In Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, a scientist creates life and is horrified by what he has done. Two centuries later, synthetic life, albeit in a far simpler form, has been created in a dish. What Shelley imagined has only now become possible.
In her essay collection named “12 Bytes: How We Got Here. Where We Might Go Next,” Jeanette Winterson points out that the achievements of science and technology always start out as fiction.
Twelve bytes. Twelve eye-opening and mind-expanding essays on the implications of artificial intelligence on the way we live and the way we love – from New York Times bestselling author Jeanette Winterson.
It’s a series of essays that places women at the centre of the tumultuous 200-year history that stretches back to a wet summer in Italy, when Mary Shelley conjured the myth of Frankenstein from the embryonic science of electricity.
In this original and deeply researched new book, Winterson draws on her years of thinking and reading about AI in all its bewildering manifestations. In her laser focused, provocative and witty style of story-telling, she looks to history, religion, myth, literature, the politics of race and gender, and computer science, to help us understand the radical changes to the way we live and love that are happening now.
When we create non-biological life-forms, will we do so in our image? Or will we accept the once-in-a-species opportunity to remake ourselves in their image? What do love, caring, sex, and attachment look like when humans form connections with non-human helpers, teachers, sex-workers, and companions? And what will happen to our deep-rooted assumptions about gender? Will the physical body that is our home soon be enhanced by biological and neural implants, keeping us fitter, younger, and connected?
With wit, compassion and curiosity, Winterson tackles AI’s most urgent talking points, from the algorithms that data-dossier your whole life to the weirdness of backing up your brain.