Robots falling in love

A few weeks, ago, came the news that Kim Jong-Hwan, the director of the Intelligent Robot Research Lab in South Korea, had developed artificial chromosomes that would determine robots’ “personality”.

Today The Guardian East Asia correspondent (via Robotics) gives more details.

These chromosomes would allow robots to feel lusty, and could eventually lead to them reproducing. So far the scientist developed only 14 chromosomes, but future species will be endowed with more complex “genetics”. Kim is now working working on the equivalent of X and Y chromosomes that would confer sexual characteristics, “so that if male and female like each other, they could have their own children.”


According to the engineer, a software, to be installed in a robot within the next three months, will give the machines the ability to reason, desire and to “feel” happy, sad, angry, sleepy, hungry or afraid. The computer code is modelled on human DNA.

Kim Jong-Hwan comments: “Robots will have their own personalities and emotion and – as films like I Robot warn – that could be very dangerous for humanity. If we can provide a robot with good – soft – chromosomes, they may not be such a threat.”

One could that that the professor reads too much sci-fi, but Kim is a leading authority on technology and ethics of robotics. It was him who launched, 10 years ago, the robot football world cup.

More details here and in the paper of the conference he gave in December 2004 in New Zealand (PDF).