The Robot Lover Dilemma -- How Romance and A.I Are Morally Questionable
Updated: Nov 25
Imagine a possible reality in the future where you could have your ideal lover, without any emotional risk whatsoever. No arguing, no cheating, nothing that could harm your relationship. That is, unless you wish for it to happen.
You can already see the roots of it in modern-day Japan, where some people choose to literally marry an AI unit. One that cannot choose to divorce you, one that will love you forever, until its battery runs out or something, and you'll just have to recharge it.
It's an "ideal" love only in theory, you know. That's because you're essentially creating a relationship with a slave.
Did you know? The word "robot" comes from the Chezch word "Robota", which means "forced labor". Should you choose to love an A.I unit/robot, you essentially choose to love a mechanical slave, that is or not tailored to your desires.
Can we deem such love morally legitimate when we already morally oppose s** slavery? Can the love of a mechanical being be moral if that being cannot act independently of your desires? After all, it is a product, and products are not like human beings; they are not made to be independent. They are made to please. And a good product is one that satisfies its consumers. Do you see the dilemma?
Human love is a very uncertain and imperfect thing. Some may even argue that this imperfection, this vulnerability, this flaw, is one of the things that grant it its charm and appeal. Whether you're on good terms or not, married or not, the other person can always decide that they no longer want you and leave you. [Human] love hurts. Marriage cannot prevent such a thing because people have the right to divorce their significant others. Additionally, other problems may arise during a human relationship, such as disagreements on core things, from politics and religion to taking care of the household.
These days of human imperfection, just to have kids, may be over in the future, as AI lovers could one day replace your girlfriend, boyfriend, husband, or wife. They might as well be superior to them in every way.
No more dating for the ideal "soul mate". You could just buy one in your local electronics store, where you also buy your computers, your phones, and other products. Imagine the following: A fully customizable AI lover, fully purchasable at half price during New Year's Eve and Valentine's Day! No more broken hearts, no more disappointments, no more conflicts. Just have the required funds, and you might as well never be a lonely man or woman!
That's what happens when you see people as just carriers of function, instead of beings that have the right to exist and behave independently of these functions. That's what happens when you regard relationships as transactional and not as something more wholesome. You might as well reduce the person whom you love as a provider of your function to love and be loved. Why focus on the being, the person themselves, when you can act in a self-interested way, and prioritize what they're doing and/or suppose to be doing? I am being cynical.
In a book I once read, the philosopher known as Osho criticized someone for having their computer welcome them whenever they turned it up. He argued that such a function is delusional because it is a robotic one, the output of a machine.
It's not like that computer cared for its operator, right? Love is not like machinery, no matter how advanced, cognition-capable, feeling, and and opinionated it is, like a biological being is, right?
But what if all these "biologically exclusive" things are just that, nothing more than a function? A behavior? What if a robot lover could actually do their job by loving someone else? What if robots were able to cry, complain, and be depressed? All at the press of a button. A machine or a computer application to stimulate and please you. All of this is due to a human's desire, like a puppeteer or just a very lonely man or woman who doesn't have a partner to spend New Year's Eve or Valentine's Day with.
The same goes for s** unless we are to regard s** as different than making love. Then, love-making indeed contains a human element that cannot be fulfilled by an A.I lover.
That is, unless we are to create a very uncanny thing called a robot human, which I covered about before. A mechanical being made to imitate human beings so perfectly, it's almost impossible to distinguish between the two types of beings! Would then love-making remain exclusive to humans? Because if it won't, "robot humans" would be able to replace humans even on that department.
Before we had such intelligent AI, we had puppets whom we assigned ourselves to. Playing with dolls was something that was as popular as playing video games, for children. And yet, as video games became as popular for children as they are for adults, one might ask themselves -- Can AI now breach another frontier of human life -- the romantic one?
People have already begun developing emotions for fictional characters in the form of, for example, dating simulators, or any other game where you can have a companion as your romantic partner. Nowadays, it may be seen as childish, infantile, or even creepy, but when these teenagers grow up, so will their trends, which might now be seen as outlandish by others. Some of them may already "simp" for fictional characters, and I covered "simping" before.
If you could have a robot who could love you and be ever-so loyal to you, would you choose them, in favor of a human partner? Remember, the only function missing is the ability to bring kids. You can therefore say that human love is a gamble, mainly for the sake of having kids (if that's your intention, of course).
Once even that element is out of the picture, and once AI companions could be just as buyable as any common electronic device, you'd no longer have to "hit the market" and seek an actual human to fulfill the functions you seek to be fulfilled.
When it comes to A.I, they don't have to be actual robots; they can be holograms, or perhaps a combination of the two. A computer application with the ability to appear/behave like a being, can be regarded as an A.I Unit.
Nonetheless, there will be no more arguing and no risk of any form of abandonment. Only certain love for an entity best suited for your individuality, until the day you die (or until something might happen to the "device").
Would you take it? Remember: Humans might as well be just inferior machines -- biological machines, of course. Perhaps this biological, collective arrangement that we seek today, is nothing more than a liability for our romantic interests? An inferior liability, whose only advantage is to bring you and them children? After all, a lot of couples divorce nowadays, at least in the U.S.
Automation isn't something that would only affect the employment sector; it might just as well affect every, single, area, of our lives, if we're able to afford it and supply the manufacturers making these machines and/or applications.
They can be not only coworkers, but also friends, teachers, traveling companions, and even lovers; they could be designed in any way, shape, or form you want, if there is a customer demand for it, just like any commercial product.
Should we treat beings as functions, like we may treat machinery? Wouldn't it ruin true love if we can buy a lover like we buy a computer or phone?