Beyond the Uncanny Valley: Being Human in the Age of AI

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"In the 1970s, Japanese robotics expert Masahiro Mori published an article that coined and theorized the idea of the "uncanny valley" as a measurable correlation between the human likeness of a machine and people's comfort level with its presence. Criticized as flawed from the moment of its appearance and eventually debunked by empirical studies, Mori's original mapping of the "uncanny valley" may have no scientific grounding, but the term still endures as an apt metaphor for a technologically induced terrain of philosophical, biological, and social uncertainty. With the development of major technologies from the atom bomb to the digital computer and the emergence of cybernetics and artificial intelligence as academic disciplines since the Second World War, this terrain is no longer the sole purview of life-like automatons or robots but is increasingly occupied by developments in machine intelligence, biodigital mergence, and related issues of cloning and other forms of genetic manipulation that have reshaped the debate around the liminality of humanity. As the construction and definitions of subjectives and societies are increasingly organized and shaped by technological events that imitate or improve upon-even if only partially-fundamental functions of our bodies and minds, the question of what it means to be or remain human has been reopened for debate"--

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Über den Autor (2020)

Claudia Schmuckli is curator in charge of contemporary art and programming at the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco. Yuk Hui is on the faculty at the Bauhaus-Universität Weimar. Janna Keegan is assistant curator of contemporary art at FAMSF. Matteo Pasquinelli is professor of media philosophy at the Karlsruhe University of Arts and Design. Tobias Rees is the founding director of the Transformations of the Human department at the Berggruen Institute in Los Angeles.

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