FutureWire - futurism and emerging technology

Monday, February 07, 2005

I'm Too Sexy For My 'Bot

We're just barely getting used to robots that mow our lawns and vacuum our floors. Are we ready for robots that get their freak on?

Kim Jong-Hwan, a South Korean researcher and robotics authority, claims to have developed software-based artificial chromosomes that allow robots express a range of feelings, including romantic desire. What benefit is there in making robots into great lovers? Kim says that in addition to making robots more sensitive and caring, such capacity could be used to one day allow robots to reproduce themselves.

The concept opens up a host of intriguing (albeit very weird) possibilities, with just as many unintended consequences. Could we see an army of robots that behaved like the Tin Man in The Wizard of Oz ("If I only had a heart...")? Whom, or what, could a robot fall in love with? Would robotic sexual values be in line with ours? How would robots respond to rejection or unrequited love? Could a lonely, unloved robot develop clinical depression or jealous rage? Strange as they may sound, these questions must be asked if technology is headed in this direction.

Source: The Guardian, KurzweilAI.net