Frankenstein Short Thoughts [Mumford]

“Frankenstein” and “Why the Future Doesn’t Need Us” both bring up similar issues, but in different ways. They both deal with the hubris of innovation and the problems that arise with ignorance, however these two stories have differing consequences.

In “Frankenstein,” Victor is overcome by pride. In his desire to be a creator, he doesn’t consider the consequences, rather only how it will benefit him. Because of this ignorance, he faces the fact that he cannot control what he created. The monster goes rampant and seeks revenge after Victor is disgusted by him and abandons him to fend for himself. This is similar to the possible effects of nanotechnology or artificial intelligence that Bill Joy talks about in his article. He explains how, if consequences are not acknowledged and considered, that we could end up living in a gray goo of nanotechnology reproduction, or be run by artificial intelligence and have no choice but to let our decisions be made for us. “Frankenstein” is an example of the problems that arise when people think they can play “God,” by showing the negative outcomes of that hubris. Joy touches on how a similar problem is happening now with rapid technological innovation, and explains how the world may change for the worse if we don’t pause to acknowledge the effects of our pride on the future of humanity throughout these inventions.

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