We may ‘love’ our electronic toys and gadgets but could they ever truly love us back? Could they form pure bonds of affection or fly into a blind rage at the site of their owner’s latest smartphone?
Hooman Samani, an artificial intelligence researcher at the Social Robotics Lab at the National University of Singapore, is studying just those possibilities. He calls the field ‘Lovotics’ and believes it is possible to engineer love between a human and a robot.
Enter the world of Lovotics and you’ll quickly be introduced to jargon such as ‘Artificial Endocrine Systems’, ‘Probabilistic Love Assembly’ and ‘Affective State Transition’.
What Samani has attempted to do is map out the full spectrum – both psychological and biological – of what constitutes the human experience of love and simulate it electronically. The robots are ‘burdened’ with artificial versions of the human love hormones – Oxytocin, Dopamine, Seratonin, and Endorphin.
Their artificial intelligent capabilities track their state of love over time.
The result – these robots seem to display emotions of happiness, jealousy, contentment etc. based on their relationship with their human ‘lover’. Regular physical contact will solidify the bond – while attention towards other people and objects will likely trigger a response approximating insecurity and jealousy.
These ‘emotions’ are communicated via rather primitive blips and beeps.
Take a look at Samani’s video here:
It may be difficult to imagine the possibilities of the technology when faced with the non-descript black shell that is Samani’s love robot.
However, when combined with other technologies quickly advancing in the field of robotics – advanced control systems, life-like appearances and even simulated pulse and heartbeat – Samani’s research is taking us one step closer to a sex doll (or robot lover, if you like) that is capable of showing affection and even loving back.