By: Alex Massaad

Watch:

A.I. (Speilberg, 2001)

Read:

1) Clarke, Julie. "Simulated Talking Machines:Stelarc's Prosthetic Head." Critical Digital Studies: A Reader. Toronto: University of Toronto Printing Press, 2008. Print.

2) Stelarc. "Prosthetic Head: Intelligence, Awareness and Agency." Critical Digital Studies: A Reader. Toronto: University of Toronto Printing Press, 2008. Print.

3) "David Hanson: Robots that show emotion." TED Talks. Web. 5 Dec 2009. <http://www.ted.com/talks/david_hanson_robots_that_relate_to_you.html>.

**very cool 5 min clip**

Continuing with the theme of simulation by technology I decided to show Spielberg’s A.I. (2001). This film deals with a mechanical boy who has simulated emotions and feelings. Eight years ago the idea of a machine that can understand emotional states and empathize with us seemed far-fetched. Today research might soon enable robots that can completely detect and match any of our facial expressions on the fly. I felt that this film would tie in very well with a clip from TED Talks that looks at social robots that can mimic emotion. Finally the research that Stelarc has done on the Prosthetic Head adds some academic support to the interesting media about facial emulation in robots. While both readings appear in the same anthology, the Clarke reading does a good job of looking at the development of talking head machines, dating back as far as the 1830s. It also does a good job of grounding readers with the technical limitations of this sort of technology. The Prosthetic Head is ultimately more of an art project than a functional robot. While Stelarc’s project is CGI based exclusively, it shares many similarities with the real life creation featured in the TED Talks project by David Hanson.