Sunday, October 21, 2007

This week's column:
Take my robot wife, please

You can stop wondering, because the rumors are true: In the future, people will be allowed to marry robots. Finally, we’ll be able to avoid all the drawbacks that come with marrying another human! This will surely be worth the minor tradeoffs, like increased risk of electrocution.

Yes, according to artificial intelligence researcher David Levy, robot marriages are inevitable. He cites the fact that human affection was at first reserved only for other humans, “then it expanded to include pet animals, then virtual pets,” with robots being the logical next step. Levy expounds upon this theory in his new book “Love and Sex with Robots,” which is one of those books you probably don’t want to leave out on the coffee table if Mom is having her friends over to play Mah Jongg. (“Nu, sex with robots?”)

Granted, there are certain issues you can take with Levy’s logic. For one, you don’t hear of many people wanting to marry their pets, even if they do love them more than their actual spouses. As for virtual pets, the reason people love them so much is because they don’t have to follow them around with a plastic bag — that seems like setting the bar a little low when it comes to choosing a life mate.

For the rest of this week's AT LARGE by Peter Chianca, click here.

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