“Machines like us”: an overview on A.I. and human nature

Tiziana Lentini, Università per stranieri "Dante Alighieri", Reggio Calabria, Italy & Guest Researcher ASCA, University of Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Abstract: Starting from a critical and sociological analysis of Ian McEwan’s novel titled Machine like me, the aim of this paper is trying to outline an overview on the bound of A.I. and human nature and to aswer to the fundamental questions aroused by McEwan in his work: what makes us human? Our outward deeds or our inner lives? Could a machine understand the human heart? In a contemporary society which seems running towards a distopic epilogue, the McEwan’s interpretation of the interactions between humankind and A.I. could help to outline the potentials and weakness of this bound. The methodological and epistemological approach used for the analysis of McEwan’s novel is based on the concept of  Corcuff’s pratiques transfrontaliéres; the interdisciplinary perspective allows the possibility to understand sociological phenomena through the use of plural sources. Moreover it would be taken in consideration Freud’s essay “The Uncanny” in order to understand the psychological phenomena behind the fear provoked by figures which resemble humans. Ultiately Machine like me is not only an instrument for understanding the relationship between social reality and representation, but also a way to reflect on the uncanny feeling arouse by the meeting with the automaton figure.

 

Keywords: artificial intelligence, sociology, literature, uncanny

 

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