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Living machinesA handbook of research in biomimetics and biohybrid systems$
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Tony J. Prescott, Nathan Lepora, and Paul F.M.J Verschure

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780199674923

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: June 2018

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780199674923.001.0001

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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: 23 June 2021

Living machines in our cultural imagination

Living machines in our cultural imagination

(p.578) Chapter 61 Living machines in our cultural imagination
Living machines

Michael Szollosy

Oxford University Press

Public perceptions of robots and artificial intelligence (AI)—both positive and negative—are hopelessly misinformed, based far too much on science fiction rather than science fact. However, these fictions can be instructive, and reveal to us important anxieties that exist in the public imagination, both towards robots and AI and about the human condition more generally. These anxieties are based on little-understood processes (such as anthropomorphization and projection), but cannot be dismissed merely as inaccuracies in need of correction. Our demonization of robots and AI illustrate two-hundred-year-old fears about the consequences of the Enlightenment and industrialization. Idealistic hopes projected onto robots and AI, in contrast, reveal other anxieties, about our mortality—and the transhumanist desire to transcend the limitations of our physical bodies—and about the future of our species. This chapter reviews these issues and considers some of their broader implications for our future lives with living machines.

Keywords:   robots, artificial intelligence, anxiety, transhumanism, anthropomorphism, projection, monsters

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