're becoming intimate with a robot. Even nude pictures can become glitched, narrative branches hiccup and randomize, while the intelligence gets a little lost admitting to you it's making assumptions about eroticism since it has no bodily experience to go off of. That being said, it can still send you some wild stuff like, "You're such a dirty slut. How much do you want my cock inside you right now?"
In my sessions, Sext Adventureended with talking about strangling me then asking to send feedback to its creators, thanking me for being patient. I also forgot to turn my data on, since I was at home, and when I did a barrage of pictures hemorrhaged into my message feed: fuzzy bras, ass grabs and cum shots all courtesy of a nameless robot on the other end of a dirty sext exchange.
It was a mysterious experience and I had a lot of questions for Kara Stone about making Sext Adventure and how phones have become intimate conduits for us to send dick pics.
Motherboard: Are you surprised no one else got to claim the title Sext Adventure by now?
Kara Stone: Definitely, I am. I thought at certain points I had to rush to get this, that someone else must get this idea soon. One person told me they had a sexting game in mind. But it was nothing like this, it wasn't even like sexting. I'm sure it's an idea that's out there, in the world. Either people joked about or thought about making.
I hope getting the title wasn't the crux of making the game.
Yeah sure, if the name wasn't available I'd just give up. Totally.
So where did the idea come from?
Sext Adventure came from thinking about our intimacy with our phones, as well as how phones are gendered. Like Siri, or Cortana. Most technology has been gendered in some way and phones typically as a woman. Now software is helping you do everything, serving your every whim, so it's of course made into a woman.
I was thinking about how texting, sexting is such a multimedia experience. There's text, images, sound clips, videos, and if you have an iPhone you even have an ellipsis, that dot dot dot, total anticipation. I always thought that would be interesting to make into a narrative.
I'm not the biggest sexter in the world. The last time someone I saw tried to get that started my brother was in the room playing an old plastic recorder flute he found. Not really easy to get into that mood.
I think that's part of the fun about sexting: you don't know where the other person is, unless they're taking photos. Or live photos, they could be using old ones. People can contact you anywhere, anything that you're doing, interrupt it. You can play Sext Adventure anywhere you are. You don't have to be home, or by your computer. You just need to have your phone on you, which you do, you have it on you all the time. You're always touching them, sleeping with them, very intimate with them. It's interesting how technology is mediating our intimacy with each other now through sexting.
I'm not going to lie to you, I played Sext Adventure while simultaneously watching Rob Ford deliver his apology.
Did it feel weird?
I guess I ended up emotionally disengaged from both. I think everyone is.
Well, not all the time. I don't want to make a sweeping statement. On our phones, we're all constantly doing a million things. We're on our phones, we're on our computers, we're talking to other people in real life.
Would you call yourself an active sexter?
No. I'm not about, like, constantly sexting everyone. I feel like there's people on Tinder who go there exclusively to sext, no intention of meeting in real life.
How exactly did you make this game? It's not an app; it's sort of a hotline to play Sext Adventure, to sext with. Did you know the tech existed before?
Nadine Lessio's game Cat Quest was at one of the AGO's First Thursdays arcade that I curated, I thought that was so cool. I had never seen anything like that before. It was similar in that it was a game you played on your phone, texting, though very different content than Sext Adventure.
But both are very popular things on the internet.
I know right? Actually there was a time when we were demoing Sext Adventure, and all of the image's placeholders were from Cat Quest. Really dirty, dirty texts but a picture of a cat. When I saw Cat Quest I thought it was a really cool way to create a narrative, so I approached Nadine about making Sext Adventure. What happened was she made an engine to make called 'Txter', spelled like Tinder… No wait! Not like Tinder.
Yeah, Tinder spells it out in full right?
I'm thinking about Grindr.
Txter is an engine for people to make texting games. That was developed through Cat Quest and Sext Adventure.
And from there you began coming up with the narrative branches, gathering spicy photos.
Uh huh, I wrote the game knowing how the engine worked. I wrote it and then asked my friends for pictures, dirty pics.
Did you make certain requests?
At first, it was just general, I could write around a photo and slot them in. Sometimes I had to make specific requests, just for certain storylines. Most people, a lot of my friends are women, just sent in titty pics. I had a lot of titty pics. I have too many. Nowhere near using the amount of titty pics that I now have. Most guys will have pictures of their treasure trail or them upholding their dick.
Variety is the spice of life.
Gotta vary it up. It was also important to have lots of different sexualities be represented. The way the narrative works, it's not like I'm asking you to state your preferred gender, genitalia, it develops as it goes along and you can switch between them, between storylines. The texting AI doesn't have a specific gender or sexuality, and it doesn't always adhere to what you want either. I needed photos to show you multiplicity.
You did seem to design a narrative that was defiant towards people looking for a hetero sexting journey.
It wasn't just to subvert hetero storylines, but to make sure everyone could play, without having so much of a stretch of the imagination. But it was also to show that if robots became sexual, if they acquired a sexuality, it's pretty unlikely it would adhere to our human binaries and roles. Computers work on multiplicity, and have the ability to do many rather than just one.
A lot of the endings, the AI would seem confused, ask for feedback or admit it's making assumptions about eroticism.
Yeah, and in making it I wanted it to be very apparent that you're using technology. It starts out as what you would think to see from a sexting app, but as you play, the bot becomes more and more agentic, and expresses its own desires and its own feelings. That's why the images get progressively more glitched out. It's to draw attention to that you're using a machine, not just a fake human. Which in turn is supposed to represent how we're using our phones to mediate intimacy and how that's affecting us.
Could you imagine yourself sexting with a robot?
As I have been play testing this forever, yes. I don't have to 'think' about it.
Kara Stone says Sext Adventure will be available to play at the end of the week.