The array of human-like behaviors of robots today is rather limited — although anyone who’s seen the rather creepy automatons Osaka University professor Hiroshi Ishiguro (pictured at left with an android modeled after himself) has created knows the field is improving quickly. That’s why David Levy, a British researcher in the field of artificial intelligence, makes the claim that humans will be loving — and making love to — robots by 2050, reports PC World. His book, aptly entitled “Love and Sex with Robots,” will be released this Tuesday, November 6th.
The book shares a thesis with his doctoral dissertation, which he used this fall to earn a Ph.D from Maastricht University in The Netherlands. Levy claims the trend toward increased human interaction with robots has been happening for decades already, and in the obvious sense, he’s right. We now have more opportunity for interaction with robots than ever before – just think of the now discontinued AIBO, the Robosapien and the iSOBOT. But Levy thinks early adopters will be having sex with robots within five years. That’s quite a claim, but he believes his research backs it up.
Building a robot solely for physical companionship would be much simpler than a robot that could function as a real companion, believes Levy. Developing realistic and engaging AI that can hold a conversation with a human, express emotion and even become self-aware is still a science-fiction fantasy. But within 20 or 30 years Levy thinks we’ll be having sophisticated conversations with robots, and from there, the pieces will just fall into place.