Robot sex and romances will be the focus of a world-renowned conference at Salford University.
International experts will be gathering in the UK for the first time from September 7-9 to discuss the growing trend of Sex Tech, in which human beings are having sex and romantic relationships with artificial intelligence.
The 12th Human Choice and Computers conference will see international academics named ‘robo-ethicists’ discussing the possibility of sex robots becoming a bedroom staple within 10 years.
Convenor of the event, Dr David Kreps of Salford University, says that leading experts will also gather to see if robotic love can ever come close to replicating human interaction.
Dr Kreps said: “Eye contact is an important aspect of human love and would be incredibly hard to replicate in a robot.
“We will be asking questions like how genuinely human can any robot ever be?
“Can a robot ever create the same level of intimacy and connection that we get with another person?”
Although the practice of falling in love with a robot might be more familiar in Spike Jonze’s Her, people like David Mills already claim that they are happy and satisfied with their robot romances, with the ethics of the practice leaving plenty of academics stumped.
Groups such as The Campaign Against Sex robots want to ban the practice on the back of the potential threat of child sex robots and ‘robophilia’, and several of the speakers will also tackle the seedier elements of the growing practice.
“There are all kinds of issues around consent, privacy and data protection when robots and artificial intelligence start to get more advanced,” added Dr Kreps.
“Many of these clever programmes only work because they have millions of people’s details – Big Data as its often known. How can we protect users?
“Some of the best minds in computer ethics will be here discussing these issues.”
Professor Charles Ess, the event’s keynote speaker from the University of Oslo, said: “There’s some optimism that we will fall in love with and marry social robots sometime in the not too distant future, versus others who think we should ban sex robots altogether.
“I will be trying to plot a middle path between these two positions.”
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