Archive for March, 2012

posthumanism and blade runner

            I found the final scene between Deckard and Roy to be incredibly provocative for a number of reasons. The first was Roy’s decent into madness and irrationality. I understand that it was Roy’s final moments and perhaps his functionality was effected by his programming shutting him down but I don’t know why that trigger him to behave so strangely. It seemed like he was conflicted about killing Deckard the entire time despite an established hatred for him spurred by Deckard’s “retirement” of all of Roy’s fellow replicants. He gives Deckard time to escape and even physically lets him go after only breaking a few fingers. In terms of posthumanism is concerned I thought this was some sort of message that potentially robots can feel empathy and that was particularly noticeable when Roy saves Deckard’s life. I feel that one of the greatest fears people have about robots is that they will not have that sense of remorse about killing and could potentially try and take over the world (the matrix, Irobot, and the terminator series are some culprits for this stereotype) and this is the total reverse of that.

            I also really liked Roy’s line about how living in fear is the equivalent of slavery. It brought to mind the idea of human rights and I was really shocked by the thought that robots have no rights established for them. It seems like people are constantly debating human and animal rights and I have to wonder what will happen when robots get advanced enough that people want to give them rights. Even more thought provoking would be if robots starting demanding rights themselves.

Robots and children

I am very interested in the relationship between children and robots. The concept of robots as toys has been part of human culture for almost a decade and I want to take a look at why automated toys fascinate children and how their existence has changed society. I would also like to incorporate movies that children with robotic companions such as Iron Giant and Hugo, and take a look at how the media portrays child robot interaction. I really want to analyze the personification of toys and how automation effects play. Why is it that is so much better than a toy that doesn’t move or transform? Does the concept of transformation in toys make growing up easier?

            I plan to use the authors Hayles, Haraway, and Hanson for my conversation and although I need to refresh on all three I think it will definitely be an interesting experiment.


gender and gaming

I found the commentary on race in video games to be fairly accurate but I think it also missed a few key points particularly about MMO’s such as World of Warcraft. For one, I do agree that women are often disrespected in online video games communities and I believe that the worst occurrences happen over verbal mediums such as Xbox live (probably because it require no traceable text and thus is hard to prove and thus ban offenders). I also believe that many female and minority group members choose to make avatars that closer to Caucasian males in an attempt to blend in.

However, the Caucasian aspect really doesn’t apply to games where characters are non-human such as the horde side of WoW. Composed or trolls, orcs, and the living dead, there is no real race to be had, and I believe that is a major factor in why the Horde faction in more popular than the more human feeling Alliance faction. Also, as an ex-player on the alliance side I never saw any discrimination based on in game race. In fact, on my server many of the top players and even guild leaders had black human characters.

On a side note, the article doesn’t mention men playing as female characters, and that is also a contributor as to why players often disregard the possibility that another player is female in reality. I think it really goes both ways and that sometimes people choose to play as another gender because they are curious or perhaps if they plan on spending endless hours looking at a character (usually the back side in MMO’s) they would prefer it to be the other gender.