It’s been a while since my last PhD update, and a lot has been
happened since my last
blog in February. Since I last posted an update I’ve published a journal article, approved a proof on a book
chapter, and even appeared on national radio! And this isn’t even to mention my
podcast, website work and the small matter of my thesis…
It’s all going on!
There is a crisis coming in academia. It’s been looming on
the horizon for quite some time, and now threatens to bring the profession into
That problem is AI.
For many years now, AI have been used to power chat bots and
digital assistants such as Cortana, Siri and Alexa. Over the years, these bots
have become far more nuanced and complex. While these systems aren’t
intelligent in the same way as a human being, they do a fairly good job at
mimicking human behaviour, and convincing us that they are ‘real’.
Indeed, these technologies are now so convincing that it
won’t be long before they are put to nefarious use. It’s already been shown
can write convincing news articles, and it won’t be long before they are
used to write academic essays, even more complex works such as research papers
and even full-length publications.
Make no mistake, this is a serious issue, and one that needs to be taken seriously. In the next few years, AI-powered essay mills have the potential to shake academia right to the very core.
Humans will always make the final decision on whether armed robots can shoot, according to a statement by the US Department of Defense. Their clarification comes amid fears about a new advanced targeting system, known as ATLAS, that will use artificial intelligence in combat vehicles to target and execute threats. While the public may feel uneasy about so-called “killer robots”, the concept is nothing new – machine-gun wielding “SWORDS” robots were deployed in Iraq as early as 2007.
But our relationship with military robots goes back even further than that. This is because when we say ‘robot’, what we really mean is a technology with some form of ‘autonomous’ element that allows it to perform a task without the need for direct human intervention.
‘Fantastika’ is an umbrella term that embraces the genres of Fantasy, Science Fiction and Horror but can also include Alternate History, Gothic, Steampunk or any other radically imaginative narrative space.
The sixth annual Fantastika conference will aim to define, challenge and debate conceptualisations of embodiment. We seek to investigate how various bodily forms are addressed or ruptured across a myriad of canvases, whether it be through (re) construction, transposition or indeed destabilisation. The conference will diagnose how Fantastika texts may extend upon or confront definitions of what it even means to be ‘embodied’, inviting researchers from fields such as posthumanism, medical humanities and other relevant fields to collaborate through productive
It’s been a strange few months. I don’t feel like I’ve
actually ‘done’ all that much, but I do seem to be making some sort of
progress. Yesterday I printed out a complete first draft of my thesis, and I’ve
just submitted amendments for a publication that I hope will be forthcoming
later this year. I’ve also launched
a podcast, and had a feature
article printed in SCAN.