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“The Question that drives us…”. Theories to Guide our Thinking. “The Question That Drives Us”. What aspects of humanity make us human? Familiarity Originality/Individuality (i.e. “Uniqueness”). Familiarity. Things strike us as strange when they are unfamiliar. Personal example:

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the question that drives us

“The Question that drives us…”

Theories to Guide our Thinking

the question that drives us1
“The Question That Drives Us”

What aspects of humanity make us human?

  • Familiarity
  • Originality/Individuality (i.e. “Uniqueness”)
  • Things strike us as strange when they are unfamiliar.
  • Personal example:
    • My parent’s reaction of looking like this for 5 years and then showing up one day looking like this.
  • Quick write (2 minutes)
    • Describe a time when you were “weirded out” by something/someone that you thought you knew/understood.
  • Sigmund Freud
  • “[T]he uncanny is that class of the frightening which leads back to what is known of old and long familiar.”
    • Translation: For something to be “uncanny” there must be something familiar about the unfamiliar thing that is scaring you.
    • I.e. My haircut was “uncanny” to my parents because I was recognizable, but it had been so many years since they had seen me with short hair that they associated my long hair with me, and forgot what I looked like without it.
uncanny valley
Uncanny Valley

-Mori (Robotics)

considering the uncanny valley
Considering the Uncanny Valley
  • Reasons why—familiarity
robotics and the uncanny
Robotics and the Uncanny
  • The idea is that something that is clearly not human strikes us as normal
    • Such as C3PO from Star Wars.
  • But something that is nearly human (or was once human) is familiar and uncanny
    • So a Prosthetic hand = something semi-alive
cyberpunk uncanny terms
Cyberpunk Uncanny Terms
  • Post-human: aka a “Cyborg”—Clynes and Kline define Cyborg as “a self-regulating man-machine system, supposed to be more flexible than the human organism thanks to the fusion of organic and mechanical parts.”

cyberpunk uncanny terms1
Cyberpunk Uncanny Terms
  • Trans-human: The level of evolution between human and post-human. This is the level seen as uncanny, as it is clearly not human, and yet it still looks eerily human.
    • Examples:
      • Prosthetics
      • Reconstructive Surgery

Prosthetic Human

Plastic Surgery

Prosthetic Robot

understanding check
Understanding Check
  • Questions?
  • Ranking Activity
one last thing
One last thing…
  • Looking back at “post human.”
  • While clearly a cyborg, what did Schwarzenegger look like?
  • He was a “copy” of human life…
    • Had he come in fully clothed and not beat everyone up as he did, could he have passed for human?
originality individuality
  • Humans like to think of themselves as unique
    • Only creatures with higher order thinking
    • Advanced Society
  • What happens to this perception when you add cyborgs to the picture?
  • What becomes the basis of “human?”
originality individuality1
  • Ever tried to be like someone else?
  • Personal Example
  • Daren Patrick = Epic Fail
    • Couldn’t be like him physically
    • Tried to be like him mentally
      • Liked what he liked
      • Hated what he hated
      • Etc. Etc.
originality individuality2
  • Think-Pair-Share
    • Take a minute to think of a time where you copied something someone did/someone copied something you did/or an example that you observed in real life or in the media.
    • Share with a partner.
  • Plato: A copy of something real (intended to be no more than a copy).
    • Example: Reproduction of Mona Lisa
  • Baudrillard: Not a just a copy of reality, but something that is real in its own right.
    • Example: Disney World: Cinderalla’s Castle
simulacrum paradox
Simulacrum Paradox
  • JangoFett and His Clones
simulacrum paradox1
Simulacrum Paradox
  • Consider the following quote:
    • “They are totally obedient, taking any order without question. We modified their genetic structure to make them less independent than their original host.” (Prime Minster of Kamino, Star Wars Ep II)
    • Question: The clones are now different from their original. No longer an attempt at being an exact copy (like the Mona Lisa reproduction)—are they still an imitation of their host’s life, or are they now their own separate life form. Agree or Disagree.
simulacrum paradox2
Simulacrum Paradox
  • In the first Terminator movie, the Terminator model T-800 is sent to kill Sarah Connor. In the second Terminator movie, the same Terminator model is sent to protect John Connor, Sarah Connor’s son.
  • Question: The Terminator model is identical, yet they have been programmed with different functions. However, they are still identical entities because the way in which they function (shoot, kill, obey instructions programmed with, etc.) remains the same, regardless of their functions being different. Agree/Disagree.
simulacrum paradox3
Simulacrum Paradox
  • Thirty years from now, I am able to buy organically grown body parts on a mainstream market. One day, I feel like I want to be taller and stronger, so I go and purchase longer legs and burlier arms.
  • Question: Even though these body parts belonged to someone else, because I have now incorporated them as part of my body they are now distinctly mine, and I am still a completely “original” individual. Agree or Disagree.
closing argument
Closing Argument
  • Looking at Cyberpunk’s central question of “What aspect of humanity makes us human,” consider the following question:
  • Is there such a thing as a truly “original” human? Defend your answer.