Thursday, May 8, 2014

Final Project

           Overall, my intentions for this project was to ask the question, what would it be like to have a robot gain consciousness. I pulled from various sources to actually obtain this general idea of what I wanted to do, namely taking a few ideas from the piece, "Computations of Emotions, between Man and Machine," where two key aspects came from one being the general learning and gaining of emotions and the other being about the idea of how emotions started, namely as a way to survive. Other than that, I focused more on Lycan and how his ideas of the mirror stage is most apparent in the android.
            To begin, Two scientists are trying their best to discover the right brain to create the consciousness. The two scientists names are Michiyo and Haralson. They are working on an android, named Shelly, working their hardest to create a new life by making multiple brains and see how they work. During one mishap, (namely Haralson dropping the brain), we see the emergence of a new life form in Shelly. Shelly spends the rest of the piece slowly obtaining consciousness and seeing the world change around her.
            I really wanted to see the piece through the eyes of the android, rather than an outsider looking into the concept of consciousness. The piece starts off with the robot having little or no consciousness, having no real idea of self, gender, and of emotions. I do talk briefly about the science of the brain, but my main intentions was not based on how the brain worked, but the fact that just by focusing on the brain, leads to the idea of the brain holding the self. I also had Haralson, one of the scientists, drop the brain so that there would be more chaos in the creation of life. So, that instead of humans only creating this piece of magical technology, the whole thing is a mystery.
            The two characters other than Shelly, are suppose to fill the learning role, stated in the Computations article, namely that "the overall goal is to establish a framework in which the social and communicative skills can be aligned with those of the human participant" (Robinson 3444), which (when I read that) read a sort of family. I tried to make sure that a lot of the information that Shelly was obtaining was confusing and overloading her, but that Michiyo was trying her best to help Shelly get a hold of emotions. I made Michiyo into a very blatant mother figure so that Shelly could have someone to copy and to introduce an idea of fake parenting. Is it actually parenting if the child himself isn't really a child? Anyway, the rest of the story is pretty much Michiyo unintentionally being a guide for Shelly and having her learn the ways of emotions and consciousness.
            The Lycan bits are pretty obvious to those who really know their stuff. I placed a mirror in front of Shelly so that we could start to see her change in consciousness and see how she was growing. To those who don't know Lycan there is a video below. Once, she is able to differentiate herself from the mirror, that was when she was conscious enough to become human. However, in-between the brain dropping and that point, I had this connection between Shelly and Michiyo, where they were more of a mother/offspring connection, with the idea of Shelly not being able to disconnect herself from Michiyo and thus when she leaves the room, she becomes confused. A bit blatant, but I enjoyed putting it in there. After, she learns that she is not attached to her mother and she is not a part of them at the ending point of the piece, we learn that she is completely conscious. Also, I threw a curve ball in, having the idea of absolute truth be an idea where, she cannot be able to understand consciousness without function. Bringing up the idea that she could just be malfunctioning, and that she really isn't alive. Depends on how you read it. Side-note. I also had this idea of making Shelly a child to increase the family dynamic in the piece.
            Other than that, the only main focus I had was getting the idea of emotions in there and gender, which I felt were the lacking bits in my piece, because with my writing style you could only get in so much without it sounding weird. I tried to tie gender with Michiyo and have her be (as with the emotions and other ideas) the anchor on what is feminine. I also had her question her gender later on in the story in order to bring a bit of Butler. She doesn't know how to play a women, so even though Haralson and Michiyo call her female, she really isn't.  I also gave Shelly no face, so as to create (one) this idea that the two scientists do not know until later, and (two) having this  question with her identity, making the whole thing less cut and dry. That's pretty much it for the information that I wanted to display.

             I understand that I did dabble in a lot of ideas, but I hope it formed enough of a cohessive whole in order to be somewhat interesting to you guys, my viewing public. I wish you all luck on the final and hope you all have a happy summer. 

1 comment:

  1. I think your idea of a robot gaining consciousness is really cool. When I began reading your post,I was interested to see if you would explain how the reader would know when Shelly gains consciousness, so I especially enjoyed your use of the lacanian mirror stage to do this. I also think your use of mirroring a family is really interesting. It would be easy to see how scientists would view their creation as a child, but to have Shelly relate to her creators as parent figures is pretty cool - it makes me wonder about the consciousness of children.


Need to add an image? Use this code: < b > [ img ] IMAGE-URL-HERE [ /img ] < /b > (make sure you have no spaces anywhere in the code when you use it)