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Machine aesthetics of the human body

The models that various emerging technologies use to understand the human body.

This talk discusses the models that various emerging technologies use to understand the human body.

Technologies are emerging that allow the machine to move beyond abstract interaction and into more direct engagement with the physical world and the human body ( such as robots). Domain-specific models of the human body are being created to enable them to do this. These are mechanomorphisms: machines perceiving humans (or their bodies) as objects or simple machines.

From surgical robot models, crash test dummies, sex robots, to automated battlefield drones and guns and the ethics algorithms of self-driving cars. Machines uniquely perceive us according to their own internal aesthetics. These functional abstractions are the result of military strategy, politics, and business logic, along with the baked-in, implicit worldview of their creators. Many of these are also deeply and disconcertingly alien to our idea of human.

Dr Josh Harle is a researcher and artist, director of Tactical Space Lab, and current Visiting Fellow at UNSW. His doctoral thesis combined study in Computer Science and Cybernetics, Philosophy, and Art to investigate how digital technology is used to makes sense of the world.

The event will take place as part of the Human Jerky exhibition, featuring artists Jason Phu, Louise Zhang, Tully Arnot, Brenton Smith and Jason Wing and is supported by a printed text.



Saturday 18 August 2018 from 11.30am to 1pm


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