Robots have been a part of the imagination of Western culture for centuries. The possibility for automation and artificial life has inspired the curiosity of thinkers like Leonardo Da Vinci who once designed a mechanical knight. It wasn't until the 19th century that automated machinery has become realized. The confrontation between human and automation has inspired a fear, referred to as "technopanic", that has been exacerbated in tandem with the evolution of technology. This thesis seeks to discover the historical precedence for these fears. I explore three modes of knowledge (Philosophy, Economics, and Film Theory) to examine the agendas behind the messages on the topic of Artificial Life, specifically Robots. I then advocate for an alternative philosophy called Post-Humanism. I argue that what is needed to alleviate the fears and anxieties of Western culture is a shift in how humanity views itself and its relation to the natural world. By structuring my thesis in this way, I identify the roots of Western humanity's anthropocentric ontology first, explore the economic implications of automation second, analyze the cultural anticipations of artificial life in Western media third, and finally offer an alternative attitude and ethic as a way out of the pre-established judgments that do little to protect Western culture from E.A.I.
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Master of Arts (M.A.)
College of Arts and Humanities
Writing and Rhetoric
English; Rhetoric and Composition
Length of Campus-only Access
Masters Thesis (Open Access)
Mandell, Zachary, "E.A.I. Anxiety: Technopanic and Post-Human Potential" (2018). Electronic Theses and Dissertations, 2004-2019. 5867.