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AI and the Seductive Optics of the Frankenstein Complex

The fact that some AI makes you feel creepy is a part of its success

One of the factors contributing to fear of AI is the Frankenstein Complex.1 The term, coined by sci-fi writer Isaac Asimov2, originally described fear of the “mechanical man” in the science fiction of old. The complex is named for the young scientist, Dr. Victor Frankenstein, protagonist of Mary Shelley’s 1818 novel Frankenstein, or The Modern Prometheus. He stitches human body parts together to create a monster. There is no AI in the story; he brings the monster to life based on an intelligence that was assumed to be resident in biology. “Frankenstein’s monster” later came to be called simply “Frankenstein.” Thomas Edison first filmed the story as a silent movie in 1910 but Boris Karloff’s depiction of the monster in Read More ›