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Book predicts AI-powered future based on SF movies, dramas

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By Kang Hyun-kyung

"The Portrait of Posthuman' by MIDAS BOOKS
"The Portrait of Posthuman," published in October by MIDAS BOOKS, offers a sneak peek into a dystopian future powered by artificial intelligence (AI) and questions whether ceaseless human endeavors to create highly-intelligent entities will turn out to be a blessing or a curse.

Author Kim Sae-won starts the discussion with her self-raised question of whether the evolution of modern humans will end with homo sapiens, by reviewing the history of robot technology and examining 16 science fiction movies and dramas portraying future societies based on the creators' imaginations.

In part 1 of the book, Kim addresses automata, which is believed to be the earliest form of robot, cyborg and AI technology before looking into various discourses about trans-humanism and post-humanism.

In part 2, the author revisits futuristic movies and dramas from Stanley Kubrick's 1968 epic science fiction film "2001: A Space Odyssey" to the Netflix series "Altered Carbon" in order to find implications of the evolution of robots.

Kim argues that posthumanism ― a multi-branched philosophical analysis of the human condition and its future ― signifies the upheaval as people's lives undergo fundamental change from that of present times. "We need to be open-minded and be prepared for challenges while understanding relevant information to adapt to the fast and constantly-changing future," she writes.

She addresses the paradox of technological development for humans.

"Science and technology have helped humans lead less labor-intensive lives by freeing them from manual work, and automation driven by robot technology and AI will gradually remove the debris of human lives, making the line between humans and robots blurry," she observes.
So, she goes on to say, what will happen as the consequence is that the more technology advances, the more humans are to be pushed onto the sidelines in the future.

The author claims scientific and technological developments will result in a dystopian future for humans ― a view developed from analyzing SF movies and dramas that depict an AI-powered future.

"The future of AI is portrayed as either a threat to humans or something that can coexist with humans. The former point of view is based on the notion that AI-powered robots armed with intelligence and physical power that are far greater than those of humans will eventually destroy humans," the book reads.

Regarding Kubrick's "2001: A Space Odyssey," she said the so-called "techno-phobia" is, ironically, a reflection of the human-centered notion that we are the only lifeform that was given moral standards.

Kim is a former Dong-A Ilbo journalist and author of several books.

Regarding her latest publication, she said she has been interested in inter-disciplinary research and studies for a long time and her extensive interest in future studies and physics enabled her to take an interest in the future of AI-powered technology.
Kang Hyun-kyung hkang@koreatimes.co.kr


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