A Word on Words | NPT

S6 E14 | FULL EPISODE

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.

AIRED: May 26, 2021 | 0:02:30
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TRANSCRIPT

- [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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