During the second informal Togethertube session, my peers and I were discussing whether or not machines programmed with compassion and manners can have a positive influence on people they engage with. Therefore I can’t say that I was surprised to read about the possibility of robots being introduced to the social care setting.
Nor was I surprised to read of Japanese influence in this project considering there has been a reported surge in robotic companionship from Japan’s technology manufacturers.
This week I have been continuing making my way through the reading list for Block 1 and further exploring cybercultures.
I enjoyed our second group session on Togethertube and initially I found the viewings a little harder to make sense of compared to last week. However, after watching them a few times I noticed some similarities between them. The majority of clips demonstrated machines/robots communicating in a human like manner and being capable of humanlike independent thought – certainty far more advanced then the binary operation usually associated with them.
I’ve also spend some more time in thinking about the impact technology has had on life and culture. I’ve been considering old ways of life and how they have been modernised by use of technology. Some tasks have been made more efficient, some quicker, some cheaper, some have replaced people all together.
I have been giving some attention to virtual reality and how our senses can be manipulated to have better than life experiences. This was inspired by the Sterne reading and his example of sound being overlooked in favour of virtual artefacts in the creation of virtual worlds.
Furthermore, I have been reflecting on some of the issues surrounding equality and inequality as a result of cyberculture. It is quite overwhelming to think of the influence technology has had over just about everything and scary to realise some problems we have created in pursuit of digital excellence.
Last night I enjoyed my first experience of Togethertube with my fellow students. It was fun to have conversations during the films even if it did seem a little odd to begin with. On initial reflection, I wondered if Togethertube is what the popular reality TV show Gogglebox (Big Brother style observations of families simply watching TV) will mutate into after exposure to large doses of technology.
The clip entitled ‘Address is approximate’ had me considering posthmanism from the perspective of a robot, or perhaps the machine half of the human-machine hybrid as described by Miller (2011). I previously posted about recent technological developments having digital personas (Siri, Cortana and Alexa) and the push for machine to have life like qualities such as personalities, voices, names etc. What if it was possible for the machine to become so advanced, or become so lifelike, that they began to crave the human form in the way that humans crave the digital?
The following clip was taken from the cult sci-fi series ‘Red Dwarf’. Set 3 million years into deep space and long after the extinction of the human race, the crew of Red Dwarf consists of a human, a hologram, a human evolved from a cat and a mechanoid robot who, over time, breaks his original programming to achieve human qualities.
It again has me wondering if technology will ever have limits. Will scenes such as the one above become the cultural norm? A hybrid society of humans and machines?
Miller, V. (2011). The body and Information Technology. In Understanding digital culture (London, Sage): pp. 207-223.