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robot opera

spreston's picture

I heard about an opera while listening to OnPoint on NPR that sounds really cool and I just wanted to share the link for it because it's pretty relevant to this class: http://onpoint.wbur.org/2011/03/07/robot-opera

Looking back at the panel, where we had Watson and Cyborgs as some of our panelists, I have been thinking a lot about the possibility of robots becoming part of our every day lives.  At first, I thought it was a really cool possibility.  As I have been thinking more about it, though, I am unsure if I want robots to become a big part of our reality.  As technology had evolved, we already have less human-human interaction in person, which is what I thrive on and what makes me happy.  Would it be possible for people to be happy interacting with machines and robots and spending little time with other people?

On OnPoint, the opera is described: "In the new robot opera, “Death and the Powers,” humans are history. So is flesh and blood- as ‘so over’ as the dinosaurs."  In the opera, the lead characters "uploads himself...into the realm of digital immortality" in order to avoid death.  I wonder how many people would choose this...to me, mortality is an essential part of what makes life so special.  If people really could become immortal, how many would choose this?  It's just crazy to think about technology's capacity to change people into machines.

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Comments

leamirella's picture

Art?

I had a quick look at link that you posted and the first thought that came to mind is a little irrelevant to your initial post. However, I do think it might be interesting to consider. The fact that Machover chose to bring together new technology and a 'high art' (classic opera) strikes me as being fascinating. THe mix of the old and the new and turning it into a hybrid of sorts redefines what we consider to be art and also, what we consider to be 'new techology'. We've had a look at what technology has done to redefine our ways of thinking, reading and writing but we haven't really looked at what technology has done to art. Is it possible that given the emergence of technology, we will start to view art in a different way?

Anne Dalke's picture

Techne= an "art"

"....we haven't really looked at what technology has done to art. Is it possible that given the emergence of technology, we will start to view art in a different way?" What interests me about these questions is that technology is itself the "study of art" ("techne" means "an art"). To me, technologies are all human interventions in the world; technology is the art of changing the world as it is. In what ways, to you, are "art" and "technology" different things?

cara's picture

Art and Technology

To answer your question:

"Is it possible that given the emergence of technology, we will start to view art in a different way?"

I think art, as broad a category as this is, is especially adaptable to encompassing technology due to the fact that the creation of art often seems to be focused on challenging familiar thought patterns and 'normal' methods of creation. I think this is already happening, and in a variety of different forms.

My cousin, an art and computer science major, recently pointed this site out to me which I think is a really interesting combination of art, design, and technology:

http://n-e-r-v-o-u-s.com/

Also, an artist named Ira Greenberg came to visit BMC CS last semester to talk to us about how he transitioned from creating art through painting to creating art through programming. Much of his work seems to be based on writing programs that create virtual organisms, that can interact with users or visitor to his exhibits in some way. Another method he mentioned using in his art/programs is in the lack of simplicity in user interfaces. By giving users a lot of choice/control over the look of the program with out much clarity, a program can become more 'messy' or malleable like paint.

His site is here: http://www.iragreenberg.com/

MissArcher2's picture

"The Future of Innovation"

 Hey spreston- I was inspired by your post to go back and look for an article I read earlier this week on Slate, so I decided to respond in a comment instead of making my own post! Your question, "Would it be possible for people to be happy interacting with machines and robots and spending little time with other people?" is really relevant to this class and our discussion of the future of technology. Over at Slate.com, author Farhad Manjoo just started writing a new series called The Future of Innovation. The first article outlines Manjoo's plan to talk about how changing technology is going to affect our lives over the next decade or so, and the second article is what your robot opera post really reminded me of. It's about the way we incorporate new (specifically mobile) technologies into our lives and how we already spend so little time interacting with people (because of facebook, etc). The discussion of the digitization of parts of the real world, on page 2, is especially interesting because that's a way I hadn't thought of that technology will creep into and affect our daily lives. 

I haven't had a chance to check out the comments, but maybe that's a discussion that our class would like to get involved with!

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