Last week, riding on the coattails of our new friends at Codame Labs, we found ourselves sipping wine and pondering robots with the San Francisco creative class.
The setting? Fused Space, a gallery in San Francisco’s Design District. Current show? Leo Villareal’s Spacetime, a series of domestic-scale LED light sculptures arranged in geometric forms—a fitting backdrop for considering the future of humanity.
The evening was orchestrated by Light/Slant, a new content series celebrating the confluence of science and the arts. What drew us in was that none other than Behnaz Farahi was slated to talk. You may remember Behnaz from a recent episode of the Electric Runway podcast. Other speakers on the panel included Tobias Kinnebrew of Google Robotics, Yves Behar of Fuseproject, and Ken Goldberg of UC Berkeley.
The conversation centred around the theme of humanizing robotics, and asked designers and thought-leaders to consider how to bridge the gap between man and machine. Assuming the singularity is inevitable, how, then, do we make robots we befriend rather than ones we fear? Journalist Olivia Solon played the role of moderator for the evening, asking the panel of experts to share opinions on everything from the portrayal of robots in science fiction to the ethics of machines.
While the relationship between man and machine has been theorized and debated since Karel Čapek introduced the word “robot” to the English language in 1920, there has never been a more pertinent time to think on the subject: BI Intelligence predicts that by the year 2020, 10 million self-driving cars will be on the roads; this month, Google hosted its first commercial art show in which every single work is the product of artificial neural networks; This year, Mark Zuckerberg has pledged to build a simple artificial intelligence to help him run his home and help him with his work. As more autonomous technologies creep into our lives, we need to consider how we make our machines more like us: softer, friendlier, and—yes—more fashionable.
For more information on Light/Slant, check out their website here. Title image via Light/Slant