Tag Archives: artificial intelligence

Anthro-pessimism, robots and Garland’s ‘Ex Machina’

What does the demonstrable pessimism regarding robots and their projected “attitude” towards humans in recent science fictional films tell us about our understanding (or perhaps imagining) of artificial intelligence? To be sure, let me state at the outset there are exceptions to this, even in some of the most pessimistic instances of such films –…

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Gelernter: A dissenting voice in the field of artificial intelligence

The relationship between the human mind and body is something that has occupied philosophers at least since the father of modern philosophy, René Descartes, bequeathed his notorious “dualism” to his successors. For Descartes the mind was a different “substance” compared to the body – the former was a “thinking substance” and the latter an “extended…

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Terminator Genisys’ obsession with the tech threat on the button

I finally got to view Alan Taylor’s Terminator Genisys (2015) on the plane to Korea, which we are visiting for the third time to attend a conference in Seoul on posthumanism, and to do some mountain climbing in the beautiful Seoroksan mountains near Sokcho, a stone’s throw from the demilitarised zone and the North Korean…

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Movies and robots: society’s unconscious anxiety?

How much importance should one attach to recurrent cinematic themes involving humanity-destructive robots, which arguably represent what might be called society’s collective anxiety about technology gone seriously wrong? Cinema could perhaps be understood in Freudian terms as the collective dreams of society, which, not unlike ordinary dreams (sometimes nightmares), function as “wish-fulfilment”. Nightmares are also…

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Can artificial intelligence be controlled beyond a certain point?

In a recent TIME magazine (December 29, 2014, p20), there’s a short article by futurologist and outspoken techno-optimist Ray Kurzweil titled “Don’t fear Artificial Intelligence” (AI). He cites two highly creative individuals – Stephen Hawking and South-African born Elon Musk – as representatives of “the pessimistic view” before putting forward his own optimistic argument regarding…

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Transcendence: The clash of humanity and technology

Near the beginning of the 2014 thought-provoking science fiction film, Transcendence (directed by Wally Pfister2014), one of the main characters, Max Waters (Paul Bettany), walks into and through a deserted house into a little courtyard, bends down next to some sunflowers (the only healthy plants in the garden), thinking aloud to himself that “he” (his…

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Our future with robots

The shape of our technological future is already coming into view, judging by Sherry Turkle’s recent book Alone Together. To be more accurate, if one takes the latest developments in the area of electronic communication, internet activity and robotics, together with changing attitudes on the part of especially (but not exclusively) young users into consideration,…

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