• Martin Riisgaard
4. term, English, Master (Master Programme)
In a world that is constantly getting bombarded with media featuring menacing synthetic life, what tools can we use to understand and hopefully prepare ourselves to live side-by-side with synthetic life in the future? The thesis attempts to answer the following questions:
How is the interrelation between humanity and sentient machines presented in Banks’ Consider Phlebas and Rucker’s Software; how can posthumanism specifically be used to analyse this; and finally, how do these two texts approach the question of humanity and synthetic life co-existing?
This thesis seeks to examine the interrelations between humanity and sentient machines in the two science fiction texts Software (1982) by Rudy Rucker and Consider Phlebas (1987) by Iain M. Banks. The examination and analysis of these two texts is undertaken through a close reading utilising a posthumanist theoretical framework based on N. Katherine Hayles’ How We Became Posthuman along with considerations on the notion of ‘personhood’ from Anne Foerst. The paper finds that while the two texts are on a surface level quite similar, the strife between humanity and sentient machines predominantly arise from transgressing on the inherently inviolable nature of the body/embodiment polarity. Likewise, a perceived importance of consciousness was found to be adverse, if the humans and synthetic life is to thrive with one another. Unfortunately, the discussion on consciousness suffers from the fact that consciousness as a field is inherently to complex to accurately treat in this paper.
Publication date3 Jan 2022
Number of pages59
ID: 457559823