Ted Chiang talks about magic, AI, capitalism, and superheroes

Originally published at: Ted Chiang talks about magic, AI, capitalism, and superheroes | Boing Boing


(Possibly paywalled, but incognito will get you there.)


I was lucky enough to read Chiang’s story collection before Story of your Life was made into the movie Arrival. The movie was a decent “action” movie, but a horrible adaptation leaving so much of the power of the short story on the table. It deserved better, like some faith in the audience to appreciate a story without pew pews and splosions.

Yeah but you also have to remember that when Superman was first published Kal-El was supposed to be a kid raised in Kansas during the height of the Jim Crow era and was still unapologetically and unambiguously on the side of “The American Way.”


Superman took on organized crime and evil industrialists and once in the radio serial he even took on the Klan, but he didn’t use his godlike powers to force the government to end racist policies.

Of course it’s hard to blame Siegel and Shuster for that; even if they’d stuck their necks out to create a storyline about Superman fighting segregation and anti-miscegenation laws it probably wouldn’t have made it past the publishers or the censors.


Chiang, Charlie Stross, and Cory Doctorow have observed that a slow version of AI has been with us ever since the formation of limited liability corporations.


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