Sentience, artificial intelligence, and human enhancement in US-American fiction and film: Thinking with and without consciousness

Reichardt, Ulfried

Document Type: Book chapter
Year of publication: 2022
Book title: Artificial intelligence and human enhancement
The title of a journal, publication series: Wiener Reihe
Volume: 21
Page range: 225-236
Publisher: Nagl-Docekal, Herta ; Zacharasiewicz, Waldemar
Place of publication: Berlin
Publishing house: De Gruyter
ISBN: 978-3-11-076991-3 , 978-3-11-077029-2 , 978-3-11-077021-6
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Publication language: English
Institution: School of Humanities > Anglistik III - Amerikanische Literatur- u. Kulturwissenschaft (Reichardt 2001-)
Subject: 810 American literature in English
Abstract: In my paper I investigate the ways in which novels and films dealing with science and technology explore possible future worlds and digitallybased technological systems that are close to what already exists today. I look at some US-American novels and films and ask if they succeed in imagining constellations that are not entirely based on the human perspective, and would thus be merely extensions of what our human faculties allow us to perceive. While many stories explore the question of how close to human perception and thought artificial intelligence and robots can get and thereby often project human affects onto them, there are also texts that test what it means to be intelligent, but not human-like. The dividing point is whether machines and nonhuman organisms already have, may develop, or need to have a consciousness. Does the organism or machine have to know that it knows? My interpretation focuses on the recent film Her as well as Richard Powers’s novel Galatea 2.2., which probe versions of AI with regard to features like emotions, decision-making, and embodiedness. Peter Watts’s hard science fiction novel Blindsight explores a first contact situation between radically enhanced humans and nonconscious, yet sentient aliens. Finally, the concept of the corporation is mentioned to point to the economic dimension of artificial intelligence.

Dieser Eintrag ist Teil der Universitätsbibliographie.

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