CARE: Christian Action, Research and Education

For what you believe
Open menu Close menu
Cake 0
Technology, Robotics, and AI

Robots and Relationships

24 July 2019
My dear Miss Glory, Robots are not people. They are mechanically more perfect than we are, they have an astounding intellectual capacity, but they have no soul
Karel Capek Rossum’s Universal Robots

Obviously, we are going to have relationships with robots. They may be assistants doing secretarial work for us. They may be our pets. Perhaps they will be taking care of our children (cheap and reliable nannies), or our parents (economical nurses and companions).

Or ourselves. Just imagine, a robot-like Andrew in Bicentennial Man available at all hours of the day and night as your butler and valet! Robots are going to be all over the place and doing the kind of things that in the past only people could do.

Is this all going to be okay? When old people or children are involved, there are obvious questions marks. But what kind of relationships are going to be possible for the rest of us.

There are no limits

It’s hardly a surprise to learn the there really are no limits. Robots keep getting smarter. The line from pets and toys, to admin assistant and domestic servants, to companions is a straight line. The smartest Robot technology gets, the nearer Robots will come to imitating every aspect of the ‘human’ relationship.

A research study from Stanford University says this: “people may experience feelings of intimacy towards technology because our brains aren’t necessarily hardwired for life in the twenty-first century.”

Our brains are hard-wired – set up by the way we are made, by human biology and over time by experience as we grow up – to see people as people and machines as machines. They don’t quite know what to do when they are presented with a machine that behaves like a person. And while we are thinking about things, we can make sense of the difference. When it comes to our feelings, it doesn’t quite work like that.

Controlling our feelings is a very hard thing. We don’t tell ourselves how to feel. We just feel.

Robot sex

Of course, any discussion of robots and relationships includes sex. Sex robots are not new and have been around for a while. There are even sex-robot conferences.

But clearly this raises big questions. What will be the impact on intimacy? If we offer sex robots, what about customers who are paedophiles?

Questions to ask

  • Will our imaginations allow us to distinguish between them and us?


To find out the answer to that question, why not buy yourself a copy of The Robots are Coming: Us, Them and God. For a short period of time, it’s available at a discounted price of £4.99, down from its normal price of £9.99. You can get a copy from our shop.


Technology, Robotics, and AI

CARE is exploring the theological, social and practical implications of advances in artificial intelligence and robotics.

Find out more about the cause

Sign up for Impact Direct, and email publications

By signing up stay in touch you agree to receive emails from CARE. You can change your mailing preferences at any time either by getting in touch with CARE, or through the links on any of our emails.

Recent news

Newborn baby mother 1

No abortion amendments to the DAB and your help made all the difference

It would be easy to miss the significance of what happened last night in the House of Commons in respect to the Domestic Abuse Bill. For one thing, a vital piece of legislation has moved a step closer to becoming law. The DAB is a much needed piece of legislation. It addresses issues that are not currently dealt with by legislation. It will provide support for victims of domestic violence, create new offences and send a message that domestic abuse will not be tolerated. This matters enormously because of who we are. Humans are not objects to be subjected to coercion or abuse. We are image bearers of God and crowned with glory and honour.

Keep reading
Mother baby touching hands 8

Big win as dangerous home abortion amendment is withdrawn

An attempt to change the law to legalise dangerous home abortions on a permanent basis has been halted after the MP who tabled the amendment to achieve this end withdrew the amendment at the last moment.

Keep reading
Mother and baby 5

MPs to vote on making home abortions permanent

Later today, MPs will vote on whether to allow women to take both abortion pills at home even after the COVID-19 pandemic is over.

Keep reading