Geetha Ganapathy-Doré is a Research Accredited Associate Professor of English at the Faculty of Law, Political and Social Sciences, University of Sorbonne Paris Nord. She is the author of The Postcolonial Indian Novel in English (2011). She has coedited several books among which On the Move, The Journey of Refugees in New Literatures in English (2012), Heritage and Ruptures in Indian Literature, Culture and Cinema (2017), published by Cambridge Scholars Publishing and Global Commons, Issues, Concerns and Strategies (Sage, 2020). Comme la pluie qui tombe sur la terre rouge is the title of her translation of some ancient Tamil poems (Po&Psy, 2016). She has co-edited an issue on "Reinventing the Sea" for Angles (2019) and two issues on "Rewriting History" for Pondicherry University's International Journal of South Asian Studies (2020). Her introduction to and translation of some of Debasish Lahiri's English poems Paysages sans verbs has just come out (APIC, 2021).
Indian today has carved out a name for itself in information technology and the cities of Bangalore and Hyderabad havebecome household names in many parts of the world. Besides, films that portray India's call center universe such as Danny Boyle's Slumdog Millionnaire (2008) or Atul Agnihotri's Hello (2008),based on Chetan Bhagat's novel One Night at the Call Centre, attest the widespread recourse to artificial intelligence in contemporary India. S. Shankar's 2010 movie Enthiran went a step further and portrayed anandroid robot falling in love with the girl friend of his maker.
The Tamil Writer Sujatha Rangarajan, who, as an engineer, supervised the design and production of the electronic voting machine which is still used in India today, penned En Iniya Iyanthira (My Dear Machine) in the late 1980s as a serial in the magazine Ananda Vikatan. This novel,which translated and popularized complicated computer science terms in Tamil, discusses the future of Indian democracy in an Orwellian style. Set in 2021, it features ruthless robots at the service of a surveillant state as well as an affectionate robot dog. Artificial intelligence was incorporated as early as 1989 in astrophysicist Jayant V. Narlikar's science fiction The Return of Vaman.
More recently, writer and programmerVikram Chandra, who has extolled the beauty of the code in The Geek Sublime (2014), has created a software application called Granthika (2020), "designed to help writers keep track of character attributes, timelines, the who-what-when-where of their tangled plots" so that they could focus on the story. It is the materialization of the possibility of a narrative code from which writers can develop their stories conceptualized earlier by Salman Rushdie in his Haroun and the Sea of Stories (1990).
Parallelly to this acceptance and integration of AI in fiction, Indians are fascinated by the power of the human brain to defeat computer programmes as the examples of the "Human Computer" Shakuntala Devi and Grand Master Visvanathan Anand show. More than the posthuman, the power of AI to enhance human intelligence and render it superhuman is what seems to appeal to Indian imagination.
Some novelists like Sudha Murthyor Hari Kunzru choose to dwell on the social impact of the migration to the USof tech-saavy Indians.
The purpose of thispaper is to analyze what in Indian culture and literature has made Indians typically receptive to algorithmic reasoning and artificial intelligence and offer a historical perspective on the ways in which the symbolic practice of fiction writing is being transformed and renewed thanks to a unique processing of modernity from tradition under the impulse of the knowledge economy. Thanks to AI, is India moving towards what Enrique Dussel calls "a pluriversal utopia"?