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Saturday, September 2 • 12:00pm - 1:00pm
Man As Machine: Androids & Cyborgs in Literature

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Are humans more than the sum of their parts, or are they merely organic machines, as philosophers from antiquity on have suggested? Today, new innovations in science and technology provide new ways to interrogate this question, even as they continue to raise it. On the one hand, increasingly advanced prosthetics, neural interfaces (such as Elon Musk’s recently-announced Neuralink), and other enhancements allow us to go beyond the limitations of our human bodies. On the other hand, machine intelligence now rivals, and even supersedes, humans in everything from game-playing strategies to driving and facial recognition, suggesting that we’re moving closer to the holy grail of creating an artificial sentient being. These innovations pose the ultimate question: what does it mean to be human? More specifically, (how) do our physical bodies define us and shape our humanity, and how might we retain that humanity as we change, or even transcend, those bodies?

avatar for Anastasia Klimchynskaya

Anastasia Klimchynskaya

Anastasia Klimchynskaya is a postdoctoral researcher at the Institute on the Formation of Knowledge at the University of Chicago. Her current book project focuses on articulating how the new technoscientific paradigm brought about by industrialization gave rise to the literary form... Read More →

avatar for Anika Dane

Anika Dane

Anika Dane is a freelance blogger and lecturer with a special interest in fairy tales and space opera. She writes and presents on a variety of topics including fashion, feminism, geek and genre media, pop culture, and modern mythology. Anika's educational background is in the... Read More →
avatar for Thaddeus Howze

Thaddeus Howze

Attendee, Krypton Radio
Thaddeus Howze is an award-winning writer, editor, podcaster and activist creating speculative fiction, scientific, political and cultural commentary from his office in Hayward, California. Thaddeus works as a writer and editor for two magazines, the Good Men Project, a men's magazine... Read More →
avatar for Joseph Hurtgen

Joseph Hurtgen

Joseph Hurtgen has a PhD in English Literature from Ball State University and teaches at Young Harris College. He has had journal articles published in Text in Context, Margaret Atwood Studies, The Quint, and JOSF. A book with McFarland, Archival Embodiment in Science Fiction, is... Read More →
avatar for Patrick Thaddeus Jackson

Patrick Thaddeus Jackson

Professor and Associate Dean, American University
Patrick Thaddeus Jackson is Professor of International Studies and Associate Dean for Curriculum and Learning in the School of International Service at American University in Washington, DC. In addition to his work in the philosophy of science and the politics of national and transnational... Read More →

avatar for Aisha Matthews

Aisha Matthews

Director of Literature Programs at Escape Velocity, Museum of Science Fiction
Aisha Matthews is a Ph.D. student in English Literature at Southern Methodist University, having finished her Master’s Degree at Southern New Hampshire University in early 2017. As an undergraduate at Yale (’13), she studied Young Adult Science Fiction Literature (alongside more... Read More →

Saturday September 2, 2017 12:00pm - 1:00pm PDT
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