Humans could marry robots within the century. And consummate those vows.

Discussion in 'Apple, Inc and Tech Industry' started by alebar14, Oct 16, 2007.

  1. alebar14 macrumors regular

    alebar14

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    #1
    By Charles Q. Choi
    Special to LiveScience
    LiveScience.com


    "My forecast is that around 2050, the state of Massachusetts will be the first jurisdiction to legalize marriages with robots," artificial intelligence researcher David Levy at the University of Maastricht in the Netherlands told LiveScience. Levy recently completed his Ph.D. work on the subject of human-robot relationships, covering many of the privileges and practices that generally come with marriage as well as outside of it.

    At first, sex with robots might be considered geeky, "but once you have a story like 'I had sex with a robot, and it was great!' appear someplace like Cosmo magazine, I'd expect many people to jump on the bandwagon," Levy said.

    Pygmalion to Roomba

    The idea of romance between humanity and our artistic and/or mechanical creations dates back to ancient times, with the Greek myth of the sculptor Pygmalion falling in love with the ivory statue he made named Galatea, to which the goddess Venus eventually granted life.

    This notion persists in modern times. Not only has science fiction explored this idea, but 40 years ago, scientists noticed that students at times became unusually attracted to ELIZA, a computer program designed to ask questions and mimic a psychotherapist.

    "There's a trend of robots becoming more human-like in appearance and coming more in contact with humans," Levy said. "At first robots were used impersonally, in factories where they helped build automobiles, for instance. Then they were used in offices to deliver mail, or to show visitors around museums, or in homes as vacuum cleaners, such as with the Roomba. Now you have robot toys, like Sony's Aibo robot dog, or Tickle Me Elmos, or digital pets like Tamagotchis."

    In his thesis, "Intimate Relationships with Artificial Partners," Levy conjectures that robots will become so human-like in appearance, function and personality that many people will fall in love with them, have sex with them and even marry them.

    "It may sound a little weird, but it isn't," Levy said. "Love and sex with robots are inevitable."

    Sex in 5 years

    Levy argues that psychologists have identified roughly a dozen basic reasons why people fall in love, "and almost all of them could apply to human-robot relationships. For instance, one thing that prompts people to fall in love are similarities in personality and knowledge, and all of this is programmable. Another reason people are more likely to fall in love is if they know the other person likes them, and that's programmable too."

    In 2006, Henrik Christensen, founder of the European Robotics Research Network, predicted that people will be having sex with robots within five years, and Levy thinks that's quite likely. There are companies that already sell realistic sex dolls, "and it's just a matter of adding some electronics to them to add some vibration," he said, or endowing the robots with a few audio responses. "That's fairly primitive in terms of robotics, but the technology is already there."

    As software becomes more advanced and the relationship between humans and robots becomes more personal, marriage could result. "One hundred years ago, interracial marriage and same-sex marriages were illegal in the United States. Interracial marriage has been legal now for 50 years, and same-sex marriage is legal in some parts of the states," Levy said. "There has been this trend in marriage where each partner gets to make their own choice of who they want to be with."

    "The question is not if this will happen, but when," Levy said. "I am convinced the answer is much earlier than you think."

    When and where it'll happen

    Levy predicts Massachusetts will be the first jurisdiction to legalize human-robot marriage. "Massachusetts is more liberal than most other jurisdictions in the United States and has been at the forefront of same-sex marriage," Levy said. "There's also a lot of high-tech research there at places like MIT."

    Although roboticist Ronald Arkin at the Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta does not think human-robot marriages will be legal anywhere by 2050, "anything's possible. And just because it's not legal doesn't mean people won't try it," he told LiveScience.

    "Humans are very unusual creatures," Arkin said. "If you ask me if every human will want to marry a robot, my answer is probably not. But will there be a subset of people? There are people ready right now to marry sex toys."

    The main benefit of human-robot marriage could be to make people who otherwise could not get married happier, "people who find it hard to form relationships, because they are extremely shy, or have psychological problems, or are just plain ugly or have unpleasant personalities," Levy said. "Of course, such people who completely give up the idea of forming relationships with other people are going to be few and far between, but they will be out there."

    Ethical questions

    The possibility of sex with robots could prove a mixed bag for humanity. For instance, robot sex could provide an outlet for criminal sexual urges. "If you have pedophiles and you let them use a robotic child, will that reduce the incidence of them abusing real children, or will it increase it?" Arkin asked. "I don't think anyone has the answers for that yet—that's where future research needs to be done."

    Keeping a robot for sex could reduce human prostitution and the problems that come with it. However, "in a marriage or other relationship, one partner could be jealous or consider it infidelity if the other used a robot," Levy said. "But who knows, maybe some other relationships could welcome a robot. Instead of a woman saying, 'Darling, not tonight, I have a headache,' you could get 'Darling, I have a headache, why not use your robot?'"

    Arkin noted that "if we allow robots to become a part of everyday life and bond with them, we'll have to ask questions about what's going to happen to our social fabric. How will they change humanity and civilization? I don't have any answers, but I think it's something we need to study. There's a real potential for intimacy here, where humans become psychologically and emotionally attached to these devices in ways we wouldn't to a vibrator."

    Levy is currently writing a paper on the ethical treatment of robots. When it comes to sex and love with robots, "the ethical issues on how to treat them are something we'll have to consider very seriously, and they're very complicated issues," Levy said.

    Levy successfully defended his thesis Oct. 11.

    * Sex Quiz: Myths, Taboos, and Bizaare Facts
    * 10 Things You Didn't Know About You
    * Gallery: Cutting Edge Robots

    * Original Story: Forecast: Sex and Marriage with Robots by 2050

    Visit LiveScience.com for more daily news, views and scientific inquiry with an original, provocative point of view. LiveScience reports amazing, real world breakthroughs, made simple and stimulating for people on the go. Check out our collection of Science, Animal and Dinosaur Pictures, Science Videos, Hot Topics, Trivia, Top 10s, Voting, Amazing Images, Reader Favorites, and more. Get cool gadgets at the new LiveScience Store, sign up for our free daily email newsletter and check out our RSS feeds today!


    SOURCE:

    http://news.yahoo.com/s/livescience...obotsby2050;_ylt=Avu36jBfSxiEd3EhsjcMW8GzvtEF
     
  2. sunfast macrumors 68020

    sunfast

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    Does anybody else find this faintly disturbing?
     
  3. wyatt23 macrumors 6502a

    wyatt23

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    i wonder who will marry first?

    two men
    two women


    or ME AND ASIMO!?:cool:
     
  4. Queso macrumors G4

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    #4
    This man needs to stop spending so much time in a lab and get out more. Maybe that way he'd meet an actual human being :)
     
  5. sushi Moderator emeritus

    sushi

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    ^^ Agree. He needs to get out of the lab and experience real life.
     
  6. Stampyhead macrumors 68020

    Stampyhead

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    This is all fine and good until your robot mistress gets pissed at you and hauls you to court and ends up with half your stuff...
     
  7. Eidorian macrumors Penryn

    Eidorian

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  8. Erendiox macrumors 6502a

    Erendiox

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    It's not just disturbing, it's depressing. I feel sorry for anyone who considers marrying a robot.
     
  9. Unspeaked macrumors 68020

    Unspeaked

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    And "Star Trek: The Next Generation" fans the world over let out a collective cheer...
     
  10. jackc macrumors 65816

    jackc

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  11. atszyman macrumors 68020

    atszyman

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    #11
    The two concerns of Government with regards to marriage:

    1) in the event of serious injury where the injured is not capable of making their own medical or financial decisions, who gets to make those decisions.

    2) in the event of death, who gets the deceased's stuff.


    Would you really be able to let a robot do #1? and why would a robot need your stuff? more than likely you would leave the robot to someone (after a thorough disinfecting).

    If you don't want the robot for either of those 2 reasons there is no reason to allow marriage between robots and humans. And until robots are classified as sentient life forms (at which point we can no longer sell them) there's no way to formally allow this message since the legal contract of marriage does require consenting adults.
     
  12. imac/cheese macrumors 6502a

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  13. iBlue macrumors Core

    iBlue

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    #13
    what do you mean 'faintly'? I give this a full blown "WTF!?"
     
  14. bartelby macrumors Core

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  15. d_saum macrumors 6502

    d_saum

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    DAMN!!!! You beat me too it! :p
     
  16. alebar14 thread starter macrumors regular

    alebar14

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    I think this is one of the key advantage.
     
  17. CortexRock macrumors 6502

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  18. Jaffa Cake macrumors Core

    Jaffa Cake

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    I suppose it brings a whole new meaning to the term 'plug and play'...
     
  19. rhys105 macrumors regular

    rhys105

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    hahaha i read that on the fox website acouple of days ago.
    i really dont understand how this prediction was made.
     
  20. wordmunger macrumors 603

    wordmunger

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    Here's what I wrote about this on CogDaily yesterday:

    The idea of a human falling in love with a creation made of steel and silicon seems rather far-fetched today -- even the most "realistic" robots seem more creepy than endearing. But people already do form attachments to their robots. People treat Roombas like pets, and soldiers form strong bonds with their minesweeping robots.

    Men have purchased inflatable dolls as sex-toys for decades, and those toys are becoming increasingly realistic. Will artificial intelligence and animatronics actually make these dolls so appealing that people will want to marry them? An MSNBC report cites one scientist who thinks they will:

    "My forecast is that around 2050, the state of Massachusetts will be the first jurisdiction to legalize marriages with robots," artificial intelligence researcher David Levy at the University of Maastricht in the Netherlands told LiveScience. Levy recently completed his Ph.D. work on the subject of human-robot relationships, covering many of the privileges and practices that generally come with marriage as well as outside of it.

    At first, sex with robots might be considered geeky, "but once you have a story like 'I had sex with a robot, and it was great!' appear someplace like Cosmo magazine, I'd expect many people to jump on the bandwagon," Levy said.​

    My first instinct upon reading this is to believe that people won't get as much satisfaction from such relationships as from "normal" human relationships, but I'm not sure this will be the real problem with human-robot marriage. People need much less feedback in a relationship than you might think. They assign emotions to their pets (and robots) that these creatures simply don't possess.

    I think the much more powerful force rallying against robot-human marriage will be social stigma. Just as sex toys and dolls are hidden in closets and under beds, robot-human relationships will be part of a clandestine subculture. Sure, there will be a market for robot romantic partners, but there will also be considerable social backlash. Even in Massachusetts.​
     
  21. sushi Moderator emeritus

    sushi

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    This begs the question. How does a robot die?

    I mean if the robot can be repaired, then it still can live, can't it?

    Or what about an upgraded model. I marry Model 1, then the next year Model 2 is introduced. Can I do an upgrade to Model 2 and still be considered to still be married to my original robot?

    This whole concept seems strange to me. Like I said earlier, I think he needs to get out of the lab and experience life. As they say, necessity is the mother of invention. This fellow may have some issues and is looking at robots as being a solution to his problem(s).
     
  22. Jaffa Cake macrumors Core

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    Of course, if you then marry the invention it would follow that necessity would become your mother-in-law. I don't think I'd like that.
     
  23. TheQuestion macrumors regular

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    #23
    The question is when will the Buffybot be available?
     
  24. twoodcc macrumors P6

    twoodcc

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    i don't know....when i think of a robot, i think of metal.....doesn't really do it for me
     
  25. mcarnes macrumors 68000

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