Elaine Newton's Critic's Choice Series
Artis—Naples Lifelong Learning
Machines Like Me
by Ian McEwan
Elaine Newton, Ph.D., Professor Emeritus of Humanities at York University, Toronto
It is London, 1982. Thatcher is in power. The Falklands War rages. Charles Friend is a 32-year-old electronics whiz and stocks trader. Impulsively, he sells the house he has inherited and buys one of 25 state-of-the-art super-intelligent androids (“Adam”). Adam is not a monster, but a sophisticated synthetic man. In his latest humorous and humane novel, master craftsman McEwan explores contemporary ethical issues of artificial intelligence, social justice and the meaningful relationship between man and machine. Interwoven is Charles’ courtship of the delightful graduate student who is his upstairs neighbor and who also bonds with Adam. The prose rolls out with wit and wisdom, the plot twists tightly, and it reminds us that research in artificial intelligence advances every day.
This lecture is part of Elaine Newton's Critic’s Choice series, featuring contemporary literature’s most compelling works.
Please note: The Thursday lecture will be held in Daniels Pavilion. The Saturday lecture will be held in Hayes Hall.
Elaine Newton, Ph.D., is professor emeritus of humanities at York University, Toronto, Canada. She has taught courses in literary theory and methodology, contemporary fiction, psychology and literature and archetypal criticism. Elaine was one of the founders of York University’s advising program and its much-emulated faculty of education. She is a recipient of the province of Ontario’s Teaching Award in recognition of excellence in university teaching and, in 1984, received a citation as Toronto’s Outstanding Professor. In 1996, she was the recipient of the university-wide Teaching Award. She has held appointments as professor of literature at Carlton University, Ottawa; University of Cape Town, South Africa; University of Sydney, Australia; Victoria University; and the University of Otago, New Zealand. She has lectured throughout Canada and the US; London; Hong Kong; Zurich; and Caracas. In 1992, she was a member of the faculty of the University of Pittsburgh’s Semester-at-Sea. Elaine retains an abiding commitment to adult education and the role of the university in the wider community.
For over 40 years, Elaine has planned and conducted adult education courses throughout North America. This is the 30th year that she has presented our literature series Critic’s Choice and the 24th year she has presented Four O’clock at the Movies. She also initiated and taught the pioneering Artis—Naples seminar discussion program, the Questors, for 12 years. Elaine has worked as a book critic for Toronto’s The Globe and Mail, been a special consultant to the Ontario Library Association, led movie and theater discussions and served as a consultant to the North York Board of Education. She continues to conduct an annual lecture series at the Toronto Public Library and makes frequent guest appearances on TV and radio. Elaine has an enthusiastic and loyal following each season as she offers insightful commentary about contemporary fiction and motion pictures.