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Rise of the Machines

by Mylene Almeida January 02, 2016 0 Comments

Man’s fascination with robotics and automation in general has been a long standing process. There are tales of automation going back as far as the third century BC. We dream of perpetual machines, devices that can run ad infinitum without apparent energy loss. All these are facts, but the underlying question is, obviously, why?

I believe that our interest and attraction towards robotics stems from our need, as organic entities, to procreate. From the moment we are able to make use of our limbs we begin a creative process whereby we attempt to build bridges, houses, buildings, and a myriad of complex structures that facilitate the expansion of our brain and molds our experiences and expectations. It is only logical that as we grow and evolve our constructions and mental imagery evolves as well and tends towards more complex creations. Eventually, we begin to wonder what it would be like if we were to build a creature similar to ourselves. How would we imbue it with life, automate it, and even relate to it. Would we grow to love it? Would it love us back? These are all questions that we pose ourselves, in distinct but parallel fashion, when we ponder on reproduction. Robotics simply happens to be the next frontier, the ‘what if’ that our mind is so adept to engender.

Several literary figures have tackled this very subject in the last 200 years, but none more deeply than Isaac Asimov. As a biochemist at Boston University, he began to ponder on these very subjects and expounded on them profoundly and profusely, resulting in several science fiction novels.

After reading some of his seminal works I began to wonder myself about the Rise of the Machines (no relationship to Terminator), or how we have introduced automation into our lives in the last century. Most of the menial work nowadays is carried out by machines. Computers run most of our calculations. Subway trains run without drivers. Small robots clean our pools and dust the floor. Meanwhile, at least according to plausible argumentation, we are freed to carry out less menial tasks and ‘enjoy’ our lives; but here arises a new set of questions, perhaps more sinister and uncomfortable than the first: is this automation headed in the right direction and, ultimately, is it good for us? Will we, at some point, ‘enslave’ machines in a sense to do what we ought to do ourselves? If they are conscious, and we still don’t fully understand the meaning of consciousness, will they feel rejected, abused, spurned?

These are questions to ponder on, not necessarily queries to answer in one sitting. It would take a book, perhaps, to do so; even then, we may not even arrive at fully plausible conclusions. What I do know is this. Hard work begets respect and appreciation for what we have. We definitely ought to celebrate the machines around us, how much easier and safer they make our lives, and how very well indeed they remove the chance of human error, which is quite high in some circumstances. But we should also be cautious of any process that eliminates our sacrifice and dedication, lest we forget that life is much more about doing than anything else. If we sat around daily interacting with our computers and took a leisurely stroll in the park in the afternoon, day after day, are we truly living? Are machines then making our lives better, or simply removing the true joy of life: the struggles followed by triumphs, the trepidations, our mad scrambles to right our wrongs.

Let us celebrate the Rise of the Machines, but let us also consider the morality of the situation and strive to have them, solely and simply, complement us.

How Thought Becomes Art

Isaac Asimov Literary Print

As I wondered on life and robotics, and with Asimov deeply ingrained in my noodle (as Mozart comically stated in ‘Amadeus’), I decided to construct a robotic head made of countless tiny circuits. It was terribly difficult and time consuming, but I am thrilled with the result. It is, for the most part, a celebration of the complexity of robotics and a shrine to how much we have advanced technologically. It is also a reminder to how intertwined humans and robots have become. We now have pacemakers, metallic appendages, even tiny units that monitor our health and vital signs. In a way, we are becoming as much like them as they are becoming more like us. I would call it an integration of sorts. Who knows, perhaps next time I see you in the park I may greet you with a hearty ‘hi, robot’.




Mylene Almeida
Mylene Almeida

Author


Sizing Chart
Literary T-shirt Sizing Chart

WOMEN XS S M L XL 2XL
Chest (A) 30.5 in
77.5cm
32.5 in
82.5 cm
34.5 in
87.6 cm
36.5 in
92.7 cm
39.5 in
100.3 cm
42.5 in
108 cm
Length (B) 24.75 in
63 cm
25.5 in
64.8 cm
26 in
66 cm
26.5 in
67.3 cm
27.25 in
69.2 cm
28 in
71.1 cm

MEN S M L XL 2XL 3XL
Chest (C) 38 in
96.5 cm
41 in
104.1 cm
44 in
111.8 cm
48 in
121.9 cm
52 in
132.1 cm
56 in
142.2 cm
Length (D) 28 in
71.1 cm
29 in
73.6 cm
30 in
76.2 cm
31 in
78.7 cm
32 in
81.3 cm
33 in
83.8 cm

LONG-SLEEVE (MEN / FITTED) S M L XL 2XL
Chest (E) 37 in
94 cm
40 in
101.6 cm
43 in
109.2 cm
47 in
119.4 cm
51 in
129.5 cm
Length (F) 28 in
71.1 cm
29 in
73.6 cm
30 in
76.2 cm
31 in
78.7 cm
32 in
81.3 cm
Sleeve Length 26.0in
66 cm
26.5in
67.3 cm
27.0 in
68.6 cm
27.5 in
70 cm
28 in
71.1 cm

Measurement Notes:
Chest is measured 1" below armhole.
Body length in the front from highest point of shoulder.
Sleeve length from shoulder edge