Malaysian Police Call ‘Love and Sex with Robots’ Conference Illegal

Organizers of a robosexual symposium are facing strong opposition. 

Love and Sex with Robots Workshop logo

After receiving negative responses from Malaysia’s Johor Tourism Department and the inspector general of police, the future of the second international Love and Sex with Robots Congress is uncertain. Professor Adrian Cheok and Dr. David Levy were planning to chair the event in Iskandar Malaysia, on November 16.

However, following the announcement of the congress, Iskandar Malaysia, a regional development sector in Southern Malaysia (located directly above Singapore), made it clear it did not support the Love and Sex with Robots event.

The Johor Department of Tourism assistant director, Amirrul Asyraf Ibrahim, said the state tourism office was never consulted about the event. He added that approval would be difficult and probably denied as the conference could touch on sensitive issues.

“The organizers will need to apply for permits from the local district office and local government before holding any event. Our department merely facilitates events and so far, we have not been approached,” he told The Star Online.

Last week, it seemed like the organizers had overcome opposition to holding the event. On Twitter, professor Adrian Cheok assured us the congress was still happening.

The Love and Sex with Robots Congress had been re-branded LSR 2015. It was set to run as a workshop within the 12th Advances in Computer Entertainment (ACE) Conference, which will be held in Iskandar Malaysia from November 16 to 19.

But the Inspector General of Police Khalid Abu Bakar has recently warned that action would be taken against the organizers if they went forward with the event. Free Malaysia Today reported that Bakar had said the gathering could violate many laws and is inconsistent with the country’s conservative values.

The conference

Despite these developments, registration for the event appears to still be open. People can register for the congress here for between £90 and £180. Package deals to attend any or all ACE events are also available.

The robosexual conference was set to cover the following topics:

Robot Emotions
Humanoid Robots
Clone Robots
Entertainment Robots
Robot Personalities
Intelligent electronic sex hardware
Gender Approaches
Affective Approaches
Psychological Approaches
Sociological Approaches
Philosophical Approaches

Earlier this year, the event organizers made an open call for papers on these topics. The papers were then submitted for peer review and the accepted ones would be presented at the congress symposium.

The organizers

Professor Adrian Cheok is the Director of the Imagineering Institute, a collaborative research laboratory between City University London, Osaka University Japan, Universiti Teknologi Malaysia (UTM), and Multimedia University (MMU). His vision is to “invent the future of the internet.”

He is also a chair Professor of Pervasive Computing at City University London and the founder and director of the Mixed Reality Lab in Singapore. There, Cheok and his team envision a world of “mixed reality,” where computing is experienced with all our five senses.

Dr. David Levy is the author of the 2007 book Love + Sex with Robots, which was based on his PhD thesisIntimate Relationships with Artificial Partners. He is internationally recognized as one of the foremost experts on sex and artificial intelligence.

Before his involvement in robotics, Levy was a chess player. His famous Levy Challenge, first posed in 1968 with a £1000 stake, claimed that no computer program could beat him, and none could until 1989.

Levy also won the 1997 and 2009 Loebner prize for the most human-like chatbot with his computer chatbot Do-Much-More. It was developed at Intelligent Toys Limited in London.

Levy spoke to Future of Sex about his thoughts on sexbots earlier this year.

Image source: LSR

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