Artificial intelligence and genetic engineering call into question the notion of the human in the humanist tradition, causing deep and subtle rifts in human-human and human-nature relations. Examining stories by Chinese sci-fi writer Hao Jingfang, this chapter argues that digital and genetic reconstruction of humanoids undermines the human self-image and blurs the boundaries between human and machine. The creation of AI humanoids cancels out as well as foregrounds the essential needs of human emotional reciprocity and the ritual of working through the trauma of sickness and death. Under capitalism, artificial intelligence creates a neoliberal performative subject, and the all-encompassing digital networks polarize society, manufacture consumer desire, and exert total control of the human mind and body. By denying death and humanly disturbing emotional qualities, artificial intelligence creates death in life.

You do not currently have access to this content.