GUEST BLOG: Love+ – How Likely Are We To Have Romantic Relationships with Robots?

Director, Claire O’Reilly, writes about the science and pop culture events in 2014 that inspired Love+

You can catch Love+ by MALAPROP on May 29 – June 2 as part of the MALAPROP double bill with Black Catfish Musketeer.

For more info and to book tickets, click here.

LOVE+ is a show about a woman who accidentally falls in love with a robot who’s adamant the feelings are reciprocated. We started making it in 2014, at which time:

David Levy, author of ‘Love and Sex with Robots’ estimated the humanity would love sex robots by the middle of the 21st century.

Robotics engineer Hiroshi Ishiguro was featured on the cover of the American Association of the Advancement of Science’s magazine ‘Science’ with his mechanical doppelgänger.

Two-year-old Tinder was registering one billion swipes per day.

Scarlett Johansson managed to be just as likeable and attractive as a glorified Siri in Spike Jonze’s ‘Her’ (released in Ireland in Feb 2014).

A man acting under his online persona Sal 9000 celebrated his 5 year wedding anniversary with Nene Anegasaki, a character from a Nintendo video game.

Gay marriage was still illegal in Ireland.

Eugene Goostman, a simulated 13-year-old from Ukraine, convinced 33% of a panel of judges he was a real boy during the course of a five-minute chat conversation, thereby passing the Turing Test. Eugene had poor English, a playful spirit, and a Guinea Pig called Billy that he wished he’d called Beethoven.

While most of these facts didn’t make it into the finished product, they were the foundations of our early development. We used these contexts to discuss relationships (particularly dependency and authenticity), the future (possibly both dystopian and utopian depending where you sat) and the characteristics of love (as an exercise write out all the reasons why your phone/the internet on your phone is important to you and compare it to the same list about people in your life; I thought it was spooky anyway. I might be a moron though,)

We didn’t draw any massive, jaw-dropping conclusions about human-robot relationships. We were, however, humbled by the pace and ferocity in which the world is moving toward this eventuality. At the time of writing this post, the India Times published an article titled ‘Ahead Of FIFA World Cup 2018, Russia Opens 1st Robot Sex Brothel In The World In Moscow’. Woah. The most shocking thing is that it’s still shocking.