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Sex Machines: Robots and Human Intimacy


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Sex robots are an endless source of anxiety, titillation, humour and fascination in popular culture – from Westworld to the novels of Philip K Dick to the fembots in Austin Powers. But what does the real future of sex and artificial intelligence look like? And how will we navigate the ethical questions (and erotic possibilities!) of intimacy with androids?

Kate Devlin is a London-based computer scientist and a leading voice in sex robots research. She’s also the author of an insightful, optimistic and witty new book on the subject, Turned On: Science, Sex and Robots. In this conversation, she’ll talk through the philosophical and legal implications of emerging sex technologies – and discuss both the alarming and positive breakthroughs in the field. We need to ‘think outside the bots,’ Devlin has written, and focus more on the future of multi-sensory virtual experiences.

In July at the Wheeler Centre she’ll discuss the good, the bad and the malfunctioning in our future sex lives.

North Melbourne Books will be our bookseller for this event.


Kate Devlin

Kate Devlin is a writer and academic. She is Senior Lecturer in Social and Cultural Artificial Intelligence in the Department of Digital Humanities at King’s College London. A former archaeologist, with a PhD in computer science, Kate researches into how society interacts with and reacts to te... Read more

Vanessa Toholka

Vanessa Toholka has spent her career working on digital solutions in the legal, media, education and professional services sectors. Vanessa is a technology commentator and community radio broadcaster with Triple R’s weekly Byte Into IT program.


The Wheeler Centre

176 Little Lonsdale Street Melbourne Victoria 3000

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The Wheeler Centre acknowledges the Wurundjeri Woi Wurrung people of the Kulin Nation as the Traditional Owners of the land on which the Centre stands. We acknowledge and pay our respects to all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and their Elders, past and present, as the custodians of the world’s oldest continuous living culture.