Asks a writer at New Scientist, wondering whether people will be allowed to marry robots:
You might argue that the same rule applies: marriage should be between consenting human adults only. But that won’t stop people from forming relationships with robots, or cohabiting with them.
It is hard to see wider society accepting such relationships as valid. Perhaps our evolving knowledge of the biology of love – as a brain state mediated by neurochemicals that evolved to increase reproductive success (see “Cure for love: Chemical cures for the lovesick”) – will make society more understanding. But the love for a robot may become a love that dare not speak its name.
Some of us can easily imagine the chatterati accepting it, and we will be hearing its name spoken at every opportunity.
But given that the robot exists only to reflect one’s own desires at a given moment, it is simply one’s own wishes objectified, hence an extension of the self. There are women today who have literally married themselves.
The basic idea is not new. In former times, an actual partner who was simply the objectification of one’s wishes was regarded as a demon, for that precise reason. A tasteful rendering of the subject is the 19th-century poet Keats’s Lamia. (Synopsis.)
There was nothing clunky about Lamia…she was everything the guy could want except … anyway, for millennia, the verdict on on such desires was utterly damning.
File under: Lit for STEM grads, the easy way
Update: A reader kindly writes
This possibility was explored in a science fiction book Mark Tiedemann (978-0739428474) produced called Aurora. One has to be familiar with Asimov’s robotic laws for the plot to make much sense, but in the book robot’s have become so sophisticated they are used as sexual toys, lovers, and marriage partners by the even more sophisticated folks on Aurora.
Yes, well, Lamia uses an agency known in the trade as the PR ambulance.
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