In recent years, we ve seen a spate of movies and TV shows suggesting that robots will soon be so realistic and life-like that humans will form deep connections and yes, even fall in love.
Movies like Ex Machina or the British TV show Humans both depict scenarios where robots or synths are so advanced and humanistic in their development that the people with whom they interact become attracted to them.While it makes for a great story line, the reality is that robots are unlikely to every inspire deep affection because their ability to create true intimacy will always be limited.
At the end of the day, they re not human and they cannot replicate the chemistry or the kind of eye contact that happens when two humans are connected emotionally.In the best of all worlds, love is a conversation between two people with mutual respect and the freedom to stay or go.
In a loving human relationship, two people will generally make some kind of commitment to each other and then seek to act consistently with that choice.Robots do not have this freedom.
A robot is completely under the control of the human and brings nothing new or different to an interaction, unlike another person, who will have their own interests, experiences, ideas and emotions.Since a robot has no free will, it cannot naturally engage in any kind of emotional interaction but can only offer programmed responses or mimic others it has seen and learned.
There is no spontaneity, no originality and no freedom of expression, so how can there be love?This week, technologists and researchers with an interest in how technology engages with society gathered in Salford, Manchester for the world s first conference exploring the impact of technology on sexuality.