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    How We Love You
    By Hatice Cullingford | September 19th 2008 05:59 PM | 6 comments | Print | E-mail | Track Comments
    About Hatice

    Welcome to my universe.. where there is Peace University. As Fine Scientist, PhD, I write about my interest in various fields, from energy to space...

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    Sex with robots available in five years!(1) Not so fast -- do we love robots? How about -- do we understand how we love each other? Let's limit the subject even further to just the science of love between a man and a woman.



    Well, we have the anthology of love all the way back to the earliest civilizations in Western Asia. What do we know today about the anatomy of love between a man and a woman? What have we learned since the days of William Shakespeare and 'How do I love thee? Let me count the ways?'



    There is a flurry of scientific interest in love in our new century. Take speed-dating research. Eli Finkel of Northwestern University has been collecting data on speed-dating events since 2004.(2) His data methodology includes questionnaires and surveys and even the saliva of the speed daters. With sufficient research, Finkel believes, scholars might make dating less hellish for millions of people, or develop models to predict relationship success based on speed-dating compatibility.



    Others like Jason Weeden of Arizona University "remain wary of generalizing the results to the long-term mating game." He says: Finkel's findings demonstrate how differently speed daters act from those seeking serious relationships. Even if they are looking for a longer-term match, a bar-like setting with many available singles could trigger short-term thinking.



    Recently, biologists have suggested that females could benefit from mating with many men - it would increase the genetic diversity of their children.(3) However, Anne Campbell of Durham University (UK) told that if women were designed by evolution for short-term relationships, they would enjoy them more. Just under half of women who answered an Internet poll, published in the journal Human Nature, informed that their casual sexual encounters had been a bad idea.



    In comparison, four out of five men said they were happy with a brief fling. Speed-dating events might not possibly be working for women in the longer term either. Perhaps just too soon to know.



    There seem to be other gender differences in short- versus long-term mating strategies. In long-term relationships, females not only rate kissing as more important than men, but they also maintained its value throughout a relationship. Men in the studies placed less importance on kissing as the relationship progressed.(4)



    Back to the sex robots -- they won't be all about love and intimacy.(1) David Levy believes that by 2050 people in large numbers will be falling in love with robots and marrying them in large numbers. Could he be talking only of men?



    We are walking in baby steps towards understanding the first moments and the later terms of attraction between a man and woman. But when it comes to love in marriage context we might still enjoy a mystery for some time to come. Are we really that much interested in knowing more about love and marriage in minute scientific details?



    References

    1. In 5 years, people will be having sex with robots, canada.com, June 23, 2008.

    2. "I think I love you" by Ryan Blitstein, chicagotribune.com, June 29, 2008.

    3. Sexes split over one night stands, news.bbc.co.uk, June 26, 2008.

    4. Why kissing means more to women, news.bbc.co.uk, Sept 7, 2007.

    Comments

    Gerhard Adam
    This study still begs the question; what do people mean by a long-term relationship and what are they, personally, looking to gain from it. One of the key problems is that most people approach relationships with a specific agenda, so that tends to take precedence over anything else a relationship might offer. As a result, dating is treated more like an interview or even a problem to be solved, rather than actually being allowed to develop. The very concept of "speed-dating" or the reference to the "hellish" experience suggests that this is simply another task to be accomplished. Under these circumstances it isn't likely that much success will follow. In addition, many external factors heavily influence what a relationship can do especially when careers are involved. If an individual wants a relationship then they need to examine their own motivations, agenda, and objectives before they engage in a pursuit of something that they themselves are not actually prepared to commit to. A relationship isn't simply another task that one pursues to be considered "successful". I realize I'm being broadly generic in my discussion, but in today's society as we've largely eliminated the need for people to depend on each other, it comes as no big surprise that this sense of "I can do it alone" has permeated the quest for relationships. This stark attitude of independence and self-sufficiency doesn't lend itself to sharing one's life. In general, I think the first step is to lighten up and stop taking yourself too seriously. If you feel pressure to find a successful relationship "formula" then you're already looking in the wrong directions. People talk glibly about being "friends", etc. but in truth few people treat those in their personal relationships as well or as tolerantly as they treat those that are truly their friends. If there's a difference in those behaviors, perhaps its time to explore the reasons why.
    Mundus vult decipi
    Hatice Cullingford
    First of all, I am honored by your reply. Beautiful. I find the most important work is to know oneself more and more. That is where I define my success. Because to be able to love means also the ability to recognize the dearness of the 'other' through the prism of self-knowledge. Friendships are the training grounds for that kind of self-knowledge. I am thinking of Jahari's-Window's type of understanding here. In my own life, the more intimate is the more valuable, the dearer. I don't know if I said something new to you but I am fearless about love.
    Gerhard Adam
    I would agree. The article however seemed to lump love, attraction, and sex into the same general category. Clearly such mismatched objectives don't provide any new insight. Consider:

    David Levy believes that by 2050 people in large numbers will be falling in love with robots and marrying them in large numbers.

    Perhaps falling in "lust" but love? I also have no clue as to why this situation should lead to marriage. Morality with a machine?
    Mundus vult decipi
    Hatice Cullingford
    We are dealing with a mystery of life here, right? A life of -- growth, love, creativity. Love is then a two-way bridge between growth and creativity. We know that psychological maturity is not achieved through amassing theoretical knowledge or special training. Hence, insight is personal, especially, when others talk about love of coffee or even space. I will say this: Love is an immense ocean for exploration. Doesn't love -- between a man and a woman -- arrive with an attraction, including lust, that could possibly lead to a satisfactory union? Could one imagine a similar development with a machine? Morality with a machine? Yes, I would like to hear about it..
    Gerhard Adam

    Doesn't love -- between a man and a woman -- arrive with an attraction, including lust, that could possibly lead to a satisfactory union? Could one imagine a similar development with a machine?

    Certainly all those elements can initiate a relationship, but they can't (by themselves) sustain it. At some point, there is a bond that extends beyond the physical. This is precisely why people can "fall in love" simply talking on the internet. Such a bond isn't possible with a machine, since it would presume that the machine is at least as intelligent and has life-relevant experiences with which to relate. To assert more, is to claim life for the machine.
    Mundus vult decipi
    Hatice Cullingford
    We agree. Thanks. I looked into the subject of morality with a machine. I knew there was some ethics work going on. Here is an abtract of a paper: Why Machine Ethics? Machine ethics, machine morality, artificial morality, and computational ethics are all terms for an emerging field of study that seeks to implement moral decision-making faculties in computers and robots. Machine ethics is not merely science fiction but a topic that requires serious consideration given the rapid emergence of increasingly complex autonomous software agents and robots. The authors introduce the issues shaping this new field of enquiry and describe issues regarding the development of artificial moral agents.This article is part of a special issue on Machine Ethics. http://www2.computer.org/portal/web/csdl/doi/10.1109/MIS.2006.83