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The term “Frankenstein complex” was coined by Issac Asimov, a colloquial term that referred to the fear of robots. However, our group came up with a modern re-interpretation of the classic by Mary Shelly in which we defined the term not only as the possibly destructive powers of technocracy and, but also as struggle between science and ethics. An entire section (Frankenstein) is devoted to the explanation of how we derived at these reading.
The main objective of our group is to use science-fiction in popular culture to explain our innate fear of technocracy and ambiguous ethics in science and then link it to real world examples. In fact, we even added to this aspect of pop culture by writing our own novella. Before you proceed, you might want to read the following to obtain some basic background information on the issues we are discussing.
Technocracy Attempt to picture a world where machines do all the work, a world where humans can instantly satisfy their needs and wants as technological progress pushes us into a post-scarcity world where our need every need and desire can be instantly gratified. This is a world where humans can simply relax and allow machines and artificial intelligence to manage everything, a world where virtual stimulants can create any experience and allow us to do anything we want.
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Yes, that sounds like a fantasy come true. However, try to take a moment to contemplate what we would be losing in such a world. The most evident one would be a lack of social interaction for such activities would seem pointless once we can have android companions or even virtual interaction. By surrendering all our control to technology, would we not become like mindless machines who only seek instant gratification? What then would define us as human beings and not simply instinctive beasts? Wouldn’t the presence of such technology mean tighter government surveillance and control? Given our over-reliance on technology, what if it fails us one day, would the human race still be able to survive?
All this questions seem merely hypothetical as such a situation would only alive in a science-fiction film or novel. However, observing societal trends, we can in fact see ourselves starting to go down that road. Be it entertainment, government or education, technology has permeated every aspect of our lives. This has led to social problems such as cyber addiction while technological breakdowns usually lead to chaos and unrest. For instance, a one-day blackout in New York during July 3, 1997 led to mass mayhem, costing the city $300 million in damages. While technology was created to serve us, the utter dominance of technology in our lives leads us to question who is the true master of this master-servant relationship.
Athlete Oscar Pistorius, known as the fastest man with artificial limbs, is also nicknamed the Blade Runner.
British Ministry of Defense have named their military satellites “Skynet”, which is in control of 4 unmanned Killer Vehicles (MQ-9 Reaper). Talk about daring the robots to destroy us all.
Long before robots were introduced to humans, Mary Shelly has already postulated the presence of the uncanny valley with Frankenstein’s monster.
Programmers are taking into account that AI is far superior compared to human intelligence in the aspect of chess, and work on handicaps such as giving the AI less time to think, or removing a piece from the computer.
Deep Thought became the first Artificial Intelligence program that managed to beat a grandmaster of chess in a tournament when it defeated Bent Larson in 1989