Risky business : on the anthropomorphism of artificial intelligence
Divya Mehta Jeetendra
Date of Issue2017
School of Humanities and Social Sciences
In his book, Superintelligence, Nick Bostrom highlights the exponential increase in the “rate of growth of economic productivity and technological capacity” in the advancement of the human race (2). Bostrom’s seminal work is an exploration of the prospect of a superintelligence – a superhuman level of machine intelligence that has far reaching ontological consequences for humanity. He lenses his observations and conjectures of superintelligence with German sociologist Ulrich Beck’s risk theory. Texts such as Philip K. Dick’s Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep (Electric Sheep), William Gibson’s Neuromancer, D.F. Jones’ Colossus and Isaac Asimov’s I, Robot provide a means of illustrating a variety of scenarios dealing with AI. Such texts put artificial intelligence within the realm of human understanding. They make AI accessible and familiar through anthropomorphism – Bostrom warns us that the anthropomorphism of artificial intelligence (AI) may lead us to underestimate the risks of AI. This paper examines the four texts and the way they employ anthropomorphism, to conclude that while it is useful to aid our understanding, it is also a problematic framework in which to do so.
Final Year Project (FYP)
Nanyang Technological University