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Mirror of All Others

I am always thinking about why humans create machine apparatuses with a human appearance. One of the reasons might be that robots are human-like is because it makes them more accessible and approachable to us, and "If we see the object which is similar to us, human, we will like this object and give positive feedback3. "Indeed, we are seeking something familiar. Similarity helps us accept them, be nice to them, and you begin to see yourself through seeing them. From my point of view, I believe that a machine is a tool for mirroring and revealing the meaning of existence for human beings. Perhaps, it is to give prominence to human superiority as higher creatures, playing the role of life creator; perhaps, it reveals the limited capabilities of the human body, as we all deplorably witnesses the decay of our life and the lives of those around us; perhaps, it reveals our desire to search in a mirror for a reflection of ourselves with certain preconceived expectations. Take, for starters, the point from Merleau-Ponty, he said, each object is a "mirror of all others4." We all need an object or a person to act as a mirror in order to help us understand and examine ourselves more clearly. Without mirroring, we would never know how we really look and what kind of person we are. Remember that Merleau-Ponty says everything can be a mirroring object. So, in this case, a machine functions as a mirror for reflecting human values, helping us seek answers about human existence. When I see machines, especially robots, sometimes, I am seeing the shadow of me, even my memory projector. A machine works constantly day and night, which is similar to the persistent working period of me, repeating programs and repeating memories; a dull robot that moves clumsily but still consistently acts evokes memories of the times when I was still very brave, trying everything patiently and not afraid of critiques and different views from other people; a defeated machine reminds me that every form has an inevitable expiration, the same as a human's lifespan, fragile but tough at the same time. Thus, I welcome you my audiences to use machines as mirrors, allowing us to reflect on our behaviors, values, desires, memories, and expectations, and visualize a practical form, a synthetic shell.

3.Wikipedia, “Uncanny Valley”. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Uncanny_valley 4.Wikipedia, “Maurice Merleau-Ponty”, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maurice_Merleau-Ponty