Subservient robot Aiko

Human-Computer Interaction professor Beki Grinter blogs about a Japanese man’s life project: RealDoll-style, subservient robot Aiko

So there is a man that has a creepy imagination about his ideal woman — lots probably do. There’s the obvious problem that when people imagine what social role robots are good for, they tend to imagine women and servants fairly consistently. (Suchman’s Human-Machine Reconfigurations has a chapter tracking how these power relations pervade engineering and tech research.)

Anyone know about any alternative robotic culture jammers? Irvine Arts, Computation and Engineering alumni Brett Doar builds autonomous furniture that hilariously disrupts the faithful-servant trope:

What might other culturally disruptive robotics look like?

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2 Responses
  1. nick says:

    Just a few suggestions: Dunne and Raby’s work, both in the Placebo project and in their Technological Dreams Series, No. 1. Also Saso Sedlacek’s Beggar Robot, Kelly Dobson’s Scream Body + Blendie + Omo, Simon Penny’s Petit Mal, IAAs Little Brother + Graffiti Writer, projects by Maywa Denki, Edward Ihnatowicz’s Senster, Max Dean
    and Raffaello D’ Andrea’s Table Childhood, Krzysztof Wodiczko’s Dis-Armor and Aegis, among others. This is something I look at closely for my own research, thus the long list :-)

  2. lisa nakamura says:

    You’re right, Lilly, people persistently imagine robots as servants. a culturally disruptive robot would be a boss, maybe. It could be a kind of Mechanical Turk that would issue orders. This makes sense to me because many people view the output from digital machines as regulating their workflow anyway–email is like people’s boss in that it tells them what to do and when to do it.

    If you saw the movie “Moon” last summer, you might remember the sympathetic robot that is the main character’s friend. That image still stays with me.