Humans could be marrying robots by 2050, claims robot expert

Author and robot expert Dr. David Levy explains how marriage with robots will come in the next several decades as technological and societal transformations take place.

Humans could be marrying robots by 2050, claims robot expert

The pool of potential romantic partners is about to increase dramatically. Author and robot expert Dr. David Levy thinks that before 2050 we’ll be marrying robots. 


“Sex and love with robots at a human level may appear to be a long way off, but the future has a way of laughing at you,” said Levy

Speaking recently in London, Dr. Levy, author of the bestselling book ‘Love and Sex with Robots’, proposes that robots will have a number of advantages over human partners. They will be “enormously attractive” and feature advanced artificial intelligence that could adapt to you intellectually and sexually. 

Like all our adaptations of technology, it might happen all of a sudden and could easily become commonplace.  

“We’re being forced to contemplate what human-robot relationships will be like a generation or two from now,” he said. “As love and sex with robots becomes more commonplace, we should come face to face with the very real possibility of marriage with robots. When robots are sufficiently human-like, sufficiently appealing socially, to the point where they can act as our companions, why not extend that companionship to marriage if neither party is against the idea?”

But how will societies, already having a hard time dealing with human outsiders, adapt to such a transformational change? 

“As more and more people come to accept the concepts of sex and love with robots, so societies will develop laws that govern human-robot relationships," stated Dr. Levy. "By the time there are no laws to prevent human-robot marriages, robots will be patient, kind, subjective, loving, interesting, truthful, persevering, respectful, uncomplaining, pleasant to talk to and showing a sense of humour. And the robots of the future will not be jealous, boastful, arrogant, rude, self-seeking or easily angered, unless of course you want them to be." 

He does consider that there might be a civil-rights struggle for AI lifeforms initially but with time any restrictions “will begin to fall by the wayside just as laws preventing interracial marriage did in the 1960s and same sex marriage during did in the past decade.”

Dr. Levy sees three criteria for robots to marry humans - consent, understanding and ability to make decisions. 

Given the advances in artificial intelligence technology, these might be met quite soon. 

Cover photo: A Robot 'Tiro' acts as master of ceremonies at a wedding for Seok Gyeong-Jae (L), one of the engineers who designed it, and his bride in Daejeon, 130 kilometers (78 miles) south of Seoul, 17 June 2007.  AFP PHOTO/CHOI WON-SUK (Photo credit: CHOI WON-SUK/AFP/Getty Images)

This is what aliens would 'hear' if they flew by Earth

A Mercury-bound spacecraft's noisy flyby of our home planet.

Image source: sdecoret on Shutterstock/ESA/Big Think
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  • There is no sound in space, but if there was, this is what it might sound like passing by Earth.
  • A spacecraft bound for Mercury recorded data while swinging around our planet, and that data was converted into sound.
  • Yes, in space no one can hear you scream, but this is still some chill stuff.

First off, let's be clear what we mean by "hear" here. (Here, here!)

Sound, as we know it, requires air. What our ears capture is actually oscillating waves of fluctuating air pressure. Cilia, fibers in our ears, respond to these fluctuations by firing off corresponding clusters of tones at different pitches to our brains. This is what we perceive as sound.

All of which is to say, sound requires air, and space is notoriously void of that. So, in terms of human-perceivable sound, it's silent out there. Nonetheless, there can be cyclical events in space — such as oscillating values in streams of captured data — that can be mapped to pitches, and thus made audible.

BepiColombo

Image source: European Space Agency

The European Space Agency's BepiColombo spacecraft took off from Kourou, French Guyana on October 20, 2019, on its way to Mercury. To reduce its speed for the proper trajectory to Mercury, BepiColombo executed a "gravity-assist flyby," slinging itself around the Earth before leaving home. Over the course of its 34-minute flyby, its two data recorders captured five data sets that Italy's National Institute for Astrophysics (INAF) enhanced and converted into sound waves.

Into and out of Earth's shadow

In April, BepiColombo began its closest approach to Earth, ranging from 256,393 kilometers (159,315 miles) to 129,488 kilometers (80,460 miles) away. The audio above starts as BepiColombo begins to sneak into the Earth's shadow facing away from the sun.

The data was captured by BepiColombo's Italian Spring Accelerometer (ISA) instrument. Says Carmelo Magnafico of the ISA team, "When the spacecraft enters the shadow and the force of the Sun disappears, we can hear a slight vibration. The solar panels, previously flexed by the Sun, then find a new balance. Upon exiting the shadow, we can hear the effect again."

In addition to making for some cool sounds, the phenomenon allowed the ISA team to confirm just how sensitive their instrument is. "This is an extraordinary situation," says Carmelo. "Since we started the cruise, we have only been in direct sunshine, so we did not have the possibility to check effectively whether our instrument is measuring the variations of the force of the sunlight."

When the craft arrives at Mercury, the ISA will be tasked with studying the planets gravity.

Magentosphere melody

The second clip is derived from data captured by BepiColombo's MPO-MAG magnetometer, AKA MERMAG, as the craft traveled through Earth's magnetosphere, the area surrounding the planet that's determined by the its magnetic field.

BepiColombo eventually entered the hellish mangentosheath, the region battered by cosmic plasma from the sun before the craft passed into the relatively peaceful magentopause that marks the transition between the magnetosphere and Earth's own magnetic field.

MERMAG will map Mercury's magnetosphere, as well as the magnetic state of the planet's interior. As a secondary objective, it will assess the interaction of the solar wind, Mercury's magnetic field, and the planet, analyzing the dynamics of the magnetosphere and its interaction with Mercury.

Recording session over, BepiColombo is now slipping through space silently with its arrival at Mercury planned for 2025.

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