The New Year is a time when many people take stock of their lives and their relationships. So why not come along and find out what the future might hold for your love life at tonight's talk titled "Do you want a robot lover?". The talk will be lead by Dr Blay Whitby who is a philosopher and technology ethicist, concerned with the social impact of new and emerging technologies.
Do you want a robot lover? You might perhaps think that you do and that it is nobody else's business but yours, but the widespread use of robots in intimate and caring roles will bring about important social changes. We need to examine these changes now and consider them from an ethical standpoint.
Robotic carers and artificial companions are technologies that are likely to be available in the near to mid-term future. In Japan and South Korea robots are seen as potential carers for the elderly and as babysitters. Many researchers are looking to make their products display emotion and respond to emotional displays by users. At least one writer has predicted marriage to robots will be accepted in progressive countries by 2050. Are these socially and ethically acceptable developments? What is likely to be technically feasible and just what should we allow?
Dr Whitby's research covers a wide range but broadly speaking, includes the impacts of artificial intelligence, robot ethics, robotics in society, transhumanism and moral enhancement and public engagement with science through art and performance.