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How Science Fiction Explores the Autonomy of Bodies that Are Also Machines #SciFiSunday

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Excellent piece from Emily Asher-Perrin over at Tor.com.

As a human being, it is odd to try and calculate where you “exist.” There are philosophers who argue about this very issue constantly. But if you’re an artificial intelligence, there is a verifiable place where you are. And that place, be it a positronic brain or a handful of code or a weird red box, is likely capable of being transferred to another location. Which means that your “body”—your physical casing—is not necessarily a limitation. But what does it mean to be able to exchange, renew, or even completely alter your body?

The real question becomes whether or not you have a say in that change… and why.

When it comes to science fiction, robots and artificial intelligence are often fixed entities. They are bound to a specific place (like a computer) or they have a body that belongs to them (or belongs to the organic being that owns them… which is a conversation for another time). But being bound in such a way is not a guaranteed permanent state of being for many A.I.s, and when that is the case, it often becomes a question of will and autonomy.

Read more.


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