Last night I watched an episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation entitled, “Inheritance.” It’s the one where Data realizes that his human mother is now a 24th century, Soong-type Android. To everyone but Data, she looked like any normal human female would look. No one on the Enterprise had any clue that she was an Android — she had been created to look and act so much as a human that it took another Soong Android to recognize that she was not as she appeared. As I watched the episode, I couldn’t help but wonder how men in the 21st century would react to a wife/girlfriend who was an Android and was completely convincing as a human female. If female Androids could become so realistic that no one can tell the difference, how many men would ditch their “real” women for the perfect Android woman? I can’t help but think that there would be an unending line of men who would queue up to get the Android.
I admit that I find the topic fascinating.
There are those men (they do exist) who want a partner with whom they can share their lives and who are not all-fire consumed with sex and their own physical gratification. As men age, sex begins to take a back seat and their women’s physical demeanor becomes less and less important. However, how women behave toward their men is another issue altogether. A man may have a beautiful wife, but she constantly chides him for things that she deems he has done incorrectly. She nags him to get the things done that she perceives needs to be done, and then nit-picks the results once he’s completed them. She gets angry with him over the most minor of issues, she curses at him, she argues with him, and she insults him. He doesn’t understand it this is the woman who is supposed to love him — supposed to be his greatest fan — his most ardent admirer and supporter. Yet, here she is trying to put him down every chance she gets. And he doesn’t understand. And who would? I’ve known a lot of wives who treat their husbands just like this. Some of the men stay in the relationship, and some of them don’t.
So, would a man who leaves a relationship like this be happier with an Android woman?
He would be able to design his perfect woman. He would get to choose exactly how she looked. Physically, she could be anything that he desired. His perfectly shaped woman. She could be tall, short, thin, fat, beautiful, average, blonde, brunette, flawless skin, perfect teeth, perky breasts, etc., you get the picture. He could even choose if his Android would age or not. She could stay young throughout his lifetime, or he could choose to have her growing older right along with him. She could be programmed to love everything that he loves and hate everything that he hates. She would not argue with him, she would not try to make him jealous, she would not berate him, she would not spend all his money, and she would not blame her unhappiness on him. She would welcome him home after a hard day’s work and she could be wearing nothing but a smile. She would welcome sex at whatever time of the day or night that he chose, and she would relish the experience. Is this the description of the perfect woman?
So, you’ve now designed your perfect mate. But suppose you decide that you want children? Could Android females in the future be able to become pregnant?
Could this Android female be the perfect mother? One Who eats all the right foods during her pregnancy. The perfect mother who never makes any mistakes, who never loses her temper with her children, and who always knows the needs of her child and is eager to fulfill those needs. She could be programmed to understand exactly what the child is experiencing, and she would then be able to be empathetic to those issues and thus be able to parent in a way that even the most stringent of child physiologists could approve.
And now we have the perfect wife and mother. But what about love?
Could a man love an Android female? Would he cherish her and want to protect her? Could he raise a family with her and care for that family? Would he need to love her for that to occur? And if he didn’t love her, what would keep him from “trading” her in for a different version when he was bored? He’s tired of the brunette who always likes the same things he does. Maybe he wants to try a blonde who can mix things up a bit. Would he always be unsatisfied with his choice because he knows there are literally thousands and thousands of combinations that he could have chosen? Would another choice have been better? And would he be in a continual state of dissatisfaction because of it? And what about having a mate who loves you back? Knowing that a machine who has been programmed to love you — does in fact love you (big surprise), would this be satisfying to those who yearn for the relationship where love has been the building block and has been nurtured from the moment of their first meeting? Do you need the chase? Does she need the wooing? Can this type of relationship truly ever be satisfying?
And what about a soul mate?
Can a machine be your soul mate? Does your companion need to be your soul mate for you to be happy? And what about an actual soul? What about a spiritual connection? Would it be important that your mate share your religious beliefs? Could a soul-less machine feel passion about a God or spirit and share this passion with you? I don’t know. Can your Android feel passion at all? Do you need passion in your relationship? It may be that having a mate who can satisfy your every sexual and heart’s desire, may in fact leave you morally bankrupt and spiritually unsatisfied. Rather ironic considering the reason you have chosen the Android female in the first place is for fulfillment.
Of course, choosing the perfect Android mate wouldn’t be limited to the male species. Women could in turn choose their perfect Android male over a human male for many of the same reasons. But I myself would find the perfect man to be quite dull as it’s the surprises and how you respond to them in life that give life its kick. And I don’t think that it’s a good idea to have a mate who will gladly tolerate everything you throw at them instead of throwing it back. It’s not mentally healthy. And it’s also not physically healthy. A woman should always try to keep herself in shape and looking her best. I think it’s very important — not only for her health and self-esteem, but for her mate’s pleasure as well. No one wins if she stops trying because her Android mate doesn’t care how she looks. And this, of course, is the same for the man. If he knows the Android is never going to be disgusted with his physical appearance should he let himself go, he may not take care of his health. We could end up with a world filled with an obese and extremely unhealthy population.
While having the perfect Android mate may be a titillating idea, I think the anomaly would wear off rather quickly and humans (of their own choosing) would find themselves adrift in an empty and incredibly unsatisfying world. A population filled with emptiness is bound to have repercussions. Still it would be interesting to see how human men and women would respond to having a mate who is always in their corner. I think we can have that type of relationship now. We are capable of it — but so many of us seem to have no idea how to achieve it. Perhaps we of the 21st century should concentrate upon how to sustain a happy and healthy relationship now and keep our present and future generations from having to make the choice between mankind or machine.