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Will love for robots be the next sexual revolution?

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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.

File:Lamia Waterhouse.jpg
Lamia/John William Waterhouse (1849–1917)
Yes, we KNOW what she looks like, but …

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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For most men, this is simply one step on the slippery slope towards marrying your car... ;-) drc466
Where are these hot good looking robots? who is defining what robot beauty is? I still would allow robot marriage before gay marriage. Robots are less objectionable and they are objectionable. Call it robotophobia if you must!! Robert Byers
Dionisio @ 5: I agree completely. I am consistently amazed at how divorced from reality (and common sense) some of these arguments become. Barb
At the beginning of the post we read this:
Asks a writer at New Scientist, wondering whether people will be allowed to marry robots
Allowed what? allowed by whom? The biblical concept of marriage doesn't come from this world, but from God. The worldly parody of marriage has nothing to do with that biblical definition. These days many words have lost their true meaning. They mean whatever. So what's the big deal about asking if whatever is allowed? Allowed by whom? Allow what? So the first question I would ask the questioner is: what do you mean when you say 'to marry'? what does the word 'marriage' mean to you? Where did you take that definition from? The answer to those basic questions should suffice to respond the original question at the beginning of this post. Can we reduce the crime level in a country by declaring that some crimes are not considered crimes anymore? Can a company increase the quality of its production by lowering their quality assurance standards? Would we all agree with that? Dionisio
Barb @ 3 I see your point, but think that no remedial lesson on any subject will help us if we are not in condition to think with common sense. The worst deaf is the person who does not want to hear. The worst blind is the person who does not want to see. The worst ignorant is not the person who does not know anything, but the one who does not want to learn the truth. I believe wisdom is directly related to how much we respect God. God is the only source of true wisdom. Dionisio
Will love for robots be the next sexual revolution? More likely they will work their way down the evolutionary ladder first, starting with the chimpanzee. DillyGill
Idiotic argument: "“If God created sex why did he also use the same organs for sex as a place where we also get rid of our bodily wastes?" Sounds like somebody needs to take a remedial anatomy and physiology class. "The same organs" don't apply to females; the vagina and uterus aren't part of the urinary system. Also, the kidneys aren't part of either sex's reproductive system. The entire argument is pure idiocy, and one of the worst non sequiturs I've ever seen. Barb
C S Lewis briefly wrote about the idea of sex with robots in his great novel 'That Hideous Strength'. He imagines a wicked race dwelling on the moon (the novel was written in 1942) who were '...so delicate in their dreams of lust that mere flesh cannot satisfy them, but they lie with cunningly fabricated models of their spouses. Their real children they fabricate by vile arts in secret.' (quoted from memory so may be inaccurate, its towards the end of the book in the dialogue between Ransom and Merlin) Worth a read, but do read the first 2 books in the trilogy 'Out of the silent Planet' and 'Voyage to Venus' first. PS will somebody PLEASE film C S Lewis's sci fi trilogy? I will put up £1,000 if 5000 others will. Etienne
Of related note, I once had, and I kid you not, a Darwinist use the 'Bad Design argument' as such: "If God created sex why did he also use the same organs for sex as a place where we also get rid of our bodily wastes" I guess he was offended that the two, sex and wastes, should be commingled. But other than the fallacy of thinking he knew how to design things better than God when he cannot even create a single protein by Darwinian processes, I thought perhaps that God's view of the importance of sex, in relation to true love and happiness, is far different than his was: “The Light was brighter than hundreds of suns, but it did not hurt my eyes. I had never seen anything as luminous or as golden as this Light, and I immediately understood it was entirely composed of love, all directed at me. This wonderful, vibrant love was very personal, as you might describe secular love, but also sacred. Though I had never seen God, I recognized this light as the Light of God. But even the word God seemed too small to describe the magnificence of that presence. I was with my Creator, in holy communication with that presence. The Light was directed at me and through me; it surrounded me and pierced me. It existed just for me.” – testimony taken from Kimberly Clark Sharp’s Near Death Experience http://www.near-death.com/sharp.html "The only human emotion I could feel was pure, unrelenting, unconditional love. Take the unconditional love a mother has for a child and amplify it a thousand fold, then multiply exponentially. The result of your equation would be as a grain of sand is to all the beaches in the world. So, too, is the comparison between the love we experience on earth to what I felt during my experience. This love is so strong, that words like "love" make the description seem obscene. It was the most powerful and compelling feeling. But, it was so much more. I felt the presence of angels. I felt the presence of joyous souls, and they described to me a hundred lifetimes worth of knowledge about our divinity. Simultaneous to the deliverance of this knowledge, I knew I was in the presence of God. I never wanted to leave, never." Judeo-Christian Near Death Experience Testimony http://iands.org/experiences/nde-accounts/736-never-wanted-to-leave-the-presence.html Learn this lesson: Sex is not love. Sex feels close and intimate, and it can feel loving, but it is not love. http://www.denverpost.com/ci_23201458/sex-is-not-love-so-learn-how-tell bornagain77

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