Science Fiction Tried to Warn Us about AI. Or Did It?, by Tom Gammarino

Science Fiction Tried to Warn Us about AI. Or Did It?, by Tom Gammarino Essay [email protected] Wed, 03/01/2023 - 03:46 Photo by NASA / Unsplash “All our AI Frankenstein stories,” the author writes, “warn us that AI will destroy us, but far louder than that, they promise that the future is going to be mind-blowing and epic.” Will we heed the warnings? Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein is the literary work that most clearly established the conventions of science fiction as we know it. Not only did the 1818 novel pioneer the archetype of the mad scientist, it also established one of the genre’s most important cultural roles: to warn us about ways humans, through our hubris, might create the very beings that eventually undo us. In subtitling the novel The Modern Prometheus, Shelley harked back to the Titan who stole fire from the gods and was punished by having his regenerating liver devoured every day by an eagle (since the liver was the seat of the emotions for the Greeks, we might as well translate it as “heart”). Inspired by the experiments of Luigi Galvani, who used electric current to stimulate the leg of a dissected frog, and his nephew Giovanni Aldini, who ran a similar experiment on a hanged criminal, Shelley had her mad scientist play God by endowing a patchwork of human remains with the spark of life. Two centuries later, the resulting monstrosity serves as a stand-in for any of our runaway technologies — the internal... Continue reading at 'World Literature Today'

[ World Literature Today | 2023-03-01 09:46:57 UTC ]
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