The topos of artificial intelligences – robots, cyborgs and androids – has been well-explored extensively throughout the past century in science fiction literature and cinema, building upon contemporary scientific developments and transcending them to fulfil man’s Promethean impetus. Speculation about the impact of such liminal beings in human society has raised a number of issues in relation to their position within the social and legal systems. As the man-machine divide is eroded by the appearance of sophisticated machines, almost indistinguishable from humans, the very definition of personhood is called into question. Issues of self-awareness, free-will, and their influence on the legal categorization of humanoid machines is here explored in two science fiction texts: Philip K. Dick’s novel Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? (1968) and the television series Battlestar Galactica (reimagined, 2003–2009). The legitimacy of the social and legal inequalities reinforcing the human-android divide is challenged in both narrations as artificial intelligences appear to fulfil the Lockean definition of person. A closer focus on twin androids, Pris Stratton and Rachael Rosen in Dick’s novel and Boomer and Athena in Battlestar Galactica, shows indeed that androids may develop the capability to exceed their programming and evolve into unique personalities, shaped by their own individual choices and experiences.

"Are you alive?" Issues in self-awareness and personhood of organic artificial intelligence

Franceschi, Valeria
2012

Abstract

The topos of artificial intelligences – robots, cyborgs and androids – has been well-explored extensively throughout the past century in science fiction literature and cinema, building upon contemporary scientific developments and transcending them to fulfil man’s Promethean impetus. Speculation about the impact of such liminal beings in human society has raised a number of issues in relation to their position within the social and legal systems. As the man-machine divide is eroded by the appearance of sophisticated machines, almost indistinguishable from humans, the very definition of personhood is called into question. Issues of self-awareness, free-will, and their influence on the legal categorization of humanoid machines is here explored in two science fiction texts: Philip K. Dick’s novel Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? (1968) and the television series Battlestar Galactica (reimagined, 2003–2009). The legitimacy of the social and legal inequalities reinforcing the human-android divide is challenged in both narrations as artificial intelligences appear to fulfil the Lockean definition of person. A closer focus on twin androids, Pris Stratton and Rachael Rosen in Dick’s novel and Boomer and Athena in Battlestar Galactica, shows indeed that androids may develop the capability to exceed their programming and evolve into unique personalities, shaped by their own individual choices and experiences.
bioethics; identity; Artificial Intelligence
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11562/511760
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