fembot dérive?

March 20, 2009

Can robots participate in a dérive?

by Meredith Kooi

APTOPIX Japan Girl Robot
I came across this news story about a robot from Tsukuba City, Japan that can walk and facially express emotion: “Life-like walking female robot.”  So, she looks sort of like a human.  She can sort of walk like a human.  And, she can sort of show emotions like a human.  However, can she actually understand what it means to walk and can she actually feel the emotions she expresses like a human?

This robot returns me to what I have been thinking about lately: the everyday.  The lived experience and art – how do they talk to each other?  How does one inform the other?  How can they be related?  One concept of art and the everyday is the dérive formulated by Guy Debord, a founder of the Situationist International.  In thinking of the dérive, it begs the question of whether or not the walking female humanoid will be able to experience it.  If she can walk, does that inherently mean that she can navigate a landscape in any meaningful way?  Are there any rules or guidelines to determine what is a natural experience of a landscape?  If she were to be let loose in Tokyo, would that be any different than my drifting experience through Tokyo?

Does the everyday have to have an intention?  Is the ordinary always boring?  Can a robot ever be natural like me?

Video link: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/7946780.stm