Artificial Intelligence In Frankenstein

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Artificial intelligence is undoubtedly a widely debated topic in today’s society. Many groups suggest that it could soon enslave humanity, while others proposing that it’s harmless and only here to make our lives better. Mary Shelley’s 1818 Gothic text, Frankenstein, recounts the story of an ambitious, young scientist, Victor Frankenstein, who is intrigued by alchemy and natural philosophy. Victor becomes interested with these subjects after beginning at Ingolstadt and eventually executes experiments that bring the dead back to life. He creates a creature who is outcast by society, which provokes it to vow revenge on its creator. The creature sequentially kills everybody that Victor loves and ruins his life (Shelley). Frankenstein has the indisputable theme of creating artificial intelligence that turns bad, much like James Cameron’s 1984 film, The Terminator. In Cameron’s film, humanity creates an artificially intelligent program known as Skynet, which becomes completely cognizant and overthrows the world by initiating a nuclear holocaust. In the aftermath, a group of survivors create a resistance that attempts to destroy the program; however, they are met with Skynet’s cyborg army. Skynet sends a terminator, played by Arnold Schwarzenegger, back in time to destroy Sarah Connor before her son, the leader of the resistance, is born. Kyle Reese is then sent after the terminator and, in conclusion, saves Sarah and destroys the terminator (Terminator). This movie and text are closely related in the sense that a character from either the book or motion picture relate to a character in the alternative. Nick Bostrom, a philosopher and the University of Oxford, states, “...superintelligence could emerge, and while it could be great [...] it could also decide it doesn’t need humans around,” (qtd. in Ford). This philosopher, like many other technology critics, can see the effects that artificial intelligence may have on our future, yet there is always the select group of people who cannot foresee the consequences of their actions. For example, Victor Frankenstein is introduced to science at a young age and when he went to college at Ingolstadt he met Professor Waldman, whom shared a similar scientific interest.

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