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Group 6 - PhreNIC, cara, and J.Yoo

cara's picture

In discussing the film Conceiving Ada, our group initially had difficulty finding something coherent to focus on in the film and coming up with a way to teach it. As already noted by many of our classmates, we found the scientific/realistic inconsistencies and the questionable morals of the main character's choices off-putting and distracting. However, we eventually decided that it would be interesting to focus on the questions the film raised about what constitutes life or the self and the idea of a 'medium' in the film by looking at the relationships between the virtual/artificial and reality.

In order to reconstruct Ada Lovelace's life, Emmy creates virtual life to retrieve information from the mysterious 'undying informatio stream', and through this method, even gains the ability to interact with Ada herself. With her program Emmy is able to transcend not only time, but also death, to not only interact with, but to also to create new memories and experiences with Ada. Would Ada then be considered alive? Does 'life' necessitate the presence of a body, or do memories and intelligence suffice? At the end of the movie, we learn that Ada's memories were implanted in Emmy's daughter, what would it mean then if her daughter were to run the program again, and to interact with the Ada in the machine? Are they the same person since they share many of the same memories?

Just as the computers are transformed into hosts for life, both the virtual animals and Ada, Human bodies seem to be treated as mediums, as storage for data. As Emmy's body, and that of her child's, become intertwined with the technology and the information waves that construct Ada's past, the body can become a host for this digital information. The conception of Emmy's daughter Ada, from the beginning of the film, and that of her program occur in parallel and seem to be hopelessly connected.



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