Technology Paper

Order Description

The Task
The primary focus of the team is to research and assess the issues associated
The technology in its cultural context, media influences of Android Robotic
You will produce a formal research paper in APA format, with each team member contributing 10 pages of text.
The paper should conclude with recommendations for further research or possible solutions that could be evaluated. A complete list of references, in APA format, should follow along with any appendices.
The technology in its cultural context, media influences
a. Culture
b. Media

Android is a cultural staple in the science fiction segment since the 1950?s there have been attempts to create androids for movie props. However the ultimate use for android would be to do tasks that human no longer find it interesting, labor intense or just dangerous. In its cultural context the technology will be embraced by some and protested by others, it will be an economical divide as the technology will be prohibitive expensive in the early years. Media now days has given little attention to the matter besides when dealing with the niche groups of developers robotics schools and movie makers, none of the less it stills drawn attention when a breakthrough is made.

Answer

The technology in its cultural context media influences of Android Robotic

 

Contents

Introduction. 2

The Cultural Context of Android Robotics. 3

Media Influences of Android Robotics. 6

Conclusions and Recommendations or Further Research and Possible Solutions. 8

References. 10

 

Introduction

Since the mid-20th century, android robots have continued to feature dominantly in science fiction. They have become common in the movie industry. However, this fictional aspect has continued to exist alongside a persistent real-life attempt by technologists to build android robots capable of undertaking tasks that human beings consider boring or extremely dangerous. Today, robots are no longer confined in the realm of science fiction; they have become a reality of the post-modern way of life. Soon, they will start to have a lasting impact on the way of life of humankind. They will be deployed in industries, homes, hospitals, shopping malls, workplaces, and schools. The ability by humans to interact with these human-like machines will be of critical importance in ensuring that they contribute positively to the quality of human life.

As researchers continue to make breakthroughs in the design and production of highly sophisticated robots, the influence of the media is critical. The media has the power to raise or to lower the profile of an invention, thereby impacting upon future reactions, attitudes, and perceptions by the public towards similar achievements. For instance, many works of science fiction have been popularized through media outlets. If today’s daily-life influences of recent developments in robotics technologies are highlighted by mainstream media outlets, it will be easier for people to understand their importance. Unfortunately, mainstream media nowadays has not given adequate attention to these developments except in the field of movie-making.

Similarly, the cultural context of robotics technology should be accorded attention. Many people cite cultural factors as a justification for their embracement or rejection of android robotics. This may bring about an economic divide considering that the expensive nature of the technology will make penetration into the mass market extremely difficult during its formative years. The aim of this paper is to investigate the impact of the cultural context as well as media influences of android robotics. Based on this investigation, recommendations for further research are made.

The Cultural Context of Android Robotics

In robotics engineering, aspects of culture are normally discussed in the context of Human-Robot Interaction (HRI). Discussions on how robots will interact with humans in the future are important because they are based on the realistic prospect of a phenomenon where robots will become an important part of people’s everyday lives. In such a situation, people will be compelled to adapt their cultural norms to the changing way of doing things. They will also be compelled to make adjustments on the cultural meanings attached to the activities that will henceforth be undertaken by robots.

According to Haring, Matsumoto & Watanabe (2013), a lot of progress has been made in recent times to demonstrate how robots can be used in real-life situations. However, people’s expectations and perceptions are still being shaped more by video clips, movies, and news items as opposed to real interactions with physically present robots (Haring, Matsumoto & Watanabe, 2013). Through actual interactions, people can get a better idea of how android robots will influence their cultural perceptions. Haring, Matsumoto & Watanabe (2013) indicate that android robots may sometimes trigger an eerie feeling among those who interact with them, thereby triggering negative cultural connotations. It is imperative for people to focus on such insights instead of distant evaluations that are normally provided by biased, ignorant news reporters.

One would expect people to rely on cultural information to make decisions on whether to accept or reject android robots. In today’s multicultural world, there is no consensus regarding the acceptability of these human-like machines. Indeed, culture is a major determinant of people’s perceptions towards robots and their place in today’s world. Therefore, to understand the degree of acceptability or revulsion, HRI studies should focus on cultural differences and the impact of cultural background on individuals’ reactions to interactions with android robots.

Robotics engineers often encounter the serious problem of positioning android robots in a cultural context. An android robot is supposed to have a human-like appearance, yet all humans are not alike. There are numerous characteristics to put into consideration when designing an android robot including skin complexion, gender, and height. In countries where certain sections of the population have historically been subjected to discrimination based on their race, social status, or gender, robots may be viewed as representations of prevailing conditions of domination by the ruling classes. For example, the introduction of a “black” android robot in a predominantly white society may evoke perceptions racial discrimination. On this basis, the robot may be perceived by the minority black population as a symbol of racial discrimination. For robotics designers and engineers to understand the potential for the emergence of different interpretations, a cultural understanding of the target population is important.

Minato et al (2004) indicate that one of the fundamental problems in robot development is the choice between behavior and appearance. This is simply because robot-human interaction is influenced by both behavior and appearance. Ideally, the appearance of an android robot should be culturally situated in just the same way that every other human being belongs to a clearly defined cultural background. Unfortunately, this is a difficult decision for robot developers to make since they have to put into consideration aspects of globalization. In the globalized world, robots manufactured in one part of the world are likely to be deployed in a different part of the world. Moreover, the people of today live in multicultural environments, meaning that it is extremely difficult to choose an appearance that represents the identity of a city, country, region, or continent without prejudicing a significant section of the population.

In light of the challenge of maintaining a balance between behavior and appearance, it is evident that android robots will inevitably emerge as symbols of culture. To enhance the level of their acceptability, changes in the design of these robots should reflect corresponding changes in cultural perceptions at the global level. Robot developers may also need to put into consideration the importance of differentiating between collectivism and individualism, which, according to Triandis (2004), constitute the most prominent categorizations in contemporary cultural theory. Triandis (2004) argues that collectivist cultures emphasize the importance of collective pursuits in the context of close-knit social units whereas individualistic cultures emphasize the primacy of individual creativity, innovation, and success. Android robots with an appearance that evokes the image of an individualistic culture may be rejected by people who live in a collectivist culture and vice versa.

Japan is one of the countries that have made major strides in robotics technology. Despite these developments, cultural issues still pose a major challenge as far as the future direction of robotic design is concerned. The developers of these android robots are aware of the fact that they are supposed to produce not just robots but also cultural narratives that define how humans ought to relate with one another and their environment. In this regard, the robots are supposed to not only do things for humans but also with humans (Minato et al, 2004). This implies that since android robots are human-like machines, they should be viewed as social entities with the ability to contribute to the cultural fabric of the environment in which they operate. This is a plausible objective because the ultimate objective of the robotics engineers is to make android robotics as human-like as possible in terms of both behavior and appearance.

Media Influences of Android Robotics

The media has an important role to play in making robotics projects a success. The power of the media to inform the public and shape perceptions, if properly harnessed, can lead to the hastening of the process of deploying robots in real-life contexts. Unfortunately, the current debate is still targeted at the movie industry and imagery from science fiction. People have not yet embraced the idea that android robots can become an integral part of their lives in a realistic, meaningful way.

The media has not done enough to explain how robots have greatly changed the lives of many people especially through personal service. They have been used to assist elderly people, they offer support to people in their homes, and have been deployed successfully in the manufacturing sector. Android robots are also being used as research vehicles for studies on human-robot communication. For example, Ogawa et al (2013) used android robots to conduct field experiments with a view to investigate how robots could be used as acceptable media of communication for both young and elderly people. In this study, physical interaction was found to have a positive impact human-robot communication experience (Ogawa et al, 2013). The international media may be making more significant contributions to android robotics technology by highlighting such developments instead of promoting the notion that androids belong to the realm of science fiction.

Moreover, many controversies relating to robotics technology have been propagated in the media. Owing to the lack of clarity (which the media itself is responsible for perpetuating), it becomes possible for misconceptions to emerge. Instead of providing clarifications, many media houses give prominence to these controversies while making no genuine attempts to engage robotics specialists in the debate. If such debates were initiated, the controversies would be resolved conclusively The preference for the entertainment aspects of android robotics probably arises out of the sheer curiosity that the fictional side of the debate has continued to trigger since the 1950s.

The failure by the media to address the real issues relating to android robots may also have arisen from the traditional misconception that although humanoid robots are extremely fascinating, their use in real life are limited. By being stuck in this traditional notion, the media has failed to take note of important developments in robotics technology. More importantly, it has failed to make meaningful contributions to these developments. Ideally, the media should be at the forefront in shaping perceptions and creating awareness regarding the importance of creating an ideal environment for HRI research. In a world where limited attention is being directed to current developments and future prospects for android robotics, it becomes extremely difficult for HRI researchers to conduct experiments in public spaces.

Some of the issues that can be explained using simple language through media include application domains, future prospects, how robots can interact with humans to improve quality of life, and how perception influences advances in humanoid robotics technology. Regarding perception, it is worthwhile to note that people of different socio-cultural and economic backgrounds have different perceptions regarding the importance and potential for the deployment of robots in real-life situations. Through technology demonstration, the media can contribute significantly to the leveling of the “awareness ground” upon which the worldview of android robots is generated.

Indeed, technology demonstration is one of the application domains for humanoid robots. Incidentally, the media is one of the main target industries in regards to the prospects of these technological tools. By liaising with robotics engineers to deploy robots in broadcasting studios, the media will have contributed immensely to efforts aimed at demystifying humanoid robots. Fortunately, showcases of technology breakthroughs by corporate entities attract a lot of public attention. This means that there is an incentive for the media to promote the efforts of the companies that pursue this ambitious goal by broadcasting the technology demonstrations.

Regarding the role of humanoid robots in space missions, the media has hardly provided in-depth analyses on emerging issues and the rationale for automation (Behnke, 2008). Yet two prominent projects for which technical information is easily accessible have been launched by NASA (National Aeronautics and Space Administration) in recent times (Behnke, 2008). In these projects, whose objective was to address safety issues, human-like robots were mounted on the wheel bases of space vehicles. If the media had provided all the necessary information to the public, concerns would not have been raised regarding the use of human-like robots. This is because the developers of the projects had justified their use by indicating that the human-like robots were in a better position to use space-certified tools that had initially been designed for humans (Behnke, 2008). Moreover, it was easier for tele-operators to direct the space vehicles using the humanoid body.

Conclusions and Recommendations or Further Research and Possible Solutions

This paper has highlighted several issues relating to the cultural context and media influences on android robotics. On the basis of this investigation, several conclusions can be derived. To begin with, efforts to develop android robots are being influenced by cultural factors. At the same time, developers of these robots are increasingly being confronted by the choice between appearance and behavior. The decisions that these specialists make are important because they ultimately influence the perceptions that will be generated once the robots are deployed in different cultural contexts.

The paper makes the following recommendations:

  1. Stakeholders in the robotics industry should view android robots as symbols of culture to enable them to position them in the right cultural contexts.
  2. A research approach should be developed to determine ways of dealing with the problem of choice between behavior and appearance for cultural reasons
  3. Future researchers should carry out further research on the importance of the categorizations of collectivist and individualistic cultures in the cultural positioning of android robots.
  4. Robots should be regarded as regarded as social entities that contribute to the cultural fabric within a community.
  5. The mainstream media should do more to report breakthrough discoveries and experiment findings relating to humanoid robots.
  6. The media should stop promoting fascination with fictional aspects over real-life issues through movies and fictional science. Such fascination will only continue derailing progress by promoting controversies surrounding robotics technologies.
  7. Media outlets should overcome the prevailing fixation with the traditional notion of “limited usability of humanoid androids”; instead, attention should be directed towards the numerous changes have since occurred in the world of robotics technology.

 

References

Behnke, S. (2008). Humanoid Robots: From Fiction to Reality? KI-Zeitschrift, 4(8), 5-9.

Haring, K., Matsumoto, Y. & Watanabe, K. (2013). How Do People Perceive and Trust a Lifelike Robot. Proceedings of the World Congress on Engineering and Computer Science, 23-25 October, 2013, San Francisco, USA.

Minato, T., Shimada, M., Ishiguro, H. & Itakura, S (2004). Development of an Android Robot for Studying Human-Robot Interaction. Lecture Notes in Computer Science, 3029, 424-434.

Ogawa, K., Nishio, S., Minato, T. & Ishiguro, H. (2013). Android Robots as Telepresence Media. London: Routledge.

Triandis, H. (2004). The many dimensions of culture. Academy of Management Perspectives, 18(1), 88-93.

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