Archive for October 16th, 2007

Mass Movement to Mechanical Mates?

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“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.

“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.

from Fox News

Doesn’t sound so weird to us. Of course, we are already on the record as being in favor of allowing people to marry their pets. Nevertheless, the gratuitous reference to Massachusetts seems like impolite piling on. Actually, a stubborn strain on Luddite Calvinism still current in the Commonwealth lead us to imagine Mass will come relatively late into the Robot Rights movement.

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