Art, Science + Technology

DMA9 Fall 2007, Section B

Archive for Mark Sieglock

Prof. Gimzewski- Week 9

This past week Professor Gimzewski came and talked to our class about nanotechnology and bucky balls. I found his perspective on science and life in general very interesting. I specifically recall him telling us that at this point in time bucky balls are pointless. He said that the guys who made them should not have received anything, but they got the Nobel prize. Dr. Gimzewski looked at everything at face value. He knows that although someday these things could produce something that NOW they do not. And that it will take a lot of work to use these discoveries and inventions. Another thing that I liked about Professor Gimzewski is that although he is a leader in the field of Nanotech, he kept a level head and is still a normal guy (He told drinking stories!).

I also thought that his comments on the monks at the end of the discussion were interesting. At first thought it is hard to imagine that these men who all they do is meditate all day are the happiest people on the Earth. But then I thought about it, and it makes perfect sense. These men have no fears, no worries and are at peace with their inner selves. They do not have any stress or worry about any of the normal troubles that we have. These men are so focused and refined in their thoughts that they are the happiest men in the world. They are at peace! His comments about us only being an energy source also interested me. He said that when he was meditating he saw that other beings were only energy source. I am interested in his thinking, but do not agree with it. If everyone else was only an energy source, then he would be too. And energy sources cannot think so therefore nothing would really exist. I believe that although our body may be an energy source that we have spirits that live forever.

I liked Prof. Gimzewski and would love to hear from him in the future. I think that he should talk to every Desma class in the future, just to give the students a different perspective on science, but more importantly life.


Coincidence and Randomness

Are things random or does everything happen for a reason? Although I do not believe that everything is directly related, I do believe that everything happens for a reason. I think that I believe this partly because of my Christian background. Everything happens for a reason and the events that take place are based on our own choices. The choices that we make in our lifes will determine future events. For example, if all my life I wanted to be a lawyer, but then I somehow was charged with a felony, the decision to do the illegal activity would shape the rest of my life.(One cannot become a lawyer with a felony.) I believe that major and minor events in our lives happen for a reason. A few years back when I was visiting Rome I saw the golf coach from my high school. Before this point I had never really played golf. After talking with the coach I started golfing, and although I never went out for the team, I enjoy golf to this day. The minor event of me running into a person in Rome caused me to pick up golf as a hobby. Everything happens for a reason; I do not have an answer to why this or that happened, but one day when I meet God, I am sure that all of my questions will be answered. Why we do not always recognize the suttle choices that we make, they all have effects on our future. Our choices and experiences have shaped us in to the people that we are today.

Other life forms; art and space.

In class on wednesday Richard Clar talked to us about communicating with other life forms through a space dolphin. The dolphin would send out radio waves over billions of miles. I would like to ask Mr. Richard Clar: why does the satellite need to be a dolphin? Although it may look more appealing to the eye, there is no need to make a dolphin satellite. Other than that I thought his idea a little out there, but good. Trying to communicate with other life forms could have a lot of benefits for us. “Aliens” could have alternate energy sources, or cures for some of the diseases that harm the world today. Or as represented by many movies, they could kill us all and take our resources. Although I am not sure if extra terrestrial forms of life exist I believe that if we are meant to find them it will happen.

Life in space

Richard Clar also talked to us about life in space. He said that he believed life on the moon and possibly other planets would be possible within the next fifty years. He went as far to say that there will someday be a Disneyland on the moon. Although I appreciate his optimism I do not agree. Travel into outer space is extremely expensive and a far-fetched idea. Not only is it expensive, it is not extremely safe. If things went wrong there would be tons of lawsuits. The spacecrafts that are used now are only good for 1 time use. This means that a new spacecraft would have to be built or an old one repaired everytime people traveled back and forth. Another rebuttle I have to human life being possible on the moon is that up to this point in time Apollo 17 has the longest stay on the moon which is only 74 hours, 59 minutes, 38 seconds. That is a long way away from establishing life on the moon. I have not even addressed how structures would be built with stability in a place with limited gravitational force and storms. If a house on the moon was destroyed, what would happen to the family, would they be swept away too?

Although I hope that someday communication with other life forms and life in space will be possible, I do not see them happening in my lifetime, maybe at all. Not only is cost an issue, but so is safety in dealing with both of these topics. In concludion I wanted to thank Richard Clar for his passion, dedication, and optimism. It is because people like him that someday life in space might be possible.

Is this our future?

Plastic Surgery, does it make one truly beautiful?

Throughout the history of time people (women in particular) have been trying to get “the perfect body.” During some times, pale was beautiful; in others, if one was fat he was thought to be wealthy. Today, women and men have plastic surgery and other procedures done to become skinny, get rid of wrinkles, and look younger longer. Although a woman’s looks catch your eye right away, true beauty lies on the inside. Plastic surgeons exploit peoples insecurities about themselves and make a lot of money. In the movie we were shown in class a women has her skin pinned back and taped to look “20 years younger.” I agree with Professor Vesna, women who have this much work done don’t look any younger, they look like 50 years olds who just got a lot of work done.

Is plastic surgery a form of art?

I do not look at people who get plastic surgery done as art. Although I believe that if it is used in the right manner one can make there body a piece of art using plastic surgery. One could add different features to themselves or change characteristics to make a statement. The body is a work of art, and plastic surgery can be considered a technique to enhance beauty if used in the proper ways.

When have people gone too far?

In today’s society people take plastic surgery too far. On Monday we discussed a woman who used plastic surgery to become cat-like. This is one example of taking plastic surgery way too far.

Also, Michael Jackson took cosmetics too far when he changed his skin color. In class we discussed what an impact he could have made if he was not labeled as being “crazy.” I believe that Michael Jackson was a brilliant man and changed his skin color to bring attention to himself. He was marketing himself to the public and because of his changes, he became more famous and even more influential.

Plastic surgery can be used in many ways. Make sure to use it wisely!

Brilliant marketing or wacko?

Five Weeks in Reflection

After five weeks of going over how art, science, and technology are related and how new ideas are being formed every day; I realized that my classmates and I had learned a lot. The midterm displayed to everyone just how much we learned. Some students had creative ideas, such as making music out of one’s DNA. Others wanted to create robotic arms that could help further handicapped peoples capabilities. And on a less noble, but still entertaining and great idea, another group wanted to create a movie called the Terminatrix showing the dangers of robots to our society. After watching all of the presentations one could see the passion and energy that all of the students put into there projects. This midterm was my favorite and I got a lot more out of it than just taking a test. If we had taken a test, no one would have gotten to the creativity of all the other students or see the ideas that they presented. I would never have thought to do half of the things that they researched and created.

 The only downfall that I saw in this project was the lack of time to present one’s ideas. I think that if a project similar to this is done in the future that two days are set aside for the presentations. This would allow students to project their ideas more fluidly and not be in such a hurry. Besides the time constraints this project was my favorite of college so far.


Art, Science, or Both?

 Is a Urinal or a Green Rabbit Art?

After reflecting on wednesday’s lecture by our guest speaker I have come to my conclusion on what art is. To me, art is something that draws an emotion or a feeling from its audience, the same emotion that the artist himself felt while creating his work. It does not have to be understood by all, but I do not believe that a GFP Bunny or a urinal should be considered art.

How Kac was able to manipulate gene cells in a rabbit to make it glow green can be looked at as a great scientific discovery, but it is not art. I also do not believe that Duchamp’s urinal is art either. All he did was move something from a bathroom and put it into an artroom. A blue-collar worker might walk into that art gallery and relieve himself in it, knowing that it is only a urinal. I do not consider either of these things art.

(Although I do not consider the GFP bunny art, I do appreciate our guest speaker’s passion and enthusiasm toward his belief.)

GFP Rabbit and Kac

Yes, the GFP rabbit is a scientific breakthrough. If we are someday able to maipulate genes in humans as Kac did in the rabbit we would be able to cure many diseases and prevent others before they even happened. This technology, if used in the right way could save many lives. But with this on the frontier our government needs to place strict regulations on how far scientists can experiment with manipulating genes. (We don’t want any man playing God.) Kac’s scientific breakthrough can change our future forever, but only in the field of science, not art.

Is this really art?

Robotics or Intelligence

After hearing about the prominent influence that robotics is supposed to have on our future I did some research on truly intelligent machines. While searching I found an article on “On Intelligence,” a book by Jeff Hawkins. Hawkins believes that the reasons for our failure in the area of robotics is because we are programming the machines to do specific things. Instead he thinks “that to actually make an intelligent computer, we simply need to teach it to find and use patterns, not to attempt any specific tasks.” I believe Hawkins is correct. Once we know more about the brain we should be able to structure a “robot” to learn. We should be able to construct something in such a way that the machine could actually learn as in movies such as “I, Robot.” In order to make sure that the robots won’t “take over the world” one could build restrictions on how much can be learned. Instead of programming software to take out our trash we could teach an intelligent machine to do many useful tasks instead of just a few. The only downside that I see tho this new technology would be an increased unemployment rate. The machines would be able to do work just as well as humans and problem solve around things. Big companies would only have to pay a one time fee for all the work they could imagine. Our lives could be changed forever, both positively and negatively.

As progress in neuroscience occur so will artificial intelligence. Jeff believes that in our brains we have memory-prediction framework located in our neocrotex that is associated with the thalamus and hypothalamus and that once we are able to clearly understand how this framework works we will be able to model intelligent life after it.

Although Hawkins ideas are a little out there, they could be like those of Tesla, just a little before there time. Tesla would not believe all of the technology that we have today, and one hundred years from now who knows, maybe we will be walking around not being able to tell the difference between a humanistic robot and a normal little girl. But one has to remember that this is only a prediction. Twenty years ago people believed that by now we would be flying around in cars and having robots do everything for us. Although this is not the case, we have made many advances and are on our way to producing intelligent life.

Could this be our future?