Monday, May 30, 2016

Event #3 Masa Jazbec

(Masa presenting a singing robot performance,
popular in Japan)
Robots! Masa's lecture and her field of work is all about robotic technology. She has been all over the world to study robotics and has encountered some of the most technologically advanced robots the world has ever seen. Expanding on many of the topics Machiko Kusahara discussed in the week 3, Masa talked in great detail about robotics in Japan and the social normality of having robots in every aspect of Japanese daily life. From dancing and singing robots in Japanese pop performances to robotic replicas of traditional Japanese folk story tellers, robots are becoming an integral part of entertainment in Japan. Jazbec also discussed Professor Ishiguro and his "gemonoid" robots that are meant to look just like humans. Ishiguro's gemonoids require a lot of artistic talent to craft, as Jazbec has seen the robots in person and insists that they are so life- like they are almost indistinguishable from the human.

(Masa shows the artistic details of Ishiguro's gemonoid, she
points out the extremely lifelike skin, hair, and eyes)
The portion of Jazbec's lecture that I found the most interesting was her description of Professor Ishiguro's psychological tests performed on his daughter with his gemonoid twin robot. Bridging into more social, psychological studies rather than tech engineering, Ishiguro put his young daughter in a room with his look- alike gemonoid and analyzed her reaction to the robot. Although the Japanese are very comfortable with robots, his daughter did not like interacting with the gemonoid and refused to talk to it or touch it. I interpreted this result as a possible problem with the near- future's incorporation of robots into daily life. Although we may benefit from the gemonoid's in the future, their unnatural existence may cause many people to reject or resent the presence of robots among us. However, Masa's lecture also focused on non- lifelike robots that are being made all around the world to aid industry, construction, and disaster relief that have already proven to be very valuable and useful.
( Masa Jazbec and I after the lecture, photo creds: Professor
I was really intrigued by Masa's lecture, although I would have preferred to hear more about her personal work rather than her experiences with other artist's and engineer's work. She briefly disclosed that her project in progress deals with human interaction with robots, much like Ishiguro's gemonoid. Jazbec claims that her work will allow people with digitally engineered glasses to see what a robot can see and the subject will be able to control the robot's eye movements so that the subject will feel as if they are one with the robot.

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