A Chinese man has chosen to 'marry' a robot he built for himself after failing to find a suitable human alternative.
Zheng Jiajia, an artificial intelligence engineer, has given up on the search for love and chosen instead to 'marry' a robot he built himself. The 31-year-old Chinese man decided to commit after searching and failing to find a suitable human spouse, according to a friend of his.
Zheng had become tired of the constant nagging from his family and the pressure to get married. His solution was a little more unconventional, though. He decided to build a robot named Yingying and, after 'dating' her for two months, made the next big step in his life. He donned a black suit and 'married' her at a ceremony attended by his mother and friends in the eastern city of Hangzhou over the weekend of April 2nd.
While their union is not officially recognized by authorities, their wedding had all the markings of a traditional Chinese wedding. He even went so far as to cover Yingying's head with a red cloth in accordance with local tradition. As of right now, Yingying can only read some Chinese characters and images and speak a few simple words. Zheng has plans to upgrade his 'bride' with the ability to walk and do household chores. Until those upgrades are ready, he has to carry the 30 kg robot to move her.
China has one of the worst gender gaps in the world. There are approximately 113 men for every 100 women in China, according to the latest figures by the World Economic Forum
This gender imbalance, coupled with the changing attitudes towards marriage in the middle class, means many men will never find wives.
Reactions to the union in China have been mixed. One person cited an easier life, saying "You won't have her mother looking down on you, you don't have the pressure to buy a home and you get to save money and energy." Another person asked "He'll slowly get old, his face will become wrinkled and his hair will grow white - but will he upgrade her to grow old, or just to be prettier?"
Stories of robots replacing humans are fairly commonplace in China, particularly in the smattering of restaurants
where the waiters are automated. However, the machines rarely live up to their expectations.
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What do you think about Zheng's solution? What frontier do you think robots will breach next? Hit us up in the comments with your thoughts!