Sex Robots, an African Heroine, and the Uncanny Valley (Part 1)

May 26, 2017 § Leave a comment

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When I first came across African artist Milumbe Haimbe a couple years ago, thanks to introduction by Cissie Swig, beloved San Francisco art benefactor, her graphic novel “The Revolutionist” was clearly a science fiction. The story is set in the near future on a satellite colony off the orbit of mainland Earth, dominated by a corporation. Social conformity is subliminally reinforced, the economy is purely corporate-driven, exploitation of human by human thrives and the insatiable appetite for sex robots threatens to tip the already delicate social balance. This gives rise to the resistance called Army for the Restoration of Womanhood. The protagonist Ananiya is a special agent in its Covert Operations Division when news spreads that the Corporation is developing a prototype robot that is sophisticated and sexually attractive enough to replace human women altogether. Before long the resistance galvanizes into a full-blown revolution, and Ananiya thrives to become the most unlikely hero on a mission to destruct the prototype before it enters the mass market.

If the story of robots replacing real women sounds far-fetched, I am here to report that Abyss Creations, manufacturer of RealDoll, life-size sex dolls designed to recreate the appearance, texture, and weight of the human form, has launched Harmony AI, bringing artificial intelligence to the dolls the company has been making for 20+ years.  “Harmony smiles, blinks and frowns. She can hold a conversation, tell jokes and quote Shakespeare. She’ll remember your birthday, […], what you like to eat, and the names of your brothers and sisters. She can hold a conversation about music, movies and books. And of course, Harmony will have sex with you whenever you want”, as Jenny Kleeman reports for The Guardian after visiting the factory and interacting with the prototype.   « Read the rest of this entry »

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The Big Picture, I – The Fourth Industrial Revolution

April 4, 2016 § 3 Comments

The Fourth Industrial Revolution: what it means, how to respond

By Klaus Schwab, Founder and Executive Chairman, World Economic Forum, for Davos 2016

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Excerpts:

“We stand on the brink of a technological revolution that will fundamentally alter the way we live, work, and relate to one another. In its scale, scope, and complexity, the transformation will be unlike anything humankind has experienced before. … « Read the rest of this entry »

LAST Festival Art Expo Highlights

October 28, 2015 § Leave a comment

The 3rd installation of the L.A.S.T. Festival, organized by Thymos Foundation and originally conceived by Piero Scaruffi, took place over the weekend of October 16 to 18, at Stanford University.  The L.A.S.T. Festival celebrates the confluence of art with the multiplicity of new media technologies and nascent sciences that are transforming sociality and experience in the 21st century.

The Festival featured four programs:

  • Interactive multimedia art installations that break the “Do not touch!” taboo of the traditional museum and are meant to let people experience something they never experienced before
  • Inspirational talks by luminaries on cutting-edge technology and science, including Artificial Intelligence, Synthetic Biology, Nanotech, Space Exploration, and Neuroscience
  • Live performances
  • Interactive workshops or talks by artists

Click to watch video recordings of the talks.

And here are some photos of the art installations.  Click on the images to learn more about each installation. « Read the rest of this entry »

A Birthday Dreamscape | Act I: Digital Gods and A Voyage to the Edge of the Universe

July 10, 2015 § Leave a comment

Synopsis:

Amidst birthday blues, a middle-aged woman contemplates humans’ digital trajectory, the Age of Data, and her own destiny, as she samples arts reflecting artificial intelligence, quantified self, virtual reality, lifelogging and other digital advances,  in a series of reveries.

Act II – Quantified-self, lifelogs and someone else’ mindscape

Act III – The hybrid Here and Now

Epilogue – The comfort of my cake


April.  My birthday was coming.
Perhaps as a defense mechanism against the anxiety of putting on another year, my mind wandered far and wide.

Act I –  Voyage to the edge of the Universe

Sapiens bookcoverFirst it scans the entire humanity’s creation and evolution, as narrated by the brilliant Israeli historian Yuval Noah Harari in his brilliant new book “Sapiens: A Brief History of Mankind”.  Homo sapiens (of whom I am one) came to dominate the Planet through three great “Revolutions”: the Cognitive, the Agricultural, and the Scientific, he posited.  We conquered the world because of our affinity for myth-making and stories. Our fictions allow us to cooperate.    We buy into universally accepted “imagined realities” that bind us together and have given us power: Religion. Money. Nation states. Corporations…  We are now so powerful we can trump nature and be our own intelligent designers.

Harari’s framework makes perfect sense to me.  His wit, sarcasm and subversive humor are very much to my taste.  However, more than how we got here, I am on an emergency to know where we are going.  Hence, I cannot help but skip 70,000 years to jump to the last chapter: “The End of Homo Sapiens”. « Read the rest of this entry »

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