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How real is real?

The significance of what can be considered as “real”, is shifting throughout the years. Paintings are counterfeited, photos are edited, and human identity is feasible. The online world is an important factor in this case. But also think about the possibilities created by technology in the area of food production, the counterfeiting of designer clothes or practical use of simulations used to train people for driving trains and flying planes. The idea that “real” is good and “fake” is bad, may be left behind. In the East people look differently at real or fake and the value we attend to this. They value authenticity of the artificial. The West doesn’t handle things the same way. Over here we want to stick to the importance that everything is pure and genuine. But nonetheless, a shift in perception is starting…

The Dolhuys presented a temporary exhibition called ‘The Artificial Man’. Here it was brought to the attention how the online world contributes to the continuous aim to perfection. An ideal identity is formed via various social media channels and the demands we give on ourselves are becoming stricter. But what happens to those who do not fit into this ideal image? Aren’t they just the unique, innovative and quirky inspiring? Aren’t they the one who are purely themselves?

To continue the feasibility of an ideal image, which is formed by a society, life is given to a robot that looks like like Scarlett Johansson. An inventor in Hong Kong has developed an android with a similar appearance as the actress. Despite the inside of the android of which most parts are 3D printed, it still looks pretty damn real.

As can be seen, authenticity is mainly linked to ostentation. But how well you imitate something, it will always be a replica. Nevertheless, how we value this is being assigned by ourselves.

If you ask Siri, Apple’s iconic digital assistant, what gender it is, the answer is “Well, my voice sounds like a woman’s, but I exist beyond your human concept of gender.” In the case of Siri it is not about ostentation and gender, Siri will not be segmented in a gender role. The Siri designers have its successor, Viv, already in development, the next generation Al assistant. Viv will be in contact with various services. “Viv is designed to be devices agnostic – think one platform, open to all services for all devices, personalized for you Viv’s goal is to be ubiquitous so it will understand your preferences and history as you engage with it on your mobile device, or in your car, or with your smart device at home. ”

When it comes to whether something is real or fake, we quickly ready an opinion and share it too much. We cling on to an old pattern, but apply it only where it suits us. Examples given above will get you thinking. Your own identity, how you shape it online in contrast to how profiling yourself offline. An android is given the look of a movie star but is largely 3D printed. And a phone application that knows neither gender nor appearance. Who determines when it is real and when it is not? By whom and why is the same value assigned to this? There is a shift taking place, in one place on larger scale than the on the other. The East is most certainly ahead of the West in this case.

Links that are used for this blog:

http://tegenlicht.vpro.nl/afleveringen/2013-2014/hoe-echt-is-echt.html

http://www.kennislink.nl/activiteiten/de-maakbare-mens

http://www.kijkmagazine.nl/tech/levensechte-scarlett-johansson-robot-gebouwd/

http://www.theverge.com/2016/5/9/11639992/viv-digital-assistant-ai-artificial-intelligence-siri

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