John Paczkowski

Recent Posts by John Paczkowski

Do You Take This Robot to Be Your Lawfully Welded Husband?

girl_robot.jpgAlfred Kinsey once wrote, “The forces which bring individuals of the same species together in sexual relations may sometimes serve to bring individuals of different species together in the same types of sexual relations.” He was, of course, referring to bestiality and zoophilia.

But that was back in 1948, long before Tamagotchi and Sony’s robotic dog AIBO recalibrated the objects of human affection. And desire. Long before artificial intelligence researcher and international chess master David Levy cast a randy eye on Furby and Tickle Me Elmo and began dreaming up all the lascivious possibilities. Because, according to Levy, within a decade or so robots will be so humanlike in their appearance, functionality and expression of emotions, that we’ll be falling in love with them, having sex with them and even marrying them–Defense of Marriage Act, ahem, permitting.

“It may sound a little weird, but it isn’t,” said Levy, who explores the idea at length in his Ph.D. thesis “Intimate Relationships With Artificial Partners,” concluding that “Love and sex with robots are inevitable.”

Levy argues that there are roughly a dozen basic reasons why people fall in love, and almost all of them could apply to human-robot relationships. “For instance,” he explains, “one thing that prompts people to fall in love are similarities in personality and knowledge, and all of this is programmable. Another reason people are more likely to fall in love is if they know the other person likes them, and that’s programmable too.”

Sounds like a possible new story arc for “Tell Me You Love Me” …

And what of the consummation vows and the marital bed? The human-robot sexual relationship? Silicone “love dolls” have already done some of the heavy lifting there. And there are folks hard at work developing the technology that may someday make coitus roboticus a real possibility. Consider this patent for “Simulated Human Interaction Systems”:

In a simplified form the mannequin or doll could be replaced with devices being artificial versions of human body parts used in sexual activities, for example artificial male or female genitalia as well as or replaced by devices for use in simulating oral sexual activities.

“Most preferably, however, the invention is applied using a mannequin or doll and preferably sensors are provided to be responsive to touch to various portions of the doll, whereby the control system can cause the visual output to correspond but in addition sensors responsive to movement, temperature and pressure and motion can be provided to initiate a physical reaction in the mannequin.”

(Above image courtesy

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The problem with the Billionaire Savior phase of the newspaper collapse has always been that billionaires don’t tend to like the kind of authority-questioning journalism that upsets the status quo.

— Ryan Chittum, writing in the Columbia Journalism Review about the promise of Pierre Omidyar’s new media venture with Glenn Greenwald