Technology has certainly changed the way we’ve become relational. Long distance relationships and online dating have certainly made an impressionable mark on the world. But, has technology taken our relationship to a whole other level? I don’t mean emotionally or even physically (though I’m sure those are also effected by the use of technology within relationships), I’m talking about another level all together.
Recently a video was released demonstrating a new kind of artificial intelligence, and we’re not talking the kind of intelligence of Tamagotchi’s and Furbies of the 1990’s. We’re talking Bicentennial Man.
Apparently Japanese developers have been working on similar prototypes for a while now. It began in 2008ish, with Sega making “Ema” a small doll sized robot with programed affection modes. But now technology has upgraded, cybernetics improved, and AI programs are getting smarter. So what do we do with them? Apparently, make anatomically correct and very human robots.
Impressive I’ll admit, but at what point is it necessary to create such a robot? Has humanity gotten so disappointed with living in the reality of relationships that we feel we have to remedy the hardships of heartache and miscommunication with a cheap trick? Or am I over reacting? Could robots such as roxxxy (nope, not a typo) help people overcome sexual and relational issues such was her original intent?
Personally, I doubt it.
The fact of the matter is this: it’s not real. We live in a world saturated in sensuality, where freedom can be expressed relationally, sexually, and artistically (not to say those are interchangeable terms). However, we do need to recognize that relationships are changing because of technology, and address whether or not this is actually a useful solution (if there is a problem at all). I will remark that I highly doubt a robot can solve loneliness. With each piece of new technology comes a new set of problems both in the programming of the technology its self and in the people who use it. Just as texting cannot convey the true meaning of the spoken words “I love you” I cannot see how a robot simply can give you a satisfactory relationship… no matter how hard you may try.
There simply is no substitute for the real thing.