==Understanding the role popular culture representations play in the design of emerging technology discourse==
This talk focuses on the way that media portrays emerging technologies in popular culture, like Hollywood films. While I am interested in a wide array of emerging technologies, and their cultural and ethical effects, my current research focus is on the meaning and use of cinematic representations of robots, androids and cyborgs in relation to the actual research that is going on in the field today. The role of popular culture in the discourse surrounding emerging technology is important to examine because media provide culturally accessible tools of reference for Western society not directly working or familiar with topics of emerging technologies. These references serve as a way to play with scenarios outside of the social realm. Allowing society representational references for communicating about emerging technologies. Media references have meanings that go deeper than what may only be visible with a surface reading. Through analysis of these media references, the deeper contextual meanings can be understood through the eyes of culture, building up to a deeper understanding of what society might be communicating as they come to understand current emerging technologies. I seek to inquire how Western society uses popular culture to understand emerging technology, i.e. robots and androids, and what can be learned from those references.
Transhumanism Meets Design - humanityplus.org/conferences/parsons/ humanityplus.org
On May 14-15 2011, Humanity+ International is partnered with Parsons The New School for Design in New York City to produce Transhumanism Meets Design. The conference was co-chaired by Ed Keller, Associate Dean of Distributed Learning at Parsons and Natasha Vita-More, Chairperson of Humanity+. The aim was to explore emerging technology, transdisciplinary design, culture and media theory, and biotech.
The conference brings together futurists, cyberneticists, life extensionists, singularity advocates, A[G]I and robotics experts, human enhancement specialists, inventors, ethicists, philosophers, and theorists to meet with the creativity and rigorous scholarship of design at Parsons.
Technological innovation permeates all aspects of society—from tiny water purification packets and portable LifeStraw filters, to GPS tracking devices, wearable Timex iPods and Gel-Kinsei high-tech running shoes. Because technology and society evolve together, it has become increasingly important to develop a greater understanding of how technology is shaping the course of our lives. We are faced with a need to continuously become more innovative in harnessing and controlling technology’s acceleration. Nevertheless, innovation develops in stages. When it speeds up, we are faced with an urge to become ever more resourceful. When it slows down there is an impending impatience to compete with the exuberance of China. There is no doubt that even the most conservative thinkers agree that we have stepped into an era of a massive change. The good news is that our human diversity continues to spawn inventiveness and novelty.
Humanity+ @ Parsons NYC explores how society can establish innovative thinking through design to harness this adventurous ride into the future where Transhumanism Meets Design!