No one can tell Just when the robot arrived. They appeared to have been smuggled to the campus during the break without any official announcements, explanations or warnings. There are dozens of them: six-wheeled, freezer-sized boxes with small yellow flags on top for visibility. They use cameras, radar, and ultrasonic sensors to navigate the sidewalks around the campus. They serve students there, delivering takeaway services ordered through the university’s food service center app, but everyone I know who works on campus has some anecdotes about their first meeting.
These stories are shared, at least at the beginning, with entertainment or performance anger. Some people complain that these machines use bicycle lanes for free, but they don’t understand social norms: they refuse to give way to pedestrians, drive slowly on overtaking lanes, and obstruct traffic. One morning, a friend of mine, a part-time coach who was late, pushed his bike behind one of the robots, intending to let it off the road, but it just continued on its own path without noticing it. Another friend found a robot helplessly trapped on a bicycle rack. It was so heavy that she had to ask passers-by for help to unlock it. “Thankfully, it’s just a bicycle rack,” she said. “Wait until they start hitting bicycles and moving cars.”
Among students, the only problem is emotional excess. Robots are often blocked during delivery, because students insist on taking selfies with the machines or chatting with them outside the dormitory. Robots have the lowest language skills-they can send out greetings and instructions, and say “Thank you, have a nice day!” When they roll away-however, this is enough to make many people love them as social animals . Robots often return to their posts with notes: Hello, robot! And We love you! They inspired the spread of memes on the social media pages of the University of Wisconsin-Madison. A student put a hat and scarf on the robot, took a picture, and created a profile for it on a dating app. Its name is listed as Onezerozerooneoneone, and its age is 18. Occupation: delivery boi. Positioning: Sexless robots.
Around this time, automatic machines appeared all over the country. Grocery stores are using them to patrol aisles, looking for spills and debris. Wal-Mart introduced them in its super centers to track out-of-stock items.One New York Times According to reports, many of these robots have been named nicknames by their human colleagues and have been given name tags. A person attended a birthday party, where in addition to other gifts, a can of WD-40 lubricant was also presented. This article ironically uses these anecdotes as examples of harmless personification in most cases, but the same instinct is already driving public policy. In 2017, the European Parliament proposed to treat robots as “cyborgs”, arguing that certain forms of artificial intelligence have become complex enough to be regarded as responsible agents. This is a legal distinction made in the context of liability law, although this language seems to call an ancient animistic cosmology, in which various inanimate objects-trees and rocks, pipes and kettles ——All are considered non-human “people”.
This reminds me of the beginning of a poem by Richard Brautigan in 1967, “All the machines that are loved are watching”:
I like to think (and
The sooner the better! )
Mammals and computers
Like pure water
Touch the clear sky.
Brautigan wrote these verses during the Summer of Love, from the center of counterculture in San Francisco, when he was a resident poet at the California Institute of Technology. The following stanzas of this poem elaborate on this fascinating landscape composed of “cybernetic forests” and blossoming computers, in a world where digital technology unites us with “our mammal brothers and sisters” , Where humans and robots and beasts have achieved true equality.This work evokes a particular subtype of Utopianism on the West Coast, reminiscent of the Return to Land Movement and Stewart Brand’s Global catalog, It envisions reusing the tools of the American industrial complex to create a fairer and ecologically sustainable world. It imagines that technology will bring us back to a more primitive era-a pre-modern, perhaps pre-Christian historical period, when humans and nature were in harmony, and inanimate objects were fascinated by life.
The echo of this dream can still be found in the conversation about technology. David Ross of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and others reiterated this point. They speculate that the Internet of Things will soon “attract” everyday products, injecting responsiveness and intelligence into door handles, thermostats, refrigerators and cars. It can be found in the work of post-human theorists like Jane Bennett, who imagines that digital technology will reconfigure our modern understanding of “dead matter” and revive an older worldview, “in which matter has vitality and flexibility. , Unpredictability or stubbornness, which in itself is a source of miracles for us.”
“I like to think” is the beginning of each verse of Brautigan’s poems. This chorus is not so much a poetic installation as a mysterious prayer. This vision of the future may be just another wishful thinking, but it is a convincing idea simply because of its historical symmetry. Technology should restore us to the magical world destroyed by technology itself, which seems correct. Perhaps the forces that pushed us to exile from the Garden of Eden will one day use digital life to revitalize our garden. Perhaps the only way out is through.