TELEPRESENCE IN POPULAR CULTURE

A study of portrayals of presence

Robot Stories

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ABOUT THE WORK

MEDIUM:

Film 

YEAR:

2003 

WRITER(S):

Greg Pak 

OWN COPY?

No 
 

ABOUT THE STORY

SUMMARY:

Winner of over 23 awards, "Robot Stories" is science fiction from the heart, four stories in which utterly human characters struggle to connect in a world of robot babies and android office workers. The stories include: "My Robot Baby," in which a couple (Tamlyn Tomita and James Saito) must care for a robot baby before adopting a human child; "The Robot Fixer," in which a mother (Wai Ching Ho) tries to connect with her dying son by completing his toy robot collection; "Machine Love," in which an office worker android (Greg Pak) learns that he, too, needs love; and "Clay," in which an old sculptor (Sab Shimono) must choose between natural death and digital immortality. Summary written by Greg Pak form imdb.com 

ERA/YEAR:

Near future 

CHARACTERISTICS
OF WORLD:

In the near future, people who want to adopt must prove parenting skills with a robot baby first, androids work in offices, and memories and personlaities may be uploaded, thus allowing a person to lve forever, without a physical body. 
 
ABOUT THE PRESENCE-EVOKING TECHNOLOGY
NAME:
robots, androids, digital representations 
DESCRIPTION:
a robot baby (looks similiar to R2D2), a worker android (looks human and tries to act human), and digitial rpresentations of someone who has passed away. Everyone interacts with the machines as if they were human, although people are unnessesarily mean to the worker android. The robot baby looks like a robot, whereas the others look human, particularly the digital represenetations of a person who had been uploaded/scanned into a digital version of themself. All of the technology acts human. 
NATURE OF TASK OR ACTIVITY:
Daily life. 
PERFORMANCE OF THE TECHNOLOGY:
The majority of the time, the robots work as planned. However, the worler android does deviate from his original function when he falls in love with another android. 
 
ABOUT THE CREATORS OF THE TECHNOLOGY
DESCRIPTION:
unknown 
MAJOR GOAL(S):
primarily to assist in daily tasks as well as help people live forever through digitial representations. 
 
ABOUT THE PEOPLE WHO EXPERIENCE PRESENCE
DESCRIPTION:
Seemingly everyone. 
 
ABOUT THE PRESENCE EXPERIENCE
TYPE(S) OF PRESENCE:
Social presence 
DESCRIPTION:
People interact with robots as if they were human, and with the digitial representation as if it was the real person. It is a normal experience. 
USER AWARENESS:
They are aware. 
VALENCE:
In the case of he digital represntation, the hisband enjoys spending time with the digital representation, yet it is a constant reminder of his own mortality. 
SPECIFIC RESPONSES:
Inteacting with the robot baby teaches a woman how to mother a real child. Interacting with the worker android teaches coworkers about love and humanity. The digital repreasenttion evokes questions about true love and the importance of life. 
 
ABOUT THE CONSEQUENCES OF PRESENCE
LONG-TERM CONSEQUENCES:
The consequences are all pleasent, except for the man who chooses to die rather than live forever. This may be interpreted as a happy ending. 
 
AND FINALLY...
OTHER INFORMATION:
 
CODER NAME:
Amanda Scheiner 
CODER E-MAIL:
amandags@temple.edu 
CODER AFFILIATION:
Temple University 
DATE CODED:
6/20/2006 

 


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