Live Tweeting Future Cultures (BCM325)

For the past eight weeks, I have been live tweeting along with my Future Cultures class at UOW enjoying content which related to everything technology, cyberspace and robot. The interactions and conversations that were sparked from these tweets and viewings unpacked discussion on various topics under the hashtag #bcm325.

I seemed to have been writing tweets to engage with contentious topics, however they gain no reaction from my peers. Taking a satirical approach while retaining some intellectual stimulation in my tweets prompted a larger reaction.

The following is a curated summary of my experience within this class with emphasis on the future cultures concepts and ideologies that I have learned throughout this semester so far.

Screenings: ‘Ghost in the Shell’ (1995), Westworld (1973), Johnny Mnemonic (1995), The Matrix (1999), Black Mirror: S2 E1 ‘Be Right Back’ (2013), Robot and Frank (2012), Black Mirror: S3 E6 ‘Hated in the Nation’ (2016) and Blade Runner (1983).

Week 1 – Ghost in the Shell (1995)

During this first week, I struggled greatly to find a degree of curation with my tweets and content I was producing. This may have been due to the long break. I found that my interactions this week were quite minimal with my eagerness to aggregate instead of curate my ideas becoming my downfall.

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Tweet Count: 51 Tweets.

Overall, this film was enjoyable and I’ve experienced before. However, I watched this film in it’s original Japanese version which vastly differentiated my experience. Quickly, I recognised voices from English dubbed television shows such as Digimon and I could not help but make the distinction between the characters. It was quite jarring.

The above tweet was a satirical tweet regarding the synthetic nature of Makoto as a cyborg which received a good engagement from my peers.

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This was one of the fundamental questions that I had at the end of the film. What constitutes living? Emotions, feelings and other intangible entities that entitles us to living. Furthermore, why should a fabricated memory or emotion be valued anymore then a synthetic one?

Interaction of the Week

As I would soon realise, this aesthetic is consistent throughout cyberpunk inspired films and media. Ghettos and economically disadvantaged areas are closely juxtaposed next to each other where there is a visible line of being wealthy and having nothing. Meggan Pigram is currently researching into cyberpunk aesthetics and a sub-aesthetic pertaining to a “depression aesthetic” not only is this extremely interesting but why does the future remain attached to a dystopian view of society? Her post can be found here.

Week 2 – Westworld (1973)

The second week of screenings gave us the original Westworld where the lines between technology and mankind were blurred physically, sexually and ethically where we questioned if robots deserved rights in this situation. This week I attempted to be more reserved with what I was tweeting and the quality of my tweets in relation to the lecture on Cybernetics and Cyberculture.

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Tweet Count: 38 Tweets.

The majority of my tweets focused on the technology that was being used at the time and their similar design to that of Vannevar Bush’s Memex (“cybernetic machine for associative indexing and arranging information by categories and subjects” Moore, 2018)

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I also thought this tweet was quite interesting and pertained to the topic of the lecture this week. The gunslingers system was working fine, his malfunction of doing no harm to the guests was a limitation of his programming and feedback loop. Source.

Interaction of the Week

The idea of our technology becoming infected with some sort of virus and rebelling against our commands is actually quite frightening. The idea that technology doesn’t do what we tell it and the power we then attribute to it in our lives shows how naive we are towards these machines.

Also, this tweet is quite humorous, I enjoyed tweeting it and received good engagement. We’re all winning.

Week 3 – Johnny Mnemonic (1995)

Week three gave us a satirical version of The Matrix in my opinion. Both have Keanu Reeves, both are extremely confusing. I made little attempt to study the plot here because really it was quite hard to follow.

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Tweet Count: 51 Tweets.

Realising that this film wasn’t the best, I researched into the effect that this film had on the cyberpunk genre and shared a few of the articles I found pertaining to the movies orignial and ongoing reception.

Here I made another allusion to this obvious cyberpunk aesthetic and the obvious line between the wealthy and poor. The socio-technical systems here are that of a cyberpunk aesthetic and culture that pertains to the assemblages of involved in establishing such a society.

The above tweet again correlates to a show from my childhood being Digimon. The correlation between cyber cultures and Digimon is obvious, but why is it so prevalent in our minds in relation to movies like Johnny Mnemonic?

Interaction of the Week

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Here, I jumped into a conversation about the value we attribute to that of memory and therefore personality. It is an area which is difficult to explore. While memories can be painful, they shape who we are as individuals. Storing memories for later use is also a discussion point which was not discussed. Source.

Week 4 – The Matrix (1999)

We got a double dose of Keanu Reeves. Two weeks in a row, he graced our screens, this time, in cult classic The Matrix. With little prior knowledge regarding this film, I had high hopes for memorable characters, a complicated story-line and awesome fight scenes. We got awesome fight scenes.

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Tweet Count: 66

This comparison between Alice in Wonderland and The Matrix was not only extremely interesting, but also goes into great detail explaining the fundamental principles of both main characters and their motivations. Similarly, some others noted this relationship between the two films. It is interesting how a technological based film can be conceptually similar to that of a fantasy book.

I thoroughly enjoyed the discussion above. Is the digital indicative of the real world? Or is it all a dream? Are digital worlds and online forums just as physically and mentally real as reality? This film just unpacked more questions to be answered.

Interaction of the Week

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Chris raises an extremely interesting point here. We have become so reliant on technology to assist us in our lives that they are making humans redundant. One day, machines may not need us, however, now in a digital age, we will always rely on them. I am also still unsure if we can correlate body/mind and hardware/software. Source.

Week 5 – Black Mirror: S2 E1 ‘Be Right Back’ (2013)

In week five, we began to dig deep into cyborg relations with an episode of Black Mirror surrounding the idea of bringing a deceased individual back into your life through a manipulation of your mind, utilising technology.

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Tweet Count: 29 Tweets.

My tweets began to circulate around humanity and the value of how complex we are as unique individuals who are known truly well only to those close to us. It also sparked discussions around how real we are with ourselves online with our social media personas being accurate depictions of our selves or not.

So, starting off I tweeted an extremely interesting articles discussing humanity and technology.

Discussing the immortalising of humans through the use of technology is both painful and just as scary as it seems. Is it ethical to appear to bring someone back to life, challenging human emotions and creating even more mentally broken individuals? Would companies be able to work knowing that they could ruin peoples lives? Business is business I guess.

Interaction of the Week

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More over, Meg and I discussed being consumed by media so much that it takes over our lives. Will technology end up making life worse for us in the end if we are too reliant on it? Source.

Week 6 – Robot & Frank (2012)

Week six involved us tweeting along to a small budget film called Robot and Frank that was an interesting tale involving an elderly man who suffers from dementia and is given a helper robot.

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Tweet Count: 40 Tweets.

Digital companionship in this circumstance makes tamagotchi’s seem primitive. My tweets revolved around the relationship between the elderly and technology as well as how we use technology for efficiency to replace empathy.

Phi Phi and I had a discussion where it is a debate between empathy and effieceny. Where will we draw the line and how can we make life better for those who struggle in their lives. Is artificial companionship better than a ‘real’ one?

I also thought this idea needed to be discussed further so I shared another article relating to aged-care and technology.

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I enjoyed this discussion between the difference of robot intelligence and consciousness. The notion that memories shape who we are, allow us to understand and build from the definitions and boundaries that we learn throughout life. Source.

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Virginia raises a great question here with an excellent article that I retweeted. Where do we draw the line with how we treat robots? Do they have rights and how could we regulate them? Morally what do we do in this circumstance where we create robots to act like humans, but don’t give them any rights. Source.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Interaction of the Week

I enjoyed reading and tweeting this review for my peers, with a few retweets and likes, this tweet fully encompasses the film from beginning to end. Can we create robots that understand the value of memory and emotions? The power of motivation can make humans do impulsive things. Therefore, at least robots will be easier to control with no motivation to do things as can be seen through this film.

Week 7 – Black Mirror: S3 E6 ‘Hated in the Nation’ (2016)

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Tweet Count: 42 Tweets.

Another Black Mirror episode was up next and we were not surprised to be taken on a journey involving a not so distant future, technology and grave consequences. In these circumstances, not only have we triggered Barry B. Benson from the Bee Movie, it also establishes a real fear of abusing social media and cyberbullying.

The above tweet gained a lot of traction within the group and sparked multiple discussions surrounding how people search for fame on social media by doing controversial things. It reminds me a lot of the film Nerve (2016) where players do outrageous things to advance in the game with everyone online watching them. In this case, the game is life.

We also discussed the desensitising of people through access to these controversial events that circulate throughout the world. As things become more common online, they become less outrageous forcing people to do more outrageous things.

I found this article quite useful in finding the relationship between this Black Mirror episode and real life, turns out that we aren’t too off it becoming a dangerous reality.

We are quite naive to think like this anymore.

Interaction of the Week

In response to April and Andrew, I brought up the idea of social media being its own unique public sphere which is free of limitations and rules. I found this quite interesting as we were able to get a variety of opinions from the class in which we discussed the line between freedom of speech and hate speech which becomes blurred through opinions online.

Week 8 – Blade Runner (1982)

Sadly, this was our last screening. However, it was a great film with a young Harrison Ford so who wouldn’t enjoy it!

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Tweet Count: 43 Tweets.

This film quickly blurs the lines between machines and humans, their independence and coexistence with each other as well as reliance on knowledge and information.

The engagement on the tweet above is self explanatory, being a meme it easily engages with my peers and I thought it was quite a simple yet effective form of attempting to understand some of the aesthetically driven features of the film.

Meg and I had a small discussion about advertisers of the future controlling their consumers as well as the perceptions of the world. It sounds like now doesn’t it? Money will always be more valuable then being ethical and moral in a neo-liberal society.

Phi Phi and I also had an interaction where we discussed the ethical implications of having an expiration date and how that would make us react. The unknown scares us, but knowing when we would die would scare us more correct? Because we would believe that survival is futile. Is this why people attempt to create legacies? Is there a robot who has made a legacy for themself?

I would like to unpack this idea of the value of our memories more as I do believe this is what makes a human, human. A robot can learn from experiences being either right or wrong, but cannot fully understand the emotions that a human can.

My most engaged with tweet of the week. Sex robots, is it ethical to use them or not, what morals do we associate with using them, do they have to give consent or do they even have the right to consent. Too many questions.

Interaction of the Week

This is an extremely interesting thread with a few peers. It unpacks the motivation of Replicants and their goals, is it ethical not to tell them that they are who they are? If they have a motivation of their own, does that not make them human?


That’s all folks!

~krisesandchrosses~

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