Research Essay | Companionship Through Technology
Image & Concept 1: Mediation of Meaning.
We extend ourselves, we defy our physical parameters and reach out into the virtual realm. We are in essence, partial cyborgs as we trade our natural human characteristics for mechanical augmentations, along with mental transportation. Technology has allowed the human race to exist within a nerve like framework; demonstrated in Fig. 1 (Mapping Of the Internet). Neurones fire effortlessly from point to point as we make the connection with mobile phones, internet, and the use of social media; inter-connected electric threads. Although the internet has allowed us to store and reach information, to keep connected, to be amused or distracted, Fig. 2 shows an actual representation of our real social interactions paying the ultimate price.
We get instant gratification at no extra cost. Apple’s creation ‘Voice Control' Announced June 2009 on beta software, clearly demonstrated with on iOS 4 on the (iPhone 3GS - Voice Control TV Ad in 2010,) which has now developed to what we know as ‘Siri’, a new feature which was introduced with iOS5 only available to the iPhone 4s, a high demand of consumers; including myself were mind blown by this new feature that Apple made. ‘Siri’ has now become our virtual mentor, listener, and advice giver and is constantly improving.
It is always available, no interaction is needed apart from the conversion of the user’s audio into automatic code. It asks for nothing in return for the users satisfaction, this is called instant gratification. To elaborate further on what instant gratification is, a good example is Pornography Fig. 3, towards printed or visual material containing the explicit description or display of sexual organs, activity that intended to stimulate erotic rather than aesthetic or to have emotional feelings. Another example is entertainment, free movies, audio, free share and torrents as well as books create instant gratification. When one seeks advice, tutorials, Youtube, online articles, and the use of forums create an easy way out to gain access to information, rather than asking someone you go online. Attention faced outward 10 years ago when people use to set themselves down in a coffee store with their notepad and pen, they had a clear focus on what they were working on, I personally miss those days, now what we do is go to Starbucks, open our laptop and turn it on.
“We move fast and break things, this world is full of permanent change (Leonini 2012, pp. 625-36).
By "time traveling" (in the sense used by Amber Case) from point A to B, she explains this well in “We Are All Cyborgs Now” a Ted Talk (Case, 2014). Within technology; inventions such as the car, it has made our lives potentially easier, yet very horrific. Various studies have shown that the death toll by being in a car is around 970,000 worldwide a year. Car crashes have unfortunately become a very common sight on a day to day basis, yet we tend not to worry about this no more. The faceless voids that we're stumbling forward is the advancements of the technology, the world becomes smaller for the consumer due to the mass of multitasking and mass production. Technology is a progression for us and it will only get stronger and some day it may replace the car.
When insecurity, perfection issues and lack of appreciation leads to human fault,
Sherry Turkle: Ted Talks quotes: “We can edit, undo, redo and rewrite a message before we hit the send button”. When having a conversation with an individual or group, an awkward tension arises between the actors, a distinctly human feeling of spontaneity. We cannot control what comes out of our mouths when conversing and exchanging within the moment, no edits; an element of surprise. We are judged harshly for not attaining the perfection that our technology can achieve, or the perfection in the rebuttals of soap operas on television.
Based on Sherry Turkle’s quote, the person will feel rejected, judged or reconsidered, thus the human likes to lean to something that is more comforting and supportive when it comes to our weakest endeavors. We remove ourselves from the grief, the darkest hour or the loneliness, we time travel by ignoring the world and giving our full attention to technology or the devices that we use on a daily basis. Robots represent the new age of uncanny for the simulation demonstrated in Fig. 4. They are not like dolls of the past that offered possibilities for pure projection, the relationships people form through social networks such as Facebook or in virtual chats in worlds are excellent contenders for the role of self object. We have ambient intimacy, looking into our phones when it’s dark, we sleep, eat and breathe the full surroundings of it. We have no time for mental reflection, yet we still feel alone when the devices have shut down or simply are low on battery. “There are men who are capable of loving a machine more deeply than they can love a woman. They are among the happiest men on earth. This is not a sneer meanly shot from cover at women. It is simply a statement of notorious fact. Men who worry themselves to distraction over the perfecting of a machine are indubitably blessed beyond their kind” Excerpt From: Bennett, Arnold. “The Human Machine.” Companionship through technology is well represented in the Spike Jonze's Love Story ‘Her’ (2013) amongst this Honda’s, A.S.I.M.O. also plays a great deal of the companionship through a human as shown in Fig. 9.
Although we have a lot of advantages towards technology, we also have the disadvantages. With mankind's violent nature; technology has lead to the inventions of numerous weapons that have lead to the deaths of nearly a billion people all over our history; with the A-bomb, automatic rifles, the sword, and the shield. We have become over dependent on our machinery and cannot seem to function without it; computers, television, and automobiles. As machinery picks up on the slack, and us humans tend to become lazy.
The internet also carries out the disadvantages. Anyone at anytime, anyone can post anything, and so much of the information on there is false, there are predators that hang out on the internet waiting to get unsuspecting people in dangerous situations. Hackers can also use the internet for identity theft as well as creating viruses that can get into your personal computer and ruin your valuable data. Some people are getting so addicted to the internet and thus causing problems with their interactions of friends and loved ones.
Works from Steiner Franz, Stelarc Arcadiou, and Kevin Warwick have had a great influence to this essay and have extended my knowledge towards of technology.
My conclusion towards this theory is that we feel that it is necessary to be connected to such devices to stay comfortable and not to be alone. It is so difficult to maintain a relationship with another being, in order to maintain we despise social connectivity in public spaces. Instead we rely on technology to communicate our fears and strengths to cope with our everyday lives, whether it is a family issue, troubles in your relationship or the casual loneliness. It is there when we need it, it’s there when our loved one’s aren’t. It just makes us feel better, but it’s not necessary to rely on these things too much, or for them to take over our lives, we have to learn how to control it. Based on visual research allocated from the theories and discussions from this essay, will help develop my folio presentation.
Fig. 1. Internet-map.net, (2014). The Internet map. [online]
Available at: http://internet-map.net [Viewed 10 May. 2014].
Fig. 2 (2014). Peak Hour, Collection By Calvin Cropley. [online]
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Fig. 3 (2014) Santa Barbara Sociology ‘Internet Porn: Sex Info Online’, [online] Available at: http://www.soc.ucsb.edu/sexinfo/article/internet-porn-0 [Viewed 10 May. 2014].
Fig. 4 Steiner F 2014, ‘Personal Robot 03, CGSociety’. [online] Available at: http://franz.cgsociety.org/art/3ds-max-personal-robot-03-3d-499119 [Viewed 12 May. 2014].
Fig. 5 Steiner F 2007, ‘Personal Robot 07, CGSociety’. [online] Available at: http://franz.cgsociety.org/art/3ds-max-personal-robot-07-3d-499129 [Viewed 12 May. 2014].
Fig. 6 Steiner F 2007, ‘Boddyshopping 02, CGSociety’. [online] Available at: http://franz.cgsociety.org/art/maya-boddyshopping-02-3d-499158 [Viewed 12 May. 2014].
Fig. 7. Stelarc A 1980 ‘The Third Hand’ [online] Available at: http://people.ucsc.edu/~joahanse/onlineexhibit/thirdhand/ [Viewed 11 May. 2014].
Fig. 8 Warwick K 2014, ‘iCyborg’ [online] Available at: http://www.wmagazine.com/culture/art-and-design/2011/01/kevin_warwick_cyborg_scientist/
[Viewed 11 May. 2014].
Fig. 9 Honda’s, A.S.I.M.O 2012 [online] Available at: http://asimo.honda.com/inside-asimo/ [Viewed 11 May. 2014].
Fig. 10 Jonze S 2014 ‘Her 2013 [online] IMDb. Available at: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1798709/ [Viewed 11 May. 2014].
Bennett A 2009, ‘The Human Machine’, 1st edn, Floating Press, Auckland.
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Leonini L 2012, 'New Media and Pornography: How the Internet Has Modified the Sex Business', Journalism and Mass Communication, May, vol. 2, No. 5,
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Mitu, B. 2012. ‘From Online “Liking” to Offline “Acting”: Young Citizens, Social Memory, and Social Media’. Journalism and Mass Communication, pp.614-25.
Santa Barbara Sociology, 2014, ‘Internet Porn: Sex Info Online’, [online] Available at: http://www.soc.ucsb.edu/sexinfo/article/internet-porn-0 [Accessed 10 May. 2014].
Steiner F 2014, ‘Personal Robot 03, CGSociety’. [online] Available at: http://franz.cgsociety.org/art/3ds-max-personal-robot-03-3d-499119 [Accessed 12 May. 2014].
Stelarc A 2014, ‘Stelarc Arcadiou’ [online] Available at: http://stelarc.org [Accessed 12 May. 2014].
Turkle S 2014 ‘Connected, But Alone?’. [online] Ted.com. Available at: http://www.ted.com/talks/sherry_turkle_alone_together [Accessed 10 May. 2014].
Warwick K 2014 ‘Kevin Warwick’. [online] Available at: http://www.kevinwarwick.com [Accessed 12 May. 2014].
YouTube 2014, ‘iPhone 3GSVoice Control TV Ad’. [online] Available at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UGz5Ywf_UcA [Accessed 10 May. 2014].