Abstract. The present paper analyses the subtle influence of artificial intelligence (AI) in the context of a person’s relation to an artificial friend (AF). The conditions of isolation and illness and their effects upon the young adolescent Josie cannot be counterbalanced by the purchase of an AF, such as Klara, and her inclusion in the girl’s private space. The complexity of the relationship between a human being and a digital being may determine a change in the human being’s attitude and behaviour towards others, although the protagonist of Ishiguro’s novel Klara and the Sun is not presented in the period following the time she spent in the company of her AF. The obvious problem Josie must face is her awareness that the digital being has no feelings, being a simulacrum of a human friend, an aspect which encourages her mother, Chrissie, and the housekeeper, Melania, to look down upon the AF. Fluctuating between the personal address “you” and the neutral one “it” does not help establish a healthy pattern of interacting with Klara. Although such robots can understand human behavioural deviations, Klara does not understand that they are influenced by her own presence in the house. The subtle influence of technology upon human beings is looked at from various perspectives, ranging from the presence of a kind digital being that sacrifices herself for her human friend, as Klara does for Josie, to the launch of the new B3 models that are selfish, dissimulate arrogance and ultimately promise subversive results in their relations with human beings.
Key words: AF (artificial friend); AI (artificial intelligence); cyborg; friend(ship); Kazuo Ishiguro; Klara and the Sun; psychology; robot(s); technology

Pârlog AC (2023) The subtlety of technology: a paradoxical influence upon human character – Kazuo Ishiguro’s Klara and the Sun. Creativity 6(1): 61–75. doi:10.22381/C6120233

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West University of Timişoara,
Faculty of Letters, History and Theology,
Department of Modern Languages and Literatures,
English Department;
Timişoara, Romania

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