Kate Devlin, computer scientist and sex-tech expert, talks about teledildonics, the possible futures of human relationships and the intersection of AI and sex
Dr Kate Devlin is a computer scientist at Kings College London whose work includes delving into the overlap between sex, intimacy and technology as well as human-computer and human-robot interactions. She has organised two sex-tech hackathons, and has recently written a book about sex robots called Turned On.
The idea of coupling up with a robot seems to have gathered pace in recent years, but sex toys have been around for a while. When did they first crop up? And did they spark the same concern and outrage as the idea of sex robots has unleashed?
No, if we look back at ancient Greece for example we know for sure sex toys were being used, it is depicted in images, it is written about, and was seen as a normal part of sexual behaviour. It changes over time – the Christian church in the west really, really frowned on this, so there was a massive crackdown on anything that didn’t involve missionary position for reproductive purposes. There were a lot of changes depending on the prevailing social mood at the time. But sex toys have been around for hundreds if not thousands of years.