After leaving us for London, Daisy Ginsberg now designs health obsessed robots at RCA! Daisy uses her Bio Spy concept to express that we develop irrational relationships with machines, mourning dead appliances or resisting unfamiliar replacements. How will we behave when robots are trusted with the most intimate moments of our personal lives? Will the master/slave relationship survive? Is symbiosis with a robot possible? And what are the consequences of offering our most personal data for surveillance? Her questions remind me of my post on jealous computers and the 80’s electric dreams movie, with a special RCA’s touch!
For the hypochondriac, the BioSpy offers reassuring constant health surveillance, removing the nagging fear of illness. But would such a health aid induce unhealthy behaviour? The user and robot develop obsessive mutual dependence: the user only feels healthy when accompanied by the robot, sharing her most intimate information with it. Meanwhile, recording, storing and analyzing every physical change 24/7, the robot is dependent on its user’s health for its existence.
After a period of domestic harmony, the robot captures data that indicates serious illness. ‘Fearful’, it mirrors its user’s own neurosis. It logically computes that if it records any more data, it might ultimately result in unplugging. The robot’s erratic behaviour confuses the owner – is it behaving autonomously or malfunctioning? Is the user really ill or is it imagined?