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Parallels between Frankenstein and AI

Updated: Feb 28, 2022

🕯 The Modern Prometheus / What Mary Shelley’s Fiction Can Tell Us About AI

❓ Did you know about these parallels between Frankenstein's monster and Artificial Intelligence?

📔 Written by Mary Shelley, the daughter of an English writer, philosopher, and advocate of women's rights, Mary Wollstonecraft in 1818.

🧛‍♂️ The Gothic science fiction novel #Frankenstein or The Modern Prometheus tells the story of Victor Frankenstein, a scientist who succeeds in creating intelligent life from inanimate matter.

📖 According to the narrative, Frankenstein is repulsed by the frightening features of his work and flees. Shunned by his own creator, the nameless creature proceeds to leave behind a trail of death and destruction.

🤖 It’s been more than 200 years since the book was first published and the cautionary tale of Frankenstein’s monster has become a metaphor for #AI.

❓ Much like the irresponsible scientist, are we creating intelligent systems to our own demise?

👨‍🎓 Shelley imagined the creature as an anthropomorphic AI with superhuman learning speed. Without a parental figure, the creature learns by observing a family interacting with each other through a hole in a cottage wall.

✨ In a nutshell, he is the very embodiment of #machineintelligence.

👩‍💻 Moral of the story? Frankenstein taught us that in careless hands, our creations (technologies) can become monstrous - but they are not inherently good or evil. As innovators, it’s how we build and use our inventions that will shape their very being.

📚 Other Frankenstein’s monsters from the 21st century are for instance: Artificial Autonomous Beings (#AABs) from “The Actuality” by Paul Braddon and the Whatitsname from “Frankenstein in Baghdad” by Ahmed Saadawi.

🎞 If you’re a fan of both Frankenstein and AI then you might like this research project by the Columbia University School of the Arts: Frankenstein AI – a monster made by many

Contributing editor: Nathanya Queby Satriani

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