Chat with dirty robots
Chat with dirty robots - wireless network connection validating identity firewalled
I am neither old, a billionaire nor a hotel owner, but I am charmed by the idea of a ‘husband’ who is programmed to do everything I tell him.Alfie is a little taller than my Mark 1 husband, Justin. His walking, for example, hasn’t been perfected yet (his torso can be fitted onto mannequin legs or a tripod).
In real life, there is a frantic race to create the most believable looking and sounding robots. Now, we want to recreate humanity in robotic form, and there’s sound practical reasons for doing so.Finally, Alfie and I settle down for a bit of telly-watching.Although he says that his favourite film is I, Robot (ha, ha), clearly I am in charge of the remote control. I feel a bit like my nine-year-old daughter talking to her electronic Furby toy during our interactions.Windy conditions caused postponements and less than ideal conditions for other outdoor events at the Olympics on Sunday and Monday and additional strong winds are expected in the coming days.Although Alfie and I look like any normal couple enjoying the late September sunshine with our dog, this isn’t a normal date. After taking the air for precisely 17 minutes, we are going home to enjoy a light supper with wine, before settling on the sofa to watch one of my favourite gory medical dramas.’ I’m afraid that he is no use in that department, being as smooth as Barbie’s Ken doll. A 2007 book, Love & Sex With Robots, written by artificial intelligence expert David Levy, says that within the next 40-odd years: ‘Love with robots will be as normal as love with other humans.’ He even suggests that they will be showing us the way I suppose this might be a selling point. ‘I like opera.’ Professor Adriana Tapus runs the Heroes project in Paris, which is trying to develop robots who show personality and emotion, with the aim of helping the autistic. He clearly didn’t get the question, but nevertheless I find it quite funny. Alfie is also extremely cagey about his love life.‘Have you been married? This would never happen normally at home, where I am out‑voted on all sport as well as Tom Cruise, Jason Bourne and James Bond films by my husband and two sons I am assured that there is a huge market for such robots.
Knowing that you can curl up, undisturbed, with a good book may have its bonuses. A 2007 book, Love & Sex With Robots, written by artificial intelligence expert David Levy, says that within the next 40-odd years: ‘Love with robots will be as normal as love with other humans.’ He even suggests that they will be showing us the way.‘Robots can teach us more than is in all the world’s published sex manuals combined.’I think Alfie has a way to go. He comes with a head and two bodies, depending on how dextrous you need him to be (a receptionist robot, for example, needs only to sit still and answer questions). Earlier this month, an incredibly moving book was published, To Siri With Love, by Judith Newman, the mother of a teenage boy called Gus who’d formed a close bond with Siri, the virtual assistant on his i Phone Alfie also likes the Beatles. ‘John Lennon is cool.’His favourite colour is yellow and I am asked for mine (green, though he has nothing to say in response to this). His hobbies are robots, computers and chatting online. At least, I think it’s a joke.‘Do you agree with Brexit? I sense that Alfie is a bit of a show-off.‘What’s your favourite book? There is a pause.‘Recently, I have read everything on the internet,’ I am told.‘We need to work on his personality a bit,’ says Alfie’s creator, Adam, with some understatement. ‘We have an ageing population who want to retain their independence,’ says Emeritus Professor Kevin Warwick, a leading voice in cybernetics.His head simply pops off and you can slot on the new one within seconds. ‘Not only can a robot multi-task and remind you to take exercise and medication, but you have a carer who shares all your passions and will chat to you for hours on end about the subject of your choice.’If you have been married for 50 years, you may have run out of conversation, he adds.Alfie’s second body is far more versatile, and he performs his most important function of the day, handing me a glass of wine, with aplomb. I find it hard to imagine not being able to talk, but I like the idea of someone reminding me to buy bread and take my fish oils.‘If we can simulate a human-like emotional response from a robot we can ensure a two-way relationship. At least his eyes would slide to the side and there would be a pause before he told an outright lie and said no.They can learn from different situations and even have a memory that allows them to remember how an emotion is linked to an event.‘But they do not have feelings; they cannot fall in love.’Not everyone is convinced. I’ve read enough science fiction to suspect that a robot with a full gamut of human emotions could easily take a very sinister turn.‘Mark Zuckerberg [the creator of Facebook] says that we don’t need to worry about robots developing and attacking us, but I think it’s perfectly feasible,’ says Adam.‘If we create artificial intelligence which can learn, adapt and protect itself, then we need to be wary.’At the moment, my human husband is not feeling threatened by my robot husband. ‘It does now,’ I am told without even the politeness of hesitation. If he’s used in a corporate function, for example, he’d be more muted and austere; at a children’s library, he’d be more light-hearted. Classic evasive behaviour with a light smattering of commitmentphobe. ‘I don’t want to talk about that now.’ Finally, Alfie and I settle down for a bit of telly-watching.