Posts Tagged ‘Robotics’

Week3_IndustrialAge,Kinetic Art,Robotics by Dennis Yeh

Monday, January 26th, 2009

In the first two weeks of this course, we have covered how art and technology are intrinsically related.  Without technology, there would be no art, and with no art, people would not express their innovation or emotions, and the creativity necessary for technological advancement would be non-existent.  However, this week’s lectures have given me a new perspective to consider: can technology mean the death of art and humanity?

After reading H.G. Wells’ Time Machine and watching the two film adaptations, I realized that all three versions have something in common: when the protagonist travels into the distant future, he encounters two species that have evolved from homo sapiens: the Eloi and the Morlocks.  The Eloi are weak and feeble creatures that seem to lack curiosity and intelligence, while the Morlocks are beastial creatures that live underground and maintain the machines that keep the Eloi (their food source) alive.  H. G. Wells uses these two species as a metaphor for the division between the working class and the wealthy during the Industrial Revolution.  As the time traveler explores Earth 800,000 years in the future, he makes several observations and hypotheses about how the world ended up this way.  He supposes that the Eloi’s small stature and lack of intelligence are the result of humankind’s previous struggle to transform nature through art and science.  After all of humanity’s problems had been solved, the need for technology and innovation to improve life was no longer necessary.  As a result, they became unimaginative and lost all curiousity about the world.  Without any work to do (presuably with the complete automation of life), they became physically weak and diminutive.  In addition, the protagonist hypothesizes that advances in medical science had become so advanced that all disesases were completely abolished, as no signs of disease are present amongst the Eloi. With no work to do and no hardships to overcome, society becomes non-hierarchical, with no defined leaders or social classes.  With no hardship or inequalities in Earth’s societies, there would be no war and crime.  Art and culture, often driven by problems or as a foundation for revolutionary ideas and new developments slowly disappeared, as eventually there were no conceivable improvements for humanity.  Eventually, the protagonist discovers the Morlocks, and realizes that the wealthy upper class devolved into the Eloi, while the working class, having to deal with manual labor eventually evolved into the cannabalistic Morlocks.

morlocksamplevt5

After considering this prediciton of the future, which makes perfect logical sense, I have to ask myself: will our society ever achieve such a future, where our own technological advancement and creativity end up destroying humanity?  It is obvious to me that science is a double-edged sword.  With the advent of cars and other inventions that pollute our environment, we have already invented our way into a “global warming crisis.”  With the invention of nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons, we have effectively created several methods for wiping ourselves out.  As Albert Einstein once said, “I do not know with what weapons World War III will be fought, but World War IV will be fought with sticks and stones.”

-Dennis Yeh