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Self-replication, power of creation...

kelliott's picture

After watching the film Teknolust, I thought back to my first web paper that addressed the idea of humanizing technology. In this paper I discussed the cyborg and the future of gender in robotics; I looked at various types of robot technology and the attribution of gender/ human characteristics to these technologies. I claimed that, "the more we actively interact with technology, the more desire there seems to be to humanize it--to make it not only an extension of ourselves, but to recreate what it means to be 'human' altogether." Thinking about this paper and these technologies in relation to Teknolust, I began wondering what it is about humans that makes us want to create things that look like us. We seem to be fascinated by the ability to create, to replicate, to make humans more than human. In the film, the three SRAs or Self-Replicating Automatons look exactly like Rosetta. I mean, they're practically her clones (I don't know the difference between SRAs and clones, so pardon me if I'm incorrect). The three Rosettas (as I began calling them), Marinne, Ruby, and Olive, appear to me to be what the "real world" calls humanoid robots. A humanoid robot "is a robot with an overall appearance based on that of the human body" (Hirai et al., 1998, Hirukawa et al., 2004). And remember that awkward SRA dance scene in the film? Check this out: That's a humanoid robot DANCING. 

I am fascinated by humanoid robots--why make robots look like us when the point seems to be to make them do what we cannot/do not want to? I began thinking about this idea applied to real-world instances...The three SRAs reminded me of dolls-- Rosetta's dolls that she keeps in a pretty, colorful dollhouse...There are many types of dolls out there that one can customize to look like his or her self. American Girl, for instance, has a line called "My American Girl." Tagged as "the friend u create and celebrate online," My American Girl is a "doll that looks like me." On the website, one is asked, "who will you create" and has the option of "bringing her to life online!"

Then, after creating your SRA-- I mean My American Girl doll--  you can log in online and play lots of fun games and educational activities as the doll. "Your girl can even decide her personality!"  

Though these aren't robots, there's something to say about the desire to create another you. In reality, or online, humans seem to strive for self replication... self perfection. Though robots, or SRAs, or online personalities can do what we cannot, it is their creation that makes us feel more powerful. Though these entities have power in their abilities, we humans were the ones that brought them to life, and this, I believe, is what reinforces self replication--the power of creation.


 Check it out:

Look at all the choices !

 "Light skin, brown hair with bang, green eyes..." Man, it's kind of like I could make my own SRA!! Like those two girls in the last picture.

american girl



my american girl girls





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