October 12, 2007
Earlier this month, I reported on research showing that some people are becoming emotionally attached to their robot helpers around the house. I figured that would be a good trend for Motley Fool Rule Breakers pick iRobot (Nasdaq: IRBT ) . My Foolish colleague Rick Munarriz presented a similar piece with the headline "I Married iRobot."
Well, thanks to a disturbing article I just came across, I now think that Rick may have been only slightly ahead of the curve in his prediction. The University of Maastricht in the Netherlands has awarded a doctorate to a researcher whose thesis is about the possibility of marriage between humans and robots.
While I am very queasy about the notion of "Intimate Relations With Artificial Partners" -- the title of the thesis -- I am comfortable with robots intruding on other, less personal aspects of our lives.
For instance, I am a huge fan of Intuitive Surgical's (Nasdaq: ISRG ) da Vinci surgical robots and their ability to extend people's lives by performing complicated surgeries. I also think there's immense potential in Toyota's (NYSE: TM ) work in developing robots to improve the quality of life for the world's rapidly aging population, and Oshkosh Truck's (NYSE: OSK ) progress in creating self-driving robotic vehicles.
You see, although I love the field of robots -- in fact, I professed my love for Intuitive Surgical this past Valentine's Day -- I sure am not ready to fall in love with an individual robot.
Interested in more robotic Foolishness? It's here: