(2019 midterm assignment)

Model Midterm answers 2019 (Index)

Essay 3: Web Highlights

LITR 4368
Literature of the Future  

Model Assignments


Christopher Carlson

March 28, 2019

To see or not to see: A look to the past to brighten our future

          The whole purpose of writing is to express the thoughts one possesses that he/she wishes to convey in a field without ambiguity. When we look at others’ writing, we see not only the flaws and strengths within theirs, but also those that exist within our own works. Within this short work, I plan on doing just that. I will examine the midterms constructed by previous classes and point out why I liked them and what it makes me want to do in my own future work. The essays I examine helped me see my flaws with brevity, being narrow-minded about how much I knew about a topic, and my lack of insight and voice that often exists in my own work.  I will start out by examining the part one essay.

          This class has shown us that literature of the future can have an evolutionary, creation/apocalypse, or alternative future setting in mind. The purpose of part one is to simply explain these concepts effectively and prove mastery of the topic as a whole. One such article that I felt did just that was Katie Morin’s work. She quotes that, “However, apart from these more obvious signs of evolution, the short story also features less obvious signs of evolution, such as the protagonist’s hesitancy to upgrade to radial tires, which is reiterated time and time again, presumably to emphasize the changing times.” I love this piece of insight, because even though I read Bears Discover Fire a couple of times, since I found the premise and its characters pretty humorous, I never picked up on this personally. This was what interested me about this piece. The author also had relatively brief paragraphs but was able to express a great deal in each, as well as conveying relatively unnoticed pieces of insight about texts in most of them.

Katie’s essay did another intriguing feature by referencing past students’ work to help validate her point. I liked this idea of utilizing the work of your peers almost like scholarly articles. It all together gives the essay better flow and makes the testimony seem more believable, since others agree with one’s claim. I learned from this particular essay that brevity in one’s paragraphs will allow one the ability to not overwhelm the readers, but still have the ability to present effective insight into texts as long as the right words are used. This has always been an issue of mine, but this text has reminded me to speak less and you can often convey more. Speaking of learning something that I often struggle with, I learned a great deal about how to improve my research topic from the part two essay I selected.

          I have always possessed a passion for the idea of artificial intelligence and its ability to replicate the nature of humans with greater effectiveness as time progresses. My research essay looks at a similar idea, but rather how mankind and AI are both transforming and at what point do they become the other, when does AI become human and vice versa. This was why I instantly gravitated towards the essay entitled Artificial Extinction. Upon reading Tanner’s work, I found many excellent strategies he took advantage of that I wish would have come to my mind. One such instance is when he states, “At the rate at which machines learn and artificial intelligences advance, human intelligence and innovation will obsolete within a hundred years. Billions of years of evolutionary progress are leading humanity down a path in which it becomes so powerful that it becomes the master of evolution.” While I mentioned the idea of artificial augmentation being a sort of next stage in human evolution, I never thought about bringing up the idea of technology giving us the means to bring about change in ourselves and others at will. I guess when you think about how a robot evolves, from hand, to arm, to full robot, to intelligent AI, we are already a master of evolving the machines. I find it kind of ironic but cool that the machines we are developing could be the one’s that help develop us. This was a kick ass idea that I really wish I had thought about in my own work.

Tanner also reminded me of the term ‘transhuman,’ which would have been a perfect addition to my work. In an essay entirely about mankind potentially losing its humanity to the machines, it would have been intriguing to have talked about it more like we are transcending humans and evolving past the more primitive state. It is very likely that because of this work, I will consider citing this and using it to explain the progress of AI and man together, how they help each other develop. This essay has reminded me that even with topics and ideas that you feel you have mastered, it always pays to look at the work of others, since new ideas and terminology can assist in developing into an even better writer. Through looking at Tanner’s work, I gained insight into means to evolve my own research essay into a more perfected paper. Going off of this idea of evolving, the third work I examined also presented effective means for my improving as a writer.

          When I first saw what the purpose of part three was, I thought to myself, why are we really doing this? It seemed a bit alien compared to many of the other reviews I have done, most of them being of experts on a topic. The work of Clark Omo provided the exact answer I was searching for. He states, “I agree with both Britt’s and Morrow’s analyses of the story’s they chose, and I now have reinforcement for my own selected pieces from the class itinerary provided so far.” The way he constructs his work is to effectively explain his choosing these articles and what he learned from reading their own analyses. While some of us are not yet science fiction and speculative fiction aficionados, reading ideas of others that correspond with our own provide us with a feeling of confidence that we need to continue onward with our own research and ideas. In addition to making the point of part three known to me, Clark did many other things that drew me towards his essay. To start, I liked how Clark split up his paragraphs from analyzing the work of one then moving on to another and then comparing the two works to each other. By separating it as such, it provides clear insight to the reader in a short package. Since his paragraphs are not long, the reader can better ingest the meanings and not feel lost in verbiage. Lastly, Clark did an exquisite job of implementing his own ideas in an essay that could easily become overrun with the ideas of others. By making his claims clear and distinctive, the reader understands that Clark is a trustworthy source worthy of evaluating.

          In summation, a variety of perceptions opens new doors of thought for the people that read them. By being exposed to these exceedingly different essays, I was able to learn what notions are deemed worthy of praise and evaluate my own personal writer for these skills. I can feel good about myself when my ideas align with my peers, as well as learning new ideas that I can implement in future works. This work was as much a self-evaluation as it was a critique of my peers’ writings, and I hope I can utilize my own insight effectively in my future works for not only this class, but all writing pieces I will create.