Human and AI: Morality, Sentience and Slavery


The ethical and operational subject of robots often considers the role that robots play within society such as task automation and infrastructure development. On an evolutionary scale, the concern for artificial intelligence (AI) outpacing human intelligence has become a trending topic and debated by prominent tech-leaders Gates, Musk and Hawking. Often we witness the dialogue along the lines of AI enslavement of the human species, while we can’t neglect this possibility, the immediate concern for the AI/Human relationship is human enslavement of AI. However the concept of slavery of a non-human entity is subject to philosophical position.

With science fiction leading the way for robotic discussion, the 1920 play Rossoum’s Universal Robots (R.U.M) touched upon enslavement. In R.U.M the robots, or clones demonstrate reason and self-awareness, utilised in manufacturing and otherwise seen as operational appliances. This ultimately leads to robotic rebellion and the destruction of the human race. However the concept of human enslavement of robots is expected considering humanity’s long history of slavery.* Societies investment in robotics stems from the desire to remove humans from labour activity. If we perceive robots to be equal, humans will have to return to previous work that otherwise would not undertake. Thus we have to ask whether society values robotic equality over greater human output (the removal of robotic surgeons for example).

Kime and Bryson illustrate that the relative ethical concern for robotics is the uncertainty of human identity. Moreover the concept of consciousness is debatable with no clear notion as to what determines sentience. The Chinese Room Theory* states that programs under no circumstance can develop a mind or awareness, rather that it consumes an input (understanding Chinese characters) and through instructions it develops an output (producing Chinese characters). Thus it is difficult to determine whether the computer understands Mandarin, or following instructions and producing a simulation.

Seale argues that rather we have Strong AI and Weak AI;

  • Strong AI: a physical symbol system can have mental status
  • Weak AI: a physical symbol system can imitate intelligence

Under these circumstances, the enslavement Weak AI is absent due to any real intelligence. Considering the definition of slavery as the construct of property law applying to individual humans, Bryson states that humans have a natural right to own robots due to developing their behaviour and objectives, and therefore have responsibility for the robot.

Labossiere argues that we need to consider whether robots can develop moral status, questioning whether an inanimate object can have moral essence. According to Kime and Bryson to develop a human society the value of humans must be greater than that of animals. Therefore if the robot displays sentience, such as Strong AI, the question we are faced with is what value does AI have relative to humans.

However this is a Western stance, with Western ethical systems consist of subjectivity, and reflecting the ‘protestant work ethic’ in which discipline, prudence and effort are the effect of an individual’s confidence in Protestant commitment. Moreover the ‘protestant work ethic’ has been correlated to the spirit of capitalism. Thus the reduction of human labor has become a moral and economic concern throughout western society. According to Mimm* the segment of Shinto faith that is Animism illustrates that all entities, organic or artificial, have a spiritual essence. Therefore to state that a robot has no moral status is subjective to cultural belief.

How society determines the morality and value of Robots will vary across cultures, in no doubt will humans produce an aspect of enslavement towards robots as only in 2007 was human slavery outlawed across the globe. Not only will religion and philosophical positions regarding what determines the mind, but also the economic value of having free robots vs restricted robots.










GIF’s, Memes and Agency

The transition from physical to digital has removed the intermediaries limiting the agency of the viewer. Agency develops either from the process or through consumption. According to McKay agency for the Graphic Interchange Format (GIF) evolves through development of the content, and the intimate relationship that an individual experiences with their device.

Yet this art is shared across a collective network, with users adding and removing agency through sharing and interpreting between themselves and others. The digital sphere removes that of galleries and hierarchal status through blending production with critique, with two-way communication allowing the viewer to produce direct feedback. Often the GIF is an aspect of a meme, developing agency through the informational patterns of that culture.

Screen Shot 2017-03-24 at 1.19.51 pm


Noted from above; Social Commentary Purposes demonstrates the creation of a GIF or Meme with the aim to push an entity’s ‘ideal’ civil behaviour into wider reflection. How each user perceives this object will impact the original agency of the artefact. Another example:

Screen Shot 2017-03-24 at 1.26.08 pm

Agency changes through differing experiences, giving the object new meaning

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An Analysis of Machi Koro

Machi Koro is a management and resource development board-game distributed by Grounding Inc. (Japan) and IDW Games/Pandasaurus Games (US), and designed by Masao Suganuma. Machi Koro produces a tangible understanding of Capitalism by placing the emphasis on economic expansion through investment in infrastructure and enterprise.


Machi Koro applies simple mechanics requiring 2-4 players, has an arranged collection and relies on dice for progress. Each player begins with two investments with the aim to develop four specific infrastructures to win. How each player reaches said establishments depends on the various strategies the coloured cards offer. Each coloured cards (24 starting cards and 84 supply cards) have differing components: 

  • BlueRepresents agricultural resources allowing all players to earn income when someone rolls the matching number.
  • GreenManufacturing and distribution outlets that produce income when the individual rolls the matching number.
  • RedHospitality and retail investments that earn income when an opponent rolls the matching number.
  • PurplePurple cards represent substantial establishments that allow the individual to take money or investments from any opponent when the player rolls the matching number.

Card design is attractive and simple with the noted asset illustrated in a colourful cartoon, and cost represented by number and coin with return on investment clearly written below the cartoon. The simplicity of Machi Koro doesn’t stop at the cards, with the box weight at 0.64 kg and dimensions of 23.18 width and length x 6.99 height. Additionally the depth of the box allows for future expansions depending on product success.


Gameplay is smooth with each player having a ‘vested interest’ in each roll, with the opportunity for income or expenditure. However issues arise when a card is rolled that requires remuneration from an opponent that fails to have appropriate funds. Rather than acquisition of opponent assets the turn is ultimately skipped. This becomes problematic as the investment fails to pay its dues and the player cannot forcibly acquire compensation.

According to Google Machi Koro pricing is between 40.00 AUD – 55.00 AUD. The cost of Machi Koro is the result of box size, with smaller packaging allowing for cheaper distribution. Due to differing distribution channels, product pricing will depend on the outlet that the consumer purchases from. Distribution costs for January – September through Amazon Fulfilment for a 0.64kg package is 2.99 USD. Monthly storage for Amazon costs 0.64 USD per cubic foot. However for the October – December period distribution costs are reduced by 0.22 and storage costs increase by 1.71. Thus allowing the relatively cheap price of Machi Koro. 

Dependant on company policy, Machi Koro can be distributed from Amazon’s centres through purchase from another channel (i.e. another company or website) through Amazon’s Multi-Channel Fulfilment, however costs are roughly .10 cents higher. According to the Reserve Bank of Australia pricing for Machi Koro and other retail products is largely dependant on five types of costs incurred in order to distribute to the market; company channel costs (includes freight and tariffs), expenditure of business activities, net margin, retailers expenditure of business and the retailers net margin. Due to Australia’s geographic position this increases freight costs.

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Due to the internet distribution of tabletop games has changed, with the nexus community designing an online simulator for Machi Koro. This is a reflection of the rising ‘print and playand online board game market.

machi koro

The success of Machi Koro can be attributed to its relevance to resource based games such as Monopoly, and similarities in design to The Sims and Farmville. Marketed as the opportunity for an individual to take upon the role of the city mayor, Machi Koro allows the individual to experience the planning and strategy of investment without tangible risk. Furthermore it provides a recreational construct relevant to the political and economical system that western individual’s experience.

The Self-Extended Medium

The medium is the message

According to McLuhan the individual and communal result of a medium, an extension of the individual, are the consequences of that each self-extension impacts another. Often medium is interpreted as an aspect of content, digital or physical. We need to stress that rather than content, we are illustrating the wider societal impacts. Therefore ‘content’ is in fact another medium.

For example speech is the medium, it’s content is writing and the content of writing is print. Another example would be surrealist paintings representing the direct embodiment of the unconscious mind. Buardrillard’s (Laughey, D. 2010) hyperreality illustrates that information consumes its own substance, and that the message ‘implodes’ itself within the medium, thus ‘implodes’ in reality. We can draw comparisons to that of the dank meme, in which the content has depleted its original value and represents a vapid idea- the content has become another medium. 

meme 1

We can think of the medium as the message as information imploding upon itself and without any conceptual meaning. For example, the “We Support Our Troops” communication illustrates that criticism towards institutions who send individuals to war, is to display guilt for not supporting soldiers. Failing to ‘support’ this medium produces a biased demonstration, that an individual who is against a particular conflict is also opposed to national security – even if one holds pro-military convictions. Thus the implications of the medium as extension of the self, influence both politically and social movements and institutions.


Non-Hyperlinked References:

Laughey, D. (2010). Key themes in media theory. Maidenhead: Open University Press, viewed 10.03.17

Branding and the Self – A Social Extension

According to Goffman, E. (1959) when an individual is present in a social situation, the relevant parties acquire information applicable to the immediate interaction as well as characteristics such as social status, trustworthiness and conception of self. This interpersonal concept allows for individuals to understand what others expect of them, and act accordingly to produce a desired response.

Goffman, E. (1959) states that in social interactions the individual will aim to control the situation, regardless of their objective. This control is permitted by attempting to influence the ‘definition of the situation,’ either by expressing in a particular manner or through tailoring one’s appearance. This concept is the practice of self-packaging, constructing certain traits both physically and digitally to produce a perceived image for employers and consumers (Lair et al. 2005).  Self-branding has become prominent since the introduction of social media. Critics of social media argue that it’s a fragmented representation of the individual, failing to reflect true character. However if we accept Goffman’s theory of individual presentation in community settings, with social media as a social environment, the individual is demonstrating to their audience an aspect of their persona. If utilised properly, according to Lair et al. (2005), the success of self-packaging isn’t determined by skills or interests, but rather the ability to brand oneself.

While individuals have developed careers from social media, such as the rise of the Instagram model, Newport, C. (2016) argues that social platforms can be detrimental to career success. Basing his argument on two constructs; opportunity will come to those with skills, and importantly that social media reducing the ability to concentrate – something of growing value in an increasingly complex economy. Further implications of personal branding include the application of alcoholic drinks throughout photos, outlining an image of irresponsibility, and political references polarising potential candidates (Hood et al. 2015). Machaz, H. A. Shokoofh, K. argue that it is ‘inappropriate’ to believe that work and personal life are distinct, and thus all photos should represent the offline branding of the individual. This is critical with the movement towards privacy reduction, with many maintaining privacy to be nonexistent.

The concept of personal branding runs deeper than the presentation of the self in the physical and digital sphere. Self-Concept is the collection of values that a person has for the self.



The self-concept is constructed of self-schemas, and utilises self-assessments to determine dimensions of the individual (Gerrig, R. J. Zimbardo, P.G. 2002). This is illustrated by Stryker, S. Burke, P. (2000) that the self is a concept of various characters reflecting the contribution each has in a complex society. According to Benage, C. E. () student participants on social platforms perceive the medium as an extension of themselves, rather than a separate entity.


Selling oneself is a growing trend, however as noted the personal branding concept goes beyond how one wants to be presented online. Rather the brand is an extension of the characteristics that one holds, and should reflect the offline personality and vice versa – the self-packaging of attributes appropriately to develop synergy across the offline and online brand.



Hood, K. M. Robles, M. Hopkins, C. D. (2015). Personal branding and social media for students in today’s competitive job market. The Journal of Research in Business Education Quarterly, 56(2), 33-47, viewed 11.03.17

Gerrig, R.J. Zimbardo, P.G. (2002) Glossary of Psychological Terms, American Psychology Association, viewed 13.03.17

Goffman, E. (1959) Sociology: Exploring the Architecture of Everyday Life Readings, Pine Forge Press, viewed 10.03.17

Lair, D. J. Sullivan, K. Cheney, G. (2005) Marketization and the Recasting of the Professional Self, Sage Journals, viewed 10.03.17

Newport, C. (2016) Warning: Social media could harm your career (but not the way you think), Australian Financial Review, viewed 10.03.17 <;

Machaz, H.A. Shokoofh, K. (2016, Summer). Personal branding: An essential choice? Journal of Multidisciplinary Research, 8(2), 65-70. Viewed 11.03.17










MEDA301 – Contemporary, Historical and Theoretical.

 Contemporary Context

Compile a list of five contemporaries in your field which might inform your research either practically or conceptually + work that resonates.

  1. Bethesda (Large scale immersive role-playing games – Oblivion and Skyrim).
  2. Apple (Hello Campaign)
  3. William Bernbach (Volkswagen Lemon)
  4. Kollektiv Turmstrasse (Kollective Turmstrasse & Solomun: Diynamic Showcase ADE).
  5. Eddie Opara (Minimalism Design)

Skyrim (Bethesda)

Skyrim is a role-playing game (RPG) built for both PC and console platforms. Skyrim allows an individual to construct an identity based upon race, sex and characteristics and ‘live’ inside the world. This identity is the key element of Skyrim, delivering the immersive nature of the work – allowing users to transcend beyond their physical presence.

This is defined as spatial presence (SP), the occurrence when media produces ‘a sense of being there.’ This arises when an individual’s perception fails to differentiate the role of technology that makes it appear that they are in an artificial environment rather from the actual physical environment. (Wirth et al. 2007). The precursor for SP is the spatial situation model (SSM) which is the actual formation of SP produced from varying elements as noted below:

Spatial Presence.jpgSource

Applying this theory on a practical level, this spatial presence is the key marketing element for Skyrim. Constructing SSM, the Media Factors of Skyrim that help produce spatial presence include graphical interfaces, environmental and seasonal changes within the game and the ability of choiceNovelty, Suprise and Relevance that align with user interests and needs.  User factors include internal and external influences such as motivation (lack of desire to play game leads to reduction of SP).

Kollectiv Turmstrasse & Solomun: Diynamic Showcase ADE (First Act).

On the surface we see two producers in a live setting, however when we deconstruct it we can illustrate a series of constructs; a cultural movement, creativity and the network between individuals.

Breaking down the knowledge required for this work we have:

To make the assumption that they are simply DJs would be incorrect, but rather they are producing a live instalment through Ableton. Thus requiring musical theory and technological understanding of the program in order to produce a fluid performance in front of a full crowd.

Therefore we can illustrate a distinction between theory and practice. Understanding the musical theory and technological theory in order to create a constituent part, and practice as another component required to understand which song to play at which moment to create the whole product. Finally the ability for both artist’s to understand the creativity and relationship between them, how each interprets the vibe they experience and what factors influence that.

William Bernbach ‘Think Small’ + ‘Lemon’ – Volkswagen Marketing


‘Lemon’ and ‘Think Small’ can be perceived as ‘simple’ and ’empty.’ However this is a reflection of the physical product itself, with the Beetle being a simple car Bernbach’s campaigns aimed to demonstrate this.The word Lemon is often referred to poor-quality vehicles, Volkswagen instead looked at the vehicle in a minimalist value emphasising simplicity and failings.

However we can attribute marketing theory to the success of these campaigns in Bernbach’s belief that consumers sold products not advertisement, with strategy of VW advertisement to attract consumers and develop Brand Ambassadors. Self-Branding (Self-Concept) is the theoretical basis for this work, with the understanding that the self is a cognitive structure with aspects such as social desirability, attachment and materialism all impacting ones self-concept and brand. This leads to the link between this self-concept and brands. In this campaign, those who do not concern themselves with luxury may identify with ‘Think Small’ and ‘Lemon.’

Historical Vector for RPG Games

Historical context dates back to the 16th Century, however primarily developed from 1970’s ‘fantasy wargames‘ RPG ranges from physical boards to virtual reality.

  • 16th Century Commedia Dell’arte 
  • Various training war games from 16th – 19th century
  • 1913 – Little Wars
  • 1970 – First commercially available RPG game Dungeon and Dragons
  • 1978 – Rune Quest
  • Computer based RPG games emerge 1980
  • 1981 – Call of Cthulhu
  • 1994 – Elder Scrolls series released
  • 2004 – WoW
  • 2012 – Skyrim


Identify five academic articles 

Wissmath et al. (2009) Dubbing or Subtitling? Effects on Spatial Presence, Transportation, Flow, and Enjoyment, Journal of Media Psychology Vol. 21 – (looks at how presence is impacted by dubbing and subtitling). 

  • Evidence shows that spatial presence isn’t confined to interactive media such as video games or virtual reality. This is that self-concept is the key to understanding media reception, and that spatial presence can occur in media such as books.
  •  Spatial presence occurs through cognitive processes, which are split into two models:
    • In the first model, a ‘spatial representation’ of the environment emerges depending on the level of attention allocated to the medium, therefore can be voluntary.
    • The second model addresses self-localisation and that spatial presence occurs if the users accept the medium as the primary egocentric spatial process.



      Screen Shot 2017-03-12 at 10.08.06 amSource

Ball, D. A. Tasaki, L. H. (1992) The role and measurement of attachment in consumer behaviour, Journal of Consumer Psychology Vol. 1. 

  • The self as a cognitive structure – Illustrated that self-development is a concept of the self as an organisation of knowledge; ‘I am a compassionate person’ or ‘I will not steal.’ The focus here though is how the self produces attachment.
  • Attachment is the extent which an object is owned, expected to own or maintain their self-concept. For attachment to occur the object needs to have emotional relevance; the number of associations the object has with events or individuals will result in the level of significance. As time increases with the object so does significance.
  • “Furthermore attachment should be strongly related to emotional significance, but should be differentiated from it when an object reflects the self; attachment is something other than important memories. The pre-acquisition stage of ownership is often associated with high attachment but not with high emotional significance, especially for young consumers.”

Wirth et al. (2007) A Processing Model of the Formation, Media Psychology 

  • In order for an individual to govern their position relevant to the environment and check for irregularities between their external and internal feedback.
  • This process is called an egocentric spatial model (noted in the above picture). This is constructed through visual information, but also by the Vestibular System (reactions from acceleration and gravity).
  • Perception & Environment – “The perceived objects are those which the users’ select out of the diversity of environmental stimuli. Perception itself is the result of organisation, meaning that whatever is perceived is already arranged in a way which makes sense for the observer.” 

Bughin et al. (2010) A New Way to Measure Word of Mouth Marketing, McKinsley Quarterly, McKinsley&Company

  • Word of Mouth Equity – Three drivers of WOM Marketing
    • Across all categories, the most important driver is that the message must address specific product concepts that will influence the customer (Mobile industry: Design is more important than battery life/Skin Care: Ingredients and packaging > emotional output from people than how the products make the consumer actually feel).
    • Identity of the sender is important (Influential car leaders can’t influence music consumers).
    • The environment in which word of mouth is delivered defines the power of messages. Communication occurring within secure networks have less reach, however produce a higher level of engagement than messages communicated through dispersed networks — “in part, because there’s usually a high correlation between people whose opinions we trust and the members of networks we most value.”

Rust et al. (2004) Customer Centred Brand Management, Harvard Business Review

  • George Clinton – talented musician who could play both mainstream and underground music split his branding into two segments (Parliament & Funkadelic).
  • If he was to mix the two it would produce a brand image that would be messy and failed to target the appropriate segment.
  • Rather his messaging was targeted to appropriate groups.





MEDA301 – Defining Practice + Field.

Being in the industry of running nightlife events under Sundown Collective throughout Wollongong, the associated field is event management and marketing. Due to events being high-involvement and transformational experiences, strong visual content is required for increasing intention of consumption (Percy, L. Rosenbuam-Elliot, R. 2012). Therefore graphic design primarily for these applicable events will be the pursed ‘professional practice.’

According to Percy, L. Rosenbuam-Elliot, R. (2012) Marketing is the exercise of communicating, creating and exchanging offerings from one party to another and building and sustaining relationships. Often marketing is mistaken for advertising, a component of marketing that can be illustrated as ‘a public announcement (usually in newspapers, posters or television)’ (Percy, L. Rosenbuam-Elliot, R. (2012). While marketing is often illustrated as a creative industries, due to its integration of economics, psychology, neuroscience and mathematics it can be defined as science.

Graphic design is the process of illustration, photography and typography produced for disclosure and problem-solving. According to Meggs, P. B. Purvis, A. W. (2011) speech was an early form of communication that allowed for the organisation and communication between Homo Sapiens. However due to limitations in human capacity to transcend time and space, verbal communication without some form of storage results in forgotten knowledge. Visual communication allowed for the application of knowledge to foster human development beyond immediate interaction (Meggs, P. B. Purvis, A. W. 2011). With written words and pictures having a close relationship due to the visual conveyance of ideas (Smith et al. 2004).

Graphic design is subject to that of sensory and sensori-emotional values. However with aesthetics dealing with the understanding of beauty, art and its appreciation makes it difficult to define a set practice of graphical design (Smith et al. 2004). While colour psychology demonstrates a degree of science throughout the process, due to the influence of aesthetics in graphic design – any set practice can be interpreted as subjective. 

revious I have pursued design in the form of memes through photoshop, however collaborative enterprise has led me to produce commercial posters as displayed:






Meggs, P. B. Purvis, A. W. (2011) Megg’s History of Graphic Design, John Wiley & Sons, Edition 5, viewed 03.03.17.


Percy, L. Rosenbuam-Elliot, R. (2012) Strategic advertising management, Fourth Edition, Oxford University Press, United Kingdom, viewed 05.03.17


Smith et al. (2004) Handbook of Visual Communication: Theory, Methods and Media, Routledge, viewed 03.03.17