[ISEA2011] Panel: Ghis­laine Bod­ding­ton – I Feel There­fore I Am: Ro­bots and Avatars, Our Col­leagues and Play­mates of the Fu­ture

Panel Statement

Panel: SENSORIUM: Interdisciplinary Practices of Embodiment and Technology

This in­no­v­a­tive pro­ject ex­plores how young peo­ple will work and play with new rep­re­sen­ta­tional forms of them­selves and oth­ers in vir­tual and phys­i­cal life in the next 10-15 years. It ex­am­ines multi-iden­tity evo­lu­tions of today’s younger gen­er­a­tions within the con­text of a world in which vir­tual and phys­i­cal spaces are in­creas­ingly blended. In one of the Robo­naut tweets, Au­gust 5th 2010, and at a re­cent Ar­ti­fi­cial In­tel­li­gence Lunch De­bate, the di­verse group of ex­perts in­volved with Ro­bots and Avatars dis­cussed the im­pli­ca­tions of blended re­al­ity. This dis­cus­sion is par­tic­u­larly rel­e­vant in re­la­tion­ship to the use of sen­sory feed­back tech­nol­ogy that gives users a more height­ened and tac­tile ex­pe­ri­ence and that pro­vides new and more tan­gi­ble ways of be­hav­ing through (and with) new rep­re­sen­ta­tional forms. Com­ment­ing about the prob­lems with tra­di­tional un­der­stand­ings of ar­tif­i­cal in­tel­li­gence at the Lunch De­bate in June, Pro­fes­sor Noel Sharkey sug­gested that with ro­bots and avatars we should not be say­ing, “I think there­fore I am” but in­stead, “I feel there­fore I am”. Ac­cord­ing to re­searchers on Robo­naut, “As the pro­ject ma­tures with in­creased feed­back to the human op­er­a­tor, the Robo­naut sys­tem will ap­proach the han­dling and ma­nip­u­la­tion ca­pa­bil­i­ties of a suited as­tro­naut”. With more hap­tic tech­nol­ogy that uses sen­sory feed­back to recre­ate the sense of touch, a user might wear gloves that allow them to feel ob­jects in a vir­tual world. The user could ex­am­ine the tex­ture and weight of rocks or even ex­pe­ri­ence the crunch of icy Mar­t­ian dirt. Is this an­other vivid sign that we have en­tered the dawn of the age of post-bi­o­log­i­cal in­tel­li­gence?

  • Ghis­laine Bod­ding­ton is an artist, di­rec­tor and cu­ra­tor spe­cial­is­ing in in­ter­dis­ci­pli­nar­ity in the per­form­ing arts and the in­te­gra­tion of body re­spon­sive tech­nolo­gies, vir­tual phys­i­cal net­works and in­ter­ac­tive in­ter­faces. Ghis­laine de­vel­ops so­lu­tions based on twenty years work with shinkansen and Fu­ture Phys­i­cal (1989 – 2004, now archived at British Li­brary) and with, amongst oth­ers, the ICA and Dance Um­brella. She has di­rected and cu­rated nu­mer­ous events, work­shops and sym­posia on body tech­nol­ogy through­out east­ern and west­ern Eu­rope, the US and Asia (in­clud­ing Ari­zona State Uni­ver­sity, In­ter­na­tional The­ater Fes­ti­val Ham­burg, and the The­atre der Welt) . She is well known for her work on cul­tural iden­tity and in­ter-au­thor­ship processes of cre­ation. She works as part of body>data>space, an in­ter­dis­ci­pli­nary de­sign col­lec­tive based in East Lon­don and en­gages in cre­at­ing fas­ci­nat­ing con­nec­tions be­tween per­for­mance, ar­chi­tec­ture, new media and vir­tual worlds. She process di­rects large scale pro­jects across Eu­rope (EU Cul­ture) and in­ter­na­tion­ally, en­abling an ex­change of skills and knowl­edge and cre­at­ing net­works among young pro­fes­sion­als in nu­mer­ous coun­tries.  She holds an Artist Re­search As­so­ci­ate­ship at ResCen, Mid­dle­sex Uni­ver­sity, where she ex­plores tele-ki­net­ics, tele-pres­ence and tele-in­tu­ition. She reg­u­larly writes and col­lates col­lec­tions of top­i­cal thoughts from artists world­wide. Ghis­laine is an As­so­ci­ate Ed­i­tor for The­atre Dance and Per­for­mance Train­ing. She is a Fel­low of the Royal So­ci­ety of the Arts.