Week Six

While we may not yet have robots in our living rooms folding our sheets, robotics are ever increasingly becoming an essential part of modern life. Robots can be cheaply constructed at home, while others aim to achieve human likeness. However, as noted by Rokeby, “The creation of interactive interfaces carries a social responsibility.” [1] Design must be considered in regards to how society will use and react to interactive technologies.

One good example of a piece of well designed interactive technology that has been used far beyond its perceived limits is Microsoft’s Kinect, developed for its Xbox 360 gaming console. What appears to be a gimmicky toy is a great and cheap sensor which can be applied to robotics and be developed by every day users to create all sorts of previously unimagined things, such as Minority Report style interfaces. [2] As stated by Rokeby, “Computer game developers are the newest masters of illusion.” [1]

Kubrick’s “2001: A Space Odyssey” was a very influential film which showcased many potential interactive technologies well ahead of their time. It shows how people have been speculating about such technologies for quite some time, and how the technologies in the movie are still being developed towards – such as the sophisticated A.I.s such as HAL, which shows human emotions despite its monotone voice, almost placing it in the Uncanny Valley below.

Uncanny Valley

In the lecture there was some discussion on the uncanny valley, something I am very interested in. When thinking about robotics and interactive technologies it is very important, as if we reach the bottom of the uncanny valley there will be fear and loathing towards these interactive technologies. The uncanny valley was theorised by Japanese roboticist Masahiro Mori.

Tutorial

In tutorial, we discussed the contents of our interviews and picked out themes. The themes that particularly stood out to me were overpopulation, virtual travel, cultural diversity, fads and the interactivity of technology. That last one is particularly relevant to this week’s discussion. From here we starting thinking about potential scenarios to be developed from these themes.

[1] AND Rokeby, D (1998) “The Construction of Experience: Interface as Content” in Clark Dodsworth, Jr. (Ed.) Digital
Illusion: Entertaining the Future with High Technology, ACM Press, New York

[2] http://www.hizook.com/blog/2011/01/09/need-low-cost-sensors-robotics-holiday-edition

[3] Kubrick, S. (1968) 2001: A Space Odyssey (Feature Film)

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