The ghost in the machine
humanity and the problem of self-aware information
Theories of posthumanism place considerable faith in the power of information-processing. Some foresee a potential point of self-awareness in computers as processing ability continues to increase exponentially, while others hope for a future in which their minds can be uploaded to a computer, thereby gaining a form of non-corporeal immortality. Such notions raise questions of whether humans can be reduced to their own information-processing: Are we thinking machines? Are we the sum of our memories? Many science fiction (SF) films have grappled with similar questions; this chapter considers two specific ideas through the lens of these films. First, I will consider the roles that memory and emotion play in our conception of humanity. Second, I will explore the question of what it means to think by examining the trope of sentient networks in film.
Lunceford, B. (2015)., The ghost in the machine: humanity and the problem of self-aware information, in M. Hauskeller, T. D. Philbeck & C. D. Carbonell (eds.), The Palgrave handbook of posthumanism in film and television, Dordrecht, Springer, pp. 371-379.
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