第十三篇 Affectionate Androids
Computers are now powerful enough to allow the age of humanoid robots to dawn1. And it won’t be long before we will see realistic cyber companions, complete with skin, dexterity, and intelligence.They will be programmed to tend to your every need.
Will we ever want to marry robots? Artificial intelligence researcher David Levy has published a book claiming human-robot relationships will become popular in the next few decades. ____1____
Will humans really be able to form deep emotional attachments to machines? It will, in fact, be relatively easy to form these strong attachments because the human mind loves to anthropomorphize: to give human attributes to other creatures—even objects.
For example, researchers in San Diego recently put a small humanoid robot in with a toddler playgroup for several months. ____2____The children ended up treating it as a fellow toddler. When it lay down because its batteries were flat，the kids even covered it with a blanket.
In a few decades, when humanoid robots with plastic skin look and feel very real, will people want to form relationships with them? What if the bots could hold a conversation? And be programmed to bethe perfect companions—soul mates, even? ____3____ And like those toddlers inthe experiment, they will be very accepting of them.
The next question, then, is whether there is anything wrong with having an emotional relationship with a machine. Even today there are people who form deep attachments to their pets and use them as substitutes for friends or even children. Few consider that unethical.
____4____ For those who always seem to end upmarrying the wrong man or woman, a robotic Mr. or Ms. Right could be mighty tempting. As the father of artificial intelligence, Marvin Minsky, put it when asked about the ethics of lonely older people forming close relationships with robots: “If a robot had all the virtues of a person and was smarter and more understanding, why would the elderly bother talking to other grumpy old people?”
A robot could be programmed to be as dumb or smart, as independent or subservient, as an owner desired. And that’s the big disadvantage. Having the perfect robot partner will damage the ability to form equally deep human-human relationships. People will always seem imperfect incomparison. When you’re behaving badly, a good friend will tell you. ____5____
People in relationships have to learn to adapt toeach other: to enjoy their common interests and to deal with their differences.It makes us richer, stronger, and wiser. A robot companion will be perfect at the start. However, there will be nothing to move the relationship to grow to greater heights.
affectionate adj. 深情的
anthropomorphize v. 赋于人性，人格化
grumpy adj. 脾气暴躁的
cyber adj. 计算机的
bot n. 机器人
subservient adj. 屈从的，奉承的
1.Computers are now powerful enough to allow the age of humanoid robots to dawn：计算机技术已经足够成熟，能够支持人形机器人的诞生和普及，进入人形机器人的时代。
A.It’s easier to have a robot companion instead of a human friend.
B.But a sophisticated robot will probably be even more attractive.
C.And if you want to go ahead and tie the knot with your special electronic friend，Levy saidthat such marriages will be socially acceptable by around 2050.
D.However, few owners will program their robots to point out their flaws.
E.Maybe your generation could resist, but eventually there will be a generation of people who grow up with humanoid robots as a normal part of life.
F.The bot knew each child because it was programmed with face and voice recognition，and it giggled when tickled.