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When Fiction Becomes Reality

Amy Leibowitz Blog current events Sci Fi science fiction

This month, the focus is on science fiction. It couldn't have come at a better time. There are many exciting new discoveries all the time that line up with things people only guessed at fifty or sixty years ago. It makes one wonder what else might become reality.

On the flip side, not all of technology is innocent. Recently, there's been some controversy around an AI that can reportedly determine if a person is gay or straight based on analysis of dating profile pictures. While that might sound intriguing as a way to "prove" homosexuality is inherent and biological, it also raises concerns. First, it eliminates gender variance and bisexuality. Second, what will this technology be used for? There could be frightening implications in our current political climate.

Another interesting use of technology is the new version of the sex doll: sex robots. Some of them are designed to feel realistic, and others are being given traits that are close to human responses. But in one ill-advised version, the robot is programmed to resist. If that were used as a teaching tool, it might be a good thing. However, it could potentially be used by individuals to desensitize themselves against another human's resistance. Or to enact fantasies involving a non-consensual human woman.

Science fiction has long grappled with exactly these ethical situations. Through story, we can explore new territory and work through the complexities of emerging technology. What are some of your favorite science fiction novels that break ground on moral and ethical principles?

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