The following is a curation of live Tweets that I have accumulated over eight weeks of film screenings.
Week One: Ghost In The Shell (1995)
This first Tweet is referring to the fact that I found it very strange that the main character “Motoko” in the 1995 film “Ghost In The Shell”, was constantly naked. I questioned why this was the case and was then enlightened by fellow classmate, Emily. I came to an understanding that her nudity ties into the disassociation with her robotic body. Her body is merely a vessel for her technologically wired brain and this presents the idea of dualism; the mind and body as different entities.
The second Tweet highlights the question: what will remain as characteristically unique to humans if robotic lives can mimic us to such a great extent? As mentioned in the Tweet, the director Mamoru Oshii’s intention for the lack of blinking adds a doll like element to Motoko, which again ties into the concept of duality. (Human appearance vs. robot wiring.)
Week Two: Westworld (1973)
This week’s screening of Westworld is set in the then-future year, 1983. In my Tweets, I mention that this film was the first to use the term “computer virus“. We still use this term in the same way, however our computer virus has much less severe repercussions. The “computers” that we know of today are our desktop computers and laptops. This makes me question if we too will be referring to robots when we use the term “computer”. After all, they are essentially computers in a different format.
There was a scene where Daphne (a robot) refuses sexual contact with a human. She is sent to be repaired shortly after her objection to sex. It was very difficult for me to disassociate myself from Daphne and see her as ‘just a robot’. Although my second Tweet is sarcastic and light hearted, I was actually frustrated that her free-will was seen as an error since robots must obey humans at all cost. Even though I was angered by this human intervention, we would be in great danger if we allowed robots to act with their own will. Especially if the robots are being as destructive as they are in Westworld!
Week Three: Johnny Mnemonic (1995)
The line “Coz we still have all this sh*t, and we can’t live without it.” is still relevant to us in 2018. Personally, I don’t know what I would do without my mobile phone. It is my data package, my GPS, my method of contact, my everything. Johnny is literally carrying a data package inside his head. Despite how much Johnny despised the burden, I am open to the idea of having a mobile phone wired into my brain so that I can have it with me at all times!
Week Four: The Matrix (1999)
The re-birth of Neo is one of my favourite scenes in “The Matrix” film. I love the idea of an entrance into the new-dimension that is so technologically wired, yet still involves the organic elements of a human birth. The conversation following my Tweet was very interesting and challenged me to re-think my answer. As seen above, there are two vital questions. My answer in this Tweet was that science is outside of nature, however after further contemplation I now believe that science is derived from the natural world, which is why it is so frequently imitating it.
My second Tweet discusses this constant fear of being replaced by machines. Although it will be a very long time until we need to worry about this, it is increasingly likely that humans will be made redundant by technology.
Week Five: Black Mirror – Be Right Back (Season 2, Episode 1)
The idea that we could be able to use our own bodies as an extension to devices intrigues me. The scene in this Black Mirror episode mentioned in my first Tweet, shows a nurse using her palm as an ultrasound pad. Considering a cyborg is a person whose physical abilities are extended beyond normal human limitation, we can say that almost all humans are already cyborgs. Whether it be our reading glasses, our mobile phones we hold in our hands, our clothing, everything we use today has been created using science and technology to improve out lives beyond our limitations.
I doubt that we will see the day when robots are spitting images of humans and can interact with us in fully human ways. Despite the amazing similarities between the robot and deceased husband, the robot failed to recognise emotional and non-verbal cues. The problems and frustrations of trying to grieve a loved one with technology is really made apparent.
Week Six: Robot & Frank (2012)
Is overusing a robot un-ethical? Is it okay to mis-treat a robot? I think we should treat robots and technology with the utmost of respect. They are projections of us and even though they cannot feel, they deserve ethical treatment. This weeks screening of Robot & Frank really made me re-think about ethical treatment of robotics.
My second Tweet on this film discusses that directors are constantly forming a friendship or a connection between human and robot even if the characters are initially reluctant. The film I, robot is also a great example of a human initially rejecting and distrusting robots and later on forming an acceptance and respect for them.
Week Seven: Black Mirror – Hated In The Nation (Season 3, Episode 6)
This Black Mirror episode takes online harassment to a whole new level. There is something unsettling about the way social media networks are constantly trying to rate users. I didn’t really enjoy this episode but the tweets made it worth the watch!
The use of bees in this episode ties into the element of an upcoming apocalyptic world. When bees go extinct it is said that almost all reproduction of flora will cease. Robotic bees both creating life through pollination and taking it away… the concept seems very dark and ironic.
Week Eight: Blade Runner (1982)
During the last week of live tweeting, I really noticed how much I had enjoyed this overall experience. During the films there would be scenes that I didn’t notice and I could read about them in other people’s tweets. This week I particularly liked Cat’s Tweet above. She mentions the depiction of dystopian cities and I realised that all of the films we have watched have depicted this same kind of futuristic city. Dark, smokey and neon.
My Tweet referring to killing as “retiring” really makes the replicants objective apparent. They are workers and when they are no longer needed they will retire (be killed). But is it killing if they are not really human? This question is difficult for me to answer especially when I cannot justify the killing of the robots because of their similarities to man-kind.