Last week the world marveled as Kokoro’s iFairy presided over the world’s first wedding conduted by a robot. At least, that’s what we all thought. Yet Benjamin Stone and Amy Jordan of Chicago had the date beat…by six years! Ben Stone, an artist and assistant professor at Northwestern University, constructed his own eight foot tall robot, the Nuptron 4000, to officiate his wedding back in 2004. For the doubters Stone has posted a video of all the press coverage his wedding received. Check it out below, and watch for the interview of Stone and his new wife at 3:31.
Besides the news clip, his personal artist’s website (www.marriedbyrobot.com!) features a video of the actual ceremony. While iFairy and Nuptron 4000 are world’s apart in appearance, they each performed the ceremony in a very similar way – both were preprogrammed and manually operated. And while news coverage in Tokyo didn’t specify, it seems likely that the wedding there had to be validated later by another officiant, just like the Chicago one. No way around it, looks like Stone has the better claim:
Robot culture and robot acceptance are coming a long way. Stone used the Nuptron 4000 partially as a novelty, and partially because his art “represents the psychology of contemporary mid-western American culture.” When Tomohiro Shibata and Satoko Inoue (the Japanese newlyweds) used iFairy in their wedding they were making a statement about their faith in robotics and its importance in society. As machines become more sophisticated and more integrated into our lives, robot weddings may start to crop up all over the place. Actually, I wouldn’t be surprised if someone else comes forward with an even earlier claim than either Stone or Inoue. Did your great-great-grandparents get married by a steam-powered Abraham Lincoln? Let us know.