Keynote Speakers

Day 1: “Man as an end in himself” – the libertine, the culture of sadism, porn and sex robots

Speaker: Dr Kathleen Richardson

Since the time of slave-owning societies, a powerful misogynistic myth has led men to believe they originate and can exist outside of relations with woman. This myth is perpetuated in the Judaea-Christian-Islamic traditions of the monotheist God, who created the universe and man with no female participation. In these myths, Eve was born of Adam’s rib.

Enter the age of robots and AI, where mortal men reenact the fantasy of God and appoint themselves as the creators of a new life force. Through the fantasy of sex robots in the form of women, they believe that can exist without woman, and that her existence is incidental to his.

This egocentric misogynistic myth is reproduced over and over again, in the Enlightenment as the Libertine, the symbol of the free individual who inspired the cult of pornographic sadism. This patriarchial myth was turned again in the 20th century by Ayn Rand’s “Objectivism”.  Rand attacked the concept and practice of altruism and interdependence with others. Rand’s theory of objectivism proposed that “man is an end in himself,” that his own happiness is, can, and must be met regardless of others.

Sex robots offer men a new way to engage in the fantasy of female annihilation and imagine they can use robots and AI to turn men into ends in themselves. But this myth is born from a distortion of the Real and if left unchallenged will result in the end of humanity.

Short Bio: Kathleen Richardson is Professor of Ethics and Culture of Robots and AI at the Centre for Computing and Social Responsibility at De Montfort University, Leicester. She is also founder of the Campaign Against Sex Robots.

Day 2: Can Robots and Humans Make Babies Together?

Speaker: Dr David Levy

David Levy graduated from St. Andrews University, Scotland, in 1967, and then taught practical classes in computer programming at Glasgow University for four years, before moving into the world of business and professional chess playing and writing. He wrote more than thirty books on chess, won the Scottish Championship, and he was awarded the International Master title by FIDE, the World Chess Federation, in 1969. In 1968 David started a bet with four Artificial Intelligence professors that he would not lose a chess match against a computer program within ten years. He won that bet, and it was 21 years before he was defeated in a match by a fore-runner of IBM’s Deep Blue program. Since 1977 David has been involved in the development of many chess playing and other programs for consumer electronic products.

David’s interest in Artificial Intelligence expanded beyond computer games into other areas of AI, including human-computer conversation, and in 1997 he led the team that won the Loebner Prize competition in New York. He won the Loebner Prize again in 2009. His fiftieth book, Love and Sex with Robots, was published in November 2007, shortly after he was awarded a PhD by the University of Maastricht for his thesis entitled Intimate Relationships with Artificial Partners. Since then he has continued his research in this subject and into other aspects of the future of robotics. David is President of the International Computer Games Association, and Co-Chairman of the International Congress on Love and Sex with Robots.  His hobbies include classical music and playing poker. He lives in London with his wife and their cat.