They say there’s someone for everyone out there – and if not, technology can now produce a soul mate for those who aren’t finding what they’re looking for through traditional means. No, I’m not talking about online dating. I’m talking about people building their own robot partners. While the thought might make you raise your eyebrows a bit, to say the least, it’s working for a French woman who says she built her own soul mate and plans to marry it as soon as human/robot marriage becomes legal.
Lilly calls herself a “proud robosexual” and says that she loved the voices of robots as a child, but at the age of 19 she realized that she was sexually attracted to them as well. She’s had relationships with humans, but they didn’t satisfy her, confirming her suspicion that she is only attracted to humanoid robots.
“I’m really and only attracted by the robots,” she said. “My only two relationships with men have confirmed my love orientation, because I dislike really physical contact with human flesh.”
Lilly, who is training to become a roboticist, used open-source technology (which, based on name and appearance, appears to be the inMoov robot design) to build her ideal man, a 3D printed robot she calls InMoovator. They’ve lived together for a year and are engaged, she says, planning to be married as soon as human/robot marriage becomes legal in France. If you think that’s not going to happen anytime soon, you may want to think again – there’s a whole field of study on sexual relationships between humans and robots, and many experts believe that relationships like the one between Lilly and InMoovator will become commonplace before too long.
Lilly and her partner
The Second International Congress on Love and Sex With Robots took place on December 19 and 20 at University College London. Keynote speaker Dr. David Levy, President of the International Computer Games Association, CEO of Intelligent Toys Ltd, and Chairman of Retro Computers Ltd., published Love and Sex With Robots – the Evolution of Human-Robot Relationships, nearly a decade ago, and he believes that marriage between humans and robots will be legal by 2050 at the latest.
While it’s something that many people haven’t given much – or any – thought to, it’s not all that surprising to envision humans striking up relationships with robots as they become more and more, well, human-like. Humanoid robot partners allow people to create the exact partner they want, with the same sexual preferences and desires.
How much of a love relationship is lost, though, without differences between partners and all the complicated, infuriating, yet sometimes sublime messiness that comes from building a life with another flawed human being? Some people may not care, particularly if they’ve experienced broken, painful relationships in the past. For others, a robot partner may ultimately be a stepping stone to a human relationship for someone who struggles with human interaction.
Lilly, for her part, says that she is “really and totally happy” and doesn’t believe that there’s anything wrong with her alternative lifestyle. Her family and friends are supportive, although some more than others, and while her choice may seem odd now, it’s quite possible that she’s just ahead of her time. Robots already exist for sexual purposes, points out Adrian David Cheok of University College London, so why shouldn’t the next stage be love as artificial intelligence becomes more advanced?
You may laugh now, adds Dr. Levy, but just wait a few years.
“The future has a habit of laughing at you,” he said. “If you think love and sex with robots is not going to happen in your lifetime, I think you’re wrong.”
Discuss in the Human-Robot Marriage forum at 3DPB.com.