In the era of 4th industrial revolution, fascinating innovations can be seen in the field of robotics. The emotional intelligence of robots as well as human sympathy towards them is increasing. A human-robot marriage in future would pose challenges to lawmakers including whether human-robot marriage has a legal worth? and how these families will deal with children, property and issues related to liabilities. This article is the very first in Central Asia to consider the family law implications of the romantic relationships that applied scientists are working to develop. It argues that the advancements in humanoid robotics may pose challenges to the current understanding of family law in Central Asia.
With the latest advancements in artificial intelligence (AI), the goal of achieving human-like intelligence is gradually becoming realistic. It is expected that by the mid of this century, we will be able to achieve Artificial General Intelligence or machines which will be capable of understanding and dealing with everything at the same capacity as any human being. From the legal progression perspective, it can be said that the same-sex marriage, polygamous or “plural” marriage – the marriage of more than two persons or human-animal marriage are not the only issues which family law will be facing in the 21st century but human marrying an AI equipped machine will be the real challenge.
It is not astonishing at all if a human falls in love with a humanoid robot since they not only resemble the human body, but it is also very easy to install emotions, to make their skin sensational and to feed them with information which could potentially make someone happy by entertaining them. Marrying with a tree or tree marriage which symbolizes the marital union of a person with a tree and is said to be infused with supernatural life has long been practiced in different parts of the world . Tree marriage has also been used as a form of proxy marriage in different cultures. Thus, a human-robot marriage is a much close imitation of a futuristic family relationship.
In 2013 a woman married a bridge in France at a ceremony that included fourteen guests and a blessing from the mayor of the small village where the bridge is located. Jodi Rose married Le Pont du Diable Bridge in Céret, southern France after visiting dozens of bridges all over the world. In 2016, a judge in Argentina allowed a 33-year-old Argentine woman to marry her 32-year-old stepdaughter. Although Argentina’s Civil Code outlaws any incestuous or parent-child marriage, the Argentine judge ruled that all of that nation’s citizens have “the right to be treated with dignity by the laws in all dimensions of life, including marriage.”
Legal scholars have already started discussing the questions: is there something intrinsic about human which makes it human? Should artificially intelligent robots have the same rights as humans? How to articulate law when dealing with an object which is half human and half non-human? Where to draw a line between humanistic characteristics and artificial characteristics of subjects? Can Human Rights also advocate on the behalf of nonhuman legal entities? Should law facilitate rights of human only? What will be the future of Human Rights in the presence of robotic rights? And many questions of this sort that are emerging due to the progression in the area of applied sciences that compromise sustainability of human rights and legal systems itself.
But even if we ignore the futurist legal status of the humanoid robotics, still we have many cases which demonstrate that several non-human entities are enjoying legal rights. For example, Ganges river has become first non- human entity in India to be granted the same legal rights as of people. Saudi Arabia gave its citizenship to a robot “Sophia” which garnered mockery from social media users as the robot may have more rights than human women in the kingdom. Now Sophia issued a statement that she wants a baby as well. The European Parliament released a draft report earlier proposing granting autonomous robots “personhood.” The idea would grant legal status to robots to establish liability but would not confer on them rights given to humans. Europe is currently divided on giving a status to digital personalities. It is expected that the “Digital Personhood” will soon be included as a subject of law along with already existing Natural Person and Legal Person categorization.
The trend of robotics research and development, from industrial robots to service robots to companion and carer robots, has as its logical continuation the design and construction of partner robots, sufficiently human-like and sufficiently appealing in various ways to take on the role of a partner in a relationship with a human being. This trend immediately raises many questions relating to humans loving and being loved by robots, treating robots as life partners and being similarly treated by them, marrying robots and having sex with robots.
This year, a Kazakh bodybuilder Yurii Tolochko married and then divorced a Sex Doll and later found a new wife. This is the very first incident of its type. Central Asia being a very traditional society where legal progression is passing through a transitional phase is unable to sustain such cases. Scholars of jurisprudence in Central Asia are trying to deal with both dimensions of the morality of technology that how to ensure the ethical use of technology and what kind of morality should be installed in the technology. Emerging new innovation technologies, extensive use of social media, video games and online platforms are already considered as a threat to the family life in many traditional societies such as Central Asian. The potential future of technology presents an opportunity for the Central Asia legal scholars to reexamine the family law and its applicability to the future Central Asian society.
1: Britannica, tree marriage, Accessed at https://www.britannica.com/topic/tree-marriage
2: Paul Duron (2017), Can You Marry A Robot? New Frontiers In Family Law, The Law Offices of Paul J. Duron, Accessed at https://www.paulduron.net/blog/can-you-marry-a-robot-new-frontiers-in-family-law/
3: Younas, Ammar and Younas, Rehan, Sustainability of Artificial Intelligence: Reconciling Human Rights with Legal Rights of Robots (April 26, 2018). Available at SSRN: http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3164535
4: Younas, Ammar, Human Rights and Wrongs: Biological Skepticism Towards Human Rights (June 28, 2018). Available at SSRN: http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3205098
5: Cheok A.D., Zhang E.Y. (2019) Why Not Marry a Robot?. In: Human–Robot Intimate Relationships. Human–Computer Interaction Series. Springer, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-94730-3_9
6: Sam Elliott-Gibbs (2021), Mirrors, Man who married a sex doll finds new love with ashtray he took from a nightclub, Accessed at https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/weird-news/man-who-married-sex-doll-24895898
7: Younas, Ammar (2020). Responsible AI: Introduction of “Nomadic AI Principles” for Central Asia. Conference Proceeding of International Conference Organized by Jizzakh Polytechnical Institute Uzbekistan. PhilArchive copy v1: https://philarchive.org/archive/YOURAI-3v1