Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Robot Love

David Levy, artificial intelligence
researcher at the University of Maastricht, Netherlands, told

recently that by 2050 Massachusetts would
become the first jurisdiction to legalize robot weddings.
Observes Levy, “At first, sex with robots might be considered
geeky, but 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.”

Robots are set to become a big market. In
2005, the South Korean government

the country would have the world’s third largest
robotics industry by 2013, exporting some $20 billion worth of
products, or 15% of the global robotics market. If their
forecast proves correct, this suggests a worldwide robotics
industry of about $135 billion in just five years.

That’s mega growth. This may explain why
such formidable players as Honda and Toyota have established
robotics development divisions. Toyota’s trumpet-playing robot
shown back in 2004
, but besides a robotic corporate tour

, little news has been heard from Toyota.

Honda’s ASIMO robot
, which stands for Advanced Step in
Innovative Mobility, and which has been in development for 21
years, is currently on tour in Australia and is featured in a
Honda corporate image campaign currently airing on U.S.

This past December, the British Government
released a report that predicted that

robots could one day demand legal rights
. If David Levy’s
prediction that we can bed and wed robots by 2050 proves true,
then contracts and rights will not be far behind.

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