Saturday, March 27, 2010

AC/DC Marriage

Alongside ruder ones, there is a polite word for those who prefer their mates to be made of plastic and wires: technosexuals. (Calvin Klein already has trademarked “technosexual” for some unspecified future product.)

It’s not a new idea. Arguably, the Pygmalion and Galatea myth contains the seeds of it. The plot of Fritz Lang’s 1927 scifi movie classic Metropolis hinges on a sexy robot. My Living Doll was an early ‘60s sitcom. The cult 1987 film Cherry 2000 takes it further. Making Mr. Right, also from 1987, gender-reverses the same idea. Full size dolls costing thousands of dollars (see are a present-day marketing success. Efforts to make true robots both sexually attractive and lifelike continue. Kokoro manufactures and markets some of the most successful (and disturbing) animatronic “actroids.” (See

According to Scientific American, artificial-intelligence researcher David Levy asked a crowd at the Museum of Sex in New York City “Why not marry a robot?” One of the visitors countered by asking if anyone who wanted to marry a robot was deluded. Levy’s response was, “If the alternative is that you are lonely and sad and miserable, is it not better to find a robot that claims to love you and acts like it loves you?”

I suppose I’ve heard less sound arguments for marriage. In both of the 1987 movies mentioned above, the protagonists have to decide between a biological partner and a mechanical one. The two films end opposite ways. In case you haven’t seen them, I’ll let you guess which is which.

There is little doubt that human/robot relationships (if that is the right word) will be part of the future. Whether it ever will cease to be awkward for a technosexual to announce his or her predilections to mom and dad is another question.

No comments:

Post a Comment