cyberanthropology

My new book ‘↑Cyberanthropology‘ has been published. You absolutely are invited to order it online ↑via amazon [I have absolutely nothing against you clicking the like-button there] or ↑via Peter Hammer Verlag. Offline every decent bookshop can get it for you, too. As the book is in German, here is my description of its contents in German: In “Cyberanthropology” geht es um moderne Technik und den Menschen, um Computer und Internet, um Computerspiele, aber auch um GPS, Automobile, Roboter …     Was vor nicht allzu langer Zeit Science Fiction war, ist Lebenswirklichkeit geworden. Die vielfältigen Erscheinungsformen digitaler Elektronik und … Continue reading

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moc styles

The cultural production of the ↵moc world features an amazing richness—in several dimensions. There is the vast range of scales to which the artefacts are made. But there also is a beautiful wealth of styles. Not to mention the incredible number of artefacts. And this although I for now almost exclusively have limited my scope to ‘Star Wars’ related mocs. But then again this was to be expected when dealing with aspects of the fandom of the biggest intellectual property franchise around.     Here are two examples. Both interpretations of the same subject, an imperial ↑AT-AT walker, are by … Continue reading

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consuming androids

At ↑Best of Behind-the-Scenes I just stumbled over the above still of German actress Brigitte Helm (1906/08-1996) on the set of ‘Metropolis’ (Lang 1927). Obviously it was quite hot inside the costume of the Maschinenmensch, which rendered the actress more or less helpless. Half a century later British actor Anthony Daniels suffered similar hardships as ↑C3P-O on the set of ‘Star Wars’ (Lucas 1977), as the following stills show, which I collected from somewhere on the Net ages ago:  It may or may not be that the designs of Lord Vader and C3P-O were inspired by ↵vintage firefighters’ equipment, but … Continue reading

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pop replicant

In the ‘Süddeutsche Zeitung,’ one of Germany’s biggest transregional daily newspapers, I just read a wonderful review of the 3D-documentary ‘Never say never’ (Chu 2011) on Justin Bieber. Jan Füchtjohann begins ↑his review thus: Does the teenie-popstar Justin Bieber dream of electrical sheep? Just like in Philip K. Dick’s science-fiction novel and blueprint of ‘Blade Runner,’ ‘Do androids dream of electrical sheep?’ there indeed is a growing number of people who try to find out if Justin Bieber is a regular boy, or a replicant who should be phased out. [my translation—put the blame on me] ‘Never say never’ does … Continue reading

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we, robot

About ↑Mark Stephen Meadows I first heard when I still was deep into ‘↑Second Life‘ (SL). His book ‘I, avatar’ (2008) is outstandingly designed—Meadows is a portrait artist and author by profession—and from all physical books on the topic does by far the most justice to SL in terms of visual representation. In terms of content, it until today is the best I read on the issue of ‘the avatar,’ which Meadows does not restrict to the graphical representation of the user-controlled agent in SL. He understands it as a term for all kinds of online manifestation of a human … Continue reading

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robotopia nipponica

WAGNER, COSIMA. [in print]. Robotopia Nipponica – Recherchen zur Akzeptanz von Robotern in Japan. [Robotopia Nipponica: Research on the acceptance of robots in Japan]. Marburg: Tectum. [English abstract] WAGNER, COSIMA. 2010 “”Silver robots” and “robotic nurses”? Japanese robot culture and elderly care,” in Demographic change in Japan and the EU: Comparative perspectives. edited by Annette Schad-Seifert and Shingo Shimada, pp. 131-154. Düsseldorf: Düsseldorf University Press. WAGNER, COSIMA. 2009a ““Tele-Altenpflege” und “Robotertherapie”: Leben mit Robotern als Vision und Realität für die überalterte Gesellschaft Japans [“Tele-care for the elderly” and “robot therapy”: Living with robots as a vision and reality for Japans … Continue reading

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21st century man

  ‘It is like you to be more concerned for a machine than for a man.” He [eminent professor of sociology Simon Ninheimer] looked at her with savage contempt.     It left her [US Robots’ Chief Robopsychologist Dr. ↑Susan Calvin] unmoved. ‘It merely seems so, Professor Ninheimer. It is only by being concerned for robots that one can truly be concerned for twenty-first-century man. You would understand this if you were a roboticist.’     ‘I have read enough ↵robotics to know I don’t want to be a roboticist!’     ‘Pardon me, you have read a book on … Continue reading

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robots and suicide bombing

a bizarre relationship in a decidedly cyberpunked world On Monday, 4 February 2008 in a shopping mall in Dimona, southern Israel, a “woman has been killed in a suicide bombing […], the first such attack by Palestinian militants in over a year,” ↑reported the BBC. Very sad and tragical (absolutely no irony or cynicism here), as the most of what I heard from the Middle East via the traditional mass media as far as my memory reaches back. The relationship between robots and human beings has become an issue spawning quite some media attention recently. In Japan robots are used … Continue reading

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robotics

Both “cyberspace” and “robotics” are neologisms by influential Science-Fiction writers. Both neologisms in turn are based on neologisms, too. For “cyberspace” ↑William Gibson preyed on ↑Norbert Wiener‘s concept of “cybernetics”, for “robotics” ↑Isaac Asimov preyed on writer ↑Karel Capek‘s “robot,” when he wrote this sentence: “Compare Speedy with the type of robot they must have had back in 2005. But then, advances in robotics these days were tremendous.” (Asimov 1995b [1942]: 257)  Why I am writing about this here, is the fact that both neologisms and their contexts, the stories within which they appeared, somehow developed into self-fulfilling prophecies, shaping … Continue reading

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android orchestra

It is eerie like hell, in my humble opinion. On 06 December 2007 ↑Toyota revealed two new “Toyota Partner Robots”, one of them able to ↑play the violin. At the World Expo 2005 they already had a couple of robots playing trumpets and horns ↑doing the welcome ceremony—it was a spark of genius to have them play “When the Saints are marching in” while entering the arena. Astounding how the automata of the 19th Century are perfected. But yet another thing strikes me as eerie. Today everybody wonders and cheers at the androids’ abilities to play musical instruments, but nobody … Continue reading

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