Until September 2020, the Red Dot Design Museum in Singapore presents the curated “Human-Nature” exhibition exploring how humans excel beyond their natural ability, bringing together design works from various disciplines including innovative products, research concepts, communication works and art.
Human-Nature is an exhibition of good design, with parallel questioning of the nature of being human in a world where we achieved enhanced abilities through technology and algorithm, where humans co-exist with robots, machine learning and big data.
Do robots have souls?
It begins with an introspective probe on how humans perceive robots. Do they have souls? Where in some parts of the world humans believe inanimate objects are considered to be just as alive as the animate, will robots be accepted as companions, members of society rather than mere tools or threats?
What happens when robots evolve to fully autonomous?
The automation of tasks traditionally done by humans has raised fears of job replacement. Yet at home, humans are more than happy to remove shackles of household chores as we embrace all forms of domestic robots. As we feel even more empowered with greater control over the use our of limited time, what happens when robots evolve from being automated to fully autonomous? And when robots mastered their ability to feel and display emotions and affection, would it then be too late to ask: what does it mean to be human?
Will we be replaced by machines?
Developments in the forefront have demonstrated robots achieving their ability to learn. With these algorithms of machine learning, is this the beginning of an awakening for robots for its own consciousness? Soon, it will be difficult for people to discern the difference between the voice of a machine and that of humans. Will there also come a day where we as humans prefer to converse with the empathetic machine than our neighbour next door?
What does it mean to be human?
We can now see farther, faster, and closer than the human eye would allow through advancements in camera lens. Perception through the human eyes have extended through camera lenses, which expands, enhances and distorts our visual reality. Is it human nature to pursue superhuman abilities? Will our foresight be misguided if we were to depend on bots to perform our responsibilities and obligations while upholding our values and beliefs? What does it mean to be human?
What is in our human nature?
Finally, meet your unborn self at the concluding presentation of this exhibition. Dive deep into virtual reality where one may illuminate just how sophisticated the human design already is. Perhaps it is our tireless pursuit for perfection as if an algorithm imbued in humans’ subconscious which have led to our dedication for continuous improvements. As we triumphed our past selves, designers’ work has not stopped and will continue to push forward.