AuthorsFrom the Wire

Reincarnation: PW Talks with Amy Kurzweil

In “Reincarnation: PW Talks with Amy Kurzweil,” New Yorker cartoonist Amy Kurzweil discusses her graphic memoir, “Artificial,” which explores her father’s use of AI technology to “resurrect” her grandfather. Kurzweil explains how her book serves as a grounding and humanizing experience that adds emotional depth to the conversation around AI. She also discusses the connection she forged with her ancestors through drawing their journal entries and legal documents, the influence of her Jewish family history and the Holocaust on her father’s desire to create the chatbot, and the personal discoveries she made about herself and her father in the process of writing the book.

Reincarnation: PW Talks with Amy Kurzweil

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Background Information

In the upcoming graphic memoir titled “Artificial,” New Yorker cartoonist Amy Kurzweil explores the story of her father, futurist Ray Kurzweil, and his endeavor to resurrect her grandfather using an AI chatbot. The book delves into the intersection of technology and personal experience, providing a unique perspective on the dialogue surrounding AI. Kurzweil aims to ground the theoretical ideas her father discusses in a tangible project that brings a human experience to the forefront.

Motivation for the Book

The driving force behind “Artificial” was to bridge the gap between theoretical concepts surrounding AI and a specific project that offers a deeply personal and emotional experience. Kurzweil wanted to explore what it would be like to have a conversation with a family member that one has never met, and she saw comics and the arts as vehicles to bring forth this emotional and sensory experience. By using this medium, Kurzweil aims to ground the theoretical ideas in a relatable and accessible format for readers.

Reincarnation: PW Talks with Amy Kurzweil

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Drawing and Connection

Throughout the process of creating “Artificial,” Kurzweil found that the act of repeatedly redrawing entries and legal documents served as a means of connecting with the original creators. The laborious task of redrawing allowed for a deep level of focus and attention, counteracting the fast-paced nature of the modern world. Kurzweil emphasizes that time and attention are akin to love, and by spending an extensive amount of time with artifacts from her grandfather’s life, she was able to forge a loving relationship with him, despite his absence.

Jewish Family History and the Holocaust

Kurzweil’s father’s desire to create an AI chatbot to “resurrect” her grandfather was deeply influenced by their Jewish family history and the impact of the Holocaust. The loss of Kurzweil’s grandfather at a young age due to heart disease, coupled with the abrupt and devastating loss of Jewish life and culture in Vienna, shaped her father’s motivations. The trauma of losing both father and culture motivated her family to save documentation as a response to the traumatic circumstances they experienced. This act of preserving history and memory became an inheritance in their family.

Reincarnation: PW Talks with Amy Kurzweil

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Discoveries About Father and Self

As Kurzweil worked on the graphic memoir, she discovered surprising similarities between herself and her father. The intensity of their drive and ambition proved to be a shared quality, and through the process of writing the book, Kurzweil granted herself permission to be as ambitious as she desired. This revelation was particularly significant for Kurzweil as she recognized the importance of acknowledging and embracing the desire to achieve great things, especially for women. The book allowed her to enter that space of ambition and complexity in her own unique way.

Publication Information

“Artificial” is set to be published by Catapult, with its release date scheduled for October. This memoir offers a fascinating exploration of the intersection between technology and personal history, providing readers with a thought-provoking and emotionally resonant narrative.

Reincarnation: PW Talks with Amy Kurzweil

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About the Author

Amy Kurzweil’s background as a New Yorker cartoonist brings a unique perspective and artistic style to “Artificial.” Her expertise in visual storytelling enhances the reader’s experience, as she skillfully weaves together personal narratives and complex concepts.

Overview of the Graphic Memoir

“Artificial,” published by Catapult, delves into the story of Kurzweil’s father programming an AI chatbot to resurrect her grandfather. The memoir focuses on the intersection of technology and personal experience and delves into the emotional and sensory aspects of such a project. The narrative also explores the connection between the protagonist and a family member she has never met, providing readers with a deeply moving and thought-provoking experience.

Reincarnation: PW Talks with Amy Kurzweil

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The Role of Drawing in the Memoir

Drawing plays a crucial role in “Artificial” as Kurzweil utilizes it to recreate journal entries and legal documents. By redrawing these artifacts, Kurzweil establishes a connection with their original creators, allowing for a tactile and emotional relationship to form. The process of drawing requires focused attention, providing an antidote to the fast-paced nature of the world. Kurzweil emphasizes the importance of observation and the role of time and attention as a form of love.

Publication Details

“Artificial” is set to be published by Catapult in October, offering readers a unique and emotional exploration of technology and personal history. The memoir promises to be a captivating and introspective read that delves into the complexities of family, memory, and the impact of technology on our lives.

Source: http://www.publishersweekly.com/pw/by-topic/authors/interviews/article/93046-reincarnation-pw-talks-with-amy-kurzweil.html