Symposium on intimacy with robots is illegal, Malaysian police says


Kuala Lumpur (dpa) – The Second International Congress on Love and Sex With Robots, scheduled for next month in southern Malaysia, would break the country’s laws if it goes ahead, the police chief said.

“It’s not our culture,” Inspector General Khalid Abu Bakar told a press conference in Kuala Lumpur Tuesday. “It’s already an offence in Malaysia to have anal sex, let alone intercourse with robots.”

“I want to warn the organizers, don’t be ridiculous,” he said. “We will take action.”

According to its website, the conference aims to bring together experts in computing, artificial intelligence and other fields for scientific discussion of the possibility of intimacy with robots and computers.

“The past few years have witnessed a strong upsurge of interest in the more personal aspects of human relationships with these artificial partners,” it said.

It was to be chaired by Adrian Cheok, professor of pervasive computing at City University in London, and David Levy, a former chess champion and artificial intelligence pioneer.

Attempts to reach Cheok by telephone were not returned. Levy defended the idea of sexual relations with robots in a 2009 interview with the Guardian, after winning a prize for developing a chatbot, a programme capable of lifelike conversation.

“The world will be a much happier place because all those people who are now miserable will suddenly have someone,” he said. “It will be like the iPhone all over again, but the queues will be longer.”

Khalid dismissed the conference’s claim to scientific enquiry. “There is nothing scientific about sex with machines,” he said.

The conference was scheduled to run November 16 to 19 in Nusajaya town in the southern state of Johor, 290 kilometres south of Kuala Lumpur.