Chicagoan Stakes Claim to First Robot Wedding

A Chicago couple was the first to be wed by a robot, they say

By Kate Allt
|  Saturday, May 22, 2010  |  Updated 12:49 PM CDT
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Ben Stone takes issue with the Japanese claiming firsteez.

Ben Stone takes issue with the Japanese claiming firsteez.

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Something didn't compute when Chicagoan Ben Stone heard about the first-ever robot wedding taking place in Japan this week.
 
"This is not true," Stone, a Chicago artist, said. "I, a native Chicagoan, built a robot to conduct my wedding in 2004."
 
Stone's got the video to prove his marriage to Amy Stone was performed by the Nuptron 4000
 
Admittedly, Nuptron 3000 wasn't as high tech as the I-FAIRY robot that performed a ceremony this week in Hibiya Park in central Tokyo.

I-FAIRY was created by Japanese company Kokoro. Circuits was built by Stone -- who has no robotics or electrical experience.
 
“I’m an artist, so I tried to think about how to incorporate what I do into such a life changing event,” said Stone, who teaches art at Northern Illinois University. “Neither of us are particularly religious and the idea of having a complete stranger wed us seemed sort of odd.”
 
The eight-foot robot took nearly three months to build and was equipped with a pre-programmed sermon and manually-operated controls.
 
All this probably sounds way cool to the geekier set, but how did Stone’s then-fiancé feel about the less-than-traditional ceremony?
 
“Amy thought it was great,” Stone said. “Unconventional ideas appeal to her and we wanted to do something unique.”
 
The rest of his wedding party thought it was great, too. And they found the robot pastor surprisingly reverent.
 
“The speech we chose for him to say was actually not comedic at all,” said Stone. “I mean, the event itself was a spectacle, so it was naturally funny, but what he said was very truthful and touching.”
 
Stone hasn’t built a robot since, but says he recommissioned the Nuptron 4000 as Bernie Circuits, a hack stand-up comedian.
 
Six years later, both he and Amy hold fond memories of their robot wedding, and think it was a success. 
 
“Actually, my grandmother said it was the first wedding she heard every single word of,” Stone said. “The robot’s speech was out on the loudspeakers. It was great.” 
 

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