As we start 3rd week of our edcmooc we are exploring the question ‘what does it mean to be human within a digital culture, and what does that mean for education?’
We are to watch the following four videos and discuss what we think.
Film 1: Toyota GT86: the ‘real deal’ advert (1:01)
This advertisement for the Toyota GT86 plays on some of the dystopic visions of our immersion in a pixellated simulation of reality which may be familiar from some of the previous clips you’ve looked at. Here, the reality and authenticity of human emotion is aligned with speed, control and a ‘breaking out’ of the artificial into the ‘natural’. (Note, however, that the means of breaking out is still entirely technological!) The opposition created here is between digital technology as ‘unreal’ and de-humanising, and the natural world as authentic and living; how does this opposition continue to be played out in popular discussions about technology-mediated education?
Although the advert is solely aimed at selling, we come back to the blurriness between reality and fiction. The film shows that we can transition from digital world to natural world where both can interdependent and live harmoniously.
Film 2: BT: heart to heart advert (0:40)
This advert takes on the theme of mediation and, again, the nature of ‘authentic’ human contact. What aspects of ‘the human’ do you see as being ‘re-asserted’ here? Can you link this clip with the notion of ‘the illusion of non-mediation’ referenced in the Kolowich article we are also looking at?
This film shows us the utopian side of digital technology where distance doesn’t matter. The world gets smaller and smaller as the technology advances at a rapid pace.
Film 3: World builder (9:16)
World builder is a short film which explores some of the same themes (simulation, immersion, artifice) as the Toyota advertisement, though in a slightly more nuanced way. What is your interpretation of this film? In what ways does it position ‘the human’ in relation to the technological? What does it say about ways in which human emotion can be manipulated by digital simulation?
Is he really human that is what i ask? and if he is then can we even remotely conceive what he does is possible. Even if he is not a human can technology really perform miracle such as this. In the end could it be all our imagination and just a dream or fantasy. or was she dreaming!!!!
Film 4: They’re made out of meat (7:20)
This short film has a darkly comic grounding idea which we won’t spoil here! The vision of humanity it constructs is one which is rich but also slightly repellent – it works to make the notion of ‘the human’ seem strange. What conclusions might you draw from this about the human body, and whether we can see the body as providing a stable basis for defining what it means to be human? This is a theme we will return to in week 4.
In year 3000 this could happen as we already know the biomedical science is pushing boundaries like never before. It is hard to tell human and bio human if there can be such a thing as that.