Marrying robots is a terrible idea

I’m not seriously suggesting that the human race is under attack by sexy robots designed to lure us away from procreating. But population problems in countries like Germany and Japan won’t be helped if people are seeking intimate relations with hardware instead of each other.

Hollywood loves to play with the idea that machines can have feelings. AMC’s new show Humans plays with the idea that robots can have thoughts and feelings and act independently of what they’re programmed to do. The most recent terminator film shows a terminator machine that is capable of love and self-sacrifice.

While this is a fun trope to watch, its totally false. A machine cannot have feelings or love, because they simply do not have the capacity of free will. If they show affection to us, it’s because they were programmed to do so. Consider episode 7 of the Twilight Zone, in which a man (Mr. Corry) sentenced to isolation falls in love with his robot wife. He is totally convinced that she is a real person and is capable of loving him. When he is rescued, there’s not enough room for her on the ship and he must leave her behind.