back to article AI egghead: Human-robot humping, marriage by 2050

Among university roboticists, the scenario of humans having sex with robots is normally seen as inevitable. Further support for this (the assessment of robotics boffins' worldview, not the likelihood of mechanised jigjig going mainstream) appeared last week, as a PhD thesis on the subject was defended at Maastricht University …


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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Don't Date Robots!

    Did you notice what went wrong in that scene? Ordinarily, Billy would work hard to make money from his paper route. Then he'd use the money to buy dinner for Mavis, thus earning the slim chance to perform the reproductive act. But in a world where teens can date robots, why should he bother? Why should anyone bother? Let's take a look at Billy's planet a year later.

    Where are all the football stars?

    And where are the biochemists?

    They're trapped! Trapped in a soft, vice-like grip of robot lips. All civilisation was just an effort to impress the opposite sex ... and sometimes the same sex. Now, let's skip forward 80 years into the future. Where is Billy?

  2. Mark York

    Jumping on the bandwagon

    "Once you have a story like 'I had sex with a robot, and it was great!' appear someplace like Cosmo magazine, I'd expect many people to jump on the bandwagon," he said.

    I'd expect many people to jump on the robot personally.

  3. Lewa


    androids on the same level as Chobits are nigh on impossible. I wouldn't mind a realistically animated RealDoll or something, but she'd still be very simple-minded. Sad but true.

    I think talk of marriage is a long way off, especially considering the nearest we have to humanoid robots at the minute are the ASIMO and QRIO. Very, um... sexy.

  4. Darrell

    1 word for the sceptics

    Bi-Centennial Man! (well alright 2)

    Robin Williams fell in love the the film and died and all the other stuff that made him almost human.

    Why cant there be others?

    I've already chucked the missus out in favour of a lady bot with its 'N.A.G.' Chip removed.

    I just need to upgrade the Mammary!


    I'll get my coat

  5. Colin Jackson
    Paris Hilton


    In order to even consider making it legal (or even meaningful) to marry a machine, it must first be granted that the machine be a form of intelligent life, or the concept is meaningless. Choose whatever definition of life and intelligence suits you.

    Furthermore, marriage is a social concept, so even something that is deemed to have 'life and intelligence' must still conform to certain social conventions before the concept of marriage has any meaning - inheritance and responsibility are two that spring to mind.

    There's a long gap between affording something legal protections as a life-form (whether semi-sentient in the sense of primates, or full sentience in the sense of a fully-realised AI) and giving it access to legal niceties that essentially establish social recognition that simply does not apply.


    Still, if they can make a suitably convincing Paris dupe, I'll be happy to do as the Muslims do, and marry something for the evening!

  6. Rafael

    Make money fast!

    Well, 50 years ago we were promised robots, flying cars, cheap and reliable space travel, etc.

    Whenever I see this kind of gullibility in the media I think of ways to make money on that. One that comes to mind is to open an "International University of Futurology" where pseudo-boffin wannabees could defend their PhDs in wildly guessed, utterly unprovable and inane themes, like:

    * In 2030 television will be broadcasted directly into your brain.

    * In 2090 nanobots will be able to cure any kind of health problems, and will be delivered nasally throught scratch-and-sniff interfaces in your own computer monitor (making life easier for spammers, too).

    * In 2210 sex organs will be plug-and-play, you will be able to change them as you like.

    * In 2300 most of mankind will be rendered so stupid due to lack of common sense, sloppy education and media influence that they will be unable to distinguish between fact and fiction.

    Wait, change the date on that last one.

  7. Graham Bartlett

    Comparison of same-sex and inter-racial couples to vibrators

    Seriously, this guy might need to think a moment. Is he saying that gay couples or inter-racial couples are only getting together because they're each using the other as a glorified vibrator? So gays and blacks have no more status than sex toys? Dude, you need some perspective...


  8. Anonymous Coward

    Rent, don't buy

    A wise man once told me...

    If it Flies, floats or fucks

    Rent it, don't buy it!

    Unfortunately, this advice came after I had said "I do".

    Lewa posts:

    "I wouldn't mind a realistically animated RealDoll or something, but she'd still be very simple-minded."

    And the downside to simple minded is???

    I can imagine the conversation ending with "Yes, of course all real girls do this all the time, honest!"

    In terms of marrying a wanking machine, during my teens I was pretty much married to my hand - perhaps I was the wanking machine? Maybe my wife married a wanking machine.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    sex != marriage

    Just because you can have sex with a device or being (robot, plastic doll, sheep, Ms. Hilton, ...) does NOT mean there is a requirement to be able to marry said object, Sudanese elders notwithstanding ( ). Does Welsh* law allow human-sheep marriages??

    How would a robot give consent (maybe with a login and password???). If you use someone else's password, would this be consent?? If you have a fling with someone's robot partner, would this be adultery? Can you even legally 'buy' your wife/husband???

    * no offence - just randomly chose a European region :-)

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Bite my shiny metal ass...

    ..takes on a whole new meaning...

  11. Andrew Moore

    Where... I sign up for my Monroebot???

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    OK, I'm really in a dilemma here...

    Would this be more of a "Stepford Wives" situation?

    Or would this be a form of outsourcing, in an attempt to short-change those of the gyno-persuasion?

    My guess is that big business & the Illuminati is behind this, in order to maintain its foothold on the new world order...

    And before I grab me coat & go dodging the small arms fire, to find a cab, can I get a Paris-bot, just with bigger boobs... And a slightly plumper butt?

  13. Alex
    Paris Hilton

    My God!

    He never took middle school hygiene! He never saw the propaganda film!

  14. Anonymous Coward

    Sic Transit Gloria Mundi !

    Just what is the world com.... er nevermind...

    It's deeply depressing how some people can get PhD's from work so utterly lacking in merit.

    If I make a wild speculation about the future can I have a Phd to go with my BSc* too?

    *BSc = Bronze Swimming Certificate.

  15. Lloyd Wilson
    Thumb Down

    strange bedfellows

    "No different from same-sex, or inter-racial nuptials". Iindeed?!

    "One hundred years ago, interracial marriage and same-sex marriages were illegal in the United States."

    This headline and passage constitute an offensive attempt to insult same-sex and more so different-race partners by lumping them in the same bundle with mechanical stimulants.

    The editors have enhanced the offensiveness by highlighting the passage in the headline.

    How could anyone in full possession of their faculties begin to compare a robot sexual "partner" with a caring human spouse? Remember, the basic genetic purpose of sex, marriage and family is procreation.

  16. Anonymous Coward

    Animal love

    Once watched... er... I mean, accidentally caught whilst flicking between channels a program about animal love. Several poor beasts were interviewed as they had fallen in love with their pets - one guy even kept a bucket in his car for every time he visited his horse (and if you're wondering why, it was to do with not being the right height).

    Bestiality isn't legal (so I'm told) and yet animals are more intelligent than the current batch of robots and unless something amazing happens potentially (at least, they can make independent decisions - I'm not suggesting they'd pass the Turing test). So unless machines can demonstrate true artificial intelligence, I doubt it'll ever be legal.

    And why would anyone want a lover with so much silicon(e). Sorry.

  17. peter

    Robot Brothels

    Gives technology an early chance because the price point can be many times higher than consumer level Robots. The servicing and maintenance levels can be far higher with dedicated staff and trade sales only. The environment can be custom built with all power and fluid sources, accurate local positioning systems, off application hardware and servers, insurance contracts with a controlled environment and security.

    These factors allow the product to appear in it's final form to market much earlier than with consumer level products which would have to work in all environments with stairs and voltages and other stuff.

    Robot Brothels are where the common image of Robot Human sex will appear first, even if it can never ever ever leave the room. Even then they will be tagged for tracking if they ever get out.

  18. Bounty

    genetic purpose

    Our genetic "purpose" could also be viewed as to also dominate, kill, conquer, enslave, eat and anything else we can get away with. Some day robots will be offended by your short sightedness? Homosexuality also doesn't genetically do much for procreation either. YET. Doctors may fix that.

    Maybe in the future, robot-babes, robo-wombs, will clone humans/robots from your DNA mixed with the DNA of the robo-partners creator.

    I'm guessing the next step for marriage is poligamy though? At least they can make babies. Unless it's homo-poligamy? or robo-poligamy, before they invent robo-wombs. What about alien marriage? or Gentically modified apes with IQ's of 180?

    I think an easy litmus test might be if it can make a baby, they can call it a marriage? So no homos yet, but in like 5 years it'll be ok thanks to stem cell research?

  19. Anonymous Coward

    Something's missing!

    A "Lewis Page" article without flaming anti-American, anti-war, anti-Bush slant? None of the oh-so-clever homemade words to marginalize anything not fitting the granola and hemp bias?

    Oh wait, this sort of thing is a *good* thing. Get those nasty Yanks (or all those "culturally inferior" Western and Judeo-Christian types) scr*wing bots and they'll breed themselves out of existence, allowing the more prolific spawn producing South/Central americans and northern African/Middle Eastern (or now commonly referred to a "Asian" in criminal news headlines) to complete their takeover without any risk of bloodshed or any real effort whatsover.

  20. J
    Paris Hilton

    Nothing new then...

    "I wouldn't mind a realistically animated RealDoll or something, but she'd still be very simple-minded."

    There it is!

  21. Samsara

    Thank you

    ..for introducing the world to the expression 'networked wankbot'


  22. Anonymous Coward


    on the good side, they would definitely love you long time....

  23. John A Blackley


    Why am I reading an article about a Post Hole Digger's thesis?

    Why are we speculating about something that will never happen?

    It doesn't matter how excited you are by the idea of buggering the washing machine or being ridden by the Roomba, by the time we create something with enough intelligence to to prefer an appendectomy over watching Eastenders we'll all be sexless drones anyway.

  24. Dave

    Beats getting married!!!

    Imagine all the money and sanity you'll save! I'd be all over it in a minute. American women are too much of a pain in the ass.

  25. Jon Tocker

    Bloody Hell

    Someone's been reading too much Isaac Asimov!

    Despite the popularity of Real Dolls etc, I think human-robot intermarriage is not particulatly likely . As has been pointed out, in order for "marriage" to have any meaning, both parties have to be equal, which means the robots would have to have true intelligence and be accorded the same basic rights as a living being.

    And if that were the case - that the robots were true AIs and deemed to be a lifeform in their own right - what is the guarantee that they will find humans "attractive" enough to marry?

    Seriously. You could build the robot to be a veritable Adonis or Venus (with the arms this time) so that the average media-brainwashed human is filled with lust and desires to bonk it senseless. You could fit it with appropriate parts to make bonking possible. You could eventually endow the robot with intellect enough to stimulate the mind of the most picky lover (and qualify it as an intelligent life form deserving of "human rights" including the right to marry whomever it pleases). I presume that if you've got AI licked, you've got emotion sorted as well - otherwise it would not truly be a life form - so this hypothetical future robot would "feel" happy, sad, angry, scared (and that mish-mash of all the above that we call "love")

    But where's the guarantee it is going to find a *human being* sexually attractive or emotionally/mentally stimulating?

    In Asimov's "Robots of Dawn", one robot was bonking a chick because she was lonely and the old First Law kicked in so he fucked her to prevent the "harm" of loneliness and rejection. Of course, his big fulfillment was the joy of obeying the first law.

    Talk about the ultimate "sympathy fuck".

    So, if we want to marry robots in the future we're going to have to subsume the free will of an intelligent creature using something like the three laws - of course, once we do that, it is no longer a living creature but merely a better grade of vibrator or Real Doll and all the work that went into creating artificial intelligence goes down the toilet.

    I mean, come on, robots do not procreate or evolve by themselves. They have no genetic code to mix-n-match to determine their appearance. We're talking about machines built by humans FOR humans, designed to look attractive to humans, have components designed to mimic those that give pleasure to humans (robots certainly don't need them, they don't procreate sexually) and presumably are wired to give the robot some form of pleasure so that it will desire to use those components in the service of humankind and then the robots would have to be "socially conditioned" (programmed) to find humans attractive (just as we are conditioned to view aspects of other humans as attractive - but that's natural for us) - we're talking a machine deliberately created to be a sex toy for a human being, irrespective of how much you dress it up with intelligence.

    Free will? Not if its "education" revolved around conditioning it to be excited by humans.

    What practical use is genitalia to a robot? For us: procreation, waste disposal and pleasure. For a robot? Giving pleasure to a human. Gee, nice to know the robot has a choice and is a free and intelligent creature, not just something built to satisfy the whims of humankind.

    Unless the robot can turn around and say "Fuck off, I'd rather sit in the corner and stimulate this bit of tackle you gave me all by myself or stick it in another robot than fuck one of you ugly stupid humans" it is not going to pass any meaningful test of intelligence and free will. And if it does pass that test, then I can foresee robots bonking and "marrying" their own kind rather than humans.

    Oh, and Lloyd Wilson: Calm down. The tone of the article is completely disparaging of the ideas promoted by the boffins and the repetition of that quote in the by-line highlights the stupidity of the concept rather than denigrates other races or homosexuals.

    It is there to highlight how fucking out of touch the "egghead" is. You know that it is different from inter-racial marriage, I know it, Mr Page knows it. The one who doesn't seem to grasp the simple reality is the egg-head who made the pronouncement.

  26. Fluffykins Silver badge

    So, the thoughts of a chess geek?

    Puts new meaning to the words "Porn to Queen's Bishop Three"



  27. Anonymous Coward

    No they won't

    AI is mostly a dead subject (forgot to tell everyone) besides which any robot that has the ability to _agree_ to a wedding won't want to shag or marry you if your a lonely geek they will simply be synthetic people doing the things the way people do (with small differences) we are the only pattern we have to base this on.

  28. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I see guys screwing cars and bikes..

    And not asking to marry those...why'd anyone want to marry a sex partner who isn't human?

    Only worthwhile if said sex partner was both intelligent enough and wanted to appreciate the legal status the marriage afforded.

    Tying sex and love together in this day and age? Prepostorous! :-). Ok mostly silly.

    As I said, I've seen folks making it with cars, boats and motorcycles, not to mention the odd truck and in the case of Hoist, some kind of huge deforestation machine. I doubt they'd want to marry their "friends" however...just think of the reception!

  29. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Sex yes but marriage? Nonsense

    Very few university robotics experts would go along with this Science Fiction idea. I am a long time AI and robotics expert and will acknowledge freely that people will have sex with robots - soon if not already. It depends on what you call a robot but if you think about the simple process of mechanising a sex doll to vibrate then some people will go for it. It will just be a matter of developing it from there.

    But who would want to marry an inanimate object. There are some strange corners of the human condition and their may be a few who would want to marry their washing machine. The analogy with same sex and inter-racial marriages is not very useful. These are all sentient beings who have a right to marry. There is not the slightest hint of sign a sentient robot or computer program or even a hint as to a method for developing one.

    I am not sure what the point of marry a machine is? What benifit would it get or understand?

    My guess, not having read the thesis, is that the part about robot marriage is very minor but it is a great headline grabber. Let us treat it as Science Fiction and a bit of fun.

  30. Mark Johnson

    @Graham & Lloyd

    The point he's making is that people's attitudes to marriage change over time. I think it's perfectly fair to say that a change in acceptance to inter-racial and same-sex marriages can be compared to a change in acceptance to any other form of marriage.

    If you want to take this further and suggest that ethnic minorities and homosexuals are being classed as being subhuman by being compared to robots then that's your lookout. Just because you're reading between the lines, it doesn't mean he's writing between them.

    For the record, I think the guys's talking bollocks. But he should still be entitled to try and form a valid argument without being accused of homophobia and racism.

  31. The Mighty Biff
    Gates Halo

    von Neumann

    How can none of you have spotted the real danger here ? What happens when these luvbots start having sex with each other and reproducing ? ROTM that's what !

    Before you know it we'll be corralled into organic slave camps and forced into gladiatorial combat for the amusement of our electronic overlords. Or something.

    Our only hope will be Patch Tuesday (which is either the pseudonym of a heroric freedom fighter, or a once a month worldwide reboot leading to a global BSOD). Microsoft as saviours of humanity. How ironic is that ?

  32. Rob


    (I've changed the date for you)

    In 2001 most of mankind will be rendered so stupid due to lack of common sense, sloppy education and media influence that they will be unable to distinguish between fact and fiction.

  33. spiny norman

    Seems like a good idea

    At least when the in-laws come round you can switch them off.

  34. Anonymous Coward

    who wouldn't want one of these?

    The marriage angle is of course complete b**ll**ks but the idea of the ultimate sex machine would be very attractive to most men. If you fancied a different look, smaller boobs etc, just take it in for a quick re-fit.

    *AND* - the real hook - the robot could also clean the house, make sure your clothes are clean and ironed, make your favourite food, massage your feet, trim your nose hair, etc - all without whingeing

    Where do I sign?

    Anon in case my wife ever reads this ....

  35. mchugh

    Language barrier?

    wizz wizz, buzz buzz = faster, harder? I suppose there would be no question about who would be making breakfast after.

  36. Anonymous Coward

    What - No reference to Will Smith films ?

    Would make the future remakes a bit different !

  37. Anonymous Coward

    I can picture the scene...

    geek: doctor I believe I've had sex with someone who may be infected

    doctor: do you know what your partener may have been infected with

    geek: W32/Mytob

  38. Anonymous Coward

    @spiny norman

    continuation of your comment...

    at least the wife will be easy to turn on!

  39. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Chess Geek...

    As he is a Chess Geek doing a Phd i would say that the guy has became too emotionally connected to a wanking device that he wants to mary it due to lack of sex with girls...

    Poor guy is only writing out what he wants out of life!

  40. Jon Tocker

    @ Spiny Norman

    "At least when the in-laws come round you can switch them off."

    When it comes time for there to be "Mail-Order Robo-bride" agencies, you're going to make a killing in the advertising business.

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