AI Narratives: A History of Imaginative Thinking about Intelligent Machines

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AI Narratives: A History of Imaginative Thinking about Intelligent Machines. Stephen Cave, Kanta Dihal, and Sarah Dillon, editors. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press, 2020 (print). "Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: April 2020."[1][2]

From Publisher's Abstract

[...] As real artificial intelligence (AI) begins to touch on all aspects of our lives, this long narrative history shapes how the technology is developed, deployed, and regulated. [...] Part I of this book provides a historical overview from ancient Greece to the start of modernity. These chapters explore the revealing prehistory of key concerns of contemporary AI discourse, from the nature of mind and creativity to issues of power and rights, from the tension between fascination and ambivalence to investigations into artificial voices and technophobia. Part II focuses on the twentieth and twenty-first centuries in which a greater density of narratives emerged alongside rapid developments in AI technology. [...] Through their close textual engagements, these chapters explore the relationship between imaginative narratives and contemporary debates about AI’s social, ethical, and philosophical consequences, including questions of dehumanization, automation, anthropomorphization, cybernetics, cyberpunk, immortality, slavery, and governance. [...][3]

Contents: Introduction by the editors. Then chapters by contributors:

Part I Antiquity to Modernity

1 Homer’s Intelligent Machines / Genevieve Liveley and Sam Thomas // 2 Demons and Devices / E. R. Truitt // 3 The Android of Albertus Magnus / Minsoo Kang and Ben Halliburton // 4 Artificial Slaves in the Renaissance and the Dangers of Independent Innovation / Kevin LaGrandeur // 5 Making the Automaton Speak / Julie Park // 6 Victorian Fictions of Computational Creativity / Megan Ward // 7 Machines Like Us? Modernism and the Question of the Robot / Paul March-Russell

Part II Modern and Contemporary

8 Enslaved Minds / Kanta Dihal // 9 Machine Visions / Will Slocombe // 10 ‘A Push-Button Type of Thinking’ / Graham Matthews // 11 Artificial Intelligence and the Parent–Child Narrative / Beth Singler // 12 AI and Cyberpunk Networks / Anna McFarlane // 13 AI: Artificial Immortality and Narratives of Mind Uploading / Stephen Cave // 14 Artificial Intelligence and the Sovereign-Governance Game / Sarah Dillon and Michael Dillon // 15 The Measure of a Woman / Kate Devlin and Olivia Belton / 16 The Fall and Rise of AI / Gabriel Recchia

Reviewed by Leah Henrickson on website Reviews in History, including the paragraph:

AI Narratives introduces readers to numerous fictionalised accounts of seemingly intelligent machines, and offers rich analyses of these accounts as they may pertain to nonfictional technological and social developments. The collection reviews the very real fictional histories of AI, drawing attention to the ways in which the expository and aesthetic may come together to instil different understandings of mechanical capacity in different publics. All of the book’s chapters address the use of AI to establish and maintain power, whether human or robotic. When considered together, the chapters constitute a pointed argument for a necessarily historical and literary study of technology to meaningfully question and counteract hegemonic norms.[4]

RDE, finishing, 13May21, with thanks to SFRA ListServ discussion