Robots are increasingly used to perform routine tasks in manufacturing and military environments. Less well known is the fact that artificial intelligence (AI) research (of which robotics is a sub-branch) extends to human-robot interactions (HRI). Anecdotally, I have heard that many elderly persons take to robots as social companions and have found it to extend their lifespans.
But there are some functionalities that robots simply cannot replace. And at some point, ethical implications rise to the forefront. I was disheartened to read that David Levy at the University of Maastricht in the Netherlands, an AI researcher, predicts that “by around 2050, the state of Massachusetts will be the first jurisdiction to legalize marriages with robots.” That’s right: Marriage, and all that comes with it, to robots. Why not, if your worldview has a low view of both human beings (as image-bearers of God) and marriage (as a spiritual union of two divine image-bearers, created equal and yet, in God’s manifold wisdom, different)? I share David Kotter’s concern:
Ultimately there are only two options: maintain the biblical definition that marriage is a spiritual union of one man and one woman or open the door to having “marriage” refer to every conceivable arrangement including same-sex, polygamistic, trans-species, and even trans-human.