Apologies ahead for any triggering imagery I just provided.
Just last week our own Sarah Rumpf detailed how Steve Bannon had been tabbed to speak at a Republican event in Florida. The interest was so tepid that the organizers began offering up free tickets. This was especially hilarious when you consider the event was a fundraiser.
Now an announcement of another speaking engagement has delivered some Bannon intrigue. (I probably should have gone with another word besides “engagement”.) Bannon has been tabbed to be the keynote speaker at the Advances in Computer Entertainment tech conference at the University of Montana campus, running from December 10-14. Not sounding exciting enough for you? Then how about this:
Steve Bannon, and sex bots!
Okay, before you lunge for your wallet let me detail things. ACE dubs itself as the leading scientific forum for dissemination of cutting-edge research results in the area of entertainment computing. Conference organizer, Adrian Cheok, said that Bannon will be speaking about how economic nationalism will aid minorities in obtaining jobs in the tech sector.
However those who pay for registration will be able to attend Bannon’s speech as well as another featured component of the weekend:
The conference notes participants may attend a “co-located conference” called the International Congress on Love and Sex with Robots. “The past few years have witnessed a strong upsurge of interest and academic discussion on the personal aspects of human relationships with artificial partners.”
The conference is said to cover topics in this range such as robotic emotions, robo-ethics, and intelligent electronic sex hardware.
The robo-ethics portion may come into play sooner than some expect. The announcement of Bannon delivering the keynote address has led to some pushback in the robotic professorial community. One speaker has already backed out of his commitment, citing Bannon’s participation.
There have been reports of numerous others expressing opposition on social media. Apparently the charge of domestic abuse once leveled at Bannon in 1996 (the case was dropped) does not juxtapose well with organizers stating in promotional materials they are celebrating pioneering women computer scientists. The university crowd may be open to the concept of physical congress with automatons, but sharing a dais with an alt-right figure is intolerable!
I do not even want to raise the possibility of potential for outrage that may occur with female computer scientists and the Love and Sex with Robots panels. It is triggering enough looping Bannon in with this subject matter…though in a way you can say his appearance could justify the desire for a robotic partnership.