Coin Operated Boy

A story from the NYT Magazine, via Neuroethics & Law Blog:

Sherry Turkle, a professor in the Program in Science, Technology and Society at M.I.T., worries that sociable robots might be easier to deal with than people are and that one day we might actually prefer our relationships with our machines. A female graduate student once approached her after a lecture, Turkle said, and announced that she would gladly trade in her boyfriend for a sophisticated humanoid robot as long as the robot could produce what the student called “caring behavior.” “I need the feeling of civility in the house,” she told Turkle. “If the robot could provide a civil environment, I would be happy to help produce the illusion that there is somebody really with me.” What she was looking for, the student said, was a “no-risk relationship” that would stave off loneliness; a responsive robot, even if it was just exhibiting scripted behavior, seemed better to her than an unresponsive boyfriend.

Extra brownie points to the first BWTR reader who recognizes (without Googling) the reference in this posting’s title.

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3 thoughts on “Coin Operated Boy”

  1. “New Age Pygmalionism”
    If I were the editor, this would be MY title.
    Am I the only one making an effort here?

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