Mediated Affections – Class Notes

From our class presentations and lecture on October 26, 2017. 

Class Presentation

What Media Do – Marshall T Poe
  • High fidelity vs. Low fidelity
    • Example: speech vs. Photography
    • How realistically the medium portrays real life
  • User Perspective vs. Cost of medium
    • Accessibility – availability
    • Privacy – covertness
    • Fidelity  – faithfulness
    • Volume – quantity
    • Velocity – speed
    • Range – distance
    • Persistence – duration
    • Searchability – efficiency
  • Media Attributes vs. Network Attributes
    • Accessibility – concentration
    • Privacy –  Segmentation
    • Fidelity  – Iconicity
    • Volume – Constraint
    • Velocity – Dialogicity
    • Range – Extent
    • Persistence – Addition
    • Searchability – Mappedness
What makes a medium accessible today?
  • cost
  • Availability online
Love in the Time of Tamagotchi – Pettman
  • Dating Sims, Meru Tomos and the Serendipity System
    • Libidinal Economy
      • Exchange of or interaction based on intimacy and sexual desire
    • Flickering Signifiers
      • Subjects, through information technology, may experience unpredictable shifts and transformations
    • Nodes and networks (Meru Tomos)
      • Individuals can create connections that are malleable and lacking in face-to-face interaction, but are no less real
What is the quality of connection with something like Meru Tomos?
  • Does it create weak or strong ties?
  • It can still create strong ties, internet friends and attachment over long distances are possible
  • Interactions online are just as real – they are performative, but we are performative in real life too
Dream Daddy: A Dad Dating Simulator
  • How would you feel if you were romantically rejected by an AI?
    • Pettman documents subjects who are legitimately sad and upset about rejection in the game
  • Dating technology has become a way to artificially initiate romance
  • Eye code
    • The connection people make by looking in each other’s eyes
    • Video chat loses this: you can look at the screen or in the camera, but not at the same time
    • Chat avatars have an advantage here (Pettman argues)
  • KARI
    • Though she is not able to pass any Turing test, this chatbot is indicative of our technological direction
Important Terms
  • Virtual celebrity
  • Smulacrum – fake version/unsatisfactory imitation
  • Nth fan fiction – something has infinite possibility to create fan products
  • Pixel Vixon
  • Hyperral
  • Virtual corporality – virtual tangibility
Who is Hatsune Miku?
  • Mascot for Vocaloid, singing voice synthesizer technology
  • “The first sound of the future”
  • Based on the voice of Japanese actress Suki Fujita
  • “Transmit your perception and feelings through melody and lyrics”
    • Can reproduction be authentic?
  • Has spawned virtual companions as well as merchandise
  • English version: Sweet Anne


Pettman’s Argument
  • Considers relationship between human affect and digital products from a philosophical prespective
    • Critically investigate these aspects and consider implications
    • And what does it mean for who we are as humans
  • We distinguish love between human and non human
    • Human love = “real” love
  • Can we love the “non-real’?
    • If we can, what does that mean for our status as beings?
  • How might be study this phenomenon?
    • Select our focus
      • Pettman looks at love itself
    • Build the system
    • Define our terms
    • Study the interoperation of our terms
What is love?
  • Privileged, semi-flexible, semi-coherent, ingenious, and intricately codified form of communication
  • “I love you” is a command that executes a program or a set of responses
  • Love routines – we follow a kind of script in how we express love to one another
Building from Pettman’s Argument
  • Technology has fundamentally changed the cultural routines of love
  • Transportation and communication has drastically changed in the last 100 years
  • He enhances this point about love routines referring to Luhmann, who contends that “all sex is cybersex, since it is the result of pre-programmed communication routines”
  • What is loveable?
    • Videos games? Smart phones?
    • We emulate emotional responses with our technologies
    • Can you only love other beings? What makes something a “being”?
Pettman’s Proposal
  • Recall his argument: to love is to be
  • I love, therefore I am.
  • No being without the act of loving
  • Thus, we have a premise by which we can distinguish between being and not being
Premises and Questions
  • In sum, Pettman is describing an enhanced version of the Turing Test
  • Could a robot replicate love? Could it make us believe that we are loved by it?
What is love?
  • Is it a transcendent quality that we can’t pin down or is it a cybernetic program?
  • Love must be communicated as information, but what is the medium of its transmission? How does the medium shape the message?
    • Ontological
    • Phenomenological
  • Increasingly complicated by the continual development of virtual technology
Does media convergence amplify or limit love?

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