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AI NarrativesA History of Imaginative Thinking about Intelligent Machines$
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Stephen Cave, Kanta Dihal, and Sarah Dillon

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9780198846666

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: April 2020

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198846666.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 30 July 2021

Making the Automaton Speak

Making the Automaton Speak

Hearing Artificial Voices in the Eighteenth Century

(p.119) 5 Making the Automaton Speak
AI Narratives

Julie Park

Oxford University Press

What might the eighteenth-century history of automata tell us about the relationships between voice, the human, machines and fiction? Given the rise in our daily lives of voice-operated ‘intelligent assistants’ at this time, the question is especially pertinent. By examining the eighteenth-century case of the speaking doll and the cultural values and desires that its representation in a 1784 pamphlet entitled The Speaking Figure, and the Automaton Chess-Player, Exposed and Detected reveals, this chapter will provide a historical framework for probing how the experiences and possibilities of artificial voice shed light on our deep investments in the notion of voice as a vital sign of being ‘real’ as humans.

Keywords:   Voice, the human, history of automata, speaking machines, eighteenth century, fiction, mimesis, AI and fiction, mediation

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