Steve Bannon

‘Love and Sex with Robots Congress’ Canceled After Protests Against Keynote Speaker Steve Bannon [UPDATED]

Once again, the controversial conference gets postponed.

Steve Bannon

Since its inception, the annual Love and Sex with Robots (LSR) Congress has drawn controversy.

This year, however, its hosting conference, The 15th International Conference of Advances in Computer Entertainment Technology (ACE) suffered the most from public backlash—which has unfortunately resulted in organizers shutting down the sex robot workshop as well.

ACE, which was originally slated for December at the University of Montana, was canceled last month after protests against keynote speaker Steve Bannon.

Workshop co-organizer Adrian Cheok had told Future of Sex the 4th International Congress on Love and Sex with Robots (LSR) was still going ahead as planned.

However, co-organizer David Levy has since released a statement on the congress website explaining why the event as has been rescheduled. It is now set to happen during the AVN Adult Entertainment Expo in Las Vegas in January 2020.

Here is Levy’s full statement:

We very much regret that, due to ‘force majeure’ circumstances beyond our control, it has been necessary to potponse the 4th International Congress on Love and Sex with Robots.

The congress had been due to take place at the University of Montana in Missoula, alongside the 2018 Advances in Computing Entertainment Conference (ACE). When it was announced that one of the keynote talks at ACE was to be given by Steve Bannon on the subject of employment opportunities for minorities in the computing entertainment industry, there were so many protests against Mr Bannon participating in the ACE conference that it became necessary to cancel the 2018 ACE conference. Since the arrangements being made for both conferences were inextricably intertwined, we have had no alternative but to postpone the congress on Love and Sex with Robots.

The 4th International Congress on Love and Sex with Robots will now take place just over 12 months later, in Las Vegas, during the period of the AVN Adult Entertainment Expo in January 2020.

We apologise most sincerely to the speakers, press and other attendees who were planning to come to Missoula next month for the congress, for the inconvenience this postponement will cause them. We feel confident, however, that the location of the congress in January 2020 in Las Vegas, and the opportunities that will bring to attendees to see the latest technology in the field of Love and Sex with Robots, will make it a knockout event.

Dr. David Levy

Keynote controversy

Steve Bannon, the co-founder of right-wing Breitbart News, was set to appear as keynote speaker at ACE, an annual event that showcases the latest research and development in entertainment computing. According to the conference’s website, the event had been sponsored by major tech companies such as Samsung and Tencent.

Also a former advisor to President Trump, Bannon had garnered notoriety for his connections to the alt-right movement.

In a statement released on Nov. 16, ACE organizers described protesters as a “fascist style mob,” decrying what they say was an anti-free-speech agenda behind the protests that led to the conference’s cancellation.

In a tragic moment in the history of human civilization, and the trampling of academic free speech, an academic conference, ACE 2018, The 15th International Conference on Advances in Computer Entertainment Technology, which was to have been held at the University of Montana, USA has been forced to shut down by anti-free speech groups comprising of mainly academic researchers, who have been acting in a fascistic manner.

Cheok had announced on Twitter on Nov. 23 that Bannon would instead be the keynote speaker for a new conference. The former White House advisor will talk about the future of populism at the “Inaugural Athenian Parrhesia Free-Speech Forum” at the University of Montana on Dec. 11. This event has, however, been postponed until further notice.

LSR controversies

In the past, the LSR workshop has faced challenges such as being banned from Malaysia and having to make a last-minute venue change in London due to threats.

According to the event’s website, the International Congress on Love and Sex with Robots “provides an excellent opportunity for academics and industry professionals to present and discuss their innovative work and ideas in an academic symposium.”

Image sources: Gage Skidmore