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Bonny Albo

Can Robot Love Replace a Partner?

By June 29, 2012

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I read a fascinating yet disturbing book called, "Love + Sex with Robots: The Evolution of Human-Robot Relationships," by David Levy (Buy Direct). In it, Levy discusses in great detail where the robotics industry started as well as where it stands now, and where (he believes) it'll be in about 40 years. I can't do his introduction justice, so I'll quote my favorite bit so far to explain:

"Robots will be hugely attractive to humans as companions because of their many talents, senses, and capabilities. They will have the capacity to fall in love with humans and make themselves romantically attractive and sexually desirable to humans. Robots will transform human notions of love and sexuality."

Before picking up the book, I wouldn't have even given robot love a second thought. But now, a few chapters in, and I'm learning more about the current robotic applications in our everyday world - such as robotic therapists with an unusually high success rate with helping depressed folks.

The whole thing makes me curious. Do you think that robots will replace even some of our relationship needs in the next 40 years? Do you think people will date robots, fall in love, marry, and live happily ever after? Why or why not?

Related: Technology-Based Dating Sites, Strange Love.

Comments
July 4, 2010 at 10:12 pm
(1) Sam says:

I think it’s highly probably that this will happen. I mean, people are already having relationships and falling in love with dolls. And by dolls I mean sex toys. Some more real than others but people fork out huge amounts of money on them. They dress them, sit them at the table at dinner time, talk to them, do their make up and even introduce them to other people…

Robots are a logical progression wouldn’t you say?

July 4, 2010 at 11:01 pm
(2) Bob says:

Yes, those who are socially inept with real people will find “love” with fake people.

July 5, 2010 at 9:39 am
(3) Lucie says:

I haven’t read the book to be honest, but it seems so weird.
How can a machine fall in love and react like a human being? They still need to be programmed, don’t they? Robots can help in everyday life (like at home or the kind of stuff), but if we are not able to build a (love) relationship with a human being and if we need a machine it’s just sad. I kind of agree with Ben about that.

July 13, 2010 at 3:47 pm
(4) Maurice says:

i dont know if you could fall in love with a Robot, but im sure you’ll fall in love with tomorrow’s episode of Minute to Win it!

July 5, 2012 at 12:34 pm
(5) Gerry says:

What an interesting topic. Recent study of people and their phones seem to indicate many people are already “in love” with a machine. There does seem to be a growing disinterest in dealing with the complexities of developing intimate relations and genuine communication, both of which require being open and vulnerable to be successful. In our age of dismissive sarcastic humor and the impatience of a short attention span society trained to need instant gratification on every level, a robot may provide the optimal relationship. Turn it on when it’s need and off when you need “your space”. Not that it is an ideal but isn’t it better to have some familiarity with a machine than none at all. Older people, for instance, are increasingly turning to pets because people are unavailable.

October 1, 2012 at 4:06 pm
(6) James says:

I so long for the day when you can acctually get a robot as a lifetime partner. One who are allways faithful, who you can trust with your heart and one that won’t leave you as soon as you having a fight because she’s imagining something like most people do “This isn’t a perfect relationship, i must find the right one”

To be honest, i’m so tired of those simpleminded so called humans believing in such fairytale. So a robot wife would be superb, altho it must be quite human in looks and behaviour for it to be acceptable, also there must be fights and all that shit. Just need the faithful one who can look forward instead of being stuck at heavy situations in life.

Unfortinatly i doubt i’ll be one of the lucky ones having this kind of partner, not a human one nor robotic one so i can only dream.

peace!

January 16, 2013 at 2:01 am
(7) savesoul says:

No because robots do not have Souls. So it will not be real. They can be programmed to love and react to a human, to match what they want and some humans will be desperate enough to fall, but it won’t be sincere.

January 31, 2013 at 9:49 pm
(8) Momk says:

Already have trophy wives — so what’s difference as one just does what the other expects of them… I’d love a robot husband with a sensitivity chip

March 6, 2013 at 12:45 am
(9) Maria says:

Wow! a book about humans loving robots. I’m 46 and I remember as a very young child feeling that a robot would be the ideal lifetime partner. I look forward to reading the book – Love + Sex with Robots.

As for the issue of the soul… there are many humans out there that I feel do not have a soul. Also, falling in love and then having your soul crushed by another is devastating.

In many ways, we are like robots in our design. If our mind can be tricked into accepting a robot as a human, then I want to thank GOD for the intelligence of design and wish the future generations much happiness and love without so much pain.

July 25, 2013 at 2:30 pm
(10) Brianna says:

Just like in the show “Futurama” on comedy central they devise a software download of movie stars or hot women to a robot for another to enjoy. Its very possible yet of cores in the end you always end up asking is it really a good thing.

December 4, 2013 at 1:37 pm
(11) James says:

Wow, making robot prostitutes! At least you won’t have to worry about catching a disease if you own one!!!! I wonder if they will catch “viruses”. Worse yet, what if it crashes in the middle of doing it? I believe I can see the blue screen of death in her eyes.

I am sorry, but no robot can replace love. I don’t care how good it is programmed or how well it is developed.

December 12, 2013 at 4:39 pm
(12) V says:

Robots/machines cannot procreate with humans. The end.

February 24, 2014 at 9:31 am
(13) jess says:

I think this is probable. If a bloke can fall in love with his car (I saw it on the telly) and have a “physical and emotional relationship” with it, then I reckon falling in “love” with a robot is pretty likely

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