Ian Condry, Associate Director of MIT Comparative Media Studies and Associate Professor of Foreign Languages and Literatures, will discuss the prevalence of giant robots in anime (Japanese animated films and TV shows). From the sixties to the present, robot or “mecha” anime has evolved in ways that reflect changing business models and maturing audiences, as can be seen in titles like Astro Boy, Gundam, Macross, and Evangelion. How can we better understand the emergence of anime as a global media phenomenon through the example of robot anime? What does this suggest about our transmedia future?
Cynthia Breazeal, Associate Professor at the MIT Media Lab and founder/director of the Lab’s Personal Robots Group, will discuss how science fiction has influenced the development of real robotic systems, both in research laboratories and corporations all over the world. She will explore of how science fiction has shaped ideas of the relationship and role of robots in human society, how the existence of such robots is feeding back into science fiction narratives, and how we might experience transmedia properties in the future using robotic technologies.