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AP Photo/Eugene Hoshiko
“Come here often?”

A conference about having sex with robots was canceled for fear people would have sex with robots

Mike Murphy
By Mike Murphy

Technology editor

From our Obsession

Machines with Brains

AI is upending companies, industries, and humanity.

Love, it’s been said, is a battlefield. And the possibility of future relationships between humans and robots is stirring up hostile emotions in some people. Last month, an internet campaign was launched to prevent any robo-human relationships in the making,  and a Japanese robot company told users that having sex with its robots would void their warranties. Now, officials in Malaysia have canceled a conference that they feared would involve humans attendees having sex with robots.

The BBC reports that the second annual Congress on Love and Sex With Robots conference, slated to take place in Iskandar, Malaysia, on Nov. 16, has been canceled by local police for fear that humans might want to have sex with robots then and there. There is, police chief Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar told the BBC, “nothing scientific about having sex with machines.”

The conference’s website has been taken down, replaced with a terse message saying the conference has been postponed until 2016, and “will definitely not be held anywhere in Malaysia.”

Last year’s conference was held in Portugal, and drew about 40 participants. Its expressed purpose was to dive into the academic and scientific likelihood of human-robot relationships in the future, and what that might look like. Cofounder David Levy, who wrote a book on the subject, has suggested that real relationships between humans and robots might be commonplace by 2050.

It’s a brave new world out there.

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