According to the co-founder of The Third International Congress in Love and Sex with Robots, the event had to move from its original venue in London because of threats from Islamic extremists.
Adrian David Cheok, who is also a computer scientist, said Malaysian police alerted him to the threat to the two-day event which was to start on Tuesday at Goldsmiths University, but now is being held at a secret location.
Cheok told Daily Star Online:
The event was originally supposed to be held at Goldsmiths University. There were some threats that police had found from Muslim extremists. We took precautions because those groups are international. Robot sex is against the Muslim religion, it's equated to homosexuality. Police in Malaysia got in touch with us ahead of the conference. We have a very good relationship with them after our conference got banned from the country in 2015. The church has hired security just in case. In 2017 you can't be too careful.
Cheok added that he thought the threats may have been issued by students, and continued, "London is totally for free speech so it's surprising. I think the way to combat those attitudes is being more open."
The 2015 event Cheok was referring to was the second annual conference, which was supposed to be held in Iskamdar, a Malaysian state, but was banned by police, who termed it "illegal.” Police chief Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar had stated the event was "ridiculous,” adding, "There's nothing scientific about having sex with machines."
A spokesman for Goldsmiths University of London, said, “While we are disappointed that, due to circumstances outside our control, this conference is not being held at Goldsmiths this year, we fully support this important area of research and continue to host events on this topic.”
The conference has its own secretive methods; on the website for registration to attend, when clicking on “venue,” it writes, “Due to police advice, and because of security concerns, the venue will be emailed close to the date of the event. However for convenience, we can say that the nearest station will be somewhere near Golders Green on the Northern Line. We will send a poem with the location encrypted in it. Please read the poem carefully to decode the location.”
The website asked prospective attendees to read a document titled “London Poems On The Underground” before registering.