I am not going lie. When I first saw this news release from Sony, I don’t know what to make of it. As I read more and watched the trailer of this so-called Affinity in Autonomy exhibition currently happening at the Milan Design Week 2019, it become apparent that this is exactly as the post title: a surreal robotic experience.

Sony Affinity in Autonomy Exhibition
Top: Accordance zone; Above: Awakening.

What I understand (or pretend to understand) is, it is an exhibition that explores the relationship between humans and robots, and how we, humans, can develop relation with robots capable of emotion. Well, why not we just ask those men who patronize sex robots staffed blowjob cafe to find out then? Oh, not that kind of relationship? OK. My bad. What was I thinking!

Sony Affinity in Autonomy Exhibition
Autonomous zone.

Jokes aside, it seems like Sony is prepping us for the imminent arrivals of robot overlords. OK. That’s also a joke. Sony wants to leverage on the exhibition to “explores the emotion, companionship and behavior of robotics; how humans interact, co-exist both now and in the future and looks at the impact on our senses through technology.” Whatever that means.

Sony Affinity in Autonomy Exhibition
Affiliation zone.

Seriously, I have no idea. It sounds and looks more like an artsy stuff than anything to do with technology, much less robots. One thing I sure is, the video left me in a surreal state of wonderment. What the hell is going on here? Here are the descriptions straight from the horse’s mouth. Read it and tell me how you understand them.

1. Awakening: The first zone heightens sensory awareness whereby visitors experience a new type of intelligence shown on the wall embodied within light and sound. Visitors will be guided on a path to the future looking ahead to how we will interact with robots in unexpected and unimaginable ways.

2. Autonomous: This space explores independence and free will of robotics with a pendulum taking center stage. Guests are detected by the autonomous beings as they enter. It may make visitors question their feelings and responses in this situation.

3.  Accordance: Moving into a zone inhabited by ‘spheres’, each of which has its own distinct personality, they interlink, cooperate, and act in accordance with those around them. The unpredictable movements of these robots can spark the formation of communities.

4. Affiliation: Through continual interaction with humans, robots will evolve both intellectually and emotionally – something experienced in this room. Starting to understand this symbiotic relationship, guests can imagine a future where robotics will have the appearance of being more alive.

5. Association: Robotics will play an integral role in our lives, society and infrastructure in the coming years. The final part of the exhibition experience will ask, what are your thoughts on the future of affinity in autonomy?

Sony Affinity in Autonomy Exhibition
Association zone.

OK. I watched video again and now, the image of the drama-thriller-sci-fi-mecha anime, Evangelion, came conjuring up for some reason. Seriously, why does thing have to be this complicated? Is this art or technology? If its art… I consider my a somewhat artsy person who appreciate art, but this proved even too much for me. Think my brain just got mangled.

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After reading the above official description and watching the videos, perhaps someone will lend us some insight? From now until April 14, you can check out the exhibition in person if you are in and around Rho, Lombardy, Italy.

Images: Sony Corporation.

Published by Mike chua

Avid tech enthusiast, gadget lover, marketing critic and most importantly, love to reason and talk.