Date of Award
Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
Jeremy F. Green
Nonhuman intelligence is a topic of vigorous inquiry in the sciences, but how is it broached by the humanities -- especially in literary narrative -- and what does its method of presentation have to teach us about how the relationship between the sciences and the humanities is changing? To explore answers to these questions, I have established a new grouping of literary works, called "cybertech", and defined it as bounded within the system of fictional narratives which ask the following questions: 1) What can ken (be familiar with something or someone); 2) What is the range of what can be kenned?; and 3) How is what is kenned demarcated? By taking five contemporary novels as keystone examples of this grouping, I conclude that a thought experiment uniting the sciences and the humanities -- that which contemplates whether synthetic intelligences, and/or nonhuman biological organisms, might be able to develop "human-equivalent" consciousness -- is rich with possibilities for potential insights into human consciousness itself: what it is, how it works, and what the range is of what it can experience.
Wedemeyer, Alex Eric, "Technology, Cognition, and Narrative: Literary Explorations in Neuromancer, Snow Crash, Galatea 2.2, Accelerando, and Embassytown" (2014). English Graduate Theses & Dissertations. 67.