In my previous post, I put forward the idea of having a loving relationship or physical relationship with artificial technology/robots. This whole culture is fascinating to me, purely because of how divisive it is. There is an attitude surrounding this culture that is you either accept it or you don’t, and that’s what I find the most interesting.
When I began investigating this culture I mused over how within autoethnography Ellis et al (2011) states researchers build off past experiences or potentially moments that cause an epiphany however in this realm of society it is hard to step your foot into without seeming like you are apart of it. I possess an outside looking in perspective like any autoethnography however investigating the sexual or loving relationships of individuals is quite difficult. My experience is through the created content of two different strains of thought.
- The individuals that hate the industry
- The Industries that are selling it
As touched on in the previous post about The Uncanny Valley Theory which suggests that humanoid objects which virtually resemble an authentic human but not quite, create uncanny, strangely recognisable feelings of distaste or creepiness to the individual. (Mori, M. 1970), individuals who dislike the culture tend to put forward content that paints the individuals who partake in this culture in a bad light, highlighting their difference and quirkiness to social norms, with little understanding of personal experiences. One of the main experiences I had was the impact of religion on my study. Not that I am personally religious at all, but it deeply affects opinions upon this culture. Perkowitz outlines that “Western religion is hostile to artificial beings, the creation of which is seen as impious or worse” (2004, 215-216). Perkowitz details the western religious aspect to this topic noting the origins of its displeasure towards non-human romantic interaction.
On the other side of the coin is the people that are selling the product and promoting the industry. This is where it becomes a debate that differs from Asian, predominantly Japan to Western cultures. The Azuma Gatebox technology which I mentioned in the previous post is the best example of this type of technology being wholeheartedly accepted and sold in a culture, as there is little to no backlash towards the product.
The Ellis reading puts forward the idea that when researchers conduct ethnography they study a culture’s relational practices, common values and beliefs and shared experiences to help better understand or accept the practice. This method has greatly assisted my research into this field in the way Japan culturally hold an inherent adoration towards technology combining this, there is cultural acceptance towards the anthropomorphising of technology. One of the main theories put forward for this overarching acceptance of robots is the nation’s Shinto religion. Scholars note that Shinto and Buddhism do not create black and white distinctions between animate and inanimate entities, there is no resistance but rather peaceful acceptance. Robots have functioned as officiants in weddings or even been married to one another.
Perkowitz, S. (2004). Digital People: From Bionic Humans to Androids. Washington D.C.: Joseph Henry Press
Ellis, C., Adams, T.E., and Bochner, A.P. (2011) ‘Autoethnography: An Overview‘, Forum: Qualitative Social Research, 12:1. Available at: http://www.qualitative-research.net/index.php/fqs/article/view/1589/3095
Mori , M. 1970 . Bukimi no tani: The uncanny valley , trans. K. F. MacDorman and T. Minato . Energy 7( 4 ): 33 – 35 .