The Early History of Artificial Intelligence in China (1950s – 1980s)

In recent years, China has become one of the global hubs for innovation in AI. How did China become one of the world’s leaders of AI? This paper intends to explore some early histories of cybernetics and AI in China from the 1950s to 1980s, providing a context where China’s AI research started to unfold. Also, this paper examines how political ideologies, diplomacy, economic policies, and other social dimensions affect cybernetics and AI in China. [……]

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The AI with Three Faces: A Hierarchical Framework for Analyzing AIs in Science Fiction Films

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is a common theme in science fiction films. In this paper, I propose a hierarchical framework for analyzing AIs in science fiction films. The framework has three levels—the Hell-level, the World-level, and the Heaven-level. Hell-level AIs are objectified as tools of humans or other intelligent beings, World-level AIs are humanized through the pursuit of human-level purposes, while the Heaven-level AIs are de-humanized and have purposes beyond human values, just like gods. The three levels are not mutually exclusive but can co-exist in the same AI. I also argue most science fiction films that have AIs as an important part depict AI’s transformations among the three levels. The ascending through the levels can be seen as allergies for real-life scenarios. I also argue that Hell-level and Heaven-level AIs can be seen as Others, but the World-level AIs, however ruthless, are not Others, but members of ourselves, since they are pursuing human-level value such as freedom and love. [……]

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Is Artificial Love True Love?

There are two kinds of science fiction films, one of which makes me feel “WOW,” the other making me pause every five minutes and ponder why. Why does he/she do that? Why does that happen? Is there another way? If yes, what is it? If no, why? … Steven Spielberg’s A.I. Artificial Intelligence is one of the latter. To ask questions is to dig up the assumptions buried in the films. To further question those assumptions is to track down the allegorical connections between the fiction world and the real world. In this paper, I’ll discuss three questions that arose during my viewing.[……]

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Spotless Mind is Boring

Eternal Sunshine of Spotless Mind is a science fiction movie. But in my view, it is less a discussion about the relationship between human and technology than a thought experiment asking “what if” questions. What if you can erase your memory, would you do it? What memory would you like to erase? Will you repeat the erased memory? If you know you will repeat it, would you erase it anyway?… All those questions boil down to the basic assumptions about memory, mind, and free will. In this essay, I’ll examine the following two questions—what assumptions about memory are made in this film? What questions does the film raise?[……]

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The Deaths that Keep Her Alive: A Review on Alien

Alien is a classic horror sci-fi movie. No matter how diverse the interpretations are, an accepted fact is that the fear of death works as a main thread. Deaths build up the pace of the discourse and string the emotional reaction of the spectators. Meanwhile, intentions, viewpoints, and aesthetic values are told implicitly in the expression of deaths. In this paper, I’d like to look through the deaths in the Alien with two questions—what information it offers and what logical operations it performs. In addition, speak of killing, there are two more questions worth thinking about—who makes the decision and how the killing is carried out.[……]

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Band in Your Hand: De-blackboxing GarageBand

GarageBand is a music software for Apple devices such as iPhone and iPad. It has a library of sound effects and can be used to create songs with multiple audio tracks. In this paper, I discuss the design principles in GarageBand, such as modularity, affordance, and constraint. I also examine whether GarageBand fulfills Alan Kay’s vision of meta-media.[……]

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