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Where Are All the Gay Robots?: Finding More Fully-Queer Utopias in AI Science Fiction

Schyler Palm

Claims about humans are central to AI depictions, both fictional and non-fictional. Like a funhouse mirror distorting our vision, AI can both highlight the parts of humanity worth celebrating and evince our less favourable qualities. Accordingly, but worryingly, mainstream depictions of AI in all its forms lack conjunctive depictions of queerness, implying a sanitized future where queerness is erased. While some scholarly work has extracted subtle queer utopias from AI science fiction, more work must be done to explore an AI future where queerness persists. I bring two works to bear on this issue, Donna Haraway’s A Cyborg Manifesto and José Esteban Muñoz’s Cruising Utopia, to show how this queer-friendly future could be imagined and what that future might look like. I will show how two webcomics, which I believe do this work exceptionally well, can serve as exemplars to science fiction and speculative content creators committed to this endeavour.

Keywords: Artificial Intelligence, Robots, Queer Utopias, Queer Theory, Science Fiction

Schyler Palm is a Digital Humanities master’s student at the University of Alberta. Their research interests include and intersect social psychology and the psychology of religion, digital and analogue game studies and design, digital cultures, and queer theory.