Can you imagine a world in which human will be sharing its dominance with some other non-human race? Actually, it is highly probable. Keeping aside the possibility of encountering the Alien life anytime in the future, there is one thing, which possesses the potentiality to outsmart humankind and change the world in a way we human cannot. And the interesting thing is, that smart entity will be our own creation and its deeds will, in a way, be our own deeds. I’m sure you now realize what I’m referring to. Yes, it’s the Artificial Intelligence.
But before talking about AI and its potential implications to the human civilization, let’s read one story. This story was written in 19th century by an author named Mary Shelley. The name of the novel is Frankenstein (aka The Modern Prometheus). You can easily find this whole book online and most likely, in one of your favorite Book apps.
“Frankenstein” mainly revolves around the story of an ambitious young scientist, who in the sheer ambition of making a scientific invention, creates a living creature and ultimately gets his life changed forever. This is one of my favorite books because it illustrates the power of our ambition and its consequences upon its poor handling. It’s just as Spider-Man used to say: “With great power, comes the great responsibility“. With that said, let’s quickly go through the story, shall we?
Frankenstein – The Story
This is a series of letters written by a Ship captain mentioning his experiences of the journey to his cousin during his long sea adventure. After some ordinary letters, the adventurer starts to mention about a certain person named Frankenstein, whom he came across at a very distant isolated part of the ocean. When they met, Frankenstein seemed to be in very bad health, however in a very determined pursuit of some strange object. After few weeks of recovery and silence, the writer finally gets to have close conversation with the newcomer. And then, my friend, the real story begins.
Frankenstein was born as a first child to his parents, who used to be very kind and loving people. When he is a kid, they also adopt a little orphan girl and raise her as their own daughter. And they live a very happy and blissful life, till the adopted girl gets very ill. At last, she recovers, but while taking care of her, the mother gets the disease and dies. Devastated by his mother’s death, Frankenstein, who has already completed his schooling by then, decides to go abroad for his further education and leaves his family behind.
Once at college, he meets a certain professor, who inspires him to study the various branches of sciences, mainly Chemistry, Natural Science (Biology), Mathematics, and so on. Being sharp in mind and hardworking in nature, he soon masters these subjects as far as he could be taught there. He even gets praised throughout his school for improving some of the chemical apparatuses and techniques. After two years, when he was finally going to visit his family, a new idea struck his mind. He thinks what if he could create and animate a lifeless body out of various matters.
With that almost impossible goal in aim, he dedicates all of himself and his time to this imaginary pursuit. He starts spending his days and nights by studying and experimenting various concepts of Chemistry and Biology. Then, one day, he finally perceives it. It all comes to him as a light and clears everything in his vision. He feels immeasurable happiness for his discovery, but doesn’t or couldn’t share it with another living being. So, he just decides to use this newly gained knowledge and show his creation to the world after its completion.
Then, he spends next long consecutive period in this singular and monotonous pursuit. He isolates himself from the world in his private laboratory and works day-and-night without caring for food, rest, or entertainment. Being fatigue of mental stress and physical labors, his whole physique gets weaker and paler day after day. He undergoes such turmoils of frustration upon his repeated failures that he sometimes, even curses himself and his teachers. But no matter what, he never gives up and keeps trying. Despite all these pain and struggles, he puts his whole heart and soul into it. He builds every part of this creation with utmost care and devotion.
And one dreary night, when Frankenstein is working upon his creation filled with tiredness and stress, his creation finally opens up its eyes. Upon noticing animations in the being he so desperately worked for so long, instead of being happy, he gets overwhelmed by the feeling of horror and hatred towards his own creation. Although he worked so hard to create a perfect being, his creation gets such ugly and dreadful appearance that he himself couldn’t bear it. And with panic and fear, he runs away leaving behind the newly born creature. But when he returns the next day, the creature is already gone.
After this incident, bad events begin to happen in Frankenstein’s life. First, his little brother is murdered and upon its charge, his cousin-sister is sentenced to death. Frankenstein, being convinced that it was that hideous creature’s deeds, starts looking for it. When he finally finds it, the creature confesses that it had killed his brother and framed his cousin for punishment. Then, it also tells him his story, which occurred after being created by Frankenstein and how it came to turn against him.
Since this post is going to be a long one, I’m going to divide it into two. Next, I’ll cover the rest of the story, mainly from the perspective of the creature. And I’ll also explain why I’m linking this story to Artificial Intelligence. Until then, I’d like to thank you for reading it and request you to go through the next one as well. See you in the next post! 🙂