New developments in robotics, virtual reality, and especially artificial intelligence (AI) are giving rise to a new type of technologies: the ‘artificial intimacies’. In this seminar I consider some of the applications and implications of artificial intimacy, from therapy chatbots to matchmaking algorithms. I consider the likelihood of a sex robots and virtual reality sex becoming mainstream. In particular I consider the possibility that digital lovers might help solve the wicked problem of angry, sexually entitled young men: the Incels.
Scientia Professor Rob Brooks studies the behaviour and evolution of human and non-human animals, and is most interested in the conflicting interests that make sex sizzle and render reproduction complicated. Lately, he has develop an interest in what happens when our ancient, evolved human natures and old-fashioned cultures encounter 21st Century technologies like robotics, virtual reality, and artificial intelligence. He has won the prized for both research (Fenner Medal) and writing (Queensland Literary Award, Eureka Prize). His second book, Artificial Intimacy: Virtual friends, digital lovers and algorithmic matchmakers, has just been published.