For anyone who thinks that marriage is merely a quick-step toward divorce, an ancient tradition of our ancestors, or just a latent improbability, here's something new and different for you to consider. By the year 2050, some scientists and psychologists believe that humans and robots will be tying the knot.
That's exactly what an artificial intelligence researcher at the University of Maastricht in the Netherlands thinks and has spent the last couple of years researching for his dissertation. He says that not only will humans be marrying robots, but that these marriages will be legalized and consummated for that matter.
If the notion seems strange to you, you're not alone. Naysayer's are quick to combat the idea, citing emotion, love, and romance as reasons that robot-human marriage would fail. But, psychologists have identified the basic reasons that people fall in love and claim that all of them are programmable. For instance, similar personality traits and knowledge are two traits that draw two humans to connect and both these qualities can be artificially manufactured.
In fact, the idea of romance between a human and his artificial creation has been explored for many years. 40 years ago, scientists noticed that students were becoming uncommonly attracted to a computer program called ELIZA, designed to mimic a therapist. "Love and sex with robots is inevitable," says Levy.
It's hard to imagine that the vibrator you're girlfriend has in her bedside table drawer will be rather primordial come 5 years, but that's entirely possible. Though it may seem far-fetched to consider marriage with a machine, it is already wholly acceptable to have sex with one. Similar technologies already exist in sex toys, vibrators, and realistic looking sex dolls. As artificial intelligence advancements increase the relationship between robots and humans will undoubtedly become more personal, it's anyone's guess how far it could go.
I Do: Robo Style
October 29, 2007