I don't blame the author for being upset about this because I can't see a reason to retract the submission to the contest. I do, however, feel like these kinds of sex toys are only minimally related to robotics, so I think they shouldn't have been able to submit their device in the first place. That's another fault on the end of CES. As sibling comments note, there's been vibrators on the robotics section before, but it might be that they slipped through the submission process as well and, to prevent controversy, let through unscathed. Now that more of these submissions come through the board seems to have decided that enough is enough and actually speak out against these just-if-not-nearly robotic devices.
Their defence that the product has been designed with the help of roboticists is very strange. If me and a few aerospace engineers build a fence that fence does not qualify as a space craft, no matter how many heat shield we stick to the side of it.
Spending half the page blabbering about empowerment of women and LBQTI+ only detracts from their argument. Their baseless claim of mysoginy and homophobia distracts from their reasons for why they should be included in the first place and should not have been included in this response. It makes the author of the piece look very unprofessional and desperate for help from some of those action groups that take to the streets the moment they see the word "discrimination".
Rather than dismissing all that information as "blabbering", maybe consider the possibility that it forms the base of their not-so-"baseless" claim of bias? Just a suggestion...
And when I read it, it made perfect sense that this is a robot. As they presented it, this is a machine that uses a variety of movements and sensory feedback to achieve a very precise effect on a subject. There's lots of "robots" that do less. And, y'know... it's a tricky effect to achieve (in a lot of cases - there's a huge variety of responses to stimulus).
There was also likely a long process for awards, its a pretty scumbag move to suddenly just not give the award/honor after announcing it, I can imagine my anger too if someone was going to give me an award and then not. CES is in the wrong here, they've been quite unprofessional.
The lady does sound a bit too dramatic but I imagine she is pissed, that's all.
Reminds me of the Miss Universe mix up with Steve Harvey and the Oscar mix up with Warren Betty except an order of magnitude worse.
So not really a "baseless claim". A stretch, maybe, but a pretty reasonable one, all things considered.
I think at first someone at the top (or middle management) just said "that's not relevant, someone get that project out of here", which got passed down the chain of the company to some intern writing a standard email with a useless explanation. Then, when that blew up, an actual response was formed by the PR department, then by the top of the company, complicated further by the authors of this piece contacting people unrelated to either statement and getting another explanation from them. Just a corporate communications cluster fuck.
"Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity" and all that.
And I should point out that I very often dismiss such articles as crying wolf, especially where there is something to be gained by doing so (in this case, lots of publicity).
But actually, the issue deserves some publicity. Even if it was just an intern jumping to a somewhat sexist conclusion (though it sounds slightly absurd that they would send an intern to rescind a winning entry, but then I have absolutely no understanding of the inner workings of CES)
So yeah - an intentional choice has clearly been made to view this through a lens; that lens happens to be a little sensationalist. But still, it's far from a baseless accusation.
(also prejudice does not necessitate malice. In my view, in the majority of cases, prejudice IS stupidity. But you can hurt a lot of people with stupidity)
I'd expect a similarly advanced fleshlight to be refused on the same grounds as this toy, despite being built for men. I don't think it's fair that this product, advanced as though it might be, is put in the same category as fully articulated sex robots.
I don't understand why you think it shouldn't be in the same category as a sex robot. A robot doesn't have to be some kind of fake human to be a robot.
> Entries deemed by CTA in their sole discretion to be immoral, obscene, indecent, profane or not in keeping with CTA’s image will be disqualified. CTA reserves the right in its sole discretion to disqualify any entry at any time which, in CTA’s opinion, endangers the safety or well being of any person, or fails to comply with these Official Rules.
So, if they didn't call it immoral, they called it obscene, indecent or profane.
But it makes for a better outrage narrative if we cherry pick the most offensive interpretation possible.
"A robot is a machine—especially one programmable by a computer— capable of carrying out a complex series of actions automatically. Robots can be guided by an external control device or the control may be embedded within. Robots may be constructed to take on human form but most robots are machines designed to perform a task with no regard to how they look"
From the description in the article it sounded like the entry managed complex simulations of a tongue and fingers. I can see how it could be defined as a robot.
I haven't looked up what the CES definition/guidelines for a robotics entry is though.
If this thing could learn and sense which movements produced the best effects, then it would be a robot. But it’s no different than a remote control car, and we don’t call those robots.
It stated in the article that the device's operation could be tailored to each individual's preferences.
The conclusion that can be taken from your explanation is that CES have a bunch of robots experts in the judging team of a robotics contest and they could’t tell what is or isn’t a robot before awarding it a prize.
That’s even worse in my opinion. If I was them, I would rather stick with the accusation of sexism.
According to Fortune (http://fortune.com/2019/01/09/the-ose-toy-ces2019/), CES responded to the author two months ago. If this is truly about airing grievances about losing the award, why wait until now to publish a respose?
On a side note, where can I get more information about the Osé (e.g. prototype, demo video)?
Has there been any inovation for men toys?
What market are you talking about? This claim seems pretty dubious.
> Has there been any inovation for men toys?
If I am a woman and I get rejected from a job, I don’t immediately start accusing the interviewer of gender bias. It hurts the cause for real issues when the noise in the social media is due to all kinds of baseless accusations.
Along the same lines as, if the only difference between two people doing the same job is their gender, and one gets paid more, then that's prejudice.
They're not wrong.
Of course, CES could argue that it's bad timing - that the new product came out just as CES started cleaning up. Maybe these male-oriented developments will be similarly disallowed. We'll have to wait and see. Still, terrible optics for CES and a bad decision all round.
The male-focused sex products did not even compete for the awards as far as I can tell, or at least did not get any of the awards.
It did, which means that there is a bias, given that other sex-themed tech was not similarly banned.
I agree BUT:
How do you know the only difference between the selection of the robots was specifically and exclusively gender? May be other robots contending for the award deserved it and they were actually better robots!?
Did you read through the article? It's laughable for CES to claim that sex toys are somehow too "obscene" for it or are off topic.
I absolutely agree that they are overly puritanical when it comes to adult products in general though.
It is becoming increasingly difficult to differentiate between actual gender bias and gender bias pushed by activist, i feel.
According to the Fortune article (http://fortune.com/2019/01/09/the-ose-toy-ces2019/), they were notified around two months ago- why publish a response now? Seems more of a strategic PR play in the news cycle IMO
Also, a smart vibrator from last year, also by a woman founder:
The lewdness thing is inconsistent but clearly has nothing whatsoever to do with gender bias or sexism.
"My team rejoiced and celebrated. A month later our excitement and preparations were cut short when we were unexpectedly informed that the administrators at CES and CTA were rescinding our award and subsequently that we would not be allowed to showcase Osé, or even exhibit at CES 2019."
I.e the product was BANNED. Really seems that in this HN thread people are bending themselves backwards trying to find any other explanation for the events EXCEPT for sexism and/or discrimination. It is as if people have a priori decided that sexism can't occur.
You are bending yourself backward trying to ignore that sexism or discrimination may have not been the issue here.
If theses others products were there, why wasn't they banned too if there is sexism?
That article is only one side of the story, a side that clearly want to prove that sexism and discrimination was at play here. It's fine but it only tell argument in favor of that hypothesis.
In this case, maybe her stands was relative to her winning. That would means she could no longer showcase, but wouldn't actually be disallowed to showcase (except by the deadline, which isn't sexist I can assure you ;) ).
There's still so much sexism in the world, particularly in entrepreneurship, but blaming everything on it is dangerous and can actually hurt the cause.
I'm not privy to the details of this story and there are always many possible explanations for any given set of observations. I can therefore not know for sure that the explanation is sexism, but it does fit the bill. Those who discard that as even a possibility are biased.
You are the only one discarding possibilities here.
As far as I can tell, the VR porn and the "sex robot for men" were not given awards either. They were just present on the CES.
we were unexpectedly informed that the administrators at CES and CTA were rescinding our award and subsequently that we would not be allowed to showcase Osé, or even exhibit at CES 2019
It just doesn't seem fair to this curly looking innovative toy.
Indeed. Booth babes, 'fitness' models, etc are blatant wink wink nudge nudge "this isn't eye candy specifically to lure in male reporters and buyers, they're here to welcome you to our product booth and nothing else, honest".
There may be other explanations, but it does look like a bit of a double standard.
If you go to the OhMiBod website, they have a big ad up boasting of their CES 2019 presence, including their all-female lineup of vibrators.
“The company’s experience contrasts starkly with the way CTA has treated sex toy company OhMiBod. Based in New Hampshire, the company has a variety of vibrators on display. They launched more than a decade ago and first appeared at CES in 2011 with a vibrator that synced to music on an iPod.
They’ve been at the show ever since, and have received nothing but support from CTA, said co-founder Suki Dunham.”
Also, there is nothing gender-specific about VR porn.
The fact that they were notified by CES 2 months ago and only launched a cheap smear campaign now is also telling.
And another year, a product by B.sensory, another smart vibrator, also won an award. Also a female founder.
But yeah, clearly they hate companies run by women and products for women.
Face it, you are getting played by a PR op here. Startups will do anything for coverage, and this is a pretty low brow tactic. Sadly, it worked very well.
It’s unfortunate because it really waters down actual incidents of sexism, and people are getting desensitized to claims that any adversity someone faces is because everyone else is a racist or sexist. That’s counterproductive to the cause.
So...this completely undermines CES's revised story (that they can't give the Lora DiCarlo toy an award because there's no category for sex toys).
The fact that CES has given two separate reasons for this decision, neither of which makes sense, isn't exactly making them look good.
But don’t cry sexism when there are female “sexual health” devices by female founders on display and winning awards.
Maybe they are trying to change their image, and this device couldn’t satisfy another category. Maybe they decided it wasn’t novel enough in the areas that matter, and it’s just a better vibrator.
VR Porn is in the VR category, not an adult category, for example. And VR porn for women (whatever that means) is allowed too. Even if the studio has a mostly woman engineering team!
There is already a conference for adult toys at the same time. CES doesn’t want to be that.
"Sex toys and CES have an unusual history. While the Ose wasn’t allowed on the show floor, adult novelty company OhMiBod has been a regular attendee for several years (and even won a Best of CES award in the the “Digital Health and Fitness Product” category in 2016).
Trojan condoms has also shown branded sex toys in years past. And Naughty America, an adult film studio, has a presence on the show floor this year, albeit in a private meeting room in the back."
Which might explain why they couldn't display their product- all of the private spaces were already sold out by then.
We are already reading the arguments of one side here, I wonder what the actual justification for the rejection was.
Considering CES responded two months ago, why publish this response now? Seems more of a strategic PR play in the news cycle IMO. I'm 100% for the equality/equity movement but this seems to be an attempt at co-oping it for PR in order to boost a bottom line, at the expense of providing ammo to those who wish to discredit the movement entirely.
It's 2019 and an overwhelming number of social discourse is solely about sex and sexuality. A lot of people literally care about sex health more than any other health and it is, by many, believed to have negative effect on many people's mental health as well.