Techno-Optimist Manifesto

It was very interesting to read a perspective on technology that framed it as an ultimate good versus looking at it skeptically like a lot of films that use AI. The Techno-Optimist Manifesto also describes the development of technology as a virtue, and anyone who tries to hinder its growth will cause society to die alongside it. Personally, I tend to view technological developments like AI as neither a neutral, and this it the morality of its uses are situational, which doesn’t seem to be the opinion of the manifesto writers. While “2001: A Space Odyssey” tends to portray AI in a more negative light, I think that the film and the manifesto have more in common than would seem on the surface. Especially in the section “Becoming Technological Superman” the manifesto authors stress the importance of AI to human development in a similar way to the film. The film stresses the need of man to conquer all and to overcome nature in order to progress the development of humanity. The alien super race only reveals itself to humanity whenever it has taken the next step in the process of conquering nature. In the same way, the manifesto preaches these same ideals but views AI as a means to the end. I think that this is the main difference between the film in the manifesto, for the film humanity is meant to conquer all, even technology, while the manifesto that that the ultimate form of conquering is the development and use of AI.

Some feedback given by Dr. Oblivion is to consider that anxiety inducing element that the film gives off and that this may be one of the main purposes of the film. While I agree with this, I also think that the audience of the film needs to be considered. When the film first came out, this anxiety was a Sci-Fi idea, and while it was scary it was definitely still seen as fiction. For a modern viewer, the anxiety is almost undercut by the tangibility of AI as it has already leaked into daily use for many individuals. While I still feel this tension between man and AI, I think it is lessened as I don’t necessarily view it as a monster like the original viewers may have.

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