Dr. Grant Jun Otsuki: Intuitive design & robots; service, ethics, class, power dynamics & technology in Japan- The Human Show Podcast 17
Dr. Grant Jun Otsuki is currently a lecturer in cultural anthropology at Victoria University of Wellington in New Zealand. He received his Ph.D. in Social-cultural Anthropology at the University of Toronto in 2015 and from 2015 to 2017, he was an assistant professor of anthropology at the University of Tsukuba in Japan.
His research interest is in science and technology studies and cultural anthropology and how science and technology provide ways for people to understand themselves as social and biological beings, and how they re-shape what counts as society, culture, and politics in the process. His dissertation was an ethnographic study of the creation of human-machine interfaces in Japan and North America.
In today’s episode we talk to Grant about interface technology, augmented reality, smart toilets and robots in Japan. We talk about technology as relationships that people have with the outer world. We talk about how the mutual interactivity between people technology and environment inherent in mainstream Japanese culture shapes technology design.
We talk about respectful service, ethics, class and power dynamics between engineers, technology and consumers. We talk about what kind of non slave relationships can emerge between humans and robots and how people don’t value robots for the things they think they value them. Lastly we talk about the Japanese tech community in relationship to the world and how to look at studying anthropology as a means to manifest whatever fuels one’s interest in the world.
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