The Robotic Imaginary: The Human & the Price of Dehumanized Labor
Taking into account robotics technologies’ increasing presence in our lives, labors, and wars, scholar Jennifer Rhee visits EMPAC to present the following questions: How is the human defined in these robotic visions and technological relations? What are the histories of erasures and exclusions that brought this definition of human into being? Whose lives and labors are excluded from these considerations of the human? This talk draws on Rhee’s book, The Robotic Imaginary: The Human & the Price of Dehumanized Labor (University of Minnesota Press, 2018), which argues that robotic and AI systems reflect historical gendered and racial devaluations around labor.
Rhee’s talk will begin by briefly plotting how labor devaluations are proliferated by AI assistants, vacuum-cleaning robots, and emotion-recognition AIs. She will then focus specifically on U.S. military drone warfare, which requires the racialized dehumanization of drone-strike victims. In conversation with contemporary artistic responses drone warfare, she will connect this to the U.S.’s history and continued present of racialized state violence.
The Robotic Imaginary will be available at a signing table hosted by Market Block Books following the lecture.
Jennifer Rhee is associate professor of English at Virginia Commonwealth University.
Dates + Tickets
EMPAC Spring 2020
EMPAC Spring 2020 presentations, residencies, and commissions are made possible by Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, with additional support from the National Endowment for the Arts; New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and the New York State Legislature; the Australian Government through the Australia Council for the Arts; and Vlaamse Gemeenschap, department of Culture, Youth, and Media.