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Interesting Lectures and Seminars

Physical Replication Philosophy
--Consideration Using a Present Progressive Form--
Seminar by Professor Tohru Takahashi

Mr.Wataru Funatsu
3rd Year Student at the School of Culture, Media and Society

The name of this seminar, Physical Replication Philosophy, seems to be quite difficult. However, in reality, this seminar does not involve students adhering to literature and focusing on the "mysteries of the physical body."

In this class, each student gives a presentation on events that interest them from the culture which is revealed by the media that exists in the world today. Lively debate is conducted regarding the presentations. The contents of the presentations are varied, but focus is placed on the latest issues.

One student introduced advertising that features entertainers, while another student gave a presentation on trends such as "Niko-Niko (Smile) Video*1" and "Hatsune Miku*2." Of course, some students also deal with cyborg technology, which is Professor Tohru Takashi's field of expertise. At first glance, all of these topics seem to have random and unrelated contents. However, the common question of "what am I?" exists at the base of all the topics. This question relates reexamination of the "existence of the self," a topic which requires the most attention as technology continues to develop in the future. Attention is required because of the increasing vagueness in the borders within relationships such as humans and machines, humans and other life forms, and individuals and groups. Ultimately, this vagueness produces the possibility that there will be a destabilization in the very existence of the "self." Personally, I gave particular consideration to the border between "virtual" and "real" in regards to the topic of "voice," and I reached the conclusion that, even for this topic, there will most likely be renewed questioning in relation to the existence of "physical bodies which emit a voice."

After presentations, the Professor gives his opinion mainly from the perspective of cyborg technology, and other seminar students give opinions which are completely different from my own opinion. This exchange of opinions is extremely interesting for me. Since my classmates and I are the inaugural class of the School of Culture, Media and Society, we are also the first class to study as seminar students. The form of the seminar is not yet firmly established and is constantly changing even now. When this condition is coupled with the fluidity of events which are handled in the class, it can be said that the Physical Replication Philosophy Seminar is truly conducted in a present progressive form. The Professor always says that the proximity between technology and humans will advance in the world of the future, and that the borders between technology and humans will become even vaguer. However, through this seminar, I was able to study the importance of maintaining efforts to exchange opinions in order to grasp something solid that will connect us with the future from within the events of the ever-changing "now."

*1: A video distribution service provided by Niwango, Inc. Niko-Niko Video has gained popularity as a new form of service in which comments are introduced above the video which is playing.
*2: Hatsune Miku is the name of a desktop music (DTM) software product that was released by Crypton Future Media Incorporated, and is also the name of the character within that software. DTM software allows the user to create singing voices on a computer. Hatsune Miku has experienced an unprecedented amount of sales form as a DTM software. A number of songs created using Hatsune Miku have been uploaded to the previously mentioned Niko-Niko Video.

(Offered by WASEDA WEEKLY)