There have been several science fiction movies in the last few years that focused on the subject of humans having real relationships with robots. “Ex Machina” and “Her” come to mind. Apparently it is a semi-serious topic among young people.
So much so that 25% of the 18-34 year olds who were recently surveyed in Great Britain, said that they would happily date a robot. They had two caveats. The robot had to look like a real-life person and it must be a “perfect match.”
There are all kinds of issues associated with this topic, not the least of which is captured in this quote by Ghislaine Boddinto (a co-founder of the East London design unit, “body-data-space”): “Our bodies, our identities and our senses are enhancing thanks to technology and societal shifts. Indeed, intimacy as we know it is expanding its boundaries-enabling us to experience love and affection beyond the physical and into the virtual.”
A personal, meaningful relationship with an inanimate object might be possible, but it sure is a world away from the Biblical concept of humans connecting with each other.
Perhaps one of the reasons this concept seems to so resonate with young people is the rampant degree of loneliness in our society. We tend to live 15 or fewer feet from our next-door neighbor but might not even know his or her name. We have shallow relationships with folks at church and live thousands of miles away from our extended families.
Maybe that’s why there are so many “one anothers” in the New Testament. We can hardly turn a page in our Bible without being confronted with the need to be in relationships, meaningful relationships with men and women in our community.
This week, rather than siding up next to a nice looking computerized “thing,” let’s put some attention to the verse in Proverbs 18:24 that reminds us that in order for a man or woman to have friends, they must show themselves to be friendly.
Let’s extend ourselves, accept some invitations, and align ourselves with people who have similar interests. Let’s start expecting the best out of our social encounters. Speak with kindness. Show interest. Reach out and “touch” someone with a word, a note, a call or a text.
As we do, I am confident that our personal worlds will be enriched…without the involvement of an android!