Thursday, 18 January 2018

'Frankenstein and Artificial Intelligence now' @ Radio 3

AI is everywhere today:
Futures Forum: "AI will start creating more jobs than it destroys by 2020"

From last year:
Futures Forum: How will Artificial Intelligence change our world in 2017?
Futures Forum: Artificial Intelligence on the farm >>> 'Though machines with AI are surprising in their adaptability and prospects for improvement, they still lack a very human factor..... common sense'

And before:
Futures Forum: Creating/destroying jobs >>> Creative Destruction and Artificial Intelligence
Futures Forum: Artificial Intelligence: 'complements labor and increases its productivity'
Futures Forum: Artificial Intelligence: is it humanity's greatest 'existential risk'?

This year marks the bicentenary of the book which started it all, with a session on Radio 3 later this evening:
BBC Radio 3 - Free Thinking, Frankenstein and AI now

One of the participants in tonight's programme has just edited the novel - with new pieces from 'scientists, engineers and creators of all kinds' giving a contemporary perspective:


Annotated for Scientists, Engineers, and Creators of All Kinds

Edited by David H. Guston, Ed Finn and Jason Scott Robert
Introduction by Charles E. Robinson


Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein has endured in the popular imagination for two hundred years. Begun as a ghost story by an intellectually and socially precocious eighteen-year-old author during a cold and rainy summer on the shores of Lake Geneva, the dramatic tale of Victor Frankenstein and his stitched-together creature can be read as the ultimate parable of scientific hubris. Victor, “the modern Prometheus,” tried to do what he perhaps should have left to Nature: create life. 

Although the novel is most often discussed in literary-historical terms—as a seminal example of romanticism or as a groundbreaking early work of science fiction—Mary Shelley was keenly aware of contemporary scientific developments and incorporated them into her story. 

In our era of synthetic biology, artificial intelligence, robotics, and climate engineering, this edition of Frankenstein will resonate forcefully for readers with a background or interest in science and engineering, and anyone intrigued by the fundamental questions of creativity and responsibility.

This edition of Frankenstein pairs the original 1818 version of the manuscript—meticulously line-edited and amended by Charles E. Robinson, one of the world’s preeminent authorities on the text—with annotations and essays by leading scholars exploring the social and ethical aspects of scientific creativity raised by this remarkable story. 

The result is a unique and accessible edition of one of the most thought-provoking and influential novels ever written.

Essays by
Elizabeth Bear, Cory Doctorow, Heather E. Douglas, Josephine Johnston, Kate MacCord, Jane Maienschein, Anne K. Mellor, Alfred Nordmann

Frankenstein | The MIT Press
Frankenstein: Annotated for Scientists, Engineers, and Creators of All Kinds: Amazon.co.uk: Mary Shelley, David H. Guston

All these issues have huge resonance today.

Mary Shelley was in Switzerland during the 'year without a summer' when she wrote the novel:
Futures Forum: Climate change: 1816

And today 'many people view the idea of geoengineering as abhorrent — a last-gasp, Frankenstein-like approach to climate change that would distract the world from the goal of eliminating the emissions that are causing the problem in the first place':
Futures Forum: Climate change: the 'Big Fix': geoengineering solutions

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