Occasionally I’ll let my mind wander onto topics that I usually feel are too triggering and difficult. Today I had one such episode in which I pondered the “issue” around “gay marriage” (I refuse to call it equal marriage until, y’know, it’s actually equal for everyone) and allowed myself the opportunity to fulfill a stereotype while I was washing the dishes, reductio ad absurdum style. What follows is a character.
I really love this whisk. If I could take the risk I’d declare this whisk the love of my life. Republicans promised me that was next, after gay marriage. That I could love and marry animals and possessions. Well. I love this possession. I’m more intimate with my whisk than I’ve been with lovers; it has a name (Whisk), I’ve washed it, I’ve fed it and it’s fed me. Why can’t I marry it?
But… if I married it, what about robots? Oh, I know, I know it sounds all silly, but they’re making smarter and smarter robots every day. If I can marry my whisk, Whisk, what stops me from building a robot that looks human and marrying it? What if I create some small AI and still marry it. Is that torture? Is that like brainwashing a victim?
Well, clearly that would be wrong. Obviously the whole animal thing would be wrong too, right? They don’t feel the same way that humans do and we can really manipulate that. For that matter, whisks can’t really feel, can they? So maybe I shouldn’t marry my whisk, Whisk. I’ll miss you, my love. But what if we DO create an AI that, for all intents and purposes, is sentient? Will it be ok then? Will AIs ever be able to love or will that be coercive and programmed into them?
Or if we keep marriage about love, about being between two humans specifically, what if sentient life eventually gets high on some Andromedan shit that makes them do something stupid and get in touch with us? Thrown onto the scene of interstellar romance will we be able to resist ourselves? Will marriage become between two sentients, instead of between two human beings?
What if my whisk is actually sentient?
I love my whisk, Whisk.