Home > Theory > Toy robots on YouTube: Consumption and peer production at the robotic moment

Toy robots on YouTube: Consumption and peer production at the robotic moment

I recently published an article on the representation of Furbies and other toy robots on YouTube. My own version is available from Academia.edu.

Here is the abstract:

Robots are increasingly prominent in the popular imagination, partly through people playing with toys and using social media. This article examines a selection of user-created YouTube videos in different genres that reveal how people experiment with toy robots such as the Furby. These devices have features that support different styles of play, which producers of YouTube clips explore in short narratives. They reveal how the intersubjective conventions for relating to robots are currently being developed. YouTube stars produce vlogs (video blogs) telling stories about their search for Furbys, unboxing them, and experimenting with the toy’s playful and uncanny features. Set-piece video producers experiment with how Furbys interact with others, such as trying to communicate, confronting family pets or being destroyed with weapons. Being ‘almost alive’, toy robots are harbingers of autonomous technologies that have social agency.

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Categories: Theory
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