ENGL 3606: Representing Artificial Intelligence: September - December 2011
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Course description

In May 1997, a computer named Deep Blue won a match against the world chess champion. In February 2011, a computer named Watson beat two of the best Jeopardy! players; acknowledging his defeat, one player of the quiz show wrote, “I for one welcome our new computer overlords.” What has been imagined, anticipated, and feared for at least a century is now happening: computers are becoming smart. This course studies popular representations of artificial intelligence, including robots and cyborgs. We will talk about the anxieties surrounding intelligent machines. We will study to what extent these digital entities are extensions of the human mind, the human body, and the human condition and to what extent they challenge standard notions of community, class, gender, and identity. The course focusses primarily on science fiction novels and movies, and will include other genres as well. The course may treat such movies as Blade Runner and the Terminator movies and such novels as I, Robot, 2001: A Space Odyssey, and Neuromancer.

Marc R. Plamondon, Ph.D. Department of English Studies Nipissing University