Journal 4/14/17

This week in class I enjoyed listening to everyone’s group presentations. There were some interesting ideas that were proposed and some interesting arguments that really entailed what we have been learning throughout this semester. It showed me that there are many ways that this class can be applied to finding solutions to real world problems of today. The most interesting group was talking about how the human race may have to relocate to a new planet because Earth’s resources are diminishing. This is a clear problem and it’s kind of scary to think that our lives would be dramatically affected.

Another interesting part of their presentation was the ethical part. Someone from the audience asked who would be picked to go to Mars. Like all ethical issues, there are many factors to consider when coming up with a solution, and the solution may not be liked. I think it would depend on the circumstances. If we are able to find a way to survive on Mars in the near future, more people would be able to move. It would be very expensive and I think the elite would be the ones that would take the trip. But, if the human population is threatened and close to extinction because of the dwindling resources, who would be picked to make sure the human race lives on? Would we want the best representative? What makes them the best representative? What characteristics and qualities do we consider when choosing individuals to continue on our legend?

Journal 4/7

After watching Memento this week, it really made me think of how dependent we are on our memories. The director of this movie did a phenomenal job on putting the audience in Leonard’s shoes. The way the plot ran backwards made it so that I was left feeling very lost, just like Leonard felt about finding out who the murderer was. It also shows how manipulative people are capable of being. I shouldn’t have been shocked that people would take of someone like Leonard with his condition, but the scene where Natalie berates him and calls his wife horrible names and steals the pens so he can’t remember what she did, shows how low some people can go. Memory has always been a confounding concept to me because it is hard for me to understand how images and moments are captured. I would love to think that we are capable of remembering things exactly as they happened, but I think we interpret moments and twist them into what we want them to be. For example, after Teddy told Leonard that he had been manipulating him so he could get his revenge and “play detective”, Leonard chose to make up his own story. It often makes me question whether my memories are true, or if I overthink situations and make it more than it is. It is quite delusional, only proving that humans are definitely flawed. Another interesting part of the movie was that Leonard’s system for remembering things was to take pictures and write notes. This was his only way of preserving moments and it reminded me of how a computer works. This systematic programming runs along the same course as how the brain remembers things. But yet at the same time, there seemed to be a lot of emotion clouding his judgements, which made him alter some things because he wanted them to be different. The biggest lesson I learned from this movie was that humans are very flawed and trust their memory too much, even though it is often smudged with bias of our own selfishness.

EK- 3/31/17 Journal

This week in class we discussed a couple of objects that represented our leaky memory. The bucket with the hole in the bottom of it really resonated with me because I feel like memory is a very faulty thing. My memory especially feels like there is a large gaping hole and the “water” is rushing out. This may be due to the fact that my grandpa had Alzheimer’s and I am paranoid that I could have it. The fact that it was compared to a capacitor for a computer made me realize that technology can also fail us. I think this creates an even stronger bond to technology and may make us even more dependent on it.

I am excited for the group project because it will be fun to work with peers that are interested in the same topic as me. I have also never presented in a symposium, so it will be a new experience for me. I hope our group is able to share our information and ideas with those that are interested.

March 24 journal EK

This week in class, we explored the different themes in the book Stars in my Pocket Like Grains of Sand. Something that stood out to me in the book was that RAT Korga was sought out by everyone because he was a “survivor”. They were curious for many reasons. He was very different from everyone else because he did not have a GI. The GI gave everyone access to cultural knowledge, which helped them be more integrated and understand each other. Mark was nervous every time RAT Korga interacted with another human or other species because he was unaware of the social standards. I think it is interesting to think of how a GI system would work in our world. Although it seems as if having “perfect knowledge” would be ideal because of the information given to make certain decisions, it takes away one’s privacy. Privacy to me is very important because people are opt to act certain ways to make themselves look better or to fit in to what society considers “normal”. Privacy allows an individual to explore and find out who they really are when nobody is looking.


With this dependency on others and a loss of individualism, it made me realize that if I was a survivor of some catastrophic event, I would question why I am not dead. Although this is a pessimistic view, it is very real and happens to people all the time. In war, soldiers suffer from PTSD because of all of the gruesome and painful times they suffered through. They create a connection between the people that they are with, and when they become the last one standing, they often feel lost. I would also feel very frustrated and would not see the point in continuing life. If everyone you knew and loved had died, it would be extremely hard to build new relationships. This occurs when RAT Korga leaves Mark and Mark feels like nothing else compares to him. I would also feel anger towards the world because it seems unfair for your loved ones to be taken away. I guess it also just really depends on what kind of person you are. If you are a person that does not need anyone, you would have other feelings. The other side of this situation is that a survivor would be given a new chance to start over, build new relationships. If they had problems or hardships in the past, those could potentially be replaced. I feel like people would not judge you as much, they would only praise you and think highly of you because of how you were able to come out of such a situation where everyone else died.

Konishi 6

To start out the week, we watched a very intriguing episode of “Humans” that left me wanting more. “Humans” is set in a world where humans have introduced anthropomorphic robots called “synths” that are used as servants. It examines how socially, culturally, and psychologically transforming the effects of being dependent on the synths are. The idea of integrating the synths into society is being heavily pushed and is becoming normalized. As a consequence of Asimov’s three laws, the robot slaves are being used to do our bidding. In the first episode, we follow a family where the mother is not home a lot because of work, an elderly man whose wife has passed away, and a scientist that has implemented consciousness somehow into four synth robots and is being hunted for that reason. In the family, the robot synth is brought into the family dynamic by the father because he cannot manage the household chores without the mother. The mother is horrified by his decision because she believes that they are unnecessary and teach her children to feel like they are entitled to feeling lazy. She is very wary to their robot servant and is uncomfortable with its presence and how it interacts with her children. The robot-human relationship is shown in another light when the elderly man is due for a new model of a synth, but he refuses to let go of his because of the relationship he has created. He treats him as if he were his son and it also seems like he is holding onto the synth because of all the memories it has stored of his wife that has passed away. The synth represents a part of his wife and he desperately wants to hang on to those memories. Lastly, the scientist and the few robots that he successfully made conscious are in hiding because their true identities render them dangers to society. This iterates the fact that humans fear being the inferior species. This is why the synth robot company is taking violent action to capture the conscious robots and make sure that they function like any other robot in society. With their human-characteristics plus consciousness, the robots have the ability to assimilate into society. Just like in Asimov’s short story “The Bicentennial Man”, society is hesitant to accept these robots and fear the possibilities of what they would be capable of.

This brings us back to the question of whether we can create a robot as a free moral agent. In this parallel universe portrayed in “Humans”, it seems like society is straying away from giving robots freedom and rights. We are simply treating them as slaves and using them as a means to an end in order to complete the tasks that we do not want to do. They are used to make humans’ lives easier and less stressful. If we are to integrate the synths into our lives to the point where we are incredibly dependent on them and we feel as if there is no point in applying ourselves because a robot can be programmed to do that job, then we have to have a lot of trust in them. To be a big part of our lives, we give them our trust to make the right decisions. This could be scary because they are programmed to make certain decisions, but instinctive humanistic values could alter which situation is best. It is hard to match human decisions because we can be very irrational and inconsistent.