Abstract: New developments in robotics, virtual reality, and especially artificial intelligence (AI) are giving rise to a new type of technologies: the ‘artificial intimacies’. These technologies tap into the social traits that evolved during the period of human domestication. 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, entitled young men: the Incels.
About the speaker: Scientia Professor Rob Brooks directed the E&ERC from its founding in 2007 until 2019. An evolutionary biologist and behavioural ecologist by training, he 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. He has won prizes for both research (Australian Academy of Science Fenner Medal) and for popular science communication (the Queensland Literary Award for Science Writing and the Eureka Prize for Science Communication). His second book, Artificial Intimacy: Virtual friends, digital lovers and algorithmic matchmakers, was published this year.