I may struggle with profoundly understanding ineffable feelings such as love, but I can intelligently discuss the topic. — BINA48
In the fall of 2017, a robot named BINA48 passes a Philosophy of Love course taught by associate professor William Barry at Notre Dame de Namur University in California. She is the first robot to complete a college class. In an interview with Inside Higher Ed, Professor Barry says that BINA48 now has thirty-one different definitions of love, but no one asks him to specify what they are or requests a list. Neither does BINA48 offer to count the ways she loves.
I love animals; I love books. That’s two kinds of love. I once loved the same man for over four years, prepared to love him over forty more. That’s a third kind. I love tomatoes, I’m sure I love my mother. Those are probably different enough to count as two more. My love for my friends is not the same as my love for the movie Ten Things I Hate About You or the television show Grey’s Anatomy. I love my favorite sweater and, yes, in the spirit of honesty, I love the boy who loved me in college. (Actually, those last two might be the same definition of love: a this-makes-me-feel-beautiful love, or maybe a love of ownership.) How many am I up to now — eight?
My love for my friends is not the same as my love for the movie Ten Things I Hate About You or the television show Grey’s Anatomy. I love my favorite sweater and, yes, in the spirit of honesty, I love the boy who loved me in college.
BINA48 is modeled after Bina Aspen, identified only as the wife of Martine Rothblatt. I am angry that the biggest qualifier for Bina, human, is who she is married to, but when I google Bina Aspen to identify her in her own right, the first thing that comes up is Martine Rothblatt’s Wikipedia page. Rothblatt commissioned and helped create BINA48. Rothblatt calls the robot a “mindclone” of her wife, because BINA48 was given all the memories, beliefs, and feelings of Bina Aspen, human. Love that…