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With a perspective that takes us from the origins of human behaviour to the impact of the latest technologies, evolutionary biologist Rob Brooks shines a light on the very near future of human relationships. In this conversation with Nat Tencic from The Hook Up (triple j), they will explore questions such as will artificial sex rival human flesh and touch and what are the unexpected delights of sex tech?
As new technologies compete to meet human needs, sex dollbots, digital lovers, virtual friends and algorithmic matchmakers are all part of the picture. Apps can sense when users are falling in love, when they are fighting, and when they are likely to break up. Machines can now push our psychological buttons, stimulating and sometimes exploiting the way people make friends, gossip with neighbours, and grow intimate with lovers.
These forms of artificial intimacy are fuelled by masses of user data and powered by algorithms that learn.
So how will the future unfold as the human mind, evolved over eons, collides with twenty-first-century technology?
Head here to see the full UNSW program for National Science Week 2021.
Rob Brooks is the Professor of Evolutionary Biology at UNSW Sydney and author of more than 100 scientific papers, mostly on how sex impacts the lives of animals and humans.
Nat Tencic also knows a bit about sex – she is the host of The Hook Up on triple j, bringing sex, relationships and queer issues to your airwaves and podcast feeds with equal parts sass and sincerity.