Sex, Robots and Artificial Intimacy

Intimacy through sex, love, and touch; for most people this is essential to leading a happy human life. The COVID-19 pandemic and its associated social distancing measures have significantly diminished our options for interpersonal intimacy. But the latest technologies could help fulfill our intimate needs.  


Openings slide: Photo: Hanneke Wetzer, @me_and_my_dollfriend

The intertwining of technology and sexuality isn’t new, but the current pandemic has accelerated the introduction of new technologies like sex robots, tele-dildonics, and remote touch. These technologies aim to enhance, mimic, or replace intimate human interaction, deeply affecting our experiences of intimacy and sexuality.

Are these technologies a physical and moral threat, or a logical next step in our human and technological evolution? In this video lecture this hot topic is being debated with internationally renowned experts Kate Devlin (author of Turned On: Science, Sex and Robots) and Kathleen Richardson (leader of CASR: Campaign Against Sex Robots). Moderation is done by Lily Frank (Center for Human Technology Interaction TU/e).

Dr. Kate Devlin is the author of the book Turned On: Science, Sex and Robots (Bloomsbury, 2018). She is a senior lecturer in Social and Cultural Artificial Intelligence at King’s College London, UK. In her work she investigates how people interact with and react to technology, to understand how emerging and future technologies will affect us and the society in which we live in. Her recent research has focused on cognition, sexuality, and intimacy and how these might be incorporated into cognitive systems.

Prof. dr. Kathleen Richardson is a professor of Ethics and Culture of Robots at De Montfort University in the UK, and founder of the Campaign against Sex Robots – a movement to draw attention to problematic effects on new technologies on human relations, and their potential impact to create new layers of inequalities between men and women and adults and children.

This event was organized in collaboration with the TU/e Center for Humans & Technology.


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