Sunday, July 3, 2016

Week 2: Robotics + Art

       In the lecture, Prof. Vesna talked about how the industrialization and mass production have enabled people to communicate arts and knowledge. She mentioned how Walter Benjamin discussed in his work “The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction” that the reproduction of art work diminishes its uniqueness, or “aura”, and yet “emancipates the work of art from its parasitical dependence on ritual” (Benjamin Part IV). 

       Living in the modern world, I deeply feel the advantages brought by the reproduction in the intellectual, artistic worlds, and even entertainment in human society. In the Anime Expo 2016 which is happening right now in LA, anime fans can enjoy themselves. Only by the popularity of anime culture could this kind of commercial art event take place. And this popularity counted on the the reproduction of anime works, which got rid of the limit of time and space to deliver message to its fans.

Photo taken at the Anime Expo 2016, LA

       Nevertheless, robotics are used to create “uniqueness” in the anime world, as the virtual idols were introduced to fans. This is exactly what Prof. Vesna talked about in the later part of the lecture—how computer science shifted people’s focus away from robot’s mechanism. Take the Vocaloid idols for example: the computer software enables users to “create vocal parts” to the virtual idols. These idols were given personalities and styles in this way. The creative song works along with the robotic figures attract thousands of fans for Vocaloid idols like Hatsune Miku. Similarly, the "Artbots" are also a form of art expression through physically incarnated robots.

Vocaloid idol Hatsune Miku's concert

       Last but not least, the hottest ongoing topic about robots lies in artificial intelligence. The famous "Turing test" is to test for the machine intelligence, in which a artificially intelligent robot is expected to interact with real persons without letting them distinguish whether they are interacting with human or robot. Many films also touches with this topic. I saw the movie "Bicentennial Man," in which a artificially intelligent robot sought to become a real human physically and emotionally. In my point of view, this movie hinted on the humanity and ethnical issues about A.I. that human race might actually need to contemplate on in the future. 

Bicentennial Man movie trailer



Vesna, Victoria. "Robotics + Art | Lecture." Web.

Benjamin, Walter. "The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction." (1936): n. pag. Web. 

An, Chris. "The Virtual Idol: The Vocaloid." Post Bubble Culture. N.p., n.d. Web. 

"ArtBots Gent, the Robot Talent Show 2011." ArtBots: The Robot Talent Show. N.p., n.d. Web. 03 
     July 2016.

"Artificial Intelligence | The Turing Test." Artificial Intelligence | The Turing Test. N.p., n.d. Web. 03 July 2016.


Anime Expo, LA Convention Center. Personal photograph by author. 02 July 2016.

Xtokashx. "Miku Expo 2016 Live Concert In Toronto - Ten Thousand Stars by CircusP - 1080 HD."YouTube. YouTube, 2016. Web. 03 July 2016.

Vision3001. "Bicentennial Man Movie Trailer (1999)." YouTube. YouTube, 2006. Web. 03 July 2016.

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