The slight seventy-two year old figure sits stroking Paro, her robot baby harp seal. Able to turn towards a human voice, respond to touch and speak, the sociable robot brings comfort to its owner who appears to respond to the needs of Paro:
‘In attempting to provide the comfort she believes it needs, she comforts herself.’*
Clinical psychologist Sherry Turkle is wrestling with claims that Humans will move into a sex and love relationships with robots. Turkle tells this story of Paro and also of a conversation she had with a woman in her mid-twenties who confesses she’d trade in her demanding boyfriend for a robot displaying a caring attitude towards her.
Is there a greater experience and sense of fulfilment for Humans beyond love: to special others, to a larger tribe or community, and to some purpose we love which is greater than ourselves.
It seems as though love is most amazing thing the universe has birthed.
‘Love is the emergent capacity of empathetically including others within our own self-identity. It is the context for all faith and love.’**