Rise of the machines: What does the future hold?

Rise of the machines: What does the future hold? article image

The clever folk at the University of NSW will present a series of talks next month around the theme of Living with 21st Century Technology.

The talks are being held as part of RoboCup 2019, an international robot soccer competition and robotics conference, which is coming to Australia for the first time from July 2-8.

Robotics technology and the social issues surrounding the rise of the machines will be front and centre of the UNSW’s thought-provoking agenda.

The program includes: 

Turned On: The Rise of Sex Robots with visiting British expert, Dr Kate Devlin

Kate Devlin 2

Are we going to be swiping right on robots? There is a race to develop realistic sexbots, who emerge from their packaging complete with perfectly warm silicone skin, and it’s only a matter of time before these robots are opening our doors and climbing into our beds. How will the advent of sexbots change our relationship to sex and our relationships with each other? Join computer scientist and sex robot expert Kate Devlin for an intimate discussion about how technological advancements in robotics will affect gender, politics, sexuality and surveillance.

When: Wednesday July 3

Time: 6.30pm

Where: Roundhouse, UNSW Kensington, Sydney


Bookings essential,


RoboCup 2019 Talks

The following three events are presented by UNSW Centre for Ideas as a part of RoboCup 2019 Sydney, showcasing the latest developments in AI technology.

Robo Ethics 

Dr Matt Beard

When we build robots and artificial intelligence, is there anywhere we shouldn’t go? Stephen Hawking once claimed that AI could be the greatest threat to humanity. Is it possible that in the future we could be looking at a self-aware artificial intelligence?

If robots become just as sentient as humans, will they be afforded the same rights? Should there be a set of immutable ethical laws around robots and AI before it’s too late and if so, whose job would it be to determine and enforce them?

Join UNSW robots and AI expert Professor Toby Walsh, researcher and digital strategist Kate Devlin, philosopher Matthew Beard and legal ethicist Justine Rogers to tackle these moral dilemmas and determine how these rapidly emerging technologies will impact our tomorrow.

When: Thursday July 4

Time: 6pm

Where: Lower Town Hall, Sydney

Tickets $10 + booking fees


RoboEthics & RoboWarfare combo tickets $15 + booking fees 

Robo Warfare

Toby Walsh2

Should robots have the right to kill? We owe so much of our technological innovation to the relationship between the tech industry and the military, without it we wouldn’t have satellite navigation or the internet. So, what happens when military engineers start building lethal autonomous weapons who can make their own decisions on the frontline?

The rise of robots could make warfare safer for civilians and reduce the lethality of war, but should robots ever have the right to kill?

Join law expert Lyria Bennett Moses, professor of AI Toby Walsh and autonomous weapons systems researcher Jai Galliott, to explore the quandaries and benefits of robots and AI on the frontline.

When: Thursday July 4

Time: 7.30pm

Where: Lower Town Hall, Sydney

Tickets $10 + booking fees


RoboEthics & RoboWarfare combo tickets $15 + booking fees

Robo Reveal

Marita Cheng

Self-driving cars, surgery bots, Siri. We’re familiar with the robots of science fiction and fantasy, but in the not too distant future, robots will play an even bigger part in our everyday lives. We have already welcomed robots into our homes, cars and pockets, so what’s next? Will they be joining soldiers on the battlefield, sitting next to us in the office or replacing our human friends? Join Marita Cheng, Toby Walsh and more for a discussion on the exciting (and sometimes daunting) developments in robotic technology. This event is suitable for families and will include an audience Q&A.

When: Saturday July 6

Time: 2pm

Where: ICC Sydney Exhibition Centre

Lvl 3, Room E3.2





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