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Sweeet Metaphor March 3, 2009

Posted by jr4024 in cyborgs, gender, technology.
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            Science fiction is not a genre that I have ever really shown any interest in, but the readings that we have in Gendered Cyborg gives science fiction an interesting twist on my part because of the connected relationship with gender. In this week’s reading especially, the concept of technoscience/gender interrelationships truly altered my views on science fiction as a genre in television or any other type of medium. I have always been turned off by the fallacy of series and films such as Star Wars, Lord of The Rings, and the Matrix. Although I am a lover of certain cartoons, there is just something about the whole monster/human that I never thought/cared much about.

            When I think about the cyborg as a metaphor to transcend boundaries, in the perspective of social justice issues, it forces me to have much more respect for the cyborg itself then I normally would. Donna Haraway mentions that “science fiction interpenetrates boundaries…with an exploration of possible worlds…” I found this to be stimulating in the sense that a cyborg isn’t simply this fictional creature that provides entertainment, but a creation that allows possibility for change in how we categorize and structure society. The genre of science fiction questions ideals in society and seems to almost be a representative of a kind of world with no differences in race, gender, and sexuality. This notion of binaries and pushing binaries challenges the way in which society is structured and breaks down what was thought to be permanently and scientifically established.

The model of the cyborg, in terms of questioning gender, brings up an interesting subject of the maternal-feminine that was talked about in the reading. Questions that came to mind were as follows. Is it acceptable to produce an offspring without the recognition of a pregnancy? On the other hand, could it be an idea that aids women break away from females as reproducing machines? Or even, is taking away maternal significance at all productive?

On Artificial Intelligence/Consciousness February 19, 2009

Posted by chris drake in cyborgs, technology.
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When reading Haraway’s “A Manifesto for Cyborgs” and Jackson’s “Patchwork Girl” I couldn’t help but think about where artificial intelligence fits in all of this.  A question that artificial intelligence poses is that if complete ‘AI’ were to be created would these machines be able to become self-aware and be able to retain consciousness? This is the philosophical debate of the possible existence of Artificial Consciousness. Attributing to the mind-body problem, if ‘AC’ were possible it would mean that human consciousness can be tracked back to physical properties and be emulated in machines, if ‘AC’ is not possible then it would mean that the consciousness of humans is separate from the physical properties of the brain. Cyborgs blend this line of distinction.

The aesthetic philosopher and artist Paul Ziff defines machines as incapable of having feelings or  consciousness in his essay “The Feelings of Robots”. He poses the question of whether we can attribute feelings to a machine and in so blurring the line between a man and a machine.  We base our perception of a person’s behavior not only on what evidence is present then and there but as well what has been seen elsewhere which would tie into what we see then and there. One cannot see what another knows. Suppose there is an actor performing the role of a grief-stricken man. One person knows he is acting and another does not. Then to that person who is unaware the man would seem to be truly grief-stricken. The other person knows that the man is only putting on a performance. Robots are performers and it would be incorrect to say that the robot is grief-stricken because it is only imitating the emotion. A robot would behave like a robot.

Paul Weiss, a nanoscientist and philospher,  expresses in his essay “Love in a Machine” what is needed to identify a consciousness in a machine. Weiss answers some basic questions in his writings stating these claims. Claim 1: “Behavior occurs in space and time”  this being the case it is true that the behavior of men can in principle be duplicated by machines. Claim 2: If machines could not behave in ways man could not then it would only show that man has more flexibility and wider range then a machine would, not that he has a private nature or mind that machines do not. Claim 3: If machines were to behave just as men do it would mean that machines could have minds that are recognize as minds of men. Claim 4: A person can only know others from the observable outside.

One cannot know whether or not another person has a mind. Therefore one cannot find a way of distinguishing men from the machines. Weiss is examining and explaining how people know themselves from the outside as well as from within. Since we can see how others behave then we can see that they have minds similar to our own. If there can be know observable distinguishing men from machines then it can be concluded that machines have minds as well. But to pose furthur questions and thinking, how do we explain the unseen relationship we have with our fellow humans? These unique bonds that connect humans beyond the physical realm, such as love.