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In Freudian terms, the return of the repressed

Bill Benzon 2023-02-16

The Id always leaks out.

Culturally, I think of these things, AGI, superintelligence, and AI Doom, as descendants of Caliban in Shakespeare’s The Tempest. In the 1950s science fiction classic, The Forbidden Plant, Prospero’s island become re-imagined as a distant planet while Prospero himself becomes a marooned scientist. The sprite Aerial becomes Robby the Robot and Caliban becomes the Monster from the Id. From there we go to Skynet in the Terminator series. But all these stories are stories about power.

As far as I can tell, the Japanese have a rather different idea about these things. But that’s a different story. Fred Schodt has written a very interesting cultural history of the Japanese idea of robots: Inside the Robot Kingdom.

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