1 January 2018
In 1818, Mary Shelly’s novel “Frankenstein: or, The Modern Prometheus’ was published. The story, about the “crazy scientist” Victor Frankenstein who created a living being out of non-living materials, as if he is Prometheus, adding the fire to the clay, still fascinates. The world has gone around the sun 200 times, and now we are in the future: the story of the Frankenstein Monster has become more and more relevant. We are not sure yet about what the fire is, but it is apparent that robots, cyborgs, and other entities will have a huge influence on our lives, and we don’t only struggle with the acceptance of “normal” humans in society, but also have our xenophobic tendencies towards robots (especially the eerily, uncanny humanoid forms), cyborgs, sex robots, etc. It is not illogical that the Frankenstein Monster had troubles being accepted in human society in Shelly’s novel, and that Isaac Asimov coined the term ‘Frankenstein Complex’ for the fear of ‘mechanical men’. In the Frankenstein story, only the blind man could stand and appreciate the presence of the “monster”, and the creature started hating humans as they feared him so much for his physical appearance alone. We want to accentuate this, and point out the relevance of acceptance, appreciation for existence, and the potential for learning and love, instead of fear, for the coming of the ‘mechanical men’, whatever form they might take.
We wish you a very happy Frankenstein Year, may you find and express love, whether to a human or a robot.