Kathleen Richardson: Researcher, BT

Kathleen Richardson has just completed her doctoral studies in the department of social anthropology, University of Cambridge. Kathleen conducted fieldwork in robotic labs at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). Her thesis, Annihilating Difference? Robots and Building Design at MIT examined the breakdown of boundaries between humans and nonhumans through a study of robots. In May 2006, she produced the play, R.U.R (Rossum’s Universal Robots) written by Karel Čapek (1921) and the source of the first robots. She is currently working for BT researching social relationships and new technologies.

September 2008

Real Dolls and men

Oliver has made a film in which more meaningful relationships with non-humans become possible. Embedding ‘Bianca’ in a community, even making her backstory that of a missionary, allows viewers to dispense with our more vulgar feelings of distaste about the subject, and to suspend our aversion to the idea of sex dolls.

Film
July 2008

Trashing the future of humanity

Throughout the film we are constantly reminded of the trash narrative, and even on board of the Axiom we see large chunks of trash ejected into space. In essence, waste is synonymous with the human race.

Film
April 2008

Social circuitry

Levy’s book poses interesting questions – why do humans tend to gender their objects? Or think their computers have personalities? But rather than engaging with the why and how of these issues, he simply takes their existence as further evidence for the inevitably of human-robot affairs.

Books

Culture Wars was included in creativetourists’ Top 25 UK Arts & Culture Blogs 2009.