What if robots replaced our brains?

Special thanks to Alexandre Ribichesu, a frequent contributor to this blog and author of the fabulous French-language blog KairosMosaïque.  Alexandre shared this funny and worrisome project by artist Gerard Rallo who imagines a world where computers would have replaced brain functions.  His “reiterative communication aid” and “personal advisor for reintegration” videos are below.

“Human imagination has no limits in foreseeing the future of its species.  This imagination, often perceived negatively, is now amplified by communication technologies.  These technologies are taking up more space in our lives, and are now being programmed into the DNA of so-called “digital natives”.  This evolution has not gone without worrying a fair number of observers.  As far back as 1964, Philip K. Dick imagined a similar scenario in his Science-Fiction novel The Simulacra that reflects nascent fears of the domination of visual media—television screens, in particular.  In the novel, the screen, that wonderful means of communication, becomes a tool that restrains human capacity to think—a straightjacket to cognitive development.

During the 2010 Design Interactions Show, artist Gerard Rallo imagined what life would be like if humans resigned mental functions to robots.  Surprisingly, the landscape is not as dark as one might imagine—at least on the outside.  There are no catastrophic “end of humanity” scenarios; indeed, the artist is far more realistic.  He sees human extinction as mental annihilation and not a physical one.  Although this technology is far from being deadly, its overabundance has become harmful to human’s brains, which have become dependent on the technology and cannot act autonomously.  In a conversation (see above photo) the robot can create dialogue that is aimed solely towards efficiency.  Long meandering conversations are no more, the robot prizes essential information.  The machine also minimizes emotions—sensibilities become inscrutable.  However, if you’re looking for a relationship but are unlucky in love, there’s a robot for you!  Check out the video.”



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