On a recent evening in Las Vegas during the CES technology show, robot strippers offered a window into technology's gender fault lines.
From a distance, the mechanical humanoids on a strip-club stage looked something like real dancers in robot drag.
But close up, they were clearly mannequins with surveillance-camera heads and abstractly sculpted feminine chests, buttocks and backs, shimmying and thrusting their boxy plastic hips.
On one level, it was a classic Vegas stunt for the club to cash in tech show attendees. The robots served a racy but utilitarian function by drawing gawkers to the club, much the way provocatively clad "booth babes" lure CES visitors to wares on the convention floor.