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The effect of technology on culture has already been debited from a number of viewpoints. During the industrial revolution, it was about how automation was contributing to unemployment as robots replaced humans and computers took on tasks formerly done by humans. However, history has demonstrated that technological progress will often be followed by a sequence of bolstering of realities of altering the conventional population beyond merely making them unemployed. Since the rise of robots, the idea has veered into the realms of social relations as well (Brown, 2013). In the past, humans formed associations with animals, rocks, and other objects and imbued them with meaning. The phenomena of human relationships with non-human things are not new. It is only that the robotics phenomenon had earlier been outside of the socialization of human beings. Use of robots is a progressive exploration of creativity to understand human nature, situations and problems and reign in to support incapability and bolster strengthens.
Essentially, all innovation is born out of necessity. The article has expressed the problems that children with autism experience as they grow due to their communication problems. The writer could sympathize with his son and wonder if the son will ever find companionship, let alone intimacy (Newman, 2014). There are various cues that humans cannot teach their children with autism. Some of the cues that are pertinent to facilitating human-to-human interaction are not easily acquired when a child has the condition. Their scope of interaction is therefore limited. Technological creativity and innovation therefore understands the autism condition and reigns in with ways to help the children interact and even acquire communicative abilities. Just as the parent who narrates her experience with her autism son, there are other parents who explain how robots have helped their children who were born with other conditions. The existence of robots is was not for nothing but for the fact that there was need that required an interventional move by technological creativity and innovation. Whatever interventions existed before robotics were not helping much to reign in the difficulties that children with autism and other conditions were experiencing.
Robotics is a way that humans can diversify solutions and provide an opportunity for all people of different kinds to enjoy life as equally as others. This is with respect to those who speak of having an intimate companionship with robots (Brown, 2013). Just as there are people of sexual orientations that were once considered peculiar and inacceptable, so are those who find themselves capable of achieving intimate companionship with robots. Just as the diversity in humanity seems to have expanded, so should the opportunities to cater for such diversity (Brown, 2013); at the core of technological innovations is a need to make life possible for everyone within their natural contexts. Essentially, humans do not have to be of a different nature to access opportunities of others. That is why the robot helps those who cannot walk to walk, those who are in hospital awaiting lung transplant still share learning content with others in the world (Turkle, 2012). This is a move away from a situation where disability meant inability. For those who are capable of intimacy with robots like the grandmother who feels a robot dog is better since it will not die, they can be happy too as solutions are now diverse.
Contrariwise however, robotics brings a whole new dimension in the understanding of human emotions and instincts. This is because ability to be intimate involved with a machine that has no conscious of its own, has no instinct and only responds rather than reciprocates is a subject of psychoanalysis. Companionship is supposed to generate a bond based on feelings that are evinced. Intimacy is born out of deep consummation of the state of being that is integral to human nature (Turkle, 2012). The robot is a machine that is not a being and does not empathize or do what it does naturally for the love or concern for the person it does for. The machine is purchased or assigned or recommended and is pre-programmed to be as it is and work in a certain way. Reciprocity is natural and is based on mutual response of human-to-human feelings. The lack of authenticity in use of robots makes the use of intimacy or companionship vague and ambiguous (Sharkey, 2008). As the psychoanalytic explains it, feelings are about authenticity rather than faking. The response that robots give is a companionship or intimacy by design which is non-authentic and therefore fake. However, if it serves the purpose and there are sections of the population who find use of it as there indeed are then makes robots a genuine solution to diverse needs of people.
Robots are therefore helping to demonstrate the way in which humanity is a complexity phenomenon. Understanding humans and the mechanisms of feeling is continuous and infinite. Robots have found a place and have helped diversify solutions. Dependence on them as projected by the articles will grow in the coming years. As long as the purpose for their use has positive results and leads people to be happy without disenfranchising others, the use robotics deserves all the benefit of the doubt.
Newman, J. (2014). To Siri, with love: How one boy with autism became BFF with Apple_x0092_s Siri. New York Times. Retrieved October, 14, 2014.
Sharkey, N. (2008). The ethical frontiers of robotics. Science, 322(5909), 1800-1801.
Brown, R. (2013). A swiveling proxy that will even wear a tutu. New York Times.
Turkle, S. (2012). Alone together: Why we expect more from technology and less from each other. Basic books.
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