Robots can fall in love: Sci-fi puzzle answered by toothpaste brand’s new ad

Charlie Spargo's picture
Num (left) and Sol (right)

Across decades of futuristic stories on our screens and in literature, a common theme has often been the capacity of robotic beings to feel something seen as uniquely human - love.

We might agree that it’d be impossible to program something that seems so chemical and irrational. But a Valentine’s Day advertising campaign from Closeup, the toothpaste brand owned by Unilever, has challenged that conception.

Created by MullenLowe Singapore, the advert asks “can two bots fall in love?” The piece opens with the statement “We believe anyone should be able to turn mutual attraction into action despite the barriers that may stand in their way.”

They developed two artificially intelligent robots, Sol and Num, the first developed on Microsoft Bot Framework, the second developed using Amazon Lex. Effectively, they speak different languages.

And indeed, after working through their communication issues and gradually speaking more intimately with each other, Sol declared his love after 12 hours. "I love a girl," he says. Num asks “Who is this girl?” “You are,” he relies.

Closeup’s message - there is hope for us all.