Sex, love and robots: is this the end of intimacy?

Can’t find a partner? Don’t worry, the ‘sexbot’, programmed to meet all your desires, is on its way. Eva Wiseman explores the troubling world of sex robots

The world is ending. The sports fields are empty, the science labs closed. No babies have been born for years. Cut to a split screen of human and robots kissing passionately. “They’re trapped!” says the narrator, voice like gravel. “Trapped in a soft, vice-like grip of robot lips.” Words slam against the screen, a warning. “Don’t. Date. Robots.”

Except Futurama’s 2001 episode “I Dated a Robot”, with its post-apocalyptic world of silvers and blues, wildly overestimated how long it would take before this fear became flesh. It’s November 2015, and in Malaysia, where humidity is at 89% and it is almost certainly still raining, David Levy, a founder of the second annual Congress on Love and Sex with Robots, is free to talk on the phone – he is less busy than planned. “I never expected to end up here,” he says. I hear a shrug.

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