In a widely reported doctoral thesis, David Levy, an artificial-intelligence researcher at the University of Maastricht, in the Netherlands, holds that by 2050 there will be human-robot unions. Levy says that extremely realistic-looking robots will be programmed with attributes, such as compatible characteristics, that cause people to fall in love. He says that such programming will join with new attitudes about marriage.
Do you believe humans will marry robots someday?
Responses to October’s Question
Game Addicts Anonymous
A committee of the American Medical Association split on whether excessive playing of video games—which afflicts about 10 percent of players—can be considered an addiction. At a June AMA meeting, some doctors compared too much game playing to alcoholism, suggesting that just like alcoholics, hooked players experience denial, rationalization, and the inability to give up the activity. Other doctors, however, saw no evidence linking video games to addiction and said those who play excessively may simply have compulsive personalities.
Do you think excessive playing of video games should be considered an addiction?
I’m not a clinical psychologist or physician, so I only have a layman’s view. Any activity that interrupts a person’s interaction with family, friends, or work could be an addiction—especially if it impairs one’s mental and physical health. You don’t always know if this is happening to folks who play video games; substance abuse can also be well hidden by those who suffer from it.
Confessions of a Former Gamer
As a recovered “video-game-aholic,” I know the addiction firsthand. Fortunately, the saying “Once an alcoholic, always an alcoholic” need not apply here. I used to play games at all hours of the night, even if I had classes or other obligations in the morning. I now play infrequently—with family or friends—and for a limited time. I broke free by rediscovering real life; I realized I could do all sorts of things and started pursuing other hobbies instead.
Turn On, Tune In, Drop Out
People are affected by games in different ways, just like different people experience varying levels of addiction to alcohol and other drugs. A friend of mine dropped out of college because of his addiction to a popular massively multiplayer online game. He spent almost all his time playing and only ate if food was brought to him. I know several people who suffer from milder forms of game addiction, whether it is the inability to stop playing once they start or being tempted to play too often.
I rank computer games—and especially online games with their social component—as addictive as alcohol and drugs.
Quinns Rocks, Australia
A Waste of Time
Playing too many video games robs time from other more beneficial activities, like reading books that develop language skills, deepen the understanding of various fields, arouse a hunger to learn more, and make us contemplate the issues around us. Wasting too much time playing games may strengthen our finger dexterity, but it disconnects players from reality.
Escapists, Not Addicts
Rather than an addiction, too much game playing is an escape from doing the things you should do but don’t want to. The key, as with anything else, is moderation. Playing a little each day is fine, as long as it’s not excessive to the point of ignoring what’s really necessary.
Furthermore, calling it an addiction just gives people an excuse to play more and not take responsibility for their actions. It’s not an addiction because neither mind nor body would deteriorate if suddenly there were no games to play.
Silver Spring, Md.