Archive for the ‘week 3_ the industrial age, kinetic art, and robotics’ Category

Friday, February 27th, 2009

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Week 7: Tom Cruise and the Controversy of Prescription Drugs - Ricky Irwin

Tuesday, February 24th, 2009

On the June 24th, 2005 episode of the Today Show, Tom Cruise infamously clashed with host Matt Lauer on the controversial nature of antidepressant medication and psychiatry, and also criticized Brooke Shields for taking antidepressants. Having watched this video clip in its entirety, I came to the conclusion that while Tom Cruise does touch upon some fundamentally true aspects of drug addiction, he is simply too radical and off-base with his comments, the most likely cause of his public image destruction. When he says “the antidepressant, all it does is mask the problem. There’s ways of vitamins and through exercise and various things,” it can be true in certain situations. People who are suffering from real issues and complications in their lives can just mask their problems with drugs, and would be better off cleansing themselves of such problems with therapy, and perhaps exercise like Tom Cruise suggests. However, Cruise goes on to say, “There is no such thing as a chemical imbalance,” which is simply untrue in scientific research, and is a dangerous sentiment for those actually suffering from an imbalance. The problem is that too many people in America are being subscribed prescription drugs that either don’t need the strength or just need an alternative solution, and can end up in a worse state of addiction.

The first thing I thought of with this week’s topic of prescription drugs and psychiatry is a bit of standup from comedian Katt Williams that I have seen recently. He talks about how happy and energetic his son was, until his nurse at school said, “you don’t understand whether he’s happy or not, it’s unhealthy” and prescribed him Ritalin to “even him out.” Katt Williams talked about how the first two hours were wonderful for him as a parent, able to do so much, but after three hours, the drugs just seemed to have an unnatural and disconcerting effect on the mellow behaviour of his son. This just shows how in America, there is a demand for anything and everything that seems to simplify and better life, parallel to the rapid rise of technology in everything. There seems to be medication for every symptom, and they all play to the “self-improvement” desire of Americans that compel them to first seek prescription drugs for problems without first addressing the causes and nature of the problem. With Ritalin, the drug is being abused from its original intent of aiding focus in areas like academics into usage by parents who wish to make their own parenting lives easier, while stifling the personality of their kids.

However, of the different types of prescription medication, I think antidepressants are the least effective. In a study conducted by Yale University, it was found that for 70% of people, antidepressant drugs were completely ineffective. Also, antidepressants can sometimes do harm, as instead of treating depression, they can completely numb and neutralize the users emotions altogether, making the result not completely worth it. I think that antidepressants and prescription drugs in general have their uses and in some instances are very instrumental, but just like most problems in America, they have been dragged to excess and are too flooded into the market for people who may need therapy or different kinds of treatment.

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Week 5_Relation of First four weeks and Midterm_by Nikolaos Mouchtouris

Sunday, February 8th, 2009

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The topic of each week was different and interesting to talk about, yet they all had on thing in common: even though they were typically contrasting cultures, ideas, or methods, I soon realized that we often combine them in our everyday life when we want to create something beautiful.

The basis of the first part of the quarter was the first week’s topic, “Two cultures” and to what extent is it possible to have the third culture, one that combines both. A third culture not only gives an individual broader knowledge but also actually helps him communicate with the people around him. Imagine if everybody was restricted to his “own world” without any way to bridge this gap? Besides the communication issue, understanding and appreciating the other culture is necessary asset for those who want to distinguish. Einstein, one of the best scientists of all times, once said that “imagination is more important that knowledge” suggesting that the creative scientists are the ones who make a groundbreaking invention or discovery.

The same concept applies to the topic we analyzed during week 2; mathematics and art are interconnected even though it is not always obvious. Escher, being impressed by science, he used mathematics extensively in his works as he created famous paintings that have perfect mathematical accuracy (“Circle Limit III”). Furthermore, he introduced perspective in his works; he added a third dimension, which can be mathematically proven if draw triangles and find all the angles.

As technology has developed to an incredible level that surprises us every day, its smart use has also advanced art. During the lectures we saw a couple excerpts from movies that have really astonished the viewers. Movies like Jurassic Park and the Matrix use special effects and slow time motion respectively which really reflect the use of technology for artistic purposes.

Week four had a very interesting topic as we looked at Hippocrates and the medicine in ancient Greece. Even though medicine is a science, the first doctor, Hippocrates, was rather an artist. He imagined of what goes wrong and then treated the patient. His contribution to the society was immense as he introduced medicine by being creative and good willing.

Personally, my midterm project summarizes the basic concept of the first four weeks as I managed to use technology and science in order to produce art, resulting in improving our living conditions. My project is about the installation of LCD screens in offices, displaying digital scenery that brings tranquility, concentration and positivism to the workers who struggle every single day. The technology used in this project already exists, but has not been used in this way; however, this time it is applied in a real-life situation in order to improve the working conditions. The reason the underlying idea is important is that, in this case, an entertaining device is now used in a different field, having an entirely special meaning. LCD screens are not used to watch a movie or a show, but, with the aid of psychology, they help workers calm down, concentrate and work harder.

Nikolaos Mouchtouris

On digital reproduction, the ‘original’, and mass amateurizaton

Monday, January 26th, 2009

“On digital reproduction, the ‘original’, and mass amateurizaton”

Although Douglas Davis raises many important issues in “The Work of Art in the Age of Digital Reproduction”, he misses the essential transformations of the digital revolution.

The fact of digital reproduction raises two critical questions, which Davis recognizes: If digital works can be reproduced flawlessly, is the value of the original destroyed? Is there even meaning to an “original” digital work?

In answering the first question, Davis fails to realize that the nature of “value” answers the question as soon as it’s asked. Value is not intrinsic. Jackson Pollock’s splatterings sell for millions while the doodlings of preschoolers merely get preferential placement on the refrigerator because of subjective value judgements, not because of a recognition of intrinsic worth. The “worth” of a work of art (aside from its value as an investment) is entirely in the pleasure it brings its owner. An original, if it exists, is qualitatively different from its successive copies, if only in the minds of other people. If a painting is made and a computer scans all the movements of the painter as he paints, a sufficiently dextrous robot could reproduce the painting to such a level of detail as to be indistinguishable from the original. But there will quite likely be *someone* who places value on the fact that his painting was the first, the one painted by the painter himself, and will therefore be willing to purchase the original at a higher price than the robot-made copies. The vast majority of consumer won’t care in the slightest and will happily hang the copies in their homes. Value, like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder.

The more interesting question, which Davis raises but fails to answer to any interesting degree concerns the nature of an “original” digital work and whether there actually is such a thing. Because digital works are by their nature perfectly reproducible, there is no “original” work in the same way as there are original physical works. A more relevant dichotomy for digital works than original vs. reproduction is legitimate vs. illegitimate. Because of the ease of digital reproduction, intellectual property is more important than ever, and the closest analogy to possessing an original work of art is possessing a legitimate copy of a digital work of art, such as a song. In this way, the more relevant distinction for digital works of art is the method of acquisition (legal/licensed vs. illegal/pirated) than the method of production (original/reproduction).

The importance of this distinction is readily apparent as the current legal mess created by tools like BitTorrent and sites like The Pirate Bay that facilitate the illegal copying of digital works, including digital works of art such as music and movies. In a similar way that collectors place extra value on a work’s originality, many digital media consumers place extra value on a work’s legitimacy, opting to pay (usually nominal) fees for legitimately licensed versions of digital works.

For most work that are purely digital, there is no meaningful “original”; the value that original physical works have has been transformed into the value of legitimacy in digital works.

Kenneth Hurst

Week 3_ Art: Perception Lies in the Eye of the Beholder. By Nicolina Greco

Sunday, January 25th, 2009

When reflecting on this week’s readings by Walter Benjamin and Douglas Davis, it fascinated me to learn  how much changes throughout history have influenced changes in perspectives of art. At the peak of the industrial revolution, new mechanical inventions gave way for new methods of reproducing artwork, such as photography and film making, which began the age of digital artwork and reproduction as we know it today. What was not initially recognized at the time but is now debated about today are the politics involved in reproducing artwork, and the real justification of priding replicas of artwork that are now so easily reproducible. One of Benjamin’s main points in his excerpt was that “works of art are received and valued on different planes; with one, the accent is on the cult value; with the other, on the exhibition value.” Benjamin explains that some believe true value lies in the sole existence of a piece of art and believe it should be hidden to obtain its worth, while others believe artwork is deemed worthy the more it is displayed, acknowledged, and reproduced.

Although I can understand both polar sides of this argument, I must say that I am more pessimistic about this topic and believe that art should be valued based on its sole existence rather than how many times it can be replicated. In my opinion, it is worth so much more to travel to the place where the original art piece was created rather than going to a local museum and seeing a replica of it. For example, I will never forget the special moment when I viewed the original statue of Michelangelo’s The Pieta in Saint Peter’s Basilica, Italy. This beautiful statue of the virgin Mary holding her son Jesus’ body in her arms is a statue I have seen many times, but the moment I got to behold the original piece brought tears to my eyes, and was an experience I will never forget. I believe that art should always hold this type of value and should be appreciated in this sense.

I agree with Benjamin’s analyses of  photography and film and the questions he addresses as to whether they should be considered “art.” It is true that a photograph captures a moment in time and space, but is the existence of the actual photograph itself really that meaningful when one can easily replicate it, or edit the photograph on digital workshops? A similar feeling is addressed with the film making industry. Although acting is an art, how much of  an actor’s artistic talent is really portrayed in movies when the talented producer behind the camera can capture any emotion he needs to? It is hard for me, personally, to fully accept photography and film as art because our society has the ability to give false impressions with how advanced we are today. However, it is truly a matter of opinion as to what people perceive art to be.

The following link is an article that further addresses the real jobs that actors have when filming, and how the camera does most of the work:

When further discussing film in lecture on Thursday, I also found the topic of robotics in cinema to be quite interesting. Throughout history and popular culture, robots have reflected the mood, social and cultural issues, and technology of their times. For example, in the Cold War 1950s, robots were generally viewed as threatening forces, but in later years reflected both the conflict and the continuity between man and machine. Robots have also functioned as both servant-helpers or oppressors of humanity, portraying the good and evil sides. Building off of the idea of a third culture emerging, I think that the idea of robots that are created to resemble human behavior further supports the two cultures of art and science emerging. The first movie that comes to mind when I think of this concept is I-Robot, a 2004 film starring Will Smith, where a robot named Sonny proved himself to be unlike all the other manmade robots because “he” claimed to have feelings, emotions, and dreams. This scientifically created machine was able to express human-like behavior based on observing humans. This movie made me think  about how technologically advanced our world is becoming, and wonder if someday this realm between art and science that has emerged will really be able to create a robot that resembles human beings physically, mentally, and emotionally. Here is an example of a man who is in the process of perfecting the robot he built to do just that:

It amazes me how much art, science, and technology have emerged in today’s society. Although my perception of what I consider art is broadening, I am still trying to rid the stereotypical image of what I believe art should be. The most important lesson I have learned so far is that the perception lies in the eye of the beholder. These past three weeks have really opened my eyes to different perspectives in art and how much science is emerging in the field of art in many ways, and I can’t wait to continue learning more about it.

-Nicolina Greco

Week 3 Machine made instruments by tung dao

Sunday, January 25th, 2009

A number of years ago, I went to the local luthier in search of a violin. Inside the shop were countless numbers of instruments, from cellos displayed on the floor to violins hung up from the wall. The smell of varnish and maple and the sounds of scraping and chatter surrounded every aspect of one’s presence while in the store. It was heaven on earth for me at the time, as I was led into a small room to try out a few violins to see which one will be my life long companion. After trying them all, I settled on one that had a very pronounced bass response. It was a beautiful instrument, a replica of the “Titian” Stradivarius of the year 1715, made by one of the apprentices of the master luthier. A replica. I began to ponder “How does one replicate a violin? Is it even possible to compare two handmade violins separated by 300 years and say that one is a replica of the other? What can be replicated? Is a replica as good as the original?” As it turns out, there are a few ways to replicate an instrument. A luthier can replicate the shape of a violin or imitate superficial qualities such as nicks and scratches. They can also confirm scientifically how similar two violins are through the use of Chladni Patterns.

This is where we enter the realm of the differences between a handmade violin and a machine produced violin. Talking with the people at the shop, they said that a machine made instrument won’t have the precise shaping as a handmade one. Evidently, engineers have only designed wood working machines that are only precise as a ruler, despite being able design machines that mass produces photographic lenses which require precision to the nanometer. So I went on to ask how my instrument was replicated from the original. The clerk responded that the shape of the plates and dimensions of every little aspect of each instrument have been documented and can thus be replicated. The exterior of an instrument can be mimicked through artificial antiquing; the information of which can be obtained from photographic records. It seems as though it is entirely possible to replicate an instrument’s shape and everything about it such that it is difficult to tell the difference between original and replica. Walter Benjamin writes that the imitation, no matter how exact it is, will always be missing one element, “its presence in time and space… [the] unique existence of the work of art determined the history to which it was subject throughout the time of its existence”. Certainly, the owner of the original will definitely know the original more intimately than anyone and can distinguish between the two almost by feel.

A vibrating plate with a sprinkle of sand produces Chladni Patterns

Visually an instrument can be identical, and that is of little matter to musicians, whose lives depend on making sounds and performing. The visual identicalness of a replica to its original means almost nothing if the identical sound is sought. Luthiers use a technique devised by Ernest Chladni to determine how a violin will sound. By suspending the violin plates over a speaker, the plates can be vibrated sympathetically, similarly to the soprano breaking a wine glass with her voice. The patterns of vibration can be visualized by sprinkling dark sand on the plate, where it will bounce away from areas that are vibrating and collect on nodes which do not vibrate. All the luthier has to do is shape the replica’s plate such that the Chladni patterns are identical and, voila, identical aural characteristics.

It is worth mentioning here the differences between a handmade instrument and a machine made one through the use of Chladni patterns. Comparing the patterns, the handmade one has more definition to the patterns. And it makes sense since a mass produced instrument will not have the same attention to detail on its workmanship. They are definitely a fascinating way to determine character, nonetheless, for any instrument.

tung dao

Chladni patterns
Mass produced:

Week 3_ Social Rights for Robots? by Joseph Duy Nguyen

Sunday, January 25th, 2009

With the advancement of science, artificial intelligence in robots has risen to the point that many people are considering robots a threat to human existence. This idea of the danger of artificial intelligence is portrayed in countless films made by Hollywood, including the bleak future painted for earth in the Terminator trilogy, in which humans are fighting a war against computers with artificial intelligence capabilities. Regardless of the numerous films produced, the field of robotics is currently being studied with greater interests in many countries around the world. This may have to do with the possibility of creating robot soldiers, robot housekeepers, robot workers, etc. Even though some of these ideas are in existence today, humans have yet to develop the perfect robot. Many, including the national government, have delved deep into this topic, even into the political and social rights for such machines.

Oddly enough, a United Kingdom government report showed that robots one day will demand the same human rights as human beings. This is utter nonsense to many scientists. According to the paper released by the British government, robots may be sharing the same neighborhood and citizenship status as anyone. “If granted full rights, states will be obligated to provide full social benefits to them including income support, housing and possibly robo-healthcare to fix the machines over time,” as stated in one of the many released reports. Many scientists have discredited these reports due to a lack of evidence that any such things could be possible.

In my opinion, robots and humans are not equal and can never be equal. Human and robot senses are of a completely different nature. Robots do not have the feelings of a living being such as love and pain. Robots do not have the same perspective on time as humans. What would be considered a lifetime sentence for robots? A hundred years? Two hundred years? There are so many complications sure to arise if robots were ever treated as humans.

Speaking of humanly robots, robotic reproduction also surfaced as an interesting topic. In the report by the British government as mentioned above, the idea of mechanical reproduction by robots was mentioned. Robotic mechanical reproduction is a process in which a self-replicating robot obtains construction materials, manufactures new parts, provides a consistent power source for the new robot “baby,” and programs the new member. If robotic mechanical reproduction is possible, then parental robot would be able to engineer their babies, a process that many parents have thought of since the rise of genetically modified organisms. If robots were able to engineer their offspring, there would be a disastrous effect on human society. Resources are already being spent by humans way too rapidly. With the additional resources needed by robots, the earth will not be able to support life. This can result in a competition between robots and humans.

Scientists and futurists have come up with so many ideas and predictions on the fate of robotics, but in the end, many of these ideas are just mere flights of fantasy. Until humans can develop a self-thinking robot, an artificially intelligent robot will not pose any major risks to humans. However, many of the dangerous jobs today in the world are done by robots. Without these robots, many lives would have been lost due to accidents. It is difficult to determine where to draw the line on how much artificial intelligence a robot should have, but with careful study and precaution, such robotic advances should not be a problem.

Robot (left) created to look almost identical as human (right).

Robot (left) created to look almost identical as human (right).

The idea of a robot being the artificial womb of humans

The idea of a robot being the artificial womb of humans

A sexy singing robot produced by China.

A sexy singing robot produced by China.





Joseph Duy Nguyen

Week 3_Reproduction of Art and Translation of Literature by Cheng-Kuang Liu

Sunday, January 25th, 2009

Walter Benjamin makes a good point concerning the “aura” of a piece of artwork. The aura encompasses the uniqueness of the work, including its physical existence in time and space, its cultural context, its ownership, and everything it has gone through. Mass mechanical reproduction grants access of artwork to the populace, but at the same time destroys the work’s aura, its uniqueness. I personally do not have a lot of encounter with artworks or their history, so I cannot conjure up grand and lofty examples from my memory. I will just humbly share some experience from my personal venture into literature translation. I found out on the internet about a prose translation contest. Because it was summer time and I had a lot of time on my hand, I decided to give it a shot. It was not until I started did I realized how difficult the task is. Though I did not adequately appreciate the original text initially when I read it, there really is a lot to it. Besides the content of the author’s argument, the outward structure of the text is quite a piece of work in itself. There are sound techniques such as alliteration, some metaphors, some clichés, and even some French quotes. All these are subtle facets that can easily vaporize upon any probing from an imitator, like me. I attempted to transplant these features to a different language, and therefore to a different cultural context. I managed to do it, but much of the flow and the flavor were lost. In a sense, I tried reproducing the artwork, but though I was able to do it, the product simply does not bear the aura of the original, no matter how well I have done my job. Once the artwork is imitated, the aura, which is half its value, is gone.

I find it intriguing that Walter Benjamin should use the word aura. In my mother tongue, there is a phrase, “a craftsman’s aura.” This phrase actually carries a negative connotation, describing a piece of “artwork” that is produced by taught techniques or imitation. It also denotes rigidity and the lack of spontaneity. Ideally, a piece of artwork should be as if it just spontaneously emerges from nature, or from the artist’s realization of nature, not intervened by human exertion. I think this phrase quite fittingly describes all the imitations and counterfeits out there, in forms of posters, toys, front of cereal boxes, or otherwise.

Now, robotic art. Optimus surely is the Prime example!

Ah, wonderful robotic arts. First of all, you absolutely have to see these videos: They are quite short, but intensely entertaining (well, at least if you were a gizmo nut like me). I love these videos because the mechanisms are so intricate and so precise. I am just in awe for the ingenuity for the designers every time I watch them. Yet these devices serve no apparent practical purpose other than begging for a giggle, a gasp, or a “wow” from the viewer. At the same time, who can deny these are works of art, able to stir up an emotional response within?

The videos are somewhat of a side note. Now please look at this picture.

I love this picture as well, because anyone who had been stopped by a traffic light will laugh when they see this picture. The message is so clear: it conveys so directly the frustration with traffic signals. It portrays such an intimate aspect of our daily life, yet often an aspect neglected because it is so ordinary. In this fast-paced urban age, everyone seems cold and distant from one another. Yet this outrageous portrayal of the traffic light finds common ground among all these alienated people and connects them all with a resounding echo: everyone has been stuck at traffic lights; everyone had cursed at the traffic (especially if you’ve driven in Los Angeles). This tree of traffic lights may not make a whole lot of sense 200 years from now or 200 years back, but in today’s culture, it fits perfectly. This is its cultural context. This is its niche.

Week 3_Asimo by Adam Parker

Sunday, January 25th, 2009

As the years go by, scientists and engineers get closer and closer to creating realistic artificial intelligence. I believe that one of the most important projects in development right now is ASIMO created by Honda.

ASIMO home page (United States)

For those of you who do not know, ASIMO is Honda’s “Advanced Step in Innovative MObility”. At this point in time, ASIMO is capable of running, walking, turning, exercising, pushing a cart, walking with a tray, and even getting your coffee.

Basic experimental versions of ASIMO were created beginning in 1986.

The E0 (1986) model was able to walk in a straight line at about 5 seconds per step. E1 (1987), a bit larger, was able to walk at .25 km/h. With the integration of dynamic movement, E2’s (1989) pace quickened to 1.2 km/h. In 1991, E3’s speed reached that of a human’s walk: 3 km/h. By lengthening the knee, E4 (1991) increased to 4.7 km/h. The 1992 E5 model gained the ability to walk by itself while the 1993 E6 model could walk up stairs and walk over objects.

Between 1993 and 1997, ASIMO prototypes greatly improved. Battery life increased, the robot itself continued to look more and more human-like, and capabilities were enhanced.

For a more interactive approach to learning about ASIMO, feel free to check out History of Humanoids.

In 2000, ASIMO was unveiled. By now, Honda had upgraded their little robot quite a bit. ASIMO now had facial recognition, environment recognition, the ability to distinguish between sounds, recognition of moving objects, and recognition of postures and gestures. ASIMO was again enhanced in 2004 and most recently in 2005.

In recent news, ASIMO has accomplished a great deal:

ASIMO conducts an orchestra

ASIMO dances

ASIMO does a bunch of stuff (compilation)

ASIMO is definitely something to keep an eye out for in the news. It won’t be long before we can’t tell the difference between an ASIMO and actual human. (Hooray for the future!)

Week 3 Blog: Reflections of Walter Benjamin’s Essay by Sara Captain

Sunday, January 25th, 2009

Reading Walter Benjamin’s essay, “The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction,” it was hard not to recognize the significant influence of Karl Marx’s “Communist Manifesto. For example, Bejamin writes, “During long periods of history, the mode of human sense perception changes with humanity’s entire mode of existence,” a statement that is strikingly similar to Marx’s assertion that the ruling ideas of each era are derived from the conditions in which people are living.
While Benjamin devotes his essay to developing his definition and criticism of what he calls “aura,” Marx stresses that the only acceptable ideas of each era are those ideas which are beneficial to the ruling class, or “bourgeoisie.” The connection between aura and bourgeosie can be identified in each term’s reference to some kind of set standard by which the masses of society are sheepishly led to follow. To use the example cited above, just as the bourgeosie determine what is acceptable and what is not for 9/10ths of society, called the proletariat, there exists, according to Benjamin, an “aura” that contributes a large part of what reverence and value society pays to artwork.
Why is it that some pieces of art are viewed as more valuable simply because of the time and place in which they were originally created, even though there are millions of identical copies available with not even a fraction of the value? Part of the answer lies in the existence of aura, a kind of ritualistic tradition. As a revolutionary follower of Marx, it is not surprising that Benjamin disdains the special favoring of certain works of art over others that are exactly the same in terms of their artistic value, though distinguished by their origins. It is as if there is some kind of aristocracy, or royalty, among artworks, and that some, the vast majority, are discriminated against and valued less simply because of where they come from. I think it is interesting to view art through this Marxist lens, especially when Benjamin argues that getting rid of aura via mass mechanized reproduction is indicative of a perception of equality among material items. In many ways, he is right; yes, it would be honorably unmaterialistic of me to go to the Luv and look at the Mona Lisa with no more inspiration and no more appreciation than if I were to google the Mona Lisa online. However, I disagree that this is necessarily a progressive quality, though it is revolutionary. This feat would involve the complete and utter detachment and objectivity of my knowledge about the artwork and my perception of the artwork on hand. While Benjamin advocates an equality of all identical artworks because of reproduction and equality of material goods and because art in fact derives from the same word for artifice in Latin, implying a connotation of fakeness and lack of originality in the first place, I believe that artwork cannot be perceived and judged and organized in the same fashion as human society.
While the age of reproduction via mechanization can on one hand eliminate aura since reproductions are so much more readily available, they can on the other hand go the exact other way and bring aura to the forefront of art speculation. Since there are so many reproductions of art nowadays, shouldn’t the aura of the single original piece be elevated? Economically, a resource that requires more labor to produce is by price more valuable, and I believe in the importance of keeping original artwork distinguished from copies of artwork to preserve the higher value of original work. Artwork is not all equal; some took days, even years, of original thought, creativity, and preparation, while others took five minutes on a factory machine. While there is equal opportunity among men, not all men are equal; some have worked for college degrees and have enhanced their skills via years and years of hard labor, while others have taken the easy way by sleeping all day and going out all night. Thus, while I respect Benjamin’s attempts to follow in Marx’s footsteps by taking to heart that any kind of revolution is good revolution, I disagree that a revolution in the perception we have of artwork is fair in any way to the artists who produce original work. If da Vinci knew his Mona Lisa was going to be worth the same as his students’ identical reproductions of her, and he received the same amount of pay and reverence for his work as his pupils, what would encourage him to be creative and original and productive of great art for society to enjoy?