(2016 premidterm assignment)

Model Student Pre-midterm answers 2016 (Index)

Essay 2: Personal / professional research topic proposal

LITR 4368
Literature of the Future  

Model Assignments


Christa Van Allen

Singularity and Empathy

Singularity within the realm of future narratives is defined as a hypothetical moment in time when artificial intelligence and other technologies have become so advanced that humanity undergoes a dramatic and irreversible change. Already, such things are somewhat touched upon in Sci-Fi, but I would like to perhaps explore a book or other story medium as a full blown discussion on how such advancements change people socially and mentally. I crossed the idea while watching a trailer for PS3 graphics called ‘Kara’, it startled me and made me think: If something has become so self-aware, so autonomous that it seeks the human condition, does humanity have any right to deny them? I plan to use these thoughts for my future vision presentation.

I will probably touch on the various directions that a singularity can take, but would still like to develop the idea of a machine that exemplifies humanity without deciding to turn against humanity. Movies like ‘Bicentennial Man’ or ‘Iron Giant’ acknowledge this thought and play with it in both successful and unsuccessful ways, but at least do not simply define robot autonomy as ‘Terminator’ machines, and Asimov also wrote a short story in ‘I, Robot’ called ’Robbie’ which exemplifies the good A.I. trope. Singularity incorporates both the evolutionary and alternative future texts, and could help bring about a further grasp on the idea of the maze-like or diverging timelines. Ultimately though, it depends on developmental states in humanity and how they might react to cases like those portrayed in Singularity/Robotics stories which I believe should have more of a focus with Future Literature courses as it is an intriguing and inspiring topic.