The Lonely Robot

For this project I looked into the reasons for humans being able to obtain emotions from robots, beings that are supposed to be emotionless. I focused primarily on the emotion of loneliness and why such an emotion is able to pass the boundaries of entertainment and inhuman creatures. This was done by researching Anthropomorphism and what reasons bring people to performing the action of seeing a robot as a living being. By coincidence loneliness was an associated emotion with an Anthropomorphism. The more lonely a person is the more likely they were to see human traits in humans.

The works of Wall-E and There Will Come Soft Rain were to be analyzed for their portrayal of machines that exist without human interaction, but manage to portray emotional feelings to the viewer.

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PowerPoint Presentation

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Class Notes 4/30/15

Open lab has a project 2 section to help with the project. Under assignments.

Should help aleviate some stress over the whole process. A lot of the following can be found on open lab.

  • 25 percent of grade, largest part of overall grade
  • Hand holding will be ending for the project. You are responsible for your work. Prof. Belli is still available for help, but only if you seek her.
  • Presentations are worth 10 percent of the 25.
  • 2 different grades, the write up 15%, and the presentation 10%. Separate, but similar content. 1 is on personal writing strength and the other is strength on presentation.

 

Everything will be due on the 14th. 2 weeks from today.

  • Firm deadline is at 2:30 when class begins.
  • No collection will be done in class. Everything will be submitted online.

 

Abstracts

  • A summary of your project.
  • The place where you present in as clear as form as possible what your project is.
  • Suggestions for the abstract will be available on open lab. Read on your own.

 

Next week will go in depth as to the submission process.

 

A minimum of 5 secondary sources.

  • Primary source is the original text you are looking at.
  • A secondary source is a text about what you are looking at.
  • If trouble is had, you should see Prof. Belli or visit the library.
  • Appointments can be made with the research librarians.

 

There is enough research in the world for any topic that you may wish to work with.

 

You can donate money in the welcome center for the earthquake in nepalm (?).

 

The written paper has a limit of 6-8 pages.

  • Has to incorporate research.
  • Questions can be answered by Prof. Belli.
  • Formatting is to be followed for any standard paper.
  • Images are fine, but they must have a purpose for being there. They do not count towards the page count.

 

No cover letter means no grade.

  • 1-2 single pages, single-spaced.
  • Purpose is to speak about experiences, what you learned in the genre.
  • Supposed to be a thoughtful revised letter.
  • Organized and friendly to the reader.
  • It is addressed to Prof. Belli. Speak your mind on your process towards the completion of your project.

 

Details on presentations are on open lab

  • Some type of slides should be incorporated into the presentation.
  • Pictures, quotes.
  • 10 limit presentation. Give or take a few minutes.
  • Dress professionally.

 

For presentation week everyone has to bring in food.

  • Q and A will happen after each presentation.
  • Backup with presentation should be brought in case even though it will be uploaded to open lab.
  • Those bringing videos, sounds, etc., should bring in a small clip.
  • Props can be used.

 

Reason for presentations

  • Fun
  • Give a chance to those who are not strong at writing to shine.

 

You can present however you want, so long as it makes sense.

 

Everything is due on the 14th. No changes will be made after that. Slides and work cannot be changed.

 

Presenting the 14th in no particular order.

  • Leo
  • Joel
  • Aaron
  • Danny
  • Donovan
  • Jonathan
  • Randy
  • John
  • Zac

Everyone else will present next week.

 

3 more classes till the end of the semester.

 

Next week in class there will be some leftover conversation from the book.

Bring the introduction to science fiction next week.

Most of class next week will be composed of a lab day. A day for bringing stuff in to work on.

  • Bringing laptop is encouraged.
  • Sources.
  • Proposals
  • Notes
  • Works in progress.
  • A chance to ask questions.
  • A hands on working day.
  • Help can be obtained from peers.

 

Free writing on writing proposals, asking questions, writing ideas, calming yourself.

 

Review from last week

  • Progress
  • Freedom/individuality
  • Cyborg/prosthesis
  • Gender
  • Control—emotions/behavior
  • Doubling
  • Alternate
  • Futures/past

 

Today

  • Relationship between sequence of events/chapters & worlds (esp. ch 17)
  • Connie’s “sanity”/”reality” (ch. 20 )
  • Connie’s mind as utopia
  • Prisoners of war(322)—>relation to contemporary events (baltimore)
  • Luciente’s speech on circumstances changing the way we thing (327?)

 

Baltimore riots started due to the death of a man under mysterious circumstances with no investigations or arrests made.

Similar events have been happening all over the country.

Issues with people of colors being unfairly focused on by the police

Cameras and technologies helped bring attention to an issue that can no longer be ignored.

 

The power that the person whose side of the story is told holds.

Whose version of things is the truth? In reference to chapter 20.

The idea is similar to the story of Christopher Columbus and the story told to children compared to the truth.

Prof. Belli saw her ISR file this morning. Uses it as an example of an official document compared to how the events happened.

 

What do we think about the relationships among the characters

  • Dolly and her johns
  • Gildina and her contracts
  • Future folks and their lovers
  • Doctors and their love life

 

Connecting the 3 connies (consuela, Connie, Conchita) to the different worlds, present, future, evil future)

 

Was she admitted to the ward crazy or was she made crazy in the ward.

 

Next class we will begin focusing on the book.

 

Optional discussion will be available on open lab.

The Strongest Woman Who Lived

As I sat down to write this post  I was trying to figure out what topic to write about as a lot happened in this section. The alternate future she connected to, the death of jackrabbit, the war she imagined she was a part of in the future, her change in behavior once they removed the device from her head, or the brother who fills me with anger. All of these could bring solid discussion, but I have to go with the moment that has stuck with me since i read it, the ending.

When we first met Connie she was a very simple woman, trying to survive every day and carrying all the pain and suffering she was dealt with. She was jobless, living on welfare, a person with no reason to exist. When she was put into the mental institution, she became another reject of society. She was a person I did not want to see a book written about. That changed as i began reading this last section.

Connie became a strong character the moment they removed the device from her head. She was filled with the burning desire to fight against those who were oppressing her.

“War, she thought, I’m at war. No more fantasies, no more hopes. War.” (Piercy, 332)

This change in her was surprising and pleasant. Finally Connie know what she wants to do, what she has to do. She will no longer accept the situation she has been given and will do what she can to get out of it. Her attempts failed and she is left with no choice, but to fight the establishment directly. When Connie had taken the poison from her brothers workplace I was unsure what her motivations were. As she poured the poison into the coffee, it became clear that she was literally at war and was killing her enemy, the doctors.

As Connie sat down on her bed to await the consequences of her actions, Connie’s story ends with no explanation as to what will become of her. The next¬† chapter opens up with the text from the doctors notes detailing from their view what we have been told over the course of the book. Its not until the last line that we learn what happened to her.

“There were one hundred thirteen more pages. They all followed Connie back to Rockover.” (Piercy, 376)

It is after this line that I Realized that Connie is one of the bravest characters I have ever read about. Connie knew what would happen and she accepted it. She knew that she would be unable to connect with Luciente, yet she accepted what she had to do. Connie was prepared to spend the rest of her life with no freedom in order to protect those she loved. She selflessly sacrificed herself for the good of everyone else. It takes an incredible amount of strength in order to commit oneself to a lifetime of imprisonment. I respect Connie for her courage, for doing what was right. Everyone will see her as that crazy woman who murdered the doctors that were trying to help her. They will probably mistreat her and give no thoughts to a  psychopath. Connie accepted this and became the hero of her time.

My Proposal

I decided to move away from my original idea and decided to pursue a section of science fiction that I also love, space. Outer space has always had a connection with science fiction, mostly because of the possibilities for fantastic stories such a setting provides as well as the technology associated with it. I plan to do research into why science fiction has ventured into space and claimed it as its own. Whenever a story is set in space it is automatically a science fiction story and I want to know why. This may still be too broad a topic, but I know I want to do something related to do this. Perhaps I will focus on methods of space travel and how these methods affect the worlds they are in. Perhaps I can do it on how technology levels differ from civilizations. I think I can work with these.

While such a topic may consist of a paper I would like to do something more than that, but I am not sure what exactly. Writing a story may be something I want to do, but I don’t want to commit to that idea just yet.

Evil In Disguise

The book is finally getting interesting. We vaguely learn why it is that the people of the future are contacting people from the past. According to them, their world, the future they live in, is in danger. They don’t explicitly state this, but they imply that there are several realities fighting for existence and they want their world to come true.

“at certain cruxes of history . . . forces are in conflict. Technology is imbalanced. Too few have too much power. Alternate futures are equally or almost equally probable . . . and that affects the . . . shape of time.” (Piercy, 189)

 

It leaves one wondering why would they contact someone like Connie. A person in a mental institution who has no power, even over herself. When Connie asks about other people from the present that they have contacted they mention That they have mostly consisted of women and women in correction facilities/ mental institutions (Piercy, 188). While Connie was not in a mental institution when she was first contacted it shows that these people need to be in some kind of mental state in order to receive contact from those in the future. It could be that they must be weak minded, or possibly have gone through great turmoils in their life as evident by Connie’s history.

You would think that this leaves their options limited in who they can contact, but they state that they have been trying to contact people who are at the bottom of society.

“The powerful don’t make revolutions” (Piercy 190)

They can’t directly interfere with the past, but they can influence people to take action to fight against those that control them, before they gain too much control.

Once Connie mentions what the doctors had done to Alice they reveal some more information. Apparently the actions of these doctors are the first steps to the world that they wish to avoid. They want to avoid the power that control of the masses will grant to the few. Before hand the doctors work was a miscellaneous background detail, something that was not central to the story. This revelation puts the doctors research as a focal point for the entire story. While Connie is unable to actually change anything directly, what the doctors accomplish with these patients is important to the future.

After Connie’s operation we are more clearly able to see just how evil their work is for the common person. Connie becomes a vegetable unable to do anything for herself and not wanting to do anything. she is kept alive by the actions of those around her and it seems that the doctors don’t care about what they did to her as they proceed forward with plans to perform a similar operation to Alice. Skip was another one of their victims and while he did not become a mindless robot, he lost what made him Skip as noticed by Connie (Piercy, 264). This change is seen as a positive outcome by the doctors even allowing him to go home to visit his parents. What they could not see was that this change destroyed Chip, allowing him to kill himself. The death of a patient who they were trying to improve should be a deterrent to future experiments, but these doctors only see these people as experiments and Chip was a failed experiment. The work of the doctors is not to the benefit of the patients.

(Im aware this is late, but better late than never.)

Pain Not Needed

As the story progresses the reader learns more about the world of the future. A beautiful world is painted, one without the problems and pains of Connie’s world, very much like a Utopian society, only without the false perfections. Everyone is unique and accepted for being so. As a person from this time, a lot of what they do seems odd, but trying to understand it and reading about the issues it does away with, it becomes easy to accept it all. Except for Connie.

In chapter 5 Connie visits the place where the children of the future are born, in a lab being incubated outside of a woman’s womb. Their reasoning is that it allows them to breed diversity and do away with racism while still maintaining racial diversity. Another reason is that in an effort to achieve equality among the human population, both male and females had to be equal, and the only way to do that was to do away with biological differences. One of those differences being a woman’s ability to give birth. Connie also learns about the three mother system with which the children of this place are raised. All of this is alien to Connie and she does not agree with it.

For every explanation that the people of the future give, Connie argues against. Connie continues to think in the way of someone from the present who cannot see any other way to live their life. As a disclaimer, I am also someone from the present, so some of what will be written here may be biased. on the last page of the chapter (Piercy 98) Connie begins to think about her daughter as well as expressing her thoughts on the futures way of living. She cannot understand how it is that those people can be mothers when they have never raised a child from their wombs, “How could anyone know what being a mother means who has never carried a child nine months heavy under her heart, who has never borne a baby in blood and pain, who has never suckled a child.” She begins to hate them for living their life without the pain and suffering that Connie went through her entire life, for being happier than her. Connie does not see that this world is a better world to live in even if some things are sacrificed to achieve it.

Later on Connie witnesses the name day of one of the children of the future. There she learns the risk that the child will go through in order to become an adult. The society of the future has learned that this is the best way for the development of a person, to go from child to adult and have accepted it as a rite of passage. Connie continues to view this event as barbaric. To her, a child should not be allowed to risk their life for independence, but to them, it must be done.

In the rest of the chapters, Connie is always questioning these things with a sense of disdain, Thinking of these people as mad. Its not until she sees her daughter Angelina (Piercy 133) that her mood changes. Connie was jealous, angry that these people have a better life than her and none of her worries, but when she sees her “daughter” she accepts it, “For the first time her heart assented to Luciente, to Bee, to Magdalena”. Here her “daughter” can live happily and better than she ever would have in the world she was born.

Life Can Be Too Cruel

The opening pages of Woman On The Edge Of Time thrust the reader into a traumatic event for a Consuelo Ramos who also goes by the name of Connie. For a science fiction novel, you would not expect such a book to start off with a terrible real life situation. It sets the life for the protagonist Connie, which is one of hardship and misery. This is further reinforced by the second chapter where the reader learns of all the difficulty Connie has had in her life, and it is a long list.¬†An abusive husband,¬†losing a loved one in prison, losing her child because of a mistake, spending time in an insane asylum and others.¬†Her life has consisted of being treated unfairly, dealing with¬†terrible people and just bad luck. It makes one wonder how anyone could live such a life. All of these events make it easy to sympathize with Connie. A woman who right off the start of the story is at the lowest point in her life as she is being thrown into another insane asylum after receiving a beating from her niece’s pimp.¬†Its a sad feeling reading about this woman’s life and the only thing that makes it possible to continue reading is the requirement to do so, as well as the involvement of the character known as Luciente.

Just wondering how it is that Luciente will make this story a science fiction story is enough of a drive to read through all the terrible events in Connie’s life. There is also a desire to see thing turn around for Connie. Its a clich√© for a character to be nothing in the beginning, but through the course of the story become stronger and be able to handle their past problems. Its overused because it works well, everyone wants to see how the protagonist will turn things around and conquer their past issues. I don’t think that will happen exactly like that here, but there is a desire to see Connie pull herself from the deep hole she is in. When Connie first entered the future there was hope that here she would be able to better herself, physically and mentally, but Luciente states that she is not actually in the future and she cannot be improved physically, as when Connie was eating (Piercy, 70). This dashed the hope for Connie to get better. This won’t be an underdog story, but then what will it be about?

These first few chapters just state the point that Connie is doing terribly and is doing worse as she is thrown into an insane asylum. It does introduce the future setting through Luciente, but it seems like a minor thing compared to everything else that is happening in Connie’s life. It makes one wonder why the author made Connie’s life so terrible. These things do make Connie the person she is, but its hard to read about it all and be reminded consistently as one can get angry and depressed reading this. I am hoping the rest of the book goes more into the science fiction element.

A Story To Remember

Back in Junior High School I had found a book called “The Martian Chronicles”. It was a¬†series of short stories chronicling humanity’s¬†time on Mars. From their initial landing up until their last moments. Without giving too much away a war comes to Earth. The short story “There Will Come Soft Rain” gave an idea of Earth’s situation and it was a bleak one. The stories in this book helped me understand that a lot of science fiction stories fill you with melancholy. I remember a lot of those stories, but this story, although terribly depressing, was one of my favorites.

It starts off describing a future home where everything is automated. It comes off as a perfect home for a perfect family. Breakfast is made for a family. Morning announcements for them to hear. The weather and advice for proper attire is given. The garage door is opened to allow the car out. Except the house is empty.

Eight-one, tick-tock, eight-one o’clock, off to school, off to work, run, run, eight-one! ¬†
But no doors slammed, no carpets took the soft thread of rubber heels. It was raining outside. The weather box on the front door sang quietly: “Rain, rain, go away; rubbers, raincoats for today…” And the rain tapped on the empty house, echoing.

As the story progresses the reader begins to learn the house is empty and is left with the question, where is the family? It does not take long before being told what happened to the world of this house.

Ten o’clock.
The sun came out from behind the rain. The house stood alone in a city of rubble and ashes. This was the one house left standing. At night the ruined city gave off a radioactive glow which could be seen for miles.

The entire family as well as the city the house is located in were annihilated by nuclear war. Only the house was left standing. After this revelation, an understanding is reached. This story¬†is about¬†the actions of a house long after its masters have disappeared. It shows how¬†simple machines that¬†are programmed to do one thing will continue performing¬†their duties¬†without caring if it has anyone to serve. That to me is depressing. The destruction of the human race does not matter because lets face it, it was bound to happen. Its the persistence of these machines to continue doing their duties even when it does not matter. Do these robots realize that what they are doing is redundant, but are unable to stop because that’s the only thing they know how?

This is a theme that has been present in a lot of science fiction. Its also one of the most saddening themes. In the movie AI there is a robot boy who is as real as a boy can get. Wanting a mother that will love him, being able to get scared and feel love for others. That movie is another sad movie I cannot bring myself to watch again, but the ending always stuck with me. Technically it has a happy ending, but that is not how I saw it. Spoilers for those who have not seen it. In his pursuit to become a real boy, the robot travels to the bottom of the ocean in order to find the fairy that will let him become real. He finds her, but is unable to understand that she is a statue. He wishes to her to become a real boy over and over in hope that she will grant him his wish, but it never happens. He spends his entire lifespan in that submarine wishing that he would be real so he could finally be with his mother. By all definitions this robot was a sentient being, but as a machine he spent his whole life doing one thing, never deviating. Sure he is much more complex than the mice in the book, but it was inability to do anything else that depresses me. Sure the movie technically ends happily, but I did not see it that way. The robot bear that was his companion from the beginning is with him at the end as well. As the robot boy finally achieves happiness and drifts off to his eternal slumber he is left alone, unable to die. Where was his happy ending? He did not have one as he was just a robot destined be a teddy bear. I might have gone off topic with the bear, but watching him wonder what next was just too hard to watch.

End of the spoilers for AI. Start of spoilers for Wall-E. In the movie the Earth has been severely polluted, driving all humans off the world, leaving behind robots that will clean up their mess. We don’t see this part of the movie, joining thousands of years later after all those robots have fallen into disrepair. Instead we are introduced to Wall-E, one of the robots left to clean the Earth. Sure Pixar has the skill to make his tale a cute and lovable one, but that changes when you put some thought into his story. Wall-E has been on Earth a long time by himself. His only purpose was to clean the pollution. A job he happily carried out by himself for thousands of years. Luckily Wall-E managed to obtain sentience and make his time on Earth a nice experience, but the fact is that all that time he would perform the duty he was assigned to do, clean the pollution. It did not matter who he was doing it for because its what he was built to do. If Eva never came Wall-E would have spent the rest of eternity¬†performing the same routine.

This theme is one that manages to depress me, but is also one that I love. It helps me become emotionally involved in the story as¬†I cannot possibly fathom the lives of these machines as they perform the same thing over and over. They don’t do it to serve their humans masters, they do it because they don’t know how to do anything else.

My Trip to the Museum

It has been a long time since I have visited any Museum. So I write this as someone who does not know what to expect from the Museum. Am I supposed to be wowed? Are the things on display supposed to get me to think? Or am I supposed to enjoy the view? I have no idea. Regardless of what a Museum is suppose to do I will express my thoughts on the exhibition that we were supposed to see.

the exhibit was about the growing population in large cities and how to deal with this problem. It used 6 different cities as the focal point and worked on how to solve the problems that exist in them.

I can say that I was not wowed. From an aesthetic view, it was ok. It did kind of get me thinking. Most of the ideas brought forth were pretty cool, tackling the problems in a creative way. They seemed like the ideas that would exist in utopia societies where everything is perfect and works together exactly as its supposed to. Perhaps I am cynical, but I don’t think a lot of these ideas will be doable. For instance the one in Istanbul. Their idea was to form apartment blocks into self sustaining communities where the people pitched in. Individuals had to rise up and take responsibilities. This seems like a very unlikely prospect to me. Do we really think that people will put in the effort to help each other out like this? I find it na√Įve of the designers to think so. It is possible that it will happen, but it relies too much on the motivation and effort of the people living there.

The ideas presented for Hong Kong seemed very idealistic. Creating man made islands, each one serving a different purpose. This idea seemed straight out of a sci fi story, especially the idea of constructing some kind of floating tanker filled with alleys, pipes, and gutters. Its supposed to be some kind of recreational location. Its definitely not going to devolve into a place for serial killers. It probably won’t get that bad, but still, it just seems weird.

I am not sure if exhibits are supposed to be interactive, but the exhibit was not very interactive. most of it was reading and looking at pictures. The reading gave insight into the thoughts behind designing these projects, as well as the pictures. It did not really come off as something that would be in a Museum though. I don’t want to be too critical because I am not someone who visits museums a lot, not to mention when I think of Museum I think of ancient stuff and I forgot that this is the Museum of MODERN art. For all I know, it was a good Museum piece.

Electric Animals Have An Easy Simple Life

After reading chapters 6-15, I can safely say, I am so confused.

I wonder if its just me that has issues following what’s going on, or if its the authors writing that is complicating things. There are a number of things that I find confusing, first, the android Polokov. Was he posing the entire time as a cop for the Russian police? Did the previous bounty hunter actually test this man while he was a cop or as a civilian? It seemed so odd for Polokov to come directly to Rick. I understand it was in an effort to take out Rick while his guard was down, but then, how did Polokov give himself away to Rick? and why did Rick¬†mistakenly say,¬†on page 92,¬†Polokov¬†was Kadalyi rather than stating Kadalyi was Polokov? Perhaps that was merely a human mistake, but it just seemed jarring for that mistake to happen. Also, wasn’t Rick just checking out Polokov’s home and workplace? Was Polokov living two lives? I know this¬†paragraph is composed of so many questions, but this book is just confusing the hell out of me.

Next issue I had, the “fake” police office which Rick was taken to after being arrested. How is it possible that 2 departments coincide in the same city without having any knowledge of each other? Its possible that the fake one does not really do any police work, but then why maintain the charade of being an actual police department with fake cops and fake tasks when they don’t really do any of that? Do they know they are a fake? Then if they believe they are real how could they not come in contact with the real police force? Do they know they are androids? Are they illegal androids? Why was it not a bigger issue that an android infested building was located under their noses? I would think this would call for some serious action to wipe out all those androids, but once Rick leaves the place, it becomes obsolete.

Third and last issue that I found is Phil Resch. Is he really human? Sure he managed to pass Rick’s test, but then why was he the only human in this android building? It made sense for Garland to lie about Resch being an android, but what was Luba Luft’s motive? She also¬† states that Resch is an android on page 132. Resch also says that he had been working at that department for about 3 years. If the place is really a fake, then how could he not pick up on that? How did he not run into any of the real police department? Was his suggestion about a real Garland being replaced the truth? Although that would not make sense when the department he is at is a fake.

Now that im done ranting about the things that I don’t understand, there are a few things I want to bring up. Isidores interaction with the androids shows just how cold and inhuman they are. They regard him with thoughts or worry for him, he is merely another flesh bag that is of no concern to their own survival. It makes me feel sorry for him as the only people who are a part of his life don’t care about him and no one else cares for him. I don’t think he is as dumb as his chikenhead status says, but everyone telling him he’s special and his loneliness has probably had an effect on his perception of the world.

Rick’s purchase of a goat once again shows the importance of animals. Sure he has gone through several stressful moments as well as an even that made him question himself, but he decided to go into a huge amount of debt just for the purpose of owning a goat. The joy that he and his wife receive from it is wonderful, but the debt and future stress should have made them worry instead.

I am not sure what to make of this book. Whether the author deliberately left all these huge issues or I am just reading too much into it.