I am also a Person: Consciousness, Personhood and Android Identity in Post-Singularity Science Fiction

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Abstract

Technological and scientific breakthroughs and contemporary transhumanist and posthumanist discourses have brought to the public sphere themes and preoccupations that have been addressed for decades by science fiction, namely the consequences of both the enhancement of the human body through fusion with non-organic components, and the creation of Artificial Intelligence entities (AI) with apparent capacity to simulate, if not integrate, qualities of sentience and self-awareness. Of these tropes, none has been more imaginatively fertile than the intelligent android, a concept that implicates a wide variety of epistemologies, from ethics to economics, politics, psychology, sociology and religion, constituting a privileged place for the examination of the boundaries of the human. This article examines the broad mappings of this enquiry, focusing on literary, televisual and filmic texts – He, She and It (1991), Battlestar Galactica (2004-9), and Ex¬_Machina (2015) – that work the hypothesis of the personhood of androids through alternative angles, and make very different claims about desire for sameness with humans, agency and autonomy
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)61-78
Number of pages17
JournalMessenger from the Stars: On Science Fiction and Fantasy
Volume2
Publication statusPublished - 2017

Keywords

  • singularity
  • cyborgs
  • androids
  • AI
  • Battlestar Galactica
  • He
  • She and It
  • Ex-Machina

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