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Can non-anthropocentric relationships lead to true intimacy with technology?

Authors:

Abstract

When we change the way we communicate, we change society. " [1] This panel aims to provide audience with a context to understand how social media technologies and the daily updating of the self is challenging our preconceptions of screen-based 'Internet' communication and influencing the development of our cultural/ personal identity(s) and sense of self. [15] It will explore the use of portable; individual; personal; non identical; devices and their impact to our current lives through the present innovative communication apps. The panel would question whether being intimate with technology, in a non-anthropocentric way could provide new critical reflections on the self and how gender stereotypes will form the Internet of Bodies and the future human / machine directions.
Can non-anthropocentric relationships lead to true intimacy with
technology?
Anastasios Maragiannis
Academic Portfolio Leader, Principal Lecturer in Design,
University of Greenwich, London, UK
A.Maragiannis@gre.ac.uk
Stacey Pitsillides
Lecturer in Design,
University of Greenwich, London, UK
S.O.Pitsillides@gre.ac.uk
Janins Jefferies
Professor of Visual Arts and Research,
Goldsmiths, University of London, UK
J.Jefferies@gold.ac.uk
Ghislaine Boddington
Reader in Digital Creative Industries, University of Greenwich,
Director of Body Data Space,
Ghislaine@bodydataspace.net
Abstract
When we change the way we communicate, we change
society.” [1]
This panel aims to provide audience with a context to
understand how social media technologies and the daily
updating of the self is challenging our preconceptions of
screen-based Internet communication and influencing the
development of our cultural/ personal identity(s) and sense of
self. [15] It will explore the use of portable; individual;
personal; non identical; devices and their impact to our current
lives through the present innovative communication apps. The
panel would question whether being intimate with technology,
in a non-anthropocentric way could provide new critical
reflections on the self and how gender stereotypes will form the
Internet of Bodies and the future human / machine directions.
Anastasios Maragiannis: Texting a Machine:
Assembling an emotional response.
Existing research into contemporary machines, or in
other words ‘robots’- captivating through a more
humanoid oriented definition- generally complexes on a
superficial unknown exploration of human senses and
communication practices. Contemporary society is
shaped on numerous technological communication
disputes that initiate throughout a unique immersion of
our portable devices, our sexual intersubjectivities and
gender affinities. However, this relationships between
individuals and their artificial counterparts routes back to
the ancient Greek eras where ‘antikithira’ mechanism
used to communicate data. That formed our future and
therefore our emotional response to machinery. [2]
Prevailing stereotypes
Certainly, our world is not only about stereotypes but
also it is about fixed, prearranged patterns that allow us
or not - to be more creative in our non-creative existence.
Hundreds of online apps operable through the Internet,
tolerates us to reconnoitre emotional qualities that can
mirror our human essentials in prescient terms of
artificial responses. We use these technologies thinking
that we could communicate more, and we could aid this
communication by rethinking and reshaping our physical
life. We use the online apps to text to someone that we
think is there to listen and respond to us, however the
response we get doesn’t necessarily mean that a real
human is on the other side of this interaction. [3] There
is a well-defined distinction here that lies between a
physical and a virtual life. However this correlation is
still blurred and not yet discovered. What kind of
creative approaches appear possible for dealing with
these complexities? But just as we getting along with
‘blind’ communication and uncertain emotions into
future technology, we become less precautious with the
openness around sexual identities emotions and
communication with the ‘other side’ [4] of our machine a
practice that social torture part of our society. Within
this panel I would like to discuss the impact of the screen
based communication process through the individual
portable devices and explore ‘our’ no-gender attitude.
Consequently robotics and there fixtures mechanisms
(apps) allows us to further explore our restricted by the
society nature, and offer us the chance to be as exposed
as we think we want to be. What is the role of art in this
exploration?
Stacey Pitsillides: Can non-anthropocentric
relationships lead to true intimacy with
technology?
The concept of human machine communication is a
theme that has driven the plot of many sci-fi [5]
scenarios. It is a powerful overarching narrative, which
allows us to question as an outsider, some of the most
fundamental principles of what it means to be human.
This includes but is not limited to our personal ethics,
our political systems and our social interactions. When
we communicate with technological others such as
robots, or avatars in virtual worlds, by; plugging in,
talking, texting, typing, touching et al we are redefining
the relationship we have with the body as an embedded
and entangled definition of self. It is this definition of
self that allows us to be intimate with others, as we
define both the relationship and the meaning of certain
interactions. On the other hand a non-anthropocentric
approach to intimacy may give us new versions of the
human, perhaps even introducing concepts of the
Posthuman [6] that have the potential to blur the
boundaries between technology, the body and the self.
Artistic Freedom
Within this panel I would like to question whether being
intimate with technology, in a non-anthropocentric way
could provide new critical reflections on the self and
give the developers of robots and avatars the artistic
freedom to go beyond the human both in form and mode
of interaction. Rather then aiming for AI or empathy
inducing features i.e. teaching technological beings how
to be better humans, we may instead consider how the
affordances and materiality of different kinds of
technology and how they can augment and develop new
and enchanting approaches to human interaction. [7]
When considered from an artistic perspective rather then
a technological one, we may ask what are the
affordances of robotics and virtual reality and what kind
of experiences would define intimacy in these new
forms?
Janis Jefferies: Closer and The Nether: the
end of intimacy as we once knew it.
In the mid 1990s, when access to the internet was on the
rise, there were many debates about on line interaction
carried out in Internet Relay chats or chat rooms (and
Multi User Domains). The second, and the one hand
there were some who celebrating the fantasy and
pretense of role-play partly because it was faceless and
any identity could be chosen. Sherry Turkle’s 1995 view
was celebratory, “As players participate, they become
authors not only of the text but also of themselves
constructing new selves through social interaction. [8]
On the other hand, there were those who were unnerved
by the very lack of an ethical dimension to faceless
identity: distance could lead to deception, intimacy in
private projected on public display, a dissolution
between private and public boundaries of safety and
surveillance.
Shifting Representations of Technology
This short paper discusses 2 plays some 20 years apart to
note the shifting representations of technology, what the
implications are for experiencing feelings of intimacy
and how ‘sexbots’ programmed to suit all your needs
impact on the young and the not so young. Patrick
Marber’s 1997 play (and then film) Closer
(commissioned and performed Cottlesloe, National
Theatre, London) illuminates this view through an
exploration of new technology. It was probably the first
play by a British playwright and produced on the British
stage to explore the ways in which an on stage
representation of two people communicating through the
interest as well as the use of mobile phones. When one
character is asked whether he frequently visits the on-
line environment, the reply is specified as ‘Net’. [9] In
one of the scenes most remembered by visitors, two main
protagonists interact in an on line sex chat while one
identifies himself as Anna (another character in the play
with whom he is in love [10]), then proceeds to play a
practical joke on the other be arranging to meet in real
life. Nearly 20 years later, another play, Jennifer Haley’s
The Nether (2015) takes on the complexities of
advanced technology where the darker side of the Net is
explored. [11] How much of the web do we really know
about? The Nether projects some of our deepest social
fears with the aim of interrogating technology, projection
and simulation in which a lucrative site called ‘The
Hideaway’ hosts punters, retaining their anonymity by
adopting avatars, are able to have sex with virtual
children. What do young people think? Young people's
relationships in the early 21st century include a host of
devices, social media websites across heart emojis on
Instagram or instant messaging. A report released by the
Pew Research Center in Technology (October 2015)
includes interviews with Americans aged between 13-17.
[12] It notes that many teenagers enjoy the anonymity of
text messaging as a pleasurable aspect in all stages of
dating. The negative aspects of technology, such as
surveillance and trolling, are played out publicly on
social media for all to see. Named after the wicked troll
creatures of children’s tales, an Internet troll is someone
who stirs up drama and abuses their online anonymity by
purposely sowing hatred, bigotry, sexism, racism and
misogyny. This is the world of Closer and The Nether as
the move is made from the stage (literary) to the platform
(social media).
Ghislaine Boddington: The Internet of
Bodies - future human / machine
choreographies.
Today’s world of connectivity between humans and
objects of all kinds - virtual and physical - is extending
rapidly, as the experimental and pioneering work of pre
millennium artists and creative moves into mainstream
debate, development and usage. In the next 10 years the
Internet of Things [13] aims to link us to all the “stuff”
around us, everything we need to work with and for us.
Additionally we start to see the evolving linkage of our
bodies directly to machine and virtual “others”, in
particular opening up real-time looping of all our senses
to the robots and avatars we create or choose to relate to.
I call this the Internet of Bodies - physical and virtual,
human and machine.
Synthetic emotions
I would like to examine on this panel how this affects the
concept of love? How are we shifting this, the most
universal of all human needs, into new belongings,
attachments and fulfillments? Can we adjust to and fully
accept the evolution of love into “synthetic emotions”?
Using examples from topical curatorial practices, both
my own co-curations[14] and others (such as Lyst,
Technophilia, Lovemetruly) plus recent mass viewed
films and tv dramas such as “Her” and “Humans”, it
seems that the next decade is destined for intensive
ethical and moral debates on the human / machine loving
- from love bots to synths, teledildonics to cryonics the
debate is on its way. As implants and sensors shift real-
time connectivity to the inside of our physical body, bio-
gels, touch and gaze tech will deepen immersive
environments. How will this effect our social abilities in
the real-world - will the psychologies of confused
identities and power play cause chaos? Or will these
shifts only have limited negative repercussions, as we
acquire 21st century skills of rapidly blending parallel
virtual/physical realms for joy and positive release?”
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01/teens- technology-and-romantic-relationships
  • Pewinternet
PewInternet. http://www.pewinternet.org/2015/10/01/teens- technology-and-romantic-relationships/. (Accessed 26/12/15)
The Internet of Things
  • Giusto
Giusto et al. (eds.), The Internet of Things: 20th Thirrhenian Workshop on Digital Communications, pp. 389-395, New York: Springer. ISBN: 9781441916730
Posthuman Ethics with Cary Wolfe and Karen Barad: Animal Compassion as TransSpecies Entanglement in Theory
  • F Chiew
Chiew, F (2014) Posthuman Ethics with Cary Wolfe and Karen Barad: Animal Compassion as TransSpecies Entanglement in Theory, Culture & Society 2014, Vol. 31(4) 51-69. DOI: 10.1177/0263276413508449
An Overview of Privacy and Security Issues in the Internet of Things
  • C M Medaglia
  • A Serbanati
Medaglia C.M. and Serbanati, A. (2010) An Overview of Privacy and Security Issues in the Internet of Things in D. Giusto et al. (eds.), The Internet of Things: 20th Thirrhenian Workshop on Digital Communications, pp. 389-395, New York: Springer. ISBN: 9781441916730 14. Robots and Avatars, FutureFest -FutureLove http://futurefest.org/love (Accessed 26/12/15) 15. DGC 2016.[ONLINE] Available at: http://blogs.gre.ac.uk/digitalgrandchallenge/files/2015/11/GDC .pdf. [Accessed 7/01/2016].