Sexy Robot

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Robots are here, and a report estimates that 38% of US jobs will be taken over by robots in 15 years.

As robots are increasingly used to solve human problems, their interaction with humans becomes more important. Think about robot surgeries and driverless taxi cabs.

This relationship can lead to some issues, as Dr Julie Carpenter, a leading expert on human-robot social interaction, explains in this Forbes interview. While she believes that transient human-robot interactions can be healthy, such as in caregiving situations, she also points out the dangers of developing emotional attachments. It is easy to ascribe organic characteristics, such as to a robot pet, and make them substitutes for human companions.

A Fortune article predicts that humans will be marrying robots by 2050.

Whether you think this is scary or exciting depends on your point of view. My personal belief is that robots are tools. Like any tool or technology it is neutral — neither good nor bad. It is how people use and control them that determines ethics and morality.


“Sexy Robot” is a sculpture by Hajime Sorayama on exhibit at the Art and Science Museum in Singapore. You can also buy one for yourself.

Transient
Illusion

Sleeps with Dragonflies

I chanced upon these dragonflies mating amongst the water lilies.

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From all indications, dragonflies are not monogamous. Such an acrobatic effort for a transient relationship.

Reminds me of the song “Sleeps with Butterflies” by Tori Amos. Here’s a stanza.

I don’t hold on
To the tail of your kite
I’m not like the girls that you’ve known
But I believe I’m worth coming home to
Kiss away night
This girl only sleeps with butterflies
With butterflies
So go on and fly then boy

I guess it also applies to dragonflies.


Transient
Loop

I Want to Feel Its Wetness

In a previous post I described the Future World exhibit at the Art and Science Museum.

Its centerpiece is the “Universe of Water Particles” – a seven-meter virtual waterfall. It is serenely beautiful, hundreds of thousands of water particles cascading gracefully down a virtual rock, following the laws of physics. And with a backpacker’s silhouette, it’s picture-perfect.

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But I miss the mist, the unpredictable gust of wetness on my face as the wind blows the water away from its normal free fall. I miss the rustling of the leaves and the way my feet slide on the slippery banks. I miss the smell of decaying trees along the river, and the greenness of young shoots rushing to rise above the rocks and catch the sun.

I like my waterfall to be raw, with the water falling down in complete abandon, daring to defy the laws of physics.

I want nature’s embrace to be sensual. I want to feel its wetness.


Focus

Black Waves in Singapore

Black Waves is part of the Future World exhibition at the Art and Science Museum in Singapore. It is a collaborative work with teamLab, an interdisciplinary creative group.

Black Waves is “an expression of nature, rendered entirely in digital technology.” 

The effect is created by “calculating the interaction of hundreds of thousands of individual water particles, and then representing the movement of waves in a crescendo of white foam.”

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Computer animation is not new, but what is intriguing about this work is that it depicts the seascape in the style of traditional Japanese painting.

There is some kind of formality, a sense of order in what appears to be random, and yet it seems so realistic. Science capturing art capturing reality.

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The artwork invites the viewers to immerse themselves in it. One can literally “step into the waves” or simply watch them from a bean bag on the floor while listening to the soothing background music.

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By blurring the separation between viewer and artwork, it expresses the idea that we ourselves need not be separated from nature.

This vision of the future world is intriguing indeed.

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Order
Volume

Are We Closer to Solving the Mystery of Stonehenge?

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Why was Stonehenge built?

This monument dates back 5,000 (!) years, though it is now established that it was built in phases over several thousand years up until 1600 BC.

Scientists have also determined that the stones were quarried as far away as 225 kilometers in present day Wales. This has led to a recent theory that it was built in Wales and transported to the present site.

There are varying versions of how it was built, some involving aliens. Even more theories abound on why it was built, the most common it being a burial ground. And yet new theories come up, such as it being a two-story concert hall. New discoveries reveal more information yet raises more questions.

It seems like the more we know about it, the more its mystery deepens.

Perhaps we will never know. What is clear is that people 5,000 years ago started putting order into a bunch of large stones lying around. Perhaps it is a primeval desire of man to seek order in his world and Stonehenge is a symbol of that.
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Order