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Technological Animism

The Uncanny Personhood of Humanoid Machines

Kathleen Richardson

animism in the creation and production of humanoid robots. I suggest that the concept of animism has broader applications in both ‘natural’ surroundings and the highly technological and experimental setting of robotics laboratories, where myth, fiction

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Avatars and Robots

The Imaginary Present and the Socialities of the Inorganic

Henrietta L. Moore

This article explores the frailty of particular notions of 'actant' and 'affect' for an understanding of the emergent socialities that cross virtual and actual worlds. It uses work on robots and avatars to explore a humanly grounded theory of sociality. It discusses the virtual character of selves and social relations, and how forms of presence apparent in robotics and virtual worlds both enhance and augment our understanding of specifically human forms of sociality. It suggests that critiques of subject-object dualisms do not depend on a rejection of the distinctiveness of anthropos.

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Elizabeth Jochum, Graeme Stout and Brian Bergen-Aurand

Jennifer Rhee, The Robotic Imaginary: The Human and the Price of Dehumanized Labor (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2018). 240 pp., ISBN: 978151790298 (paperback, $27)

Soraya Murray, On Video Games: The Politics of Race, Gender and Space (New York: I. B. Tauris, 2018). xv + 315pp., ISBN: 9781786732507 (PDF eBook, $82.50)

Ari Larissa Heinrich, Chinese Surplus: Biopolitical Aesthetics and the Medically Commodified Body (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2018). 264 pp., ISBN: 9780822370536 (paperback, $25.95)

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Nir Eisikovits

In the last seventy years the nature of war has changed dramatically. Rather than involving two or more national armies fighting in uniform and obeying an orderly chain of command, most organised violence since the end of the Second World War has been asymmetrical, involving a regular army on the one hand and militia or guerrilla forces on the other.1 At the same time, the nature of battle – the intense, adrenaline-fueled close quarters confrontation that has traditionally defined the very heart of our idea of war (Keegan 1983) – is also changing as a result of dramatic advances in our ability to fight remotely. The increasing role of robotic devices and drones in recent conflicts, as well as the exponentially growing potency of cyberwarfare, are changing what it means to do combat. Now, asymmetrical war has been around forever. Defeated armies and weaker parties have often turned to guerrilla tactics against stronger foes. But, in recent decades, asymmetrical war has become the primary form of violence we encounter. Similarly, the history of military technology has always been the history of killing at a growing distance (swords allow more distance than fists, longbows than swords, rifles than longbows and so on). And yet, recent years have seen a qualitative leap in what we can do from far away.

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This issue of Transfers features five individual essays critically engaging with the promises promoted alongside new methods and purposes of mobility. Two essays, Martin Emanuel’s “From Victim to Villain: Cycling, Traffic Policy, and Spatial Conflicts in Stockholm, circa 1980” and Andrew V. Clark and colleagues’ “The Rise and Fall of the Segway: Lessons for the Social Adoption of Future Transportation,” circle around a core theme of Transfers with their fresh look at transportation, its vehicles, and its methods; two others, Noah Goodall’s “More Than Trolleys: Plausible, Ethically Ambiguous Scenarios Likely to Be Encountered by Automated Vehicles” and Gal Hertz’s “From Epistemology of Suspicion to Racial Profiling: Hans Gross, Mobility and Crime around 1900,” look at mobility’s social side. Fascinatingly consistent are the adjectives and adverbs that qualify the promises that are made for these technologies. Segways, for instance, were sustainable, enviro-friendly, shared. Smart, personalized, and robotic are some of the commonly invoked terms in the growing literature on this particular PMD (personal mobility device). Adverbial are the benefits of automated driving too: safe and liberating, both values desired by a nineteenth-century urbanized Austrian society that imagined the city as a space of settled inhabitants free of migrants and hence also free of crimes.

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Anthropologists Solving Burning Issues of Our Hot Planet

Report on the Third International Applied Anthropology Symposium in Ljubljana, Slovenia

Meta Gorup and Dan Podjed

negatively affect the climate. Robots are Exciting – But They Make Us Anxious The speech on climate change and refugees was followed by an inspiring presentation given by Genevieve Bell, the director of user experience at Intel, and one of the key people in

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Antonius C. G. M. Robben

. N. L. Whitehead and S. Finnström . Durham, NC : Duke University Press . Singer , P. W. 2010 . Wired for War: The Robotics Revolution and Conflict in the Twenty-First Century . New York : Penguin . Tyler , Stephen A. 1984 . “ The

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Alienating students

Marxist theory in action

Megan Thiele, Yung-Yi Diana Pan and Devin Molina

doctor. I am a technician, [and I] have to get patients ready to see the doctor. Sometimes I don’t have time to give patients thorough exams because I have other patients waiting. Doing this routine every day, I feel like a robot who just has to do things

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Sounds German?

Popular Music in Postwar Germany at the Crossroads of the National and Transnational

Kirkland A. Fulk

the Mississippi Delta.” 13 These new forms of techno influenced by the robotic sights and sounds of Kraftwerk would eventually find their way back to Germany. As its local popularity began to wane, many of these American techno musicians found new

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Introduction

Anthropological Knowledge Making, the Reflexive Feedback Loop, and Conceptualizations of the Soul

Katherine Swancutt and Mireille Mazard

body and soul that may enable us to redefine the boundaries of animism as theory and as practice. Kathleen Richardson’s study of robotics in this issue shows the power of ‘technological animism’ even in the absence of souls and soul theory, whereby