Bots, Drones, and Cyborgs: Being Human in the Age of Intelligent Machines


We llive in a world where not only our access to information, but our social interactions, and bodily autonomy are increasingly mediated by- surveilled, analyzed, facilitated, enhanced- by technology. This course will ask what it means to be human in an age of intelligent machines. What happens to our notions of individuality, autonomy, and political subjecthood when domains or categories once thought exclusively to be the preserve of humanity- language, emotion, complex information processing (playing chess, or driving cars, for example)- are increasingly threatened, replicated, and extended by technology? We will cover a range of science fiction texts including Karel Capek's play Rossum's Universal Robots, Isaac Asimov's I, Robot, Phillip K. Dick's Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep, and William Gibson's Neuromancer along with works of speculative fiction such as Aldous Huxley's Brave New World and Margaret Atwood's Oryx and Crake, and Kazuo Ishiguro's Klara and the Sun along with films such as Blade Runner and The Matrix. We'll juxtapose these cultural representations of artificial intelligence with emerging philosophical and scientific discussions to ask to what extent the fundamental ways AI continues to redefine the boundaries of the "human" as a category.
Course Attributes: AS HUM; EN H

Section 01

Bots, Drones, and Cyborgs: Being Human in the Age of Intelligent Machines
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