Week 3: Robotics + Art

Since the first machine was not created until around the year 1040, which is when the Chinese developed their printing press as Dr. Vesna highlights, knowledge could not be “dispersed and disseminated…in large quantities” before. Despite the increased availability of knowledge and resources the printing press and computers have created, Douglas Davis elucidates how there is a “sacred line between ‘original’ and ‘fake.’ " Walter Benjamin suggests, “even the most perfect reproduction of a work of art is lacking in one element: its presence in time and space, its unique existence at the place where it happens to be.”

Some of Leonardo da Vinci's ideas for inventions

Astro Boy is a Japanese manga series created by Osamu Tezuka
With the availability of knowledge made possible by the printing press, previously, and computers, currently, innovators from Leonardo da Vinci to Henry Ford have built upon the foundation of knowledge to bring our society on the brink of incorporating robots into not only factories but also our daily lives. In fact, Machiko Kusahara states the Japanese “find reasons why humanoid robots are needed like human robots to take care of elderly people or to help rescue people in disaster.” However, the possibility of creating such artificial intelligence has people pondering whether robots will take over our world as science and technology continue to develop at a rapid pace.

WALL-E and EVE were introduced in 2008
While there are endless possibilities regarding the future with robots, the primary or notable scenarios forms of art, such as novels and films, seem to depend on the robots developing emotions. Even though robots may be machines that possess artificial intelligence, the development of emotions is completely different. Firstly, in order for robots to take over the human world, they would have to acquire the feeling of wanting or desiring something. Rodney Brooks in this Ted Talks speech suggests that people are not deliberately going to build robots with such high capabilities. Another common scenario can be seen in the movie WALL-E. In this movie, a robot intended to clean up the abandoned planet Earth in the future is characterized to have human-like qualities. WALL-E along with Astro Boy, a Japanese anime character Kusahara mentions and one I grew up watching, reveal how robotics in art has been portrayed to be relatable to human beings. A possibility as suggested by Kusahara is to make robots seem friendlier and to strip away the idea of a takeover.

Works Cited
Benjamin, Walter. “The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction.” N.p.: n.p., 1936.
Davis, Douglas. “The Work of Art in the Age of Digital Reproduction (An Evolving Thesis: 1991-1995).” Leonardo 28.5 (1995): 381-86. Web.
TEDtalksDirector. “Rodney Brooks: How Robots Will Invade Our Lives.” YouTube. YouTube, 10 Oct. 2008. Web. 15 Apr. 2016.
Uconlineprogram. “Robotics MachikoKusahara 1.” YouTube. YouTube, 14 Apr. 2012. Web. 15 Apr. 2016.
Uconlineprogram. “Robotics Pt1, Pt2, and Pt3.” YouTube. YouTube, 15 Apr. 2012. Web. 15 Apr. 2016.


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