As some of you know, I do a couple of talks under the title of Sex with Robots. These talks are not about sex with robots specifically, but about our evolving relationship to technology and our growing estrangement from both ourselves and each other.
I point out how the best source for imagining the future has been the arts/entertainment with special reference to science fiction. This suggests the absolute necessity of imagination, creativity, and playfulness in anticipating the future whether you’re an amateur or a professional foresight strategist.
Photograph by Max Aguilera-Hellweg
Nick Mayer, of the LifeNaut project in Vermont, sits down for a chat with the robotic head Bina48. Hanson Robotics created the talkative humanoid in the image of Bina Rothblatt, the co-founder of LifeNaut, which is exploring robot-human fusion as a technological path to immortality.
TWO EMERGING DEVELOPMENTS
FIRST…The Sense of “feeling”
Let’s think about two emerging developments and where they might lead us. First, The development of technology that will mimic human skin. This could be a wonderful technology for those with artificial limbs. Imagine adding an artificial limb that “feels” through nanoscale sensors that send messages to the brain. On the other side, imagine adding this “skin” to androids. Will it come to pass that future robots, garbed in human-like skin, will be able to feel?
Here’s the relevant link: Human Skin
Second, We’ve all heard of those people that fall in love with objects, like Erika La Tour Eiffel who married the Eiffel Tower. But that’s just the odd person here and there, right?
A new study suggests that humans “can and will form emotional attachments to robots.” Because one of the anticipated uses of these machines will be to assist the elderly, future robots may be designed to look and feel more like organic beings than metal objects. What other kinds of emotional attachments might we anticipate?
Here’s the relevant link: Emotional Attachment
As I’ve stated before, when thinking about the future, it isn’t enough to ask “What will happen”? We must ask, “What will happen because of what happens”?
Here are some questions to provoke your thinking.
- What if an elderly person, who has grown emotionally attached to her/his android, wants to leave their fortune to the preservation, sustaining, and upgrading of their personal robot?
- If a future robot inherited a fortune and could thereby maintain itself and upgrade itself, will we have robots that “live” independently for thousands of years?
- What would happen to the sex trafficing industry, if androids and gynoids “peopled” future “red light” districts?
- What if future humans want to “marry” and form families with future androids because of love? On what basis could we object?
Give these questions a shot. Remember, loosen up and have fun. Only the future is at stake.
What do you think?