Love Machine

The best part about Love Machine was the mix of characters being interviewed.  The guy speaking with Mr. Asaro at the end (I forget his name) made the distinctions clear: the philosophers, the artists, the moralists, and the sexologists.  The documentary did a great job of pitting opposing views against one another without having the monsignor meet the artist with the claw fetish, or the proper older women meeting the two aging swingers-turned-inventors.

I think Love Machine serves as a frame through which to view the question of whether robots will ever love or be loved.  There is a lot of hypotheticals and speculation, but Love Robot focussed on the parts of robot love that are currently tangible topics: sexual pleasure and aesthetics.  

Through this frame, it seems unlikely that a robot will ever be able to love.  Kismet reacts only the way it has been programmed to.  It is not appropriate to replace the word programmed with trained, even in quotes.  “Training” implies actual inference and learning, which Kismet (as I understand it) is not capable of.

I do see potential in the possibility of misinformed people loving robots in the near future.  With a realistic cover and full mobility, Kismet could easily evoke affection a person ignorant to its insides.  If you told me the woman interviewed about Kismet was in love with it, I wouldn’t be surprised.

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