Klara and the Sun | Kazuo Ishiguro | A Word on Words | NPT
'I think this is what interests me about human beings. We're not content just to feed ourselves, reproduce and then die. We've got to keep asking ourselves, "Have I made a contribution?"' Kazuo Ishiguro talks with Mary Laura Philpott about his new book KLARA AND THE SUN.
- [Kazuo] Hi, this is Kazuo Ishiguro
and this is my new novel Klara and the Sun.
Klara is a little robot, AI girl
created to prevent teenagers from becoming lonely.
And this is a story of how she tries to save the family
of humans she lives with from heartbreak
and how she tries to enlist the help
of the sun up in the sky to do this.
- The unfolding of the story
from Klara's perspective felt a little bit
like seeing the world through the eyes of a child.
Would you tell us a little bit about Klara's understanding
of the sun and how she thinks it works?
- She has very little in terms of memory or history and-
but she's learning very, very fast.
So there's something very childlike about her.
But she's so solar powered, right?
So although she has very few other prejudices or knowledge,
the fact that she's solar powered
has this big influence on her,
she thinks everything good comes from the sun.
That's where she gets her nourishment.
And when she looks out of the window,
she assumes that all the human beings she can see
out in the street are in the same position.
So it's a kind of a religious thing,
but I wanted to write about that instinct
without any of the, kind of, the baggage
of organized religion,
without power, politics, and tribalism,
and wars that have occurred around organized religion.
Is she allowed to hold onto that faith?
Or would I shatter it for her?
That was one of the big questions for me from the beginning.
- [Mary] Is technology something that you fear
or celebrate or both?
- Yeah, both. I wanted to show a society
that could go either way as a society.
You know, we have to actually reorganize ourselves
so that we can benefit from these things
and not have these things destroy our civilization.
But Klara herself, I want, I didn't want her
to be like an anti-AI figure at all, you know?
She's not menacing.
I wanted her to reflect something very pure
and generous about human beings.
- Thanks for watching A Word on Words.
I'm Mary Laura Philpott.
For more of my conversation with Kazuo Ishiguro,
visit awordonwords.org and keep reading.
- [Kazuo] This is what interests me about human beings.
We're not content just to feed ourselves
and reproduce and then die.
We've got to keep asking ourselves
have I made a contribution?
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