Tag: Technorhetoric


Printing virtuality

desktop factory 3d printer

Phone, internet, television, photography, even books or music: today it is hard for the mind to escape from virtual worlds. A day without communication or interaction could make us feel like we left home without a wallet. The key to why communication and virtual reality is such a success, hence adopted in our every-day-life, is the concept of being in two places at the same time. This ability makes us feel like we can experience twice as much in the time given.

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The things we design end up designing us

next nature car experience: The things we design end up designing us

“While battling the forces of nature, man has become more and more independent of physical conditions. At the same time, however, he has become more and more dependent of technical means, of other people and of his own self. Just think of the various forms of dependence that come along with driving a car. There have to be highways, for which road tax has to be paid. Petrol supply has to be arranged. Once on the road, you will have to concentrate, otherwise you might end up in a car crash. You will have to show consideration for other road users, and you simply need to have your driver`s licence. And all this is required just to move your body from A to B and save a little time. Physical independence is achieved at the expense of social and mental dependence. Highly precise and productive machines often require highly precise and productive functioning humans to operate them. The things we design often end up designing us”
– Exploring Next Nature.

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Observe/me Bags

observer bags

No, these aren’t X-ray pictures, these are designers bags! Part of the Observe/me fashion line of bags, wallets, gloves and coats created for the modern observed people. Everything has already been made transparent and is preprinted with not always innocent content. The products are meant to show people that they have in fact less privacy than they might think. The creator, Geeske Wiarda, aims to create awareness and debate with her appealing products.

Related: Cat bag |Â? CCTV Total World Domination.

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The Professors Doppelgänger Robot

hiroshi ishiguro

Although there are numerous researchers out there creating humanoid robots, none are as explicit about the close relation between anthropomorphism and narcissism as professor Hiroshi Ishiguro from ATR Intelligent Robotics Laboratory. Ishiguro decided that if he’s going to be a roboticist he might as well create an “angry eyes” twin-brother version of himself, the Geminoid HI-1 (japanese website).

The remarkable realism comes from silicone molds cast from Ishiguro’s own body. Ishiguro is using his robot twin brother to teach his classes for him, and creep out students with lifelike movements such as blinking, “breathing” and fidgeting. The robot can be remotely controlled via a motion capture system that tracks Ishiguro’s mouth movements and allows the robot to speak his voice – or that of an assistant if he’s feeling particularly uninspired.

The aim of the project is to experiment with the viability of tele-presence and find out if he can really command the attention of a classroom with a mere robot doppelgänger. Ishiguro thinks future business meetings will have androids and humans side by side at the table. Well, lets be positive, it sure would save a lot of business class flights. There is also a peculiar video of Geminoid HI-1.

Via Engadget, Related: Robot Dance, Social Robots, Child Care Robot.

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Boomeranged Metaphors



Henk Rozema displaying his invention (2006), the digital tombstone “Digizerk”. It was only a question of time that global digitalization would be introduced on cemeteries. The digital contents can be viewed only by relatives who own a remote-control device. The newest model runs on solar power. Presenting slideshows of the most important moments of the deceased are perhaps as dull as one could expect from a “new medium” like this. Here’s an idea for Henk Rozema to work on: I think (correct me if I’m wrong) it was in the Fox-movie “I Robot” that – through a StarWars-like-beam-device – actor Will Smith communicates with a holographic projection of the US Robotics-leading scientist (James Cromwell) who just fell from the companies building and died. The device contains some clues and answers on his death, provided and triggered by asking the right questions.
What if in future, people would record and save their ideas and answers to questions in their tombs for the generations to come. Cemetery = library knowledge-base! Bas Groenendaal has done something similar with his project: “Release”.

Digizerk.eu | digizerken.nl | video (dutch) | Related posts: Vin memoriam | Pencils made of cremated humans | Human DNA in trees

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Breaking Point?

John Zerzan, published in Green Anarchy issue #24 – Spring/Summer 2007

The rapidly mounting toll of modern life is worse than we could have imagined. A metamorphosis rushes onward, changing the texture of living, the whole feel of things. In the not-so-distant past this was still only a partial modification; now the Machine converges on us, penetrating more and more to the core of our lives, promising no escape from its logic.

The only stable continuity has been that of the body, and that has become vulnerable in unprecedented ways. We now inhabit a culture, according to Furedi (1997), of high anxiety that borders on a state of outright panic. Postmodern discourse suppresses articulations of suffering, a facet of its accommodation to the inevitability of further, systematic desolation. The prominence of chronic degenerative diseases makes a chilling parallel with the permanent erosion of all that is healthy and life-affirming inside industrial culture. That is, maybe the disease can be slowed a bit in its progression, but no overall cure is imaginable in this context–which created the condition in the first place.

As much as we yearn for community, it is all but dead. McPherson, Smith-Lovin and Brashears (American Sociological Review 2006) tell us that 19 years ago, the typical American had three close friends; now the number is two. Their national study also reveals that over this period of time, the number of people without one friend or confidant has tripled. Census figures show a correspondingly sharp rise in single-person households, as the technoculture — with its vaunted “connectivity” — grows steadily more isolating, lonely and empty.

In Japan “people simply aren’t having sex” (Kitamura 2006) and the suicide rate has been rising rapidly. Hikikimori, or self-isolation, finds over a million young people staying in their rooms for years. Where the technoculture is most developed, levels of stress, depression and anxiety are highest.

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Featherless Chicken

Behold the featherless chicken, created by Scientists at the genetics faculty at the Rehovot Agronomy Institute near Tel Aviv, Israel.The idea behind the development of this naked bird is that it will create a more ‘convenient’ and energy efficient chicken which can live in warm countries where feathered chickens don’t do well and cooling systems are too expensive to be commonly affordable. Not growing feathers saves energy that can be used to grow meat.

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