Throughout the course of the semester, my blog posts managed to touch upon a number of key themes from the class including death, horror, the eerie, the Internet, and artificial intelligence. A large portion of my posts, however, seemed to have a focus on the moral implications of our technology, media, and consumption. More specifically, nearly all my posts touched on the issue of ethics and morality. In a world dominated by endless conflicting viewpoints and disagreements, the same problem seemed to manifest itself across our course material. Though each post was in response to different articles/novels/shows, a seeming lack of clear, objective morality permeated across all subjects, which was one of the key takeaways I had from the course. The relationship between us as humans and the technology we use is inescapable, which I saw pertinent to understand the effects both can have.
My most recent blog post discussed the implications of AI ethics and the difficulty in deciding how these machines ought to be programmed. Funnily enough, my issue is not with the AI itself, but rather how we as humans would successfully agree on some definitive morality for these machines when we can’t even agree on our own moral issues. My first blog post, on the other hand, was focused upon the moral ambiguity that exists within the modern horror genre. This seems like the core issue I found in the class was regarding our own societal values and ethics. I was able to learn a ton about our relationship with death, technology, and media throughout this course, but this does not answer the larger question: what are the moral implications of all this? Obviously, the answer will vary from person to person which is why I see morality and ethics as the largest issue surrounding our relationships to death and technology. Technology, after all, is supposed to simplify our lives and compute without bias. In the case of morals, however, technology seems to serve the opposite purpose and complicate things even more. This understandably causes discomfort amongst people, which make it an ongoing, unsolved dilemma. It will be interesting to see where AI advances in the next few years and how we attack the issue of conflicting morals.
The ultimate takeaway I have from the class is the fact that everything operates in the grey area. Technology can be both good and bad. Social media can be both good and bad. Phones, cars, robots, reality television–the list could go on. But most importantly, we as humans operate within this same space. We are neither inherently good or bad or right or wrong. It is our choice to make that decision ourselves through our own lived experience. Our technology just happens to be a “black mirror” that we can use to reflect on our own values and practices, which, eventually, will have a lasting impact on the future. To maximize the potential of our own creation (technology), we as a society must first reach the potential within ourselves. “Death” comes into play when, or if, we don’t.