In “Love and Sex with Robots,” David Levy predicts that robots will advance to such phenomenal levels in the coming years that it’ll be possible for humans to even marry them by 2050.
That may be somewhat far-fetched, an enthusiast’s searingly optimistic vision. But even if humans don’t get hitched to machines for love, they could for altruistic reasons.
Would you tie the knot with an out-of-job robot, knowing that the recession has hit our mechanized compatriots hard?
At a large Yaskawa Electric factory on the southern Japanese island of Kyushu, where robots once churned out more robots, a lone robotic worker with steely arms twisted and turned, testing its motors for the day new orders return. Its immobile co-workers stood silent in rows, many with arms frozen in midair.
Across the industry, shipments of industrial robots fell 33 percent in the last quarter of 2008, and 59 percent in the first quarter of 2009, according to the Japan Robot Association.
In 2005, more than 370,000 robots worked at factories across Japan, about 40 percent of the global total, representing 32 robots for every 1,000 manufacturing employees.