on technology… some thoughts on the film ‘I, Robot’

I watched a movie today that a number of people in one of my classes last year had talked about: I, Robot. The class (Engineering Design and Management 3) is based on incorporating and fostering and awareness of the social aspects of technology, specifically the role of social and ethical considerations in engineering design.

The school of thought for this subject (specifically this aspect of it) is the field of Science and Technology Studies (STS ‚Äì sometimes referred to as Science Studies). A central aim of this field is to critically look at how technology is perceived in society. We often uncritically accept technology as both a means to progress and progress itself. What I drew from this film (aside from a number of problematic associations deriving from its creation to be ‘mainstream’ in genre) is the critical look at how logic and what is considered rational thought are constructed and considered as superior. What is effectively constructed is a dualistic way of knowing and seeing the world. One the one hand you have rational (i.e. technological) thought that is associated with masculinity, and irrational (i.e. based on emotion) thought that is associated with and portrayed as an inferior feminie other.

The role reversal in this film – Detective Del Spooner (Will Smith) as irrational and Dr Susan Calvin (Bridget Moynahan) as rational – was interesting to note, yet it is the deconstruction of this dualism that is the main feature of this film that I drew something from. It was also not a rejection of either way of seeing and attempting to understand the world, rather that both have a place and they are clearly interlinked and also shape each other.

[this was a post written pre my site being hacked – this is all that remains. I will add more soon…]

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