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Letters to the World “Series” by Jascha Kessler

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

 

Letters to the Editor

FINANCIAL TIMES

London

Sir:

Professor Horace Barlow [Letters, 21 April] hopes that wisdom will manage the challenge of AI, which human intelligence cannot itself do.  Alas, he has neglected to consider the possible and most likely threat of AI: the control of our DNA.  In 1932, Aldous Huxley’s BRAVE NEW WORLD described our transmogrified ultimate speciation offering a society layered in ranks of intelligence and produced as bottled babies ranging from gamma/cretinous-laborers to alpha-brilliant “managers.”  The protagonist is a thoughtful sort, an executive who, surveying a world society that chants, Orgy Porgy Ford and Fun, is dismayed.  He happens upon the single human being whose “wisdom” is not (yet) assimilated to the rest of a synthetic AI humanity, one John Savage, a native American from our Southwest desert, who owns the last surviving volume of Shakespeare’s works and knows them by heart.

Professor Barlow seems to have forgotten the question asked millennia ago: Job’s Where can wisdom be found?

Sincerely,

Jascha Kessler

Emeritus Professor of Modern English & American Literature, UCLA

Santa Monica, CA

 

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Jascha Kessler

Born in New York City, Jascha Kessler (Ph.D., Litt.D.) has received varied research grants, prizes, and writing fellowships since 1952 when he won a Major Hopwood Award for Poetry (University of Michigan). They include the NEA Fellowship in Writing, two Senior Fulbright Awards to Italy and one to Czechoslovakia. Since 1961, he has been a Professor of English & Modern Literature at UCLA, also teaching poetry, fiction, and playwrighting. In 1979, Mr. Kessler was a Rockefeller Fellow and worked at the Bellagio Study Center, completing his translation (with Amin Banani) of the Persian poet Forugh Farrokhzad: BRIDE OF ACACIAS: THE POETRY OF FORUGH FARROKHZAD (Caravan Books, Delmar, NY: 1983). He won a California Arts Council Fellowship in Fiction Writing for 1993-1994. He reviewed fiction and poetry weekly, theater and events on the air for KUSC-FM (Los Angeles) for 5 years in the 1980s; several dozen of his reviews, both broadcast and published in magazines and papers since the 1960s, have been anthologized in CONTEMPORARY LITERARY CRITICISM (Gale Research) over the decades. His literary essays have appeared widely. He also served as Arts Commissioner for the City of Santa Monica, California, from 1990-1996. In 2001, his translation of TRAVELING LIGHT from the Finnish won the Finnish Literary Translation Centre Award. Kessler has published several collections of fiction. AN EGYPTIAN BONDAGE, & Other Stories (Harper & Row, NY: 1967); DEATH COMES FOR THE BEHAVIORIST: 4 Long Stories (Lexis Press, San Francisco, CA: 1983); CLASSICAL ILLUSIONS: 28 Stories (McPherson & Co.: Kingston, NY, 1985); and TRANSMIGRATIONS: 18 Mythologems (Jazz Press: Capitola, CA: 1985). His latest collection, SIREN SONGS & CLASSICAL ILLUSIONS: 50 Stories”, was published by McPherson & Co., in December of 1992. Also a novel, RAPID TRANSIT 1948: An Unsentimental Education (Xlibris 2000) and a second edition of AN EGYPTIAN BONDAGE (Xlibris 2000). He has also published three volumes of poetry: WHATEVER LOVE DECLARES (The Plantin Press: Los Angeles, CA: 1969; AFTER THE ARMIES HAVE PASSED (NYU Press: NY: 1970); and, IN MEMORY OF THE FUTURE (Kayak Press, Santa Cruz, CA: 1976). Also, revised as COLLECTED POEMS (Xlibris 2000). In 2013 his KING SOLOMON’S SEAL: 76 AND MORE FABLES, was published (xLibris.com, in hardback, paperback, ebook versions).


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