Archive for February, 2012

Emotional Robots

I found David Hanson’s TED Talk to be incredibly surprising and amazing. I had no idea anyone was in the process of working on emotional and sympathetic robots, and the fact that he has already made a number of robots that are capable of such displays is shocking.

One moment that was particularly interesting to me was when he stated with confidence that robots could and will be smarter than humans eventually. It leads down a path of thinking that one day with all the pollution and civil conflict in the world humans may not be able to inhabit the earth whereas non-biological life forms could. I would be very interested in seeing how these sympathetic robots react to other robots and what kind of culture they would develop.

Also, I found his mass marketed toy android interesting mostly because it can keep learning. I have to wonder if you subjected it to certain stimuli if you could make it believe or act with certain bias. EX: growing up I always wanted to teach my Furby to swear but it never would. Could I convince this android to use obscenities and if so what is the limit of training?

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My video

The overall purpose of my video is to create a humorous music video involving a popular cartoon character. Also, I think it can make people consider how manipulating context and audio of innocent things can sexualize them. It should make people laugh and also make them realize the importance of context and how through editing almost anything can be twisted to relay a message the editor chooses.

The major audience for this video will be fans of the television show Adventure Time. Also, Lumpy Space Princess, the floating female purple character, is one of the more popular characters in the show. Because of this, videos that are collections of her catch phrases, dialogue, antics, etc. are frequently viewed on YouTube.

If I were able to get my video to appear on the suggested video list that appears on the right side of youtube videos, particularly on the side of the popular LSP videos, I’m sure I would get many more views. I would also consider posting my video on http://landofooo.com/ a fan forum site, or even reddit.com/r/adventuretime.

The genre of my video is user created music videos. I also wanted to incorporated elements of the dub or lip reading genre. I have taken the dub genre, a genre that puts different audio or words for the movement of peoples mouths such as Rick Perry http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BhDhDRvHaGs , and taken it one step further by having the subject sing a popular song.

In terms of fair use, I believe my video falls into an acceptable realm because it is a non-profitable derivative work. I used less than 30 seconds (although that is not an absolute figure) of a song and rearranged it and used a series of short television clips that are from a myriad of episodes. Therefore, the video has a “different purpose than that of the original”, and will not “cause excessive economic harm to the copyright owner” (Code of Best Practices in fair Use for online Video). I do believe there may be a risk of it being taken down because I used the chorus of the song but other than that I think it is fine.

Creating this video really made me realize how easy it is to download video content off the internet and adjust it for my own means. Also, every YouTube video can be saved and stored on a computer quickly and easily, and that mean that even if one were to take down a video they created it could be on any number of computers. That makes posted videos essentially permanent or forever retrievable, and that really goes to show that once you publish something on YouTube you can never be sure that it is 100% erased if you decide to take it down.

In terms of adjusting my video after receiving comments on my video I tried to go back and alter it but Imovie could not find my audio files. I spent an exorbitant amount of time trying to line up the sound and video the first time and did not have time to re-do the entire video in order to fix a few minor details. According to mac forums Imovie is notorious for this and that would explain why it happened with my video for Vertov as well. I plan on using a different video editing software for my future projects to avoid this annoying bug.

Web access for the disabled

Web accessibility for people with disabilities has never really occurred to me before today and it is really strange to think about how many people are using computers and the internet without things like vision or hearing. I have made and worked with websites before and always find it frustrating making sites that function on all the major browsers including previous versions, but I never considered if my sites would work with programs such as a screen reader. That adds a totally new variable into the equation and honestly it is an important one given how many people with disabilities are accessing the Internet.

Another thing this brings to mind is how dangerous the web could be for someone with epilepsy. If you think about it, the amount of flashing banner ads, pop-ups, etc. that could potentially induce a seizure is enormous. However, there is no clear solution for banning or even monitoring that sort of thing. I can’t imagine what it is like surfing the web constantly concerned that something could pop up and trigger a life threatening reaction.

I did a search for popular websites for the blind and the first one that popped up was http://allinplay.com/not_windows.html. This service is not available for Mac and that makes it seem as though Windows PC’s may be more accessible for the disabled than Mac. Then again, something such as Siri makes the Iphone almost entirely accessible for someone without vision, and that makes me wonder what and if blind people use smart phones.

 

Remix Feedback

I workshopped my video with Ron Hautau and Matt McGurgan. We discussed my lip syncing video and the biggest improvement we decided that could be made was for the lip syncing to be more accurate. We also decided I needed to work on the ending of my video and include more content and less repeated clips. In terms of endings we were thinking I could use the end of the song or even a clip that is more of a conclusion.

Remix video

Oil games

I thought Oiligarchy and Energyville were both intriguing takes on the oil industry and I find it incredibly telling how different the games are based on who created them. Energyville is so obviously created by the oil tycoons themselves because they put a large amount of emphasis on environmental impact. It is as if they want to put out a message that they are truly concerned more with each fuels impact on the economy and the environment than profit. Personally I didn’t feel like Energyville was much of a game as it was a propaganda/education interactive website.

Oiligarchy was a much better representation of the oil industry and it was more honest about how oil companies actually work. I thought it was a better game because your decisions have more of an impact. Also, the narrative is more thought out and it made you think especially when destroying environments and people’s homes. In Energyville you don’t see the people or the enviroment and thus saving or destroying it doesn’t really matter or expose much of a difference. Oil seems like just another button in Energyville while in Oiligarchy you can see its real effects.

Lady gaga and Gaze

What I found interesting about the gaze and media is the impact that images have on individuals. The ideal body for both male and female has changed drastically over the centuries but until the 20th century it was defined by a general cultural understanding. Today, it seems that media creators have a choke hold on what is considered beautiful or perfect. This is because they present that image to the public and thus the public attempts to shape themselves in such an image. I think the Lady Gaga video and generally the message of her persona often tries to make a statement that beauty is not necessarily what the mainstream audience has been lead to believe. However, the video seems to focus on her body and it has a strong sexual theme. It almost felt contradictory because she seemed to be making fun of common ways women are portrayed in media and yet it is inherently displaying them once again.