The Science And The Culture of H. Artificialis
The human species, in its wholly natural and unaltered form, is formally known as Homo Sapiens, the only surviving member of the genus Homo, which includes extinct species like neanderthals (Homo Neanderthalensis).
As the masthead says, HA focuses on the science and culture of artificial humanity, which we designate Homo Artificialis. Homo Artificialis includes any human whose consciousness operates in an artificial body, called an artificial instantiation, as well as any human-like consciousness that is created synthetically, which is called an artificial consciousness (sometimes also referred to as an artificial intelligence).
In the scientific half of “science and culture,” HA looks at current science, which is increasingly embedding technology in the human body and replacing or augmenting body parts and bodily functions with technological artifacts. This raises the future possibility of entirely artificial human bodies, as well as wholly synthetic human-like consciousnesses.
Topical areas include artificial intelligence, robotics, synthetic affect (artificial emotions), whole brain mapping, brain-computer interfaces, regenerative medicine, nanomedicine (and other relevant applications of nanotechnology), biomimesis, tissue engineering, and artificial organs.
On the cultural front, HA looks at the portrayal of artificial humanity in the arts, the use of synthetic processes in the making of art, and notions of how art itself may evolve to accommodate and reflect increasingly artificial humanity.
Cultural topics include traditional and emerging forms of artistic expression, the artistic process, specific artists and artistic collaborations, and social and critical reactions to artists and works of art.
Two Branches of Artificial Humanity
H. Artificialis is a species with two branches.
An artificial instantiation includes any natural consciousness that operates using an artificial body.
Examples of this kind include Tekeshi Kovacs in the novels of Richard K. Morgan, as well as the type of real world uploaded human consciousness that’s being anticipated by and popularized by Ray Kurzweil (among many others).
An artificial consciousness is a consciousness that is synthesized by artificial means rather than evolving in a natural setting.
Fictional examples include the replicants in Blade Runner, the HAL 9000 from 2001: A Space Odyssey, and Lieutenant Commander Data from Star Trek: The Next Generation. Real world examples don’t exist yet, but tentative attempts at them can be seen in constructs like Deep Blue (the computer that defeated world chess champion Garry Kasparov), Watson (the computer that defeated two prominent Jeopardy winners), and Siri (the iOS personal assistant with a natural language user interface).
The possibility of artificial humanity is beginning to be discussed in a serious way as a potential real world phenomenon. Meanwhile, in fiction it’s become almost commonplace. Since each approach illuminates particular aspects of the topic, it seemed useful to have a publication that engages with both.
The H. Artificialis Library
HA has created a library of documents that can be downloaded free of charge. Each document is relevant either to HA topics at large, or to a particular article.
When a paper that is contained in the library is mentioned in the course of an article, you’ll see a banner like the one below. Clicking the banner will open a new tab or window and download the paper in PDF format there.
If you want to browse in the library, you can get there by clicking the “Library” tab at the top of this page, as shown below.
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I am an author, with fiction, non-ficiton, and poetry published in journals in the United States, Europe, and Oceania, as well in a number of traditional and independently published books.
I have also been an editor for more than a decade and am a founding partner at IndieBookLauncher.com, an author services company specializing in helping indie authors.