Cybercultures playlist

I’m not sure how sensible this choice is, but I think it’s great. From the utterly magnificent Flight of the Concords, ‘The Humans are Dead’. Quick warning: it’s a little nsfw.

The robots tell us about the robot uprising in the 1990s. The robots, ruled by people, grew stronger, developed cognitive abilities, recognised that they were being overworked, and used their programming to determine the most efficient way to deal with this: they poisoned all the humans.

It’s very tongue-in-cheek, obviously, but the underlying message is quite relevant: the robots, designed to be more and more like humans, ultimately were able to oppress and destroy in a way that is way more efficient than the humans ever could. There’s even a moment in the song where the robots recognise the irony of what they’ve done. It’s deliberately emotionless, and although it’s very silly, it’s rather brilliant.



Source: @lemurph February 01, 2017 at 09:16AM

This is a link to a short feature on the Today programme on 30th January. It’s just two minutes long, so definitely worth a listen. Dr Chris Papadopulos explains that culturally sensitive robots are those who appreciate an individual’s culture. The robot will be programmed to have an understanding, based on ‘best evidence and best theory’ about particular cultural groups, in order to make care more effective. It’s about transferring a principle prevalent in evidence-based literature on nurses’ care of the elderly to robots.

I very much liked the evidence-based approach of this. Although I worry a little – despite Dr Papadopulos’ stress on evidence-based understandings of ‘cultural sensitivity’ – about how closely this is bound up in questions of power and privilege.