This Hour: Artificial Intelligence & Creating the Perfect Companion

Our digital age and the introduction of Artificial Intelligence (AI) has also spawned another technological wonder: Sexbots. Abyss Creations, a firm based in California makes RealDolls, a lifelike sex toy. They claim that they will release an artificial intelligence-enhanced sex doll next year (2017).

Dr David Levy, who predicted long ago the era of intelligent human-looking robots, delivered a speech where he made the case for android-human intimacy. "We have companion robots and a partner robot is the logical continuation of the trend," adding, "(that) In the next 10 years it is perfectly achievable in software to create a robot companion that is everything that people might want in a spouse - patient, kind, loving, trusting, respectful and uncomplaining."

 

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It might sound over the top but, throughout this year, a number of high-level panels were set up with representatives from the tech industry, academia and governments to discuss such questions.

How is an investor able to get involved in this new innovation, knowing that sex truly does sell?

The most popular firm manufacturing this type of product is Abyss Creations and the most popular model is the RealDolls product line. The RealDoll is a lifelike anatomically correct silicone sex doll with a complete and accurate, fully articulated PCV skeleton that is delivered to a person's doorstep in a coffin-sized box.

Business seems to be doing well from reports that up to 10 RealDolls are shipped out of Abyss factory weekly for a price of approximately US $7,000 a doll, according to George Gurley, who visited Abyss factories for his article "Dawn of the Sexbots" in the May issue of Vanity Fair.

Abyss Creations LLC is a privately held company, limiting the opportunity to buy into the company. Buying into the technology itself is one of the ways an investor can participate in the growth of this industry. Alphabet Inc. (GOOGL), Apple Inc. (AAPL), and Amazon (AMZN) have made substantial investments in Artificial Intelligence & robotics, along with 'The Big Blue,' IBM. During this last quarter of 2016 we have seen the tech giants spending billions of dollars to be well placed for the explosion of artificial intelligence (AI) devices to be used by the masses.

Even if we poked some fun at AI being introduced to the sex industry, the investment being made in AI is very serious.

These investments have been made by technological giants in the industry by acquiring the firms that innovate the technology. The innovators of the laser technology behind fully automated drones that can deliver burritos and guide automobiles to serve as driverless taxis, was acquired by GOOGL.

IBM has made substantial investments in the USA & UK to be in a position to have 'Cloud-Data Centers' in place. Qualcomm is proceeding with their $30 billion dollar merger with NXP Semiconductors. As we marvel at the applications that may be part of ordinary daily life very soon, we must also watch the innovations and acquisitions being made.  We have to be vigilant to see who owns what, and to try to participate in this technological explosion by being on the winning teams.


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World Markets

As the world's Stock exchanges wind down for the New Year's Holiday, we find that the MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares .MIAPJ0000PUS gained 0.4 percent.

  • Australian stocks hitched a ride with a rise in commodities to gain 1 percent.
  • Indonesian shares .JKSE Index gained 1.9 percent while Shanghai .SSEC shed 0.1 percent.
  • China's CSI 300 index was down 0.1 percent.
  • Germany's DAX and France's CAC 40 both gained just over 0.1 percent and U.S. markets were seen opening marginally unchanged as well. British markets were closed for a holiday, along with those in Australia, New Zealand and Hong Kong.

Commodities

Oil prices were lower on Wednesday during the early hours of the Asian trading session as traders and analysts are waiting to see how OPEC and non-OPEC members will carry out the planned supply cuts in 2017.

International Brent crude futures were trading down 19 cents or -0.34 percent, at US $55.90 a barrel at the time of my writing, after closing the previous session up 93 cents. U.S. benchmark West Texas Intermediate crude oil prices CLc1 were down 14 cents at US $53.76 per barrel after settling up 88 cents at US $53.90 a barrel in the previous session.

Trading is expected to remain relatively light this week ahead of the New Year's holiday. OPEC and non-OPEC producers have agreed to lower production by almost 1.8 million barrels per day (bpd) next year, with Saudi Arabia, OPEC's largest producer, agreeing to bear the lion's share of the cuts.

Currencies

The US dollar (USD) rose 0.2 percent against the Japanese yen to 117.67 vs 1 USD, continuing its gains of nearly 0.5 percent on Tuesday behind new data reporting U.S. consumer confidence recorded a 15-year high in December. The dollar index .DXY, which compares the USD against a grouping of six major global currencies, closed at 102.97, down 0.1 percent and below its 14-year high of 103.650 recorded on Dec. 20.

The USD was supported by the rise in U.S. Treasury yields on Tuesday recording one-week highs in reaction to strong domestic data. The .DXY has risen 5.3 percent since the U.S. election of President Elect Trump, driven by expectations that Trump's new policies will include deregulation and the implementation of fiscal stimulus.

The European Euro (EUR) was last up 0.1 percent against the USD  at US $1.0470 vs 1 EUR. The EUR recorded a 14-year low of US $1.0352 on Dec. 20, amid concerns about the banks of Italy and the upcoming elections in France and Germany.