Posthuman Desire in Robotics and Science Fiction

  • Sophie WennerscheidEmail author
Conference paper
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 10715)


This article explores how human-posthuman intimate relationships are thematized in both robotics and in science fiction film, literature and robotic art. While on the one hand many engineers and computer scientists are working hard, albeit in an altogether affirmative way, toward the technological development of anthropomorphic robots which are capable of providing social assistance, emotional support and sexual pleasure, aesthetic representations of intimacy between man and machine give us on the other hand a more nuanced and critical picture of possible future forms of desire. However, these fictional works are themselves very often complicit with the use of familiar dualistic paradigms as male-female or self-other.

Drawing on Deleuze and Guattari’s ideas of ‘becoming-other,’ scholars in critical posthumanism counterpose to this as an essentially traditional approach a nondualist reconceptualization of human beings and of the technological other, a reconceiving which is centered on ‘encounters of alterity’ and ‘unnatural alliances.’ The aim of this article is to expand on and to further develop these theories into what can be called a theory of ‘new networks of desire.’ According to this network idea, romantic entanglements between man and machine can better be seen as a specific form of power which does not leave us just where and who we were, but transformed. Desire is thus shown as a site for challenging our restricted self-understanding as humans and for transgressing humans’ self-centeredness.


Science fiction film and literature Robotic art Man-machine interaction Intimate relationships Desire 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Ghent UniversityGhentBelgium

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