What does it mean to be human?

Man from the Atom: Space Exploration, fear of god complex (technology catching up to imaginations, giving more power than should have) 1923 (Jules Verne, H.G. Wells, exploration on interplanetary rockets)
Reason: Artificial intelligence surpassing that of man and ruling over, balancing what one knows to exist to what one proves can exist, 1950 (development of robots- Elmer and Elsie)
Heat Death of the Universe: The life of a house wife is explained by scientific terms in a textbook-like manner making her a scientific subject rather than an individual human 1967 (Second wave feminism)
Burning Chrome: Blurring the lines between humans and machine, what does it mean to be human, how does one define a human? 1982 (Development of home computers and internet)
Each of the four texts above (“Reason,” “The Man from the Atom,” “Heat Death of the Universe,” and “Burning Chrome”) were arguably influenced by outside events. For example, “Man from the Atom” was written around the same time humans began exploring interplanetary rockets, “Reason” was published at about the same time as the Turing Test, “Heat Death of the Universe” came out during second wave feminism, and “Burning Chrome” during the same time computers were available for people’s home and the internet was being developed (Robotics History Timeline). Although each story addresses these different historical influences, they each do so in a similar manner: by blurring the lines between humanity and other forms of intelligence. The blurring of these lines addresses concerns in the development of technology as well as society. Whether they explore the question of humans overstepping into God’s realm, losing their humanity, or becoming scientific terms or machines, the main concern is “what makes us human?”. Their exploration into this question becomes a means to caution the audience of consequences that may come with advances in technology or as a stepping stone to critique humanity.

“Robotics History Timeline.” Robotics Research Group. The University of Auckland, 2013. 8 Dec. 2013. http://robotics.ece.auckland.ac.nz/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=31

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