In Spike Jonze’s movie Her, an artificial intelligence operating system (voiced by Scarlett Johansson) comes up with a somewhat perplexing idea in order to have real, embodied, sex with her lover, Theodore. She recruits a woman to act as her surrogate and “become” her body during sex. Theodore tries to follow through with the plan, but after a few minutes of kissing Isabella—the human facilitating their carnal relationship—he cuts the experiment short, deeming it “too strange.” The era of human/robot love may not be upon us yet, but people and smart devices are already engaging in this kind of three-way: Two humans in a long-distance relationship (be it friendly or more) can touch, or be intimate, through technology. Remote hugging machines, for instance, make it possible to embrace loved ones from a distance, thanks to connected torso-shaped cushions. And lovers missing each other’s heartbeat can turn to Pillow Talk, a set of wristbands that will transmit This story is from Kinfolk Issue Thirty-Four Buy Now Related Stories Arts & Culture Issue 19 Going Incognito We all secretly wonder what mischief we’d make if invisible: When our identity is hidden, everything seems possible. Arts & Culture Issue 19 The Best Policy Sometimes we talk to each other without feeling heard. Honesty—a most intimate interaction—can be just as thrilling as its more devious inverse. Arts & Culture Issue 19 A Sense of Suspense With unhinged imaginations and mountains of cliff-hangers, the filmmakers behind the sci-fi podcast Limetown have all the makings of a scary story. Arts & Culture Issue 19 Like Clockwork In this new column about time, we learn how slipping off our watches makes us feel like deadline-damning renegades. Arts & Culture Music Issue 19 On a Grander Scale Malaysian singer-songwriter Yuna now may live on the opposite side of the globe, but she’s determined to evolve while staying true to her roots. Arts & Culture Issue 19 Neighborhood: Fire Stations The firefighting profession has evolved over time from Ancient Rome’s rudimentary bucket brigades to today’s sleek life-saving departments.