Will We Ever Marry Robots?
2/2/2003

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Is this ridiculous?
    This may sound like the ultimate in absurdity, but maybe it isn't. Isaac Asimov has "Dors Venabilis" marrying, and in a limited way, loving "Hari Seldon". Robert Heinlein has one of his computers become flesh in order to marry her love.
Who doesn't want the perfect spouse?
    Imagine a woman/man who looks perfectly human, with red "blood" (coolant) and a body temperature of 98.6 degrees (using the heat from "his"/"her" fuel cells). This robot can drink grain alcohol for fuel, would breath, to provide oxygen for the fuel cell, would breathe out carbon dioxide and water vapor, and might perspire salt water to hold down body temperature. Conceivably, various biochemical operations could be incorporated into this robot to make "him"/"her" more lifelike. But imagine also that this "being" is the perfect woman/man, never getting moody, crabby, or angry, remaining completely loyal to "her"/"his"  significant other, and possessing a very close approximation to the mindsets, values, and behaviors of biological women/men. 
    Who doesn't want the perfect spouse?
Robots could, and probably will, become sexual partners for humans.
    Robotic companions for humans might unite weddings and robotics. Given extended life spans, robotic spouses might be of aid in holding down human reproduction. 
Could a robotic "woman" ever bear children? 
    It would require a lot of plumbing, and a supporting metabolic system. Why would anyone consider this? It might be the case that humans would opt for robotic form in order to avail themselves of the capabilities of robots. In that case, we might see human personalities inhabiting robotic brains and bodies... which would be one answer to robots replacing humans. These robotic humans might want to create flesh-and-blood offspring. 
    This would blur the distinction between robots and humans. 
Another situation might be colonization of other stellar systems
   We might be able to send miniature probes to other stars, with frozen sperm and ova, and with tiny mentally-human parents to rear the children in accordance with terrestrial customs and values.
If robots wanted to reduce the human population...
    One painless way that robots might reduce the ranks of humans would be through addiction. This was the British (despicable) British gambit in subverting the by encouraging opium among the Chinese people. It could be carried to the next level by stimulating the pleasure center in the brains. However, even given robots with human drives and ambitions, robots could still afford to be very patient, and to wait for nature to .
Space would be a robot's comfortable habitat
    As Hans Moravec has mentioned, robots should be ideally suited to dwelling in space. Given solar radiation and the occasional repair, robots should have no other physical needs. Of course, "the occasional repair" presupposes access to raw materials and an industrial establishment sufficiently sophisticated to fabricate robotic parts.
Would self-aware robots begin by establishing a space-based industrial base?
     If robots with self-awareness and volition should appear, one of their first objectives might logically be to develop a space-based industrial base that is independent of the Earth. That way, they wouldn't have to depend upon what happened upon the Earth.... even if humankind should succeed in destroying the Earth.