Academia in New Zealand's always had a bit of a public perception problem. Because credential inflation came very late to New Zealand, a large number of very talented people have been successful without having bothered to go to university. They're sceptical about whether universities add much value.
The New Zealand press yesterday gave extensive coverage to research from the University of Victoria at Wellington predicting that, by 2050, we'll have extensive robot-based sex tourism, and it'll be based in Amsterdam. Here's the original paper.
At first I'd thought the least plausible prognostication is that customers would be paying €10,000 for a robot brothel experience, but the fault was in the reporting rather than in the original article. The press reported €10,000 as the typical price paid by tourists: wholly implausible absent massive inflation or really pernicious turns in patent law. But the original article says it's the price at the "top" club for business travellers. It's not nuts to think the Dominique Strauss-Kahn or Max Mosley of the future would pay those kinds of prices. Otherwise, the price seemed more likely to be on par with the cost of buying a robot, not the cost of renting one.
They reckon dangerous STDs are going to be a big push for robot-sex. I'd expect cheap personal tricorders would let customers and workers sort out really quickly whether STDs are an issue. The only thing that would stop this would be masking agents deliberately taken to avoid STD detection, but it's also pretty plausible that there would be reasonably strong criminal penalties attached to using masking agents. And, it would then just be an arms-race with the tricorders. Once we've worked out tricorders, we probably wind up with an STD segregation equilibrium in dating and sex markets. I can buy improved services as a demand-based reason for the shift; I'd be very surprised if it were STD worries.
I should probably leave it there.