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Friday, September 07, 2018

Robot Love

Meet Sophia—a Saudi Arabian citizen with a wicked sense of humor.  She has an expressive face and blue eyes.  Flaunting her charm, Sophia has made the TV media rounds and graced magazine covers, even going on a date with Will Smith.  Sophia just happens to be a social humanoid robot developed by Hong Kong-based company Hanson Robotics. 

Robots have rapidly developed in recent years to improve people’s quality of life and welfare.  They offer companionship and assistance around the house, such as vacuuming floors and weeding gardens.  Future robots will be able to cook.  There are sex robots and those that offer companionship.   If these traits are combined in one robot, it will embody the reason that many people marry in the United States.

The line between human and machine is still too bright for humans to marry robots.  However, computer scientists have been working around the clock to develop a sophisticated humanoid robot that would be marriageable, both in terms of physical and mental attributes.  These scientists want to create robots that learn by imitating humans, as opposed to the current artificial intelligence that simply recognizes patterns.  For example, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) announced in February 2018 the launch of a new initiative aimed at producing better artificial intelligence.  One goal is to produce robots that learn like children and then develop into human adult thinking. 

When they do, robots may seem appealing as we continue to struggle with human relationships in the age of technology.  The Economist just ran an article on how lonely people have become, and how robots have started to fill the void. 

On the other hand, MIT Professor Sherry Turkle had an opinion piece in the New York Times last month titled “There Will Never Be an Age of Artificial Intimacy.”  She writes, “Now, science goes a step further and presents us with artificial intimacy, yet another form of A.I. Again, this is an intimacy that does not make room for human empathy or what human beings in their bodies experience as the fear of death, loneliness, illness, pain. We diminish as the seeming empathy of the machine increases. It is technology forcing us to forget what we know about life.”

Who’s right?  Either way, it’s interesting to think about the family law implications of marriage to robots.  In a forthcoming Seton Hall Law Review article, I point out all the nuances of it, and note the information that we need to know to make the family law work.  If you’re interested, read it here

Posted by Margaret Ryznar on September 7, 2018 at 05:00 AM | Permalink


Yes--point taken. Some clarification in my article will be useful, for sure.

Posted by: Margaret Ryznar | Sep 8, 2018 10:00:30 PM

Margaret ,

Just be aware , that we all tend to distinguish very roughly between secular persons , and religious ones ( even in the US ) . The distinction , is not so clear as we may think . Too many seemingly secular persons , are well seized with religious doctrines and theological perception , without practicing actually hectic strict religious rituals .

You can read in the following links , about Madonna for example ( the famous pop star singer at the time ) learning Kabalah ( Jewish mysticism ) . Generally speaking , scholars call that phenomenon ( of sort of " hybrid " creatures , partly religious , partly secular ) the " New age religions " .

That is a very dominant phenomenon when trying to predict , the robotic future , surly when dealing with marrying a robot . Here you may read some , and get general impression ( emphasizing : very general ) :





Posted by: El roam | Sep 8, 2018 6:57:48 AM

Yes--you're right; religion is an obstacle to robot marriage. I tried to limit my analysis to the U.S., where both marriage and especially divorce have been increasingly removed from religion/morality, but I think the religious point does need a bit more elaboration in the draft article; thanks.

Posted by: Margaret Ryznar | Sep 8, 2018 1:45:43 AM

Just to read some , about the beloved dog of Hitler , recalling the atrocities he was personally responsible for , and understand , how the subjective perception , plays very crucial role here . Here :



Posted by: El roam | Sep 7, 2018 11:13:20 AM

Just correction to my comment down there :

Should be of course : more than 100 million Jews , and not : " more the 100 million " .


Posted by: El roam | Sep 7, 2018 10:51:15 AM

Very interesting post and related article . Bit weird that the respectable author of the post , has ignored one aspect or dimension , that would render such marriage , almost impossible :

And it is the religious aspect . As you know probably , in many states in the world , religion reigns supreme , if not generally speaking , then surly in that sphere of family life or law . So , even theoretically , marriage in the plain meaning of it , are unthinkable in the eyes of one priest one may argue , all , when dealing with marriage between robot and human being .

However , what is bit missing here also , is the perception of human beings about one robot whatever . Because , the whole idea , is that robot may compensate us , for lack or flawed relationships in romantic terms . That is to say , that if it would work , they would become typically , more valuable than humans ( and it shall work one day ) . As such :

Their value , has to do with our perception , not only their objective capabilities whatever would it be .Let's take pets indeed :

Not only some humans would consider more their pet over other human beings ( See Hitler , massacred 6 million Jews , but , cherished his German shepherd dog , more the 100 million Jews even ,and this is a fact ) but :

A pet , is not at all a property , could never be so . Why , because it feels pain . As such , there are in every state almost in the world , laws prohibiting abuse of dogs . One can destroy and abuse property belongs to him , but , can't do it to a dog . Why ?? Among others , because a dog can be harmed so , or feeling pain so . As such , one person owing a pet , is more similar to guardian over owner of property .

So, if robots , can feel pain , it would be enough for granting them legal rights and obligations in accordance . For ,if they wouldn't , one human being wouldn't cherish them that much indeed . Another issue , is souvenirs or memories . If the latter would exist , no matter the objective capability of the robot , but rather the subjective cherished memory of the human being ( See Hitler case again ) .


Posted by: El roam | Sep 7, 2018 10:46:57 AM

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