In today’s strange findings, a “Love and Sex with Robots” conference is slated to happen in November this year. In Malaysia.
Yes, you read right.
First reported by MMO, citing news.com.au, the “Love and Sex with Robots” 2015 (LSR 2015) conference will see an attendance from academics to discuss the legal, ethical and moral questions on everything from “teledildonics” to “humanoids”. It will be chaired by City University London’s Prof Adrian Cheok and Intelligent Toys Limited’s chief executive officer Dr David Levy.
On the “Love and Sex with Robots” website, it states that LSR 2015 will be held on 16th November in the Black Box and White Box arts complex in Medini Mall in Johor’s Iskandar economic region. It’s right next door to Legoland Malaysia.
An introductory note on the website read:
Within the fields of Human-Computer Interaction and Human-Robot Interaction, the past few years have witnessed a strong upsurge of interest in the more personal aspects of human relationships with these artificial partners. This upsurge has not only been apparent amongst 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.
The LSR 2015 congress has planned several sessions to cover various topics including robot emotions, humanoid robots, clone robots, entertainment robots, robot personalities, teledildonics, intelligent electronic sex hardware (???), robot personalities, roboethics, and more.
What makes it even more confusing is that the “Love and Sex with Robots” website features the logo of Tourism Malaysia’s “Malaysia Year of Festivals 2015” (MYFEST) campaign.
Think that this entire idea sounds wrong? Not according to Dr David Levy, who also wrote the 2008 book “Love and Sex with Robots: The Evolution of Human-Robot Relationships ”.
He’s “absolutely convinced” sex with robots is a positive thing for the “millions and millions” of people around the world who don’t have satisfactory relationships.
Dr David Levy also thinks they could be the cure for everything from loneliness to paedophilia by helping to “wean” paedophiles off having sex with the children they’re attracted to.
new.com.au quoted him as saying:
If you’ve got a robot that looks like a human, feels like a human, behaves like a human, talks like a human why shouldn’t people find it appealing?
Um, because it’s not a real human relationship, Dr David Levy.
On the other hand, Prof Adrian Cheok, an Australian academic who specialises in human-computer interface, said that they really don’t know how human society will react but the worst case scenario is that people begin to have a robot partner rather than a human partner.
He also added that he thinks most people will prefer to have “real human relationship” and with only a minority opting for robots over humans.
The congress is a part of ACE (Advances in Computer Entertainment Technology) 2015 Conferences, while the website also features the logos of the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM), the SIGCHI society for human-technology and human-computer interaction.
UPDATE (1st October, 12:52pm):
Well, we kinda knew that we had good reasons to be confused!
According to a new MMO report, neither our Tourism Minister nor our Tourism Malaysia chairman knew about the “Love and Sex with Robots” conference.
Expressing shock upon hearing that the organiser’s website had used Tourism Malaysia’s “Malaysia Year of Festivals 2015” (MYFEST) campaign“ logo, Tourism Minister Datuk Seri Nazri Abdul Aziz said that it’s an “obscene idea to organise such a conference in Malaysia”. MMO quoted him as saying, “By using our logo, the organiser is implying Tourism Malaysia endorses the event. The organisers will be told to remove the logo immediately.”
Tourism Malaysia chairman Wee Choo Keong also said that he wasn’t aware of such event and that he will look into the matter. He added that “not by any measure” would Tourism Malaysia have approved the use of their campaign logo for such an event. As such, Tourism Malaysia will take appropriate action against the organiser as soon as they have more information.
As at time of writing, the “Malaysia Year of Festivals 2015” (MYFEST) campaign“ logo is still up on the “Love and Sex with Robots” website.