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Playing God In Mary Shelley's Frankenstein

1257 words - 5 pages

Over two centuries ago, Mary Shelley created a gruesome tale of the horrific ramifications that result when man over steps his bounds and manipulates nature. In her classic tale, Frankenstein, Shelley weaves together the terrifying implications of a young scientist playing God and creating life, only to be haunted for the duration of his life by the monster of his own sordid creation. Reading Shelley in the context of present technologically advanced times, her tale of monstrous creation provides a very gruesome caution. For today, it is not merely a human being the sciences are lusting blindly to bring to life, as was the deranged quest of Victor Frankenstein, but rather to generate something potentially even more dangerous and horrifying with implications that could endanger the entire world and human population.
Few things are more powerful than the human mind or human intelligence. This ability to think, learn and process complex thoughts has been the driving force that has allowed for the immense growth of human culture and society, without which it is doubtful we would have ever had the capacity to evolve from our basic animal existence. As fantastic as this quality may be, our intellectual growth has not always spawned ideas that produce sound and safe results. Victor Frankenstein, although a fictitious character, provides a superb example of the vast potentiality of human intelligence and the morbid destruction that it can create. For very real examples, one need only read the headlines of the newspaper to find a multitude of malicious and perverse atrocities that occur each day due to the human mind and "intelligence" gone haywire. This is why, in light of today, with technology gaining greater and greater power, we must really think about what we are doing when we are trying to give this capacity of intelligence to machines. For the creation of Artificial Intelligence could easily open a Pandora's box of monstrosities that could very well haunt and control us, just as Victor did when he gave life to his monster.
The idea of Artificial Intelligence began as a mere philosophical idea, simply a puzzle that provided food for thought for curious minds. In the 1940's, however, with the invention of the first computers, the notion then had the means to transcend simple abstract speculation and became a rather alluring potential actuality and goal in the technological community. It was not until the 1950's, however, that the link between human intelligence and machines was really observed spawning a technological boom that would precipitate to immense proportions, entirely reshaping our daily lives. Today, "Researchers are creating systems which can mimic human thought, understand speech, beat the best human chess player, and countless other feats never before possible" (The History of AI 1). The rapid fervor to which the researchers latched on to the further development of this infant technology, coincides eerily to that of the intense...

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