Synthetic Beings and Synthespian Ethics

Embodiment Technologies in Science/Fiction

in Projections
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  • 1 Queensland University of Technology jane.stadler@qut.edu.au
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Abstract

The screen is the material and imaginative interface where biology meets technology. It is the nexus between science and fiction, where technological and ethical concerns surrounding synthespians, representations of replicants, and manifestations of synthetic biology come into play. This analysis of digital imaging and cinematic imagining of virtual actors and synthetic humans in films such as Blade Runner 2049 (Denis Villeneuve, 2017) examines the ethical implications of digital embodiment technologies and cybernetics. I argue that it is necessary to bring together science and the arts to advance understandings of embodiment and technology. In doing so, I explore commonalities between ethical concerns about technobiological bodies in cultural and scientific discourse and developments such as the creation of virtual humans and “deepfake” digital doubles in screen media.

Contributor Notes

Jane Stadler is Professor of Film and Media Studies at Queensland University of Technology, Australia. She is the author of Pulling Focus: Intersubjective Experience, Narrative Film and Ethics (2008) and coauthor of Screen Media (2009), Imagined Landscapes: Geovisualizing Australian Spatial Narratives (2016), and Media and Society (2016). Her research interests include phenomenological and philosophical approaches to screen aesthetics, ethics, imagination, and neurocinematic studies of audience responses.

Email: jane.stadler@qut.edu.au

Projections

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