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Accepted Paper:

Technological Prosthesis: Defending Against Mortality  
David Goodman (Boston College) Matthew Clemente

Paper short abstract:

Treating recent films -- and the depictions of technology therein -- as an access point to particular cultural myths and ideologies, the presenters will consider how our contemporary culture is working at existential questions related to subjectivity and embodiment.

Paper long abstract:

Freud describes the modern person as a “kind of prosthetic God.” He goes on to note that even with all of the technological appendages we have built onto ourselves, we do not “feel happy in [our] God-like character.” In this presentation, a psychologist and a philosopher explore the cultural phenomena associated with technology’s deployment as a type of existential prosthesis. Treating recent films -- and the depictions of technology therein -- as an access point to particular cultural myths and ideologies, the presenters will consider how our contemporary culture is working at existential questions related to subjectivity and embodiment. Over the past 25 years, for instance, moviegoers have witnessed a significant shift in how technology and the human condition are related to one another on screen. In movies such as the Terminator Series and The Matrix, humans create machines which become self-aware, exceeding or transcending their programming and protocol and then wreaking havoc on terrestrial life. More recently, however, in films such as iRobot, Transcendence, Lucy, Her, Interstellar, and Ex Machina, technology is depicted as the very means of achieving corporeal and perspectival transcendence. By augmenting one’s flesh, uploading one’s mind, achieving disembodiment and digitization, or fully linking to the ever growing network of information, humans are depicted as being able to achieve a form of transcendence. Using this cinematic exegesis as a jumping off point, the presenters will discuss the fantasy of immortality and how it affects the ways we interpret and understand ourselves.

Panel P06a
AI-assisted technology and the market: critical impacts on human societies
  Session 1 Thursday 9 June, 2022, -