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LOUPS Pub Social - Love and robots

19th March 2021, 8pm, LOUPS Online Pub
LOUPS Social Event
Online booking has now closed, please contact london@oups.org.uk for availability.

A talk by Professor Neil Frude.

Talk begins at 8pm for 40 mins, followed by Q&A.

How to join the event

You can buy this event just like any other OUPS event.

  • We will then send you several reminder emails as the event approaches, each containing a personalised link. You can click on any of these to join the event.
  • Once you have bought this event, you can also find your link to join the session right here, along with any event materials. You will just need to log into the website and come back to this page shortly before the event.


Could people develop ‘social’ relationships with artificial systems?

Nearly 40 years ago in a book – “The Intimate Machine” – I suggested that tech developments, together with the psychological tendency of “animism,” would lead to the widespread development and acceptance of ‘artificial companions.’ The possible psychological implications of such relationships are intriguing, and images of such a future range from utopian to extreme dystopian.

Despite enormous advances in artificial intelligence and robotics since the 1980s, companion machines have certainly not yet emerged as familiar entities, but there are now indications that such products may be imminent.

In 2020 I was invited to be a keynote speaker at the “5th International Congress on Love and Sex with Robots” and to consider the future of “intimate machines”. I’m now presenting this talk for LOUPS, and look forward to discussing this “preposterous thesis” in this virtual pub meet.


Neil Frude is a consultant clinical psychologist, Honorary Professor at Cardiff University and a Visiting Professor at the University of South Wales. He has published over 100 papers and a number of books on topics as diverse as family relations, violence, statistical analysis and human interaction with computers.

His 1983 book “The Intimate Machine” explored the potential for artificial systems to provide companionship to humans. In 2004 he devised a book prescription strategy for mental health which has since been implemented in national library-based schemes in Wales and England that have now been used by over 2 million adults and children.

Neil is a Fellow of the British Psychological Society and in 2014 received the Society’s Lifetime Achievement Award. In a sharply contrasting role, he has appeared as a stand-up comedian at the Edinburgh Fringe. His most recent Edinburgh show, in 2017, was “The Future of Desire” and explored the potential of technology (from food technology to robotics) to create artifacts that have a much stronger appeal to human tastes than the natural stimuli that have traditionally been the focus of our natural desires.

Other details

The LOUPS Online Pub holds a maximum of 150 people.

This social event combines the comfort of your own home with a research-based talk in a cutting-edge area. 

Cost includes a glass of whatever drink you would like to bring with you !

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