Friday, July 1, 2016

Week 2: Robotics + Art

Ex Machina is a film that examines a robots ability to create emotional responses within a human. Throughout the film, the main character believes he is conducting an experiment on the robot, but in actuality, the robot is utilizing her knowledge to predict his reaction. The robot is a hybrid of both japanese and american representations of robots. She displays human emotions through her face, but also has manipulative qualities that are revealed throughout the film. Similar to the main character in Ex Machina, Professor Hiroshi Ishiguro studied the actions of robots made in the image of humans, to understand the exact differences between man and machine.  

Walter Benjamin expressed in his book, The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction, that, “one might subsume the eliminated element in the term “aura” and go on to say that which withers in the age of mechanical reproduction is the aura of the work of art.” Benjamin’s claim that authenticity within art is lost during reproduction, is pertinent when the significance of the art relates to the technique and time period of its creation. However, authenticity can be unnecessary when the which the productivity of the creation is all that matters.

Robots are currently being made that can perform dangerous jobs currently done by humans such as firefighting robots. For example, firefighting robots, which are being designed to extinguish fires within buildings and save people without putting other people's lives at risk. ,

Tesla has also created car models with Autopilot, which self drives the car along the freeway without any intervention from the driver. These cars cannot drink, speed, or text, therefore, the common risk of humans driving can be reduced greatly. A study by the Eno Centre for Transportation, estimates that if 90% of cars on American roads were autonomous, the number of accidents would fall from 5.5m a year to 1.3m.

KFC has also introduced a store that is entirely run by robots. The need to talk to a human representative is not necessary in the store because the robot will stay on task and decisively take your order.

Although authenticity within creations may be lost, it isn't essential for the efficiency of their jobs; therefore, the introduction of robots into the workplace should be met with less hesitancy and more excitement.


"EX MACHINA Official Trailer #1 (2015) - Sci-Fi Thriller HD." Video file.      Youtube. Posted by FilmisNow Movie Trailer, October 31, 2014. Accessed July      1, 2016. 

Tesla Autopilot. Photograph. Arstechnica. Accessed July 1, 2016.      tesla-autopilot-2-640x334.jpg.

"[ENG][1080P] 160423 KFC Original+ Concept Store Video - Luhan (Food Ordering +      Experiencing)." Video file. Youtube. Posted by Fyeah!luhan, April 24, 2016.      Accessed July 1, 2016.      watch?v=JrGD_1haJxY#action=share.

The Economist Newspaper. "IF AUTONOMOUS VEHICLES RULE THE WORLD FROM HORSELESS      TO DRIVERLESS." The Economist. Accessed July 1, 2016. 

The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction. N.p.: n.p., 1936.

"Robotics MachikoKusahara 1." Video file. Youtube. Posted by Uconlineprogram,      April 14, 2012. Accessed July 1, 2016.      watch?v=xQZ_sy-mdEU#action=share.

Davis, Douglas. Leonardo. Vol. 28 of The Work of Art in the Age of Digital      Reproduction. N.p.: MIT Press, 1995. 

"Robotics Pt2." Video file. Youtube. Posted by Uconlineprogram, April 15, 2012.      Accessed July 1, 2016.      watch?v=oAZ8bo9T_Pk#action=share. 


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. Although everyone that I know that's tried Tesla's autopilot feature has loved it, I think that it brings to light a few issues that may arise as robots become more prevalent in our society. Firstly, there have been news reports of crashes caused by unaware human drivers relying on their Tesla autopilots. As of right now, is there a way to ensure and prove that the autopilot can react like a human? Additionally, if the autopilot had to decide between saving the lives of its passengers or the lives of those outside of the car, which would it choose? How can we program an autopilot to make an ethical decision in this situation?