Event date and location: 5 September 2019, Edinburgh Napier University, Merchiston Campus

What is the relationship between sexuality and Artificial Intelligence? In this seminar, Isabel Millar discusses the new psychoanalytic questions provoked by the entrance of AI into the social bond, the growing figure of the sex robot and the conceptual problems this raises for psychoanalytic accounts of subjectivity.

Exploring the film Blade Runner 2049, the seminar discusses the enigma of reproduction and its relationship to sex. In the midst of an existential battle between humans and their replicas, the object cause of desire is the missing offspring around which the film revolves. As Lacan once said, the only real object a is the child. In which case, we may ask, how does the figure of the child function as an ontological problem for a replicant who never suffered castration and was not “born of woman” ? What is the significance of woman in relation to the protagonist’s (non) human enjoyment? Furthermore what does Blade Runner 2049 tell us about the labour of human pregnancy, the fetishsization of biology, heredity and genetics and the disavowed work of gestation?

Using this and other cinematic depictions of AI and the sexual relation, this seminar explores some of the ramifications and possible implications of our first forays into sexual relationships with Artificial Intelligences.

Dr Isabel Millar is a psychoanalytic theorist who specialises in Lacan, sex and artificial intelligence. She received her PhD at Kingston University, School of Art in 2020 and is the author of the forthcoming book ‘The Psychoanalysis of Artificial Intelligence’ (2021) part of the Palgrave Lacan Series.

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