Date(s) - 25/09/2013
2:30 pm - 4:00 pm
Category(ies) No Categories
ASIAN CULTURAL AND MEDIA STUDIES (ACMS) RESEARCH CLUSTER SEMINAR
CAN TECHNOLOGY SET US FREE?
Wednesday, 25 September, 2.30-4.00pm
Faculty Seminar Room
Menzies Building E561 Clayton
East Asia is a region often understood to enjoy a special relationship with ‘the future’. Techno-orientalist accounts often cast the region as a place of miraculous economic growth that will produce economic and cultural hegemony, or a site for the explosive dissemination of new technologies that will facilitate drastic social change or enable a leapfrogging of rival nations wedded to older forms of infrastructure. But to what degree are such assumptions justified, whether they be techno-utopian, techno-dystopian or otherwise? This seminar will analyse the impact of social networking on Chinese society, and the predicted robotics revolution in Japan to suggest some answers to the question of how much emerging technologies really can set us free.
‘Does social media make us free?’ Gloria Davies (Associate Professor of Chinese Studies, Convenor of Chinese Studies) and David Holmes (Senior Lecturer in Media and Communications Studies)
The success of social media around the world has transformed the nature of political communication and facilitated social movements on scales previously not possible. Where the electronic assembly replaces the physical assemblies of the street, the institution and mass culture, such societies are transformed in paradoxical ways. On the one hand, social media users can feel empowered by the much greater reach and connection that they have with other users – on a potentially global scale. On the other hand, the more social relations move online, the more they can become subject to surveillance, data-mining and political control. How does this paradox play out in relation to the one-party socialist system in China compared to the democratic system in the U.S.?
‘Will we set robots free, and will this make us free?’ Dan Black (Lecturer in Media and Communications Studies)
There has been a surge of interest and expectation relating to robots in the past decade and a half. Finally, almost a century after the figure of the robot first took hold of the popular imagination, the possibility that robots might soon be a pervasive presence in society, transforming the service and manufacturing industries, responding to disasters and fighting wars, is being taken seriously. However, Japan never really broke faith with the idea of a future robotopia, government and industry investing substantial funds in ambitious robotics research even while artificial intelligence and robotics had difficulty being taken seriously elsewhere. Efforts such as the Japanese Humanoid Robotics Project, probably the most ambitious of these programmes, provide an effective illustration of the assumptions and aspirations of Japanese robotics research and an indication of how realistic expectations for a robot-filled future really are.
For more information, please contact the Research Cluster co-ordinators: Dan Black (Daniel.Black@monash.edu)
Olivia Khoo (Olivia.Khoo@monash.edu)