Another Valentine’s Day has passed, with in-love humans treating other in-love humans to flowers, chocolates and champagne. But a recent BBC article indicates that future Valentine’s Days could look a lot different, as the possibility of falling in love with a robot arises.
In fact, Le Trung has already done so with his ‘fembot’ invention ‘Aiko’ (which means ‘love child in Japanese) – a robot he created because he “never had time to find a human girlfriend”, according to Metro News. Why not devise an entity that can fulfil desires conveniently, discreetly and non-judgmentally?
According to a Japan Times article, the idea of a human-robot romance is popular among Japanese academics who note that young people are turning to digital substitutions for relationships, such as falling in love with Anime and Manga characters who appear and act human – just like robots.
Recent studies by Phys.Org show that humans feel empathy for robot pain, find robots relatable when they show their “imperfect” side through expressing boredom or over-excitement, and even use robots as a way to seek social connection when we are lonely. If you believed it understood you and it demonstrated kindness, turning to a robot could be easier than you think.
Robots are being programmed to learn our patterns and preferences, making them more like us. US researchers told APS that when we see something as having human characteristics, we think of it as worthy of moral care and consideration. Hence, it may not be long before we wine-and-dine with our robot Valentine.
The thought of falling for a robot is not alien to the film industry. Last year, “Ex Machina” explored a human-robot romance. Director Alex Garland said, “If you had a beautiful machine that you found aesthetically pleasing and it was sentient, why not fall in love?”
Today, accepting someone’s love for a robot could be a challenge for some. But remember when society thought interracial marriage was wrong, and online dating was strange? There’s no reason to think that our attitude towards human-robot romance won’t change in the same way.