A study explores the concept of artificial consciousness in the context of the film “Being John Malkovich”
Recent advances in technology, such as the development of increasingly sophisticated machine learning algorithms and robots, have sparked much debate about artificial intelligence (AI) and artificial consciousness. While many of the tools created to date have achieved remarkable results, there has been much discussion about what differentiates them from humans.
Specifically, computer scientists and neuroscientists have pondered the difference between intelligence and “consciousness,” wondering if machines will ever be able to achieve the latter. Amar Singh, assistant professor at Banaras Hindu University, recently published an article in a special issue of Springer Link’s AI & Society which explores these concepts by drawing parallels with the fantasy film “Being John Malkovich”.
“Being John Malkovich” is a 1999 movie directed by Spike Jonze and starring John Cusack, Cameron Diaz and other famous Hollywood stars. The film tells the story of a puppeteer who discovers a portal through which he can access the mind of movie star John Malkovich, while altering his being.
“As a humanities researcher, I have been engaged in the study of AI for the past few years,” Amar Singh, one of the researchers who conducted the study, told TechXplore. “Being John Malkovich” is an ambiguous film that invites a multitude of readings of a wide variety of critical theories. Watching the film, I found it shed light on many of the crucial questions that researchers are addressing in the field of AI.”
Amar Singh is currently a postdoctoral researcher at Bergische Universität Wuppertal, Germany. After completing a project called “Remembering the Future Through Cinematic Symbols”, he joined Prof. Ursula Kocher’s “More Than Human” research group at BUW, where he explores a variety of intelligence-related topics. artificial. His recent article builds on work he undertook as part of his postdoctoral research.
“Today, technology is affecting our lives in unprecedented ways, altering our perception of reality,” Singh explained. “In ‘Being John Malkovich’ various characters exhibit altered perceptions as they attempt to hack John Malkovich’s mind. The film provides excellent analysis of how entering a virtual environment can alter/enhance/change our perceptions of reality by bridging the gap between self and others, something we might not otherwise be able to experience in real life, helping us expand our consciousness.”
Addressing the themes explored in the film “Being John Malkovich”, Singh explores in depth the concept of artificially induced consciousness. For example, he theoretically assesses the possibility that machines can produce an “artificial human consciousness”, which generates new knowledge about individuals, which is not already contained within them.
“There are emerging trends and issues that require a new method of treatment as our involvement in this technology increases,” Singh explained. “This paper will hopefully encourage researchers to approach artificial intelligence from a variety of different disciplinary perspectives in order to overcome human biases and flaws.”
Making connections to “Being John Malkovich”, in his article, Singh touches on several important topics, including human and robot rights, virtual sex and rape, and disabilities, all of which are at the heart of many debates. current events related to AI. In the future, his work may inspire more studies drawing parallels between film, philosophy, and AI, to improve current understanding of artificial intelligence, while examining the potential of AI to explore human consciousness.
“I am now exploring future narratives of our symbiotic relationship with artificial intelligence as part of my postdoctoral research,” Singh added. “When this project is completed, I intend to pursue other transdisciplinary projects related to artificial intelligence.”
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Amar Singh et al, Artificial Intelligence/Consciousness: Being and Becoming John Malkovich, AI & SOCIETY (2022). DOI: 10.1007/s00146-022-01470-7
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