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  • #16
    ...when do we need to know if something is alive?" Does it matter?
    I've been struggling with what to think of this today. In the podcast Turkle speaks of how her daughter sparked this interest when she wondered why a Galapagos turtle in a zoo couldn't be replaced by a robot.

    My thought is that the little girl thought of the robot as a means to help the turtle (which she viewed as being a waste of a life of a wonderful creature being forced to live in a cage instead of on its home island), but Turkle is thinking of it in terms of the people who see the turtle or its robot.

    What do you think about using the robots with people who don't understand that that which they are interacting with is not alive?
    I thought about how would I react if I thought I was seeing a real turtle from the Galapagos only to find out later it was a robot. I would think that the only thing I had been robbed of was authenticity. I think that as long as people are not robbed of their authenticity they will be fine. And as Wilson showed us, being alive may not be necessary for that.

    I wonder if it matters if we know this on a consious level only or on a non-conscious level. My guess is that it would matter either way.

    ??
    Cory Blickenstaff, PT, OCS

    Pain Science and Sensibility Podcast
    Leaps and Bounds Blog
    My youtube channel

    Comment


    • #17
      Just a thought here, it may be a bit off the mark, but most if not all kids play with dolls at some point as they grow up, and assign them all sorts of human qualities, if only in their imaginations. This interaction, I presume, plays an important role in the child's learning of social roles. We would all find it quite strange to see an adult interact with a doll in the same way. Make the doll a robot and it's ok? Are adults less imaginative than children, and if so does the 'robot' make up for that inadequacy? Is a similar purpose served by the doll and the robot?
      Eric Matheson, PT

      Comment


      • #18
        Eric, maybe it's a sign of even more human neoteny.
        Diane
        www.dermoneuromodulation.com
        SensibleSolutionsPhysiotherapy
        HumanAntiGravitySuit blog
        Neurotonics PT Teamblog
        Canadian Physiotherapy Pain Science Division (Archived newsletters, paincasts)
        Canadian Physiotherapy Association Pain Science Division Facebook page
        @PainPhysiosCan
        WCPT PhysiotherapyPainNetwork on Facebook
        @WCPTPTPN
        Neuroscience and Pain Science for Manual PTs Facebook page

        @dfjpt
        SomaSimple on Facebook
        @somasimple

        "Rene Descartes was very very smart, but as it turned out, he was wrong." ~Lorimer Moseley

        “Comment is free, but the facts are sacred.” ~Charles Prestwich Scott, nephew of founder and editor (1872-1929) of The Guardian , in a 1921 Centenary editorial

        “If you make people think they're thinking, they'll love you, but if you really make them think, they'll hate you." ~Don Marquis

        "In times of change, learners inherit the earth, while the learned find themselves beautifully equipped to deal with a world that no longer exists" ~Roland Barth

        "Doubt is not a pleasant mental state, but certainty is a ridiculous one."~Voltaire

        Comment


        • #19
          Hi BB,

          I didn't quite get what you're stating here

          I would think that the only thing I had been robbed of was authenticity. I think that as long as people are not robbed of their authenticity they will be fine. And as Wilson showed us, being alive may not be necessary for that.
          Hi Eric,

          That is an interesting thought. In Turkle's essay she states this:

          As the child grows, the [transitional] objects are left behind. The lasting effects of early encounters with them, however, are maifest in the experience of a highly-charged intermediate space between the self and certain objects in later life.
          Whatever happened to Wilson? Did he return home with Chuck Noland (Tom Hanks)? And what happens to children that they leave behind their transitional objects? And just as important, what happens that they return to them?

          Hi Diane,

          I can't remember what neoteny is.
          "I did a small amount of web-based research, and what I found is disturbing"--Bob Morris

          Comment


          • #20
            I love this thread though I haven't taken the time to listen to the original podcast. Believe me, I will.

            Wilson didn't make it back to civilization with Tom Hanks, and his loss at sea is an especially harrowing scene in the movie. However, if we understand the ocean as it is typically depicted symbolically in our dreams i.e. it is our unconscious mind, anything sinking into it is simply becoming more deeply embedded within us. This was what the director James Cameron depicted in the movie Titanic when Leonardo slipped beneath the surface of the water in Kate's presence.

            I think so anyway. I'm pretty sure.

            Perhaps maturation involves not so much abandoning objects like dolls but in finding new ones that more accurately reflect who we've become and what we need in our life currently. I have a few personal possessions that are of this sort today though I know some will eventually be replaced. Others will unexpectedly appear. Something unique to me or about me will be a part of them.

            Remember, the character Tom Hanks depicted didn't make Wilson out of a volleyball, did he? The volleyball was always there. It was the blood and sweat of his own personal struggle accentuated by a blast of painful sensation that led to Wilson's creation, and nothing less.
            Barrett L. Dorko

            Comment


            • #21
              Hi BB,

              I didn't quite get what you're stating here

              Quote:
              I would think that the only thing I had been robbed of was authenticity. I think that as long as people are not robbed of their authenticity they will be fine. And as Wilson showed us, being alive may not be necessary for that.
              Sorry Jon. I wondered how clear I was being. I mean that Hanks knew that Wilson was a volleyball and not living for the duration of their relationship, but it was authentic none the less. I would only feel robbed at the zoo if I found out I believed I had a relationship with a real turtle only to find out later I did not. If I had known from the beginning that it was a robot, my relationship with it would not change and therefore not be robbed of authenticity. I would not question the assumptions that I built my relationship on since they were clear from the beginning and did not change.

              Think of a little boy who thinks he has just gotten an autographed baseball of his favorite player. He would be so proud and excited and showing all his friends. If he found out that the ball was a fake signature it would completely change the relationship although the ball and signature had not changed. He could at this point abandon the relationship, "stupid fake ball!", or change it, still pretending it is real, but could not continue on with the previous relationship in an authentic way.

              So, coming back to your question:

              What do you think about using the robots with people who don't understand that that which they are interacting with is not alive?
              As long as that understanding did not change I think that the relationship would be authentic.
              Cory Blickenstaff, PT, OCS

              Pain Science and Sensibility Podcast
              Leaps and Bounds Blog
              My youtube channel

              Comment


              • #22
                Jon, the biological definition of neoteny is, sexual maturity in juvenile form.
                The book Hotspots looks closely at neoteny from a social as well as a biological perspective.

                On the topic of Wilson, the process of integration requires relationship, because we are troop primates in most of our processing abilities. Hanks character "needed" someone to "bounce" projections of himself out onto, to recover his shattered bits back together and formulate a plan. I can't recall if he created Wilson before or after he pulled his own tooth - if it was after, that would make sense symbolically. When we are in pain, there is decompensation, or maybe a bit of that dysexecutive function, revision to childlike behavior, maybe even all the way back to infantile perception. What infants are born being able to perceive from outside themselves, is a face. Even when all is lost and you are shattered, at rock bottom, if another face appears, it will lend a sort of strength, even if it isn't a "real" face.

                So, I'm thinking that distraught people in pain need a sympathetic looking face, even if it's only a volleyball with eyes sketched onto it. It anchors them to reality, into the troop. Even if the troop is only comprised of that person's own self, a troop of one. A troop, even of one, is stronger than a lone individual, even though in fact the troop and the individual are the same numerically. Mirror neuron assistance, I suspect. Those Darwinian buttons. Self-comforting by proxy.
                Diane
                www.dermoneuromodulation.com
                SensibleSolutionsPhysiotherapy
                HumanAntiGravitySuit blog
                Neurotonics PT Teamblog
                Canadian Physiotherapy Pain Science Division (Archived newsletters, paincasts)
                Canadian Physiotherapy Association Pain Science Division Facebook page
                @PainPhysiosCan
                WCPT PhysiotherapyPainNetwork on Facebook
                @WCPTPTPN
                Neuroscience and Pain Science for Manual PTs Facebook page

                @dfjpt
                SomaSimple on Facebook
                @somasimple

                "Rene Descartes was very very smart, but as it turned out, he was wrong." ~Lorimer Moseley

                “Comment is free, but the facts are sacred.” ~Charles Prestwich Scott, nephew of founder and editor (1872-1929) of The Guardian , in a 1921 Centenary editorial

                “If you make people think they're thinking, they'll love you, but if you really make them think, they'll hate you." ~Don Marquis

                "In times of change, learners inherit the earth, while the learned find themselves beautifully equipped to deal with a world that no longer exists" ~Roland Barth

                "Doubt is not a pleasant mental state, but certainty is a ridiculous one."~Voltaire

                Comment


                • #23
                  Diane,

                  He created Wilson immediately after he ripped open his own hand while trying to create a spark for a fire. In his frustration and exquisite pain he grasps the ball and throws it. Later when he sees the bloody hand print he fashions it into the shape of Wilson's face with sweat he wipes from his brow. Then he begins to speak to it, and the fire finally lights.

                  I feel that the screenwriter put all of this together very carefully, following a bit of Pablo Neruda’s famous lines regarding his first realization that he could write: And something ignited in my soul, fever, or unremembered wings (like the wings on the package that "saves" this man's life)…and I went my own way, deciphering that fire.

                  This scene speaks directly to creativity and what it takes to generate it. It also connects this activity to pain relief, and survival itself.
                  Barrett L. Dorko

                  Comment


                  • #24
                    OK, I got the particular painful episode wrong, but I think my post still stands re: motivation, decompensation, what sort of human need at rock bottom requires a consummatory input (face), what sort of capacity or neural substrate to regroup accompanies that need: i.e., an infantile capacity to recognize a human face and maybe a default mechanism to respond to it in a neurally organismic re-organizational manner. Gathering up shreds of courage to carry on with life. A re-birth of can-do or will-try.

                    Human babies need touch and eye contact and to see a face (not even a human one, any face), or they die. Pure and simple. Maybe that is still in there, buried under all life's subsequent successes. Maybe that is the affective-motivational indestructible built-in neural substrate "ground zero" of each human organism.

                    Maybe this relates to Cotard syndrome (I feel nothing when I see faces so therefore I must be dead) and Capgras syndrome (I feel nothing when I see my mother's face so it must be an impostor, not my mother.) Maybe robots that can reassure, however minimalist they may seem to a maximal relationalist, may be sufficient, depending on the "need" state of the recipient of the calculated robotic "attention." The pushing of those Darwinian buttons. After all, Hanks pulled himself together enough to not only relate to Wilson but to "recognize" (re-cognize) him even prior to that. Had Hanks' character had either Capgras or Cotard, he probably wouldn't have made it off the island, determined to reunite with the rest of the troop.
                    Last edited by Diane; 04-02-2007, 09:57 PM.
                    Diane
                    www.dermoneuromodulation.com
                    SensibleSolutionsPhysiotherapy
                    HumanAntiGravitySuit blog
                    Neurotonics PT Teamblog
                    Canadian Physiotherapy Pain Science Division (Archived newsletters, paincasts)
                    Canadian Physiotherapy Association Pain Science Division Facebook page
                    @PainPhysiosCan
                    WCPT PhysiotherapyPainNetwork on Facebook
                    @WCPTPTPN
                    Neuroscience and Pain Science for Manual PTs Facebook page

                    @dfjpt
                    SomaSimple on Facebook
                    @somasimple

                    "Rene Descartes was very very smart, but as it turned out, he was wrong." ~Lorimer Moseley

                    “Comment is free, but the facts are sacred.” ~Charles Prestwich Scott, nephew of founder and editor (1872-1929) of The Guardian , in a 1921 Centenary editorial

                    “If you make people think they're thinking, they'll love you, but if you really make them think, they'll hate you." ~Don Marquis

                    "In times of change, learners inherit the earth, while the learned find themselves beautifully equipped to deal with a world that no longer exists" ~Roland Barth

                    "Doubt is not a pleasant mental state, but certainty is a ridiculous one."~Voltaire

                    Comment


                    • #25
                      Diane,

                      You're right about the face thing. I recall hearing an audio book, then played on a vinyl record, of Desmond Morris' The Naked Ape. I was working then as an attendant for a man with quadriplegia, so I heard a number things I would have never read. He pointed out that several breeds of dogs have been developed primarily to resemble the human face. This is done by "flattening" it through successive generations. Specific to your point, these end up being primarily companion rather than working dogs.

                      Hanks' choice of a volleyball rather than, say, a palm leaf, plays to this point as well.

                      I've always sensed that good therapy begins with a certain matching or mirroring of the patient, whether it's their syntax or their manner or some combination of this. It only takes a second to enter their world in this way and you don't necessarily stay there long. In fact, then you model the sort of health you seek in your patient; the way of being in the world you know eases your own pain - and they follow you there. I don't know that I can teach this, but I'm pretty sure effective practitioners have this in common.

                      I don't think any robot will do this as well as we might.
                      Barrett L. Dorko

                      Comment


                      • #26
                        Hi Cory,

                        I came to the same conclusion. The relationship is authentic. Here I'm defining the relationship by its neurobiological correlates/associated intransitive bodily sensations.

                        Suppose I went to the zoo thinking the turtles I saw were real but were in fact robots. My relationship with the robotic turtles in this instance may not be different had the turtles been real. I wonder how this is different than the social poker we play everyday with each other. That is, we may present ourselves a certain way, consciously or otherwise, so that relations proceed much more smoothly in some fashion.

                        Person: Hi Jon, how are you today?

                        Me: Oh I'm fine, thanks for asking (I lie)

                        Me: How about you?

                        Person: Great (they lie)

                        The relationship in this situation is still authentic if the deception was well done. We both had physiological responses/felt senses to the conversation though both of us were deceiving the other.

                        I'd like to see an experiment in which a child interacts with a live animal that they think is a robot. Would they treat the live animal differently based on the deception that it is simply a rational machine? I think they would.
                        Last edited by Jon Newman; 05-02-2007, 02:00 AM.
                        "I did a small amount of web-based research, and what I found is disturbing"--Bob Morris

                        Comment


                        • #27
                          Jon,
                          What do you think about using the robots with people who don't understand that that which they are interacting with is not alive? For example, what if Paro is used with someone with advanced dementia who is unable to appreciate that Paro in not alive? Or as Sherry Turkle asks in her essay, "...when do we need to know if something is alive?" Does it matter?
                          I don't know quite what you mean. Do you mean, is it effective? Probably. Useful? Probably. Ethical? Just not sure about this.

                          Would it be ethical to not inform the patient that the robot is not real? Probably not. But would it really matter much if the patient no longer understood "real"? I was once asked by a woman close to death whose hospital room I walked into, who was seeing all sorts of angels in her room and people hovering over her bed, if I was one of the "real" ones.. (!) She still knew real from not real, at least on occasion. But more and more, she was letting go of reality while still deriving some sort of comfort from her nonreality imaging. She would have likely enjoyed Paro or something/'someone' like Paro.

                          I'm reminded about play. I'm reminded of traumatized children who are more comfortable interacting/conversing with a sock puppet than with an adult, even though the sock puppet is on the hand of the same adult. Somehow the imagination is engaged and safety is greater, the relationship is more egalitarian.
                          Diane
                          www.dermoneuromodulation.com
                          SensibleSolutionsPhysiotherapy
                          HumanAntiGravitySuit blog
                          Neurotonics PT Teamblog
                          Canadian Physiotherapy Pain Science Division (Archived newsletters, paincasts)
                          Canadian Physiotherapy Association Pain Science Division Facebook page
                          @PainPhysiosCan
                          WCPT PhysiotherapyPainNetwork on Facebook
                          @WCPTPTPN
                          Neuroscience and Pain Science for Manual PTs Facebook page

                          @dfjpt
                          SomaSimple on Facebook
                          @somasimple

                          "Rene Descartes was very very smart, but as it turned out, he was wrong." ~Lorimer Moseley

                          “Comment is free, but the facts are sacred.” ~Charles Prestwich Scott, nephew of founder and editor (1872-1929) of The Guardian , in a 1921 Centenary editorial

                          “If you make people think they're thinking, they'll love you, but if you really make them think, they'll hate you." ~Don Marquis

                          "In times of change, learners inherit the earth, while the learned find themselves beautifully equipped to deal with a world that no longer exists" ~Roland Barth

                          "Doubt is not a pleasant mental state, but certainty is a ridiculous one."~Voltaire

                          Comment


                          • #28
                            Hi Diane,

                            I think the question is open to answering however one wants to tackle it and I think your answers are helpful and not uncommonly held.

                            If someone has a different opinion, it would be interesting to hear about it.
                            "I did a small amount of web-based research, and what I found is disturbing"--Bob Morris

                            Comment


                            • #29
                              When Diane wrote:
                              Somehow the imagination is engaged and safety is greater...
                              the key word is safety.

                              I don't know anything about robotic animals, and did not know they existed, so haven't contributed - but whether it is a demented adult or a shy child, an inanimate object is always safer to deal with. Other people may turn to live animals as a measure of safety.
                              Inanimate mobile or immobile objects and most animals don't lie or have expectations of another's performance; unfortunately that would entail a certain loss of socialising if taken to heart too far.

                              Nari

                              Comment


                              • #30
                                Hi Barrett,

                                This recent research seems concordant with your last post

                                Unique Identifier 16200761

                                Authors Riener R. Lunenburger L. Jezernik S. Anderschitz M. Colombo G. Dietz V.

                                Title Patient-cooperative strategies for robot-aided treadmill training: first experimental results.

                                Source IEEE Transactions on Neural Systems & Rehabilitation Engineering. 13(3):380-94, 2005 Sep.

                                Abstract

                                Task-oriented repetitive movements can improve motor performance in patients with neurological or orthopaedic lesions. The application of robotics and automation technology can serve to assist, enhance, evaluate, and document neurological and orthopedic rehabilitation. This paper deals with the application of "patient-cooperative" techniques to robot-aided gait rehabilitation of neurological disorders. We define patient-cooperative to mean that, during movement, the technical system takes into account the patient's intention and voluntary efforts rather than imposing any predefined movements or inflexible strategies. It is hypothesized that such cooperative robotic approaches can improve the therapeutic outcome compared to classical rehabilitation strategies. New cooperative strategies are presented that detect the patient's voluntary efforts. First, this enables the patient increased freedom of movement by a certain amount of robot compliance. Second, the robot behavior adapts to the existing voluntary motor abilities. And third, the robotic system displays and improves the patient contribution by visual biofeedback. Initial experimental results are presented to evaluate the basic principle and technical function of proposed approaches. Further improvements of the technical design and additional clinical testing is required to prove whether the therapeutic outcome can be enhanced by such cooperative strategies.
                                It's almost a robotic version of Simple Contact
                                "I did a small amount of web-based research, and what I found is disturbing"--Bob Morris

                                Comment

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