As a kid I probably watched too much “Twilight Zone,” and it made me a little fearful of aliens, robots and the IRS.
So I was intrigued recently when I saw a headline in the Daily Mail that said, "Would you MARRY a robot?” The article concluded, “Artificial intelligence will allow people to find lasting love. ... Computer scientists say as cloud computing allows machines to become more life-like, robots may become the 'perfect companion' and people may even go to court in a bid to marry their robots."
Yes, they’ll offer ideal satisfaction -- emotional, sexual and physical. Plus if you play your cards right and have a savvy accountant, you’ll get a tax deduction for another dependent.
I've been married for some time, so at this stage I don’t want an annulment to marry a young robot, although if the Heidi Klum or Angelina Jolie models were available, I confess it would be tempting. In fact, the Japanese, who are leading the charge in this area, just came up with what they call “the world’s sexiest robot.”
Dr. Kevin Curran of the Institute of Electronic and Electrical Engineers, who is a computer scientist at the University of Ulster, told the Daily Mail, “It seems that when these machines do act in ways just like adults, where they can interact and talk in real-time, robots will become the perfect companion. What pressures will this put on the opposite sex? All of a sudden, people will find they are not just competing with their peer group, but also this perfect race of robots.”
The world as we know it will change. No more computer dating services, no more TV bachelorette shows, and no more domestic disputes.
As artificial intelligence advances and robots are given “emotional intelligence,” Curran predicts people will pursue their constitutionally guaranteed rights to marry whomever they want, including robots.
But just because you have your own conjugal robot doesn't mean there won’t be infidelity. Did you see that movie “Ex Machina,” where the nerd falls in love with the sexy robot and thinks they’re going to live happily ever after … until she ditches him and runs away to go out on the town and enjoy the nightlife? You don't want to be jilted by a robot because they won’t honor marriage vows or pre-nuptial agreements.
Hospitals and corporations are already bringing robots into the workforce. Little machines are rolling down corridors, delivering mail and packages. The next thing you know, some patient or the head of surgery is going to have a relationship with one of them and cause a major scandal worse than the Monica Lewinsky affair -- and she wasn’t a robot, as far as we can tell.
It's generally considered unethical to have a fling with a subordinate, human or robot, so this could become a workplace issue that occupies human resources and legal departments for years to come.
I've always been apprehensive about robots because like Elon Musk, Stephen Hawking and Bill Gates, I believe robots want to take over the world, and now, I'm beginning to think they’ll start in the bedroom.
Several months ago, I saw a video about a "family robot" that looked like a small wastepaper basket with a large eye. It said comforting things, such as “Be my friend” and “I like you” and “Can I have some cash?” The kids in the video loved the little fellow.
But just wait until they close their eyes and drift off to Dreamland and the cute robot swipes their piggybank money to send to North Korea or the Donald Trump Super Pac. Where will it end?
As Baby Boomers age, old guys and gals are going after younger partners, like 92-year-old Sumner Redstone and his former 42-year-old companion. Robots were made for guys like him, not to mention Hugh Hefner. In fact, Hefner should consider manufacturing Playboy robots to save his sinking pornography empire.
Sixty years ago, Rod Serling saw this coming. One segment of the “Twilight Zone” titled, “The Lonely,” was about a fellow exiled on a planet who has a robot companion and can’t leave her behind. Sad to say, their Romeo and Juliet relationship has a tragic ending.
When it comes to robots, my interests aren’t romantic, although I wouldn't mind owning one that looks like those Victoria's Secret models, but only if she could shovel snow, cut the lawn, clean the gutters and rake the leaves. And if she could prepare a good home-cooked meal, I’d be so happy that I’d let her go out for a few drinks with the neighborhood guys.
Contact Joe Pisani at firstname.lastname@example.org.