MonthNovember 2017

The Sex Robots Are Coming review – Who’d have thought they’d have a soft Scottish accent?

There are moments of hilarity in this fascinating and bleak documentary, which explored just how close humans and machines are going to get If you’ve ever wondered what a life-sized mechanical sex toy called Harmony looks like reciting the lyrics to Thriller with all the passion of Alexa ordering the shopping, then The Sex Robots Are Coming (Channel 4) has got it covered. This fascinatingly bleak documentary explored the question of just how close humans and machines are going to get, and looks at the burgeoning sex robot industry, which one day hopes to create life-like rubber women who will talk and show pre-programmed emotions, but only if they are more obedient, passive and pliable than the irritatingly free-willed real thing. This was by turns hilarious and upsetting, as perplexing as it was educational. The Californian RealDoll company is on a quest to make a realistic sex robot. It already sells RealDolls for people to have their wicked way with, and though it has an eye-watering male model, 80% of customers want a female doll. The company’s founder, Matt McMullan, explains that he initially conceived of the project as art. Mmmhmm. And the customers only want a life-sized doll with a realistic vagina, so they can put dresses on it and do its makeup. Continue reading… [hmp_player]

‘I want you to feel that empowerment’: how Cardi B went from stripper to star

The Bronx rapper went from Instagram skits to dislodging Taylor Swift from the top of the US charts with one of 2017’s best tracks. But after two Grammy nominations, she’s feeling the pressure of fame ‘Do you guys really think that Princess Diana was killed?” We’re in an office around the corner from Kensington Palace, and this week’s royal announcement is on Cardi B’s mind. It momentarily distracts her from toying with a lightbulb during the photoshoot – “I want to meet Prince Harry!”, she calls out. Later, she’s primed for the best conspiracy theories around as she widens her eyes and asks again, before miming a zip over her lips. “But we don’t want anything to happen to us!” she mock-whispers, then erupts into a cackle. Her interest is not surprising. This year, Cardi has also ascended suddenly, vertiginously, into rap royalty thanks to inescapable song of the summer, Bodak Yellow. From a background that saw her dismissed as an interloper, she has been propelled all the way to the top of the Billboard chart by a groundswell of popular support. The staging posts of her journey have been roles that are routinely mocked: the stripper, the Instagram celebrity, the scrapper in reality series Love & Hip Hop. The genius of 25-year-old Belcalis Almanzar has been to flip that script at each turn. Continue reading… [hmp_player]