Everybody is talking about “artificial intelligence,” on which some place great hopes and of which others are very afraid. AI, programs that rely on adaptive algorithms, have long been a natural part of our everyday lives, whether on the Internet (webbots), with Siri, Cortana or Alexa and in smartphones. Insurance companies and banks have intelligent programs check submitted applications or decide on payments. Virtual assistants handle customer service at many large companies. And these are just a few examples.
Also in “The Superflare” – as in many other Science Fiction novels before – artificial intelligence plays an important role, above all Tron, who dis-empowers humans because he considers himself superior and the next stage of evolution. Thus – not only in the novel – AI shakes up the self-image of humans: What makes a human being human? What distinguishes humans from an AI? What is intelligence? Can an AI feel anything? Does it have a will to survive? And wouldn’t an adaptive AI with (self-)consciousness even be a new life form with its own rights?
Perhaps the novel has stimulated some thoughts on these questions as well. On the following pages, therefore, I have put together some links to articles that will allow anyone interested to deepen this reflection a bit more.