Robots, Art and Science

The lectures this week reminded me how much creativity has to go the creation of machines, and robotics in general. To a certain extent, the robots we were shown are like works of art in their own field—someone had to create their design and build it essentially from scratch. It was interesting to look at the robots that are being created today, and be able to compare them to the stereotype of what societies general fear of the future manifested itself as fifty years ago—it’s pretty close. And, to see Chaplin’s satire about the second industrial era reminded me that we as a culture have always kind of feared technology and scientific advances—because they bring about change. And, although ultimately this change is inevitable, we as people (not necessarily you or I specifically) but the general population tend to fear the unknown.
The other thing this week’s lectures reminded me of is how connected art, science and technology REALLY are. Especially if you look at the old science drawings, like this one by Descartes (http://historical.hsl.virginia.edu/treasures/images/QP29_D44_1729_fig_32_33_big.jpg). The drawing is clearly scientific, however it’s also a really cool drawing, that many would call art. Which also ties itself into the concept of the constant scientific analogies that have been used through history, comparing the body to machines or whatever technological advances were occurring at the time. There was Galen who compared the brain to sewers, then Kepler- I think- who used visual machines to explain how the eye worked, and of course the comparison of the brain to the computer. These analogies—comparing science to technology often were expressed in art- or drawings, which I would easily frame and put on my wall—like this one by Kepler (http://www.hps.cam.ac.uk/starry/keplerbooksmed.jpg).
So, in short, this week’s lectures really reminded me how science, art and technology have always kind of been tied together, throughout history. That often times they need one another to gain advances in their own fields. And, that the rift between science, art and technology is more recent than previously expected.

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