Radical and regressive: artificial intelligence according to Jeanette Winterson.

Activity: Academic Talks or PresentationsConference Presentation


Online conference held online, organised by the Institute of Modern Languages Research at the University of London's School of Advanced Study.

Abstract: Arguably, recent and prospective developments within artificial intelligence are a fascination within contemporary technoculture. The dawning of a new era that is characterised by the various impact of these technological and scientific advances leads to questions about the type of subject that will inherit and inhabit the consequences of these developments. This paper will examine the role that speculative fiction by contemporary women writers plays as a site of critical engagement in investigating some of the more urgent questions posed by the intersection between humans and technology, such as the social consequences of projected technologies and the possibilities of changing embodiment, and particularly how these issues prove to be of immense importance for the gendered subject. Drawing upon Jeanette Winderson’s recent non-fictional publication 12 Bytes: How We Got Here. Where We Might Go Next (2021), the essays contained within ‘How Love, Sex, and Attachment is Likely to Change As We Share Our lives with AI’ provide a perceptive insight into both the promises and the pitfalls of AI technology for the future female and embodied experience. Winterson’s thought-provoking musings will be read alongside her fictional novels The Stone Gods (2007) and Frankissstein (2019) to consider how she utilises the genre of speculative fiction to explore existing representations of gender whilst working to define new transhuman subjects. A recurring theme throughout these novels is the way in which AI, despite its liberating and transcendent potential, is imagined as the inevitable perpetuation of female subjugation.
Period20 May 2022
Event titlePolitics of Vulnerability in Creative Women's Writing and Creative Practices
Event typeConference


  • Literature
  • Women's writing
  • science fiction
  • artificial intelligence
  • Feminism