Robotics and Culture

“Science Bob” Pflugfelder




There are two processes in the development of culture; in first process, human is inactive and is a receiver. He/she lives in a specific geographic area, provides his/her necessity of nourishment and shelter. This premise relation with nature, in other words, his/her information, language, attitude and his/her tangible production / consumption in regarding to his/her necessities appear as first the stage where the culture occurs. In the second stage, human leaves its receptive position and starts production, meaning; it gets involved with its surrounding as an active and active power.

Technology, in this sense, is a field that influences culture of man and be affected by its culture reciprocally. It should not be perceived just as, of tangible “things”, as technology bares also an influence on culture, on the social interactions as well as on the knowledge, belief, discourse and execution.

Cultural difference influences in dealings with robots and hence this influences areas of use in robotics. Besides, the inevitability of their use urges the changes in the culture as well

Difference in attitudes against the robots relies on something older and it is not the idea of the robot but in fact the religion.  Consequently, there is a dissidence   in the idea of robot between the Far East and the West.

In Japan, due to their animistic beliefs, people, culturally, tend to be open to the idea of robots. Animism is based on all objects having a soul, even if they are manmade. For this reason, Japanese people do not discriminate between inanimate objects and humans.1  Japan is not only a producer of technology, but also a country that works upon how humans connect with each other and their environment by present & future technology. Because of scarce natural resources, she is inclined to increase the added value on her manufactured products. The decrease in birth rate and the increase in the ageing population as well as the problems in environmental and energy issues, leads Japan to see the robots as a means to creating a better quality of life and more prosper population. So, these reasons provoked the establishment of companies concentrating on robotic technology.

In the West attitude against robots advanced differently due to the common monotheism beliefs. Monotheism dictates a belief that: at the beginning, there was only God, only God gives life, and all living things are his subjects Besides, it is also identified that idolatry is a sin. But, in Robotics, man acts as God in animating an inanimate entity. According to such a belief, creation of another type of life, inevitably, paves way to the destruction of God.2 Due to this dominant belief, the position against objects is not similar to the one in Japan. Rather, in concentrates mostly on the acceleration of manufacturing processes, development of the defense industry, increase of employment, entertainment and facilitating daily life.

Though being a pioneer in the development of robotic technologies, United States is also culturally handicapped about socially profiting the most out of the robotic technology. For this reason, researches, generally, turn towards to use of robots in military and industry.

In Europe, increasingly use of robots in production is vital to the advancement of manufacturing and employment. Besides, there are similar developments on the general industry and automotive as in United States.

Finally, culture not only effects the perception of robots, but also govern the robots’ design and area of usages. In this process, the solutions for the legal problems’ must be regulated.



For Citation :

Selin Cetin
"Robotics and Culture"
Hukuk & Robotik, Friday July 28th, 2017 25/02/2021