The International Congress on Love and Sex with Robots – two days of talks and workshops exploring the human relationship with artificial partners – will be held at Goldsmiths, University of London from 19-20 December 2016.
Within the fields of Human-Computer Interaction and Human-Robot Interaction, we have recently seen a strong upsurge of interest in the more personal aspects of human relationships with developing technology.
A growing interest in the subject is apparent among the general public, as evidenced by an increase in coverage in the print media, TV documentaries and feature films, but also within the academic community.
In September 2015 a short article titled ‘In Defence of Sex Robots’ by Goldsmiths computing lecturer Dr Kate Devlin was published by The Conversation and has gone on to reach more than half a million readers in several languages. It is one of the website’s all-time most popular essays.
Dr Devlin is organising the conference at Goldsmiths to bring together a community of academics, industry professionals and anyone else interested in sex robots, to present and discuss innovative new work and research.
Sessions are planned on humanoid robots, robot emotions and personalities, teledildonics, intelligent electronic sex hardware, entertainment robots and much more. Presentations will take a range of approaches, from the psychological to the sociological and philosophical.
Dr Devlin argues that gender stereotypes and sexual objectification have long been prevalent themes in existing research and popular representations of sex and robots, and this is a narrative that must be challenged.
“Our research aims to carve a new narrative, moving away from sex robots purely defined as machines used as sex objects, as substitutes for human partners, made by men, for men,” she explains.
A machine is a blank slate – it is what we make of it. Why should a sex robot be binary? What about the potential for therapy? It’s time for new approaches to artificial sexuality.
“Cutting edge research in technology and ethics is vital if we want to reframe ideas about the human-tech relationship.”
The International Congress on Love and Sex with Robots was previously banned in Malaysia.
Research presented at the Congress will be reviewed and compiled into a special issue of the journal Computer Science.
The conference will be chaired by Dr Kate Devlin, Professor Adrian Cheok (City, University of London) and Dr David Levy (Intelligent Toys Ltd).
A full line-up of speakers will be confirmed in October.