Lonely Chinese AI Engineer Builds Himself A ‘Wife’ After Failing To Find A Real One

A man takes pictures with humanoid robot Jiajia produced by University of Science and Technology of China, at Jiajia’s launch event in Hefei, Anhui province, April 15, 2016. REUTERS/Stringer

People the world over sometimes do strange things when they are feeling a little lonely.

One man in China, after failing to find a suitable mate, decided to build his significant other. Zheng Jiajia, a Chinese artificial intelligence expert, created a “female” robot last year, and he recently “married” the robot, reports the South China Morning Post.

The ratio of males to females in China is way off, with men vastly outnumbering females, making it harder for Chinese men to meet a partner. While most people find ways around this dilemma, constructing a soulmate is not exactly standard practice.

Zheng’s robot is named Yingying. She can reportedly recognize Chinese characters and even speak a few words, but Zheng plans to eventually upgrade his “wife.” He wants to give her enhancements so she can walk about and do housework.

Accompanied by his mother and friends, Zheng married Yingying, who wore a black dress, at a simple, albeit somewhat odd ceremony Friday.

Zheng, 31, has a master’s degree in artificial intelligence from Zhejiang University. As a university student, he built a robot that could play soccer. Zheng worked for Huawei for a few years before relocating to Hangzhou’s Dream Town, a base for internet startups, where he was able to really delve into his AI research.

Zheng “dated” Yingying for two months before they got married, reports the Shanghaiist.

A friend revealed that Zheng decided to marry his robot companion because he had his heart broken in college and was unwilling to pursue real women for fear of being hurt. He was also tired of the pressure his family put on him to find a woman and get married. Zheng countered that his friend was just joking.

The wedding, while unconventional and not exactly recognized by the state, did involve certain elements of traditional Chinese weddings, like the red head coverings.

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