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Kathleen Richardson: Sex robots, the end of love?

Robot and heart

There are more ways of connecting and communicating via technology than ever before. Yet loneliness is on the rise as we begin to experience an 'attachment crisis' in forming and maintaining intimate relationships.

Enter sex robots. Built from the bodies of sex dolls, they are created to help humans – particularly men – cope with our inability to connect. But what does the rise of sex robots tell us about the way that women and girls are imagined? 

Kathleen Richardson explores important questions surrounding this emerging technology.

This discussion was recorded live for the UNSW Grand Challenge on Living with 21st Century Technology. 

About Kathleen Richardson

Kathleen Richardson is Professor of Ethics and Culture of Robots and AI at De Montfort University, Leicester. She studied social anthropology at Cambridge University where she studied the making of social robots at MIT. Her work examines what it means to be human in the age of robots and AI and can machines replace intimate human relationships.

In 2015, along with a colleague, she founded the Campaign Against Sex Robots warning against the normalisation of the idea that women could be replaced with ‘sex-machines’. Since then her work has explored the kinds of robotics and AI that could develop if women’s humanity was recognised rather than fundamentally ignored. Kathleen has recently written a book entitled Sex Robots: The End of Love with Polity Press, publication March 2019.