As a naturally talkative person, I realised within the first five minutes of Ghost in the Shell, that live-tweeting was for me. I’ve always been a fan of Sci-Fi texts and having a licence to brain-dump to a receptive audience has been a super fun experience.
Tweets in week one revolved around the themes of Feminism and racial dynamics in Ghost in the Shell and took me back to my travels in Japan where I experienced first had the co-existence of the traditional and the hyper-cyber (that’s a word now). Evidentally, my fellow classmates picked-up on these themes as well:
A common theme throughout the texts we have watched is that of the human identity. We kicked off the “What makes one human” debate quite quickly:
Week 2 started with a *bang* as we found ourselves in Westworld, still thinking about what defines a human, and considering the ethical and hierarchical dynamics between robot and human.
Watching these films critically, allowed me to make connections between these texts and others I’d seen in the past. This particular film reminded me of Joss Whedon’s incredible television series, Dollhouse (2009- 2010), where human “dolls” are uploaded with personalities to suit the needs of the rich, who exploit them for their own gratification and satisfaction.
I found a lot of great discussions on Reddit whilst tweeting that proved to be good conversation starters amongst our classmates.
Sometimes I just got on a role with tweeting, and things like this would pop out of my brain and into the online realm:
The exploitation of technology and humanity’s own ignorance to their own responsibility were common themes explored throughout the weeks.
In Week 3 we viewed Johnny Mneumonic, a film quite dear to my heart as a fan of Gibson’s Neuromancer (1984). Human limitation and technology addiction were a commonly mentioned themes. Johnny’s body is a meat shell, a limitation keeping him grounded to the real-world while he longs for a cyber-life. How are we slaves of our own technology today?
This year I finally realised who Cat (aka @notspeltwithak) was in real life after three years of Twitter following. We’ve shared some interesting conversations this semester including this commentary on religion’s role in a cyberpunk world. Is technology itself a religion?
Week 4 sent us buzzing through The Matrix and I’d firstly like to regognise this ingenious observation:
A critical, Feminist reading is appropriate when viewing this film. Where’s the balance when it comes to strong, female characters. Must they always fit a sexy, slim stereotype to become the lead?
Link to actual discussion here:
We see a reversal of what’s important to characters in this world:
And again with the discussion on “What makes us human?”
Is it even bad if AI take over the world then?
In Week 6 we watched Robot and Frank which was definitely not my cup-of-tea in terms of Sci-Fi films. This movie seemed to dance around major topics hit on the head by the previous watchings, however, it did delve into the idea of companionship ad whether or not robots can take the place of real-life, human ones. Can we become emotionally attached to robots?
We had an excellent conversation about robot to robot interaction and whether robots consider each other as the same species.
Can we give robots too much power? Must we follow Asimov’s Rules of Robotics? Do robots have to follow rules, laws and regulations if they do not have moral judgement?
Black Mirror: Hated in the Nation was the watching for week 7, quite possibly the most relevant film to our current day and age of social media. Now days, our phone is an extension of ourselves, our online profile a branding we have moulded together over time. Anonymity online gives us the opportunity to comment on the lives of others with little to no impact. This episode proposes that there are always consequences to our online actions. We are never completely anonymous.
The social media platforms keep our aura alive even after we die.
Where does our responsibility lie in the online realm? Angus bought up a good point here: Who is responsible for the technology once it has been made public?
This week also got me thinking about the ways technology could be used to help save the planet from its inevitable demise due to human greed.
Of course week 8 had to feature Blade Runner, the epitome of Sci-Fi films. this film was a perfect end to a wave of debates about the human condition, the future of the planet, the role of the woman in Science Fiction. It’s motto, “More Human the Human” is such a poignant one and suggests that the human will evolve past the human. Technology will become part of our evolution and natural selection will cease to exist as we learn how to pick and choose our skills and features.