[annotation: *blows off the dust *… it’s been a while. Over the next few days I will endeavor to lay out a number of ideas that are being developed for my research work]

One of the ideas that has been cropping up is that Chatterbots (in particular sexbots) can be used a a social sciences tools to identify the essentials of specific genres at a specific time. For a sexbot like the famed Tiffany to work it must be capable of deploying the characteristics and tools that a webcam girl is expected to invoke during a conversation. Thus by examining a successful bot, we can learn what is, at a bare minimum, expected of a genre during an interaction.

serendipitously, while pondering this idea, I happened to read the following passage in Douglas Coupland’s microserfs:

I mentioned to Abe about my lessons in shiatsu and the weird relationship people in tech firms have with their bodies. He replied:

I know what you mean about bodeis. At Microsoft you pretend bodies dont’ exist… BRAINS are what matter. You’re right, at Microsoft bodies get down played to near invisibility with unsensual Tommy Hilfiger geekwear, or are genericized with items form the GAP so that employees morph themelfves into those international symbols for MAN and WOMAN you see at airports. (Coupland, 1995: 198)

This in turn got me to thinking about the relationship between mechanization and the essentials of a particular role. Take for example, robotic factory workers. The ones that most likely spring to mind are those in car assembly plants. We’ve all seen the footage of them attaching doors and welding joints. The many of these robots are simply arms (often with integrated tools). Each role has been optimized to the bare essentials required of that position. Why create the whole robot body when only the arm is needed. Thus it seems, that by examining these forms of industrial mechanization, we can understand exactly what is essential for that specific role. Thus the chatterbot can be related to its robotic cousin working on the assembly line.


Coupland, Douglas. 1995. microserfs. New York: ReganBooks.