If you happen to be in the medieval city of Ghent before April 15th, don’t miss Hello, Robot in the Design museum. This excellent expo takes on the subject of man and machine and asks relevant questions. Like: how do you feel about objects having feelings? And: do you want a robot to take care of you?
‘Robots don’t buy furniture’, says Canadian author Douglas Coupland. His series Slogans for the 21st century gives visitors food for thought, right before they enter the actual exhibition. If robots really don’t buy furniture, then that’s too bad for a design museum.
We meet a new type of the digital era: the prosumer, who consumes what he/she produces. All kinds of innovative techniques are used in this process. Rock print for example, that is able to transform rough particles into stable objects. Of course 3D printing is also one of those new techniques. And robots working powered by solar energy, like we can see in an XL image by Shawn Maximo, where those robots work on a production line completely independent.
An interactive website by the BBC elaborates about the chances you have to keep your job and not be replaced by robots. Felix checks what our future looks like. Not too great, it turns out. As a photographer there ‘s a 50% chance you will be replaced by a machine. Writers might be out of a job as well, since their chance of replacement by a robot is a frightening 33%. Even the hairdresser ‘s job is not safe!
Jobs with a good looking future are architect (only 2% chance), graphic designer (5%) and everything that involves empathy and creativity. Therapists and nurses can be relieved, they will be needed. On the contrary, if you are working with your hands or in a purely administrative job, things don’t exactly look good for you. Robots are ready to take over and prove they do better than humans.
It links to questions like: are robots our friends or enemies? Would you allow a robot to take care of you? Our girls Lucy and Mirtha don’t feel like answering them. They are too fascinated by Tamagochi, the digital pet from the nineties. It needs actual forms of care like feeding, putting to sleep and waking up again. Exactly what our girls like, but don’t talk to them about robots.
In the meantime Felix gets to know Curiosity. This NASA vehicle has more than a million followers on Twitter, posts selfies and writes tweets from its own perspective.
As soon as Tamagotchi goes to sleep, Mirtha and Lucy watch a part of the movie Mon Oncle by legendary French director Jacques Tati. It dates back from 1958, and features Tati as the protagonist, marveling about the ultramodern kitchen of his sister. For kids who are not so fond of reading, it’s a blessing there’s so much to experience on a visual level as well.
In general there’s quite a few complicated terms like singularity, biohacking and rapid prototyping in this expo, so it’s not ideal for very young children. But for 12+ kids with a knack for science and technology, it’s an absolute must see.
Want to discover more in Ghent? Check out this place where you can eat fabulous pizza!