“Humans should be able to marry robots,” was the conclusion of Gary Marchant’s recent Slate article titled, “A.I. Thee Wed.” The article, fraught with input from New America and Arizona State University, looked not only at the possibility of machines eventually appearing and acting enough like human beings to make such a “wedding” conceivable, but also at the efficacy and ethics of such an arrangement.
I was one of those who warned of the coming rapid expansion of marriage, from a sacred bond of man and wife to produce and raise children in the most beneficial manner possible, to…whatever any two or more people or beings want to make of it. (See my June 27, 2015 post, “Marriage Equality Laid Bare”).
After the Obergefell ruling completely eliminated procreation from the marriage equation, it was obvious that polygamy, incest and God-knows-what-else would be next in line to be recast as simply alternative- and equally valid- lifestyle choices. I ended my piece by stating that there were those who would opt to marry their smart phones…and cautioned against laughing this idea off. (You can look it up, as the saying goes).
I must admit, however, that even I was caught off-guard by how quickly this idea of man wedding machine has come to the fore. It has, however, got me to thinking. Would a man be more likely to marry a “female” robot, or would a woman be more likely to marry a “male” robot? It is likely that in this day and age, those are irrelevant- and hurtful, offensive!- questions. If there are 63, or whatever, genders that humans can claim, think of the limitless possibilities for robots! Combine the two and absolutely anything goes, including things several orders of complexity from anything we’ve heretofore thought of. If a few human-robot couples got together for “drinks and cards” on a Saturday night It could make the wildest frat party ever held look like a quilting bee.
But, since we are just easing into this brave new world, let’s be conservative and think of a single, simple, old-fashioned man or woman and robot pairing. Let’s take a peek at what such a union might look like, shall we?
Oops, sorry, that’s all the time we have for now. I’m up on a hard break! But we will have that look-see soon, I promise. Part II to come.