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Could a Robot Replace your Partner? 2019 August 16

WORLDCON 2019 to explore where science fiction and fact collide

This week the 77th World Science Fiction Convention will be hosted in Dublin and researchers from the ADAPT Centre, a world-leading SFI research centre, will take part in a range of panels, workshops and talks around the topic of AI.  For years science fiction writers have been writing about the repercussions of AI gone awry but what is the truth when it comes to artificial intelligence and where can we separate science fiction from fact? The academic track at WorldCon 2019, rather than trying to separate fact from fiction will explore how they can learn from each other to predict the direction of AI.

Speaking about WorldCon in Dublin, Professor Dave Lewis, Associate Director of the ADAPT Centre said: "AI researchers from academia and industry are seeing the fruit of their work impacting society at an accelerating rate. From AI chatbots, to fake news twitter bots and data privacy concerns, researchers and policy makers are struggling to anticipate and mitigate the negative impacts of increasingly advanced AI before they become major problems for society.”

“WorldCon 2019 gives ADAPT the opportunity to engage with authors, academics, fans and other creatives who have been exploring these issues through fiction for a long time. We hope their breadth of imagination will help us spot solutions and pitfalls as we strive to build trustworthy AI."

One ADAPT led event taking place on Monday 19th August, will see Dr Kevin Koidl of ADAPT explore how technology could change the nature of relationships.  In a debate titled ‘Would you swap your partner with a Robot designed to be ‘the one’?’, Dr Koidl will explore the very nature of the relationships we form. 

Science tells us that we make relationships to increase our chances of survival. Yet, even in steady relationships, many of us feel misunderstood, unwanted and ultimately not loved. Why is that? Is a relationship more than just a biological hack? Is it something more meaningful? Maybe even spiritual? What if there is that perfect partner out there somewhere? What if you could build ‘the one’? Would you replace your partner?

As part of Heliosphere, a public digital forum for debate (, the researchers will explore the future of meaningful relationships and how technology will change it. The Heliosphere revolves around a 360 degree camera which allows online audiences to partake in the debate with the audience who is present.



Posted by Catherine O'Connor, Head of External Relations, School of Computer Science and Statistics, Trinity College Dublin

catherine.oconnor at