The Robot in the Garden: Telerobotics and Telepistemology in the Age of the Internet

| May 13, 2011

Title: The Robot in the Garden: Telerobotics and Telepistemology in the Age of the Internet

Editor: Ken Goldberg

Publisher: The MIT Press; 1St Edition edition (March 20, 2000)

Link: TJ211 .R537 2000

From the Publisher: It may be trite to say that new technology changes the way we see ourselves and the world, but it’s crucial that we explore those changes fully. In The Robot in the Garden, computer scientist Ken Goldberg curates a collection of essays on telerobotics by critics, philosophers, and engineers, addressing questions as fundamental as, “How does mediation affect the knowledge we acquire?”

This book is a heady look at how remotely operated machines are affecting our beliefs and understanding of our interactions with each other and with the environment; while it’s unlikely that every piece will interest every reader, anyone concerned with the future of art, technology, or society will find plenty to think about. Judith Donath, of MIT’s Media Lab, asks how we define identity over the Internet and other electronic means of distant communication. Media art critic Machiko Kusahara reviews the current work of five telerobotic artists and their questioning of attitudes toward fundamental concepts like presence and absence. Philosopher Hubert L. Dreyfus cuts to the chase and examines knowledge itself in “Telepistemology: Descartes’s Last Stand.” Knowing that we know something is hard enough without miles of cables between our minds and the objects of our knowledge, but is technologically mediated information really different in kind?

Eighteen essays in all contribute to the discussion of remote action. As we expand our bodies to include webcam eyes and robot arms, such questions become more and more important to thinking people, and we can start looking for answers with The Robot in the Garden–Rob Lightner