Journal 10

Although I had to miss class on Tuesday my friend told me that what we did in class was watch an episode of Black Mirror. I decided to watch it in order to be prepare for class on Thursday and also because it sounded really interesting. The episode “the entire history of you” shocked me. While watching it I couldn’t help but think that in some way, that is our society today—relying in pictures and videos in order to remember moments with family and friends. The episode itself shows the value that memory plays in the built of trust and relationships. It was so sad to see how their family was destroyed just because he could prove through the wife’s recorded moments that she cheated on him. I can help but wonder how that nowadays would affect so many friendships and relationships, because although I don’t condone lying and cheating, this would not only affect gf/bf relationships but people would never be able to forgive and forget, rebuilt trust if it was broken before, or even invest in a friendship or relationship that fell apart if they had records of why it didn’t work out in the first place. It would be strange to have a system like that implemented in our society because I feel like having the ability to never forget and always have access to every moment in your life and every encounter with people would just fuel the fire and cause more problems than solutions to the situations we face nowadays.

Likewise, while reading The Buried Giant it is interesting how the story is based on a population completely forgetting its past and relying on kind of this “short-memory” system that allows them to get by through the day. People remember they have to wake up in the morning and do their daily shores, yet somehow no one can figure out the past—Axl and Beatrice cannot remember their child or why he is not with them anymore. It is devastating to read how Beatrice can’t remember how he looks like, what is he like personality wise, where is he situated yet can feel it and calls it a “motherly feature” that reassures her that although she can’t remember him, she has a son, that he exists. I am very interested in what will happen in the next few chapters of the book and figure out what happened to the society that essentially erased their “hard drive” making them forget everything from their past. I think this book instills in readers the importance memory plays in our daily lives and how it affects who we are.

Journal 9

This week we listened to the various poster presentations and it was very interesting to see what other people decided to talk about for their poster presentations and how everyone found a fun way to incorporate everything we have learned in class through out the semester. My group decided to focus on the comparison between humans and robots and the many different characteristics that throughout evolutionary periods has allowed us to identify as humans. We start with the physical aspects of what makes us humans such as the evolutionary traits of bipedalism, ability to communicate, use of tools for hunting, and cognitive capacity. We also talked about the emotional characteristics and how that differentiates us from robots because robots cannot understand the causation of emotions. We then focused in the societal views on robotics and the perception that society has on considering robots humanoids or not if they will ultimately one day be able to completely imitate our movements and way of reasoning. Lastly, we focused our research on the philosophical aspects relating to the comparison of humans and robots. I think this will be a very insightful topic to present on because technological advancements are already developing robots with cognitive capacities that allows them to imitate human behaviors as well as become more autonomous so it will be really interesting to see where people stand on this topic.

Journal 8

The movie Momento caught me completely off guard. At first I thought I was the one that was forgetting some of the scenes and that’s why I could not figure out what was happening but then I realized that as professor Drexler explained, the movie actually started with the end of the “story” and just kept on going back in flashbacks. The movie clearly demonstrated our reliance in our memory in order to function as human beings. Leonard suffers of memory loss and it is not able to create short-term memories yet somehow he can still remember what happened to his wife and why he wants to find and murder the guy who raped her. It must be so hard for people in today’s world that suffer from similar things and must rely in pictures, surroundings, and even in the case of Lenny’s tattoos in order to function as normal people and have a sense in life. I think overall it was hard to follow because of the hapax, but I think the directors did a really good job in trying to differentiate the moments in time using black/white and color scenes indicating the past and the present, as well as going back every once in a while to the same scenes and just adding a little bit more to complete them and produce kind of a sequence to it. I think the directors appealed to our way of making sense of things since they distorted the sequence of the movie so we could figure out what was the movie about. At the end, I couldn’t still 100% agree with whether Lenny was innocent and what happened to his wife was actually true or if he was indeed Sammy Jenkins. I know that we are just starting to talk about the importance memory plays not only in computers and hard-drives but in humans too but it is interesting to note how all these materials we have explored so far really point out the importance memory plays in us although we don’t think about that often.

Journal 7– 3/31

We finished discussing Starts in My Pockets and it was interesting to note how the novel ends with Marq and Rat being separated because they couldn’t be together if they wanted to avoid a cultural fuge. The novel itself was very interesting to read because it involves travel between various worlds and explores diverse cultures instilling in readers travel of mind and heart as well as body in a sense. I think Delany did a great job exploring cross-cultural and cross-racial themes depicting a novel were the ordinary seems abnormal for our society nowadays. He promotes relationships among different sexes, races, cultures, and uses symbolisms such as the family and the syng to defy what on Earth seems to continue to face social obstacles. Delany pictures the family as the group in our society that strongly objects the relationship among interspecies (in our case gays), and the syng as the group concerned not with gender or species but rather on people being able to achieve happiness with the person they decide to share their lives with. Likewise, as professor Drexler said, I think he did a very good job in making readers to accept the culture perceived in the planets he depicts. I think that by the end of the story readers no longer see this as weird, but rather can connect and understand the feelings Rat and Marq feel for each other.

Journal 3/24

While reading the Stars in My pockets like Grains of Sand it was interesting to note how the issues Delany tried to address through his science fiction novel are those issues our society struggles with today. Delany introduces future societies that challenge and question the concepts of ethnicity and gender sexuality through established interactions among different races such as humans and aliens, homosexuals, and pronoun usage. There is also the concept of the Family and the Sygn which can equate to the views of the various groups comprising our society (I equated them to the Democratic and Republican party ideals). The Family believes in the nuclear family centered in one culture and founded in heterosexual relationships. The Sygn in the other hand, accepts the idea of many types of relationships and understands the value of distinct cultures coming together in the same society. Delany’s cross-cultural and cross-racial themes wants to convince readers to escape what has been dictated by society pertaining these subjects, and rather see them as the norm. I believe Delany words seek to free those who feel oppressed and in turn make them feel hopeful of one day being able to achieve a society where such “perfect world” exist and there’s not a “better” or “more normal” than the other type of relationship, race, or identity but everyone is driven by their personal desires without being judged or oppressed. I believe with the legalization of gay marriage we are making some improvements but there is still more that has to be done to reach this “perfect” society.