Humanoids – Manmade threat to the Human Race? #MechaAnime

Sophia – Hanson Robotics, first robot citizen of Saudi Arabia; recently appeared on The Tonight Show starring Jimmy Fallon.

 

“Mecha-Anime are primarily science fiction narratives, often taking place in dystopian futuristic cityscapes where advanced technology figures prominently.” – (Schaub’s – Kusanagi’s Body) Mechanical Animations or Mecha-Anime as people call it, is a genre of Anime that showcases mechanical bodies in various forms. In this post I’ll try to talk about how these characters are female-centric and how the designers have depicted/designed feminine anime characters. “Anime in general has had long tradition of representing power in the bodies of women, skinny teenage boys and girls and even bodies of cute furry-little animals.” – (Schaub’s – Kusanagi’s Body)  But this tradition has become much more main stream now a days and female characters have been overly sexualised not only in anime but movies, tv series etc. I wouldn’t go in detail as to how things shape up in Anime and Hollywood these days, but focus more on another aspect that is being talked a lot more these days, AI – artificial intelligence and how the so called dystopian futuristic cityscapes are on the horizon and we are indeed already in the future we once imagined.

In October 2017, Saudi Arabia became the first country to give citizenship to a social-humanoid robot –  Sophia. It’s unlike any other robot that came before it, in the fact that it keeps learning like a human child and grows its intelligence everyday. It is based on AI, uses Google’s Voice Recognition systems and has the ability to display more than 62 facial expressions. But some question as to Why this robot was built as a female, with a slim waist body and big breast? In response to that the talks of Women Empowerment take centre stage. Which is questioned further as to why did Saudi government so happily agree to give a citizenship to a robot(female) that was able to appear in public and dress up in “western clothes” while women in the Gulf still struggle to get fundamental rights and are still forbidden to appear in public without wearing burka and being accompanied by a male.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/innovations/wp/2017/10/29/saudi-arabia-which-denies-women-equal-rights-makes-a-robot-a-citizen/?utm_term=.1384e312e16a   _ Read more – on Washington Post. 

Women around the world are asked to dress properly, to cover up their breasts and not attract unnecessary attention from people, while in some places women are free to do whatever they want, to dress freely, go-out whenever and with whoever they want. The reality is strange, but in anime such as Ghost in the Shell – Kusanagi Motomo, Daidouji – Senran Kagura and many more; Is there really a need to emphasise the boobs so much more, to shape the booty and waist in a particular way, to show the female character naked. Historically male super heroes have been shown as the perfect masculine beasts and now the balance is shifting and more female characters are being designed with muscular features. I don’t understand how that helps in portraying the tasks they do in the film or anime etc as humans or cyborgs or humanoids.

It is contemptible that we live in the world where humans whether men or women have to fight for their fundamental rights and it is hard to say when will this discrimination end and we’ll live in harmony. But in this fast developing world there are several other things that are creating problems. As some people fear all these advancements in technology and AI is curating an environment that will make human race extinct and ultimately AI will take over. As Elon Musk said – “AI is a fundamental risk to the future of human civilization in a way that car accidents, airplane crashes, faulty drugs or bad food were not. They were harmful to a set of individuals in society, but they were not harmful to individuals as a whole.” All these doubts and scepticism that surrounds AI is completely valid but my question is “Can Something in this world be more dangerous for humans than humans? AI, Robots, Humanoids etc learn by itself but the database they feed into, the algorithms that they write, the speed at which they process is all made available to them by us. Isn’t it all in someway still below the standards of harm that humans already cause to each other? I believe as long as we know what we build whether robots, anime, weapons, and we put them to good use we as humans will continue to survive as no other creatures can solve problems and keep evolving, A way in which we are the most dominant species on the planet is that we can think apply logic. Machines on the other hand are binary and no matter how advanced they get as long the creators or programmers don’t want themselves to die, human race should survive.

 

Karun

 

2 thoughts on “Humanoids – Manmade threat to the Human Race? #MechaAnime

  1. Karun,

    This is an excellent blog post. It makes me think that perhaps the treatment of the Saudi Arabian robot is just an extension of existing policies and thoughts about actual women. The robot female is likely also accompanied everywhere she goes; she is reliant on her team of scientists and protectors; she speaks no words that have not been put into her mouth; she engages in no improper activities because she does what she is programmed to do. Is this a “free citizen” or just a carefully choreographed female-shaped puppet? And perhaps this also answers your question about why robots are so obviously female shaped–as automatons with (usually male) puppetmasters, isn’t it fitting that they would select a woman to puppeteer?

    Cheers,
    Amanda

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