Noted sci-fi writer downbeat about odds of human triumph over AI

He was among the many pessimists who are alarmed by the explosive advances in generative AI and call for measures to halt its progress.

AI will soon or later replace sci-fi writers or other authors, a world-renowned Chinese writer said at a recent forum.

Liu Cixin, the author of the best-selling sci-fi novel “The Three-Body Problem,” said at the China Science Fiction Conference 2023, held in Beijing on Wednesday.

He made the jaw-dropping remarks when asked about what changes AI will bring to sci-fi creation.

He was among the many pessimists who are alarmed by the explosive advances in generative AI and call for measures to halt its progress.

Some even predict a wave of mass unemployment on the horizon as AI seems to have proven wrong a widely held belief: That it will never develop cognitive feelings or the creativity of mankind.

“We often say AI has no human soul, no human emotions, this is just self-comforting,” said Liu.

He went to explain that human soul and emotions are the result of multiple neural cells tied together into a complex system.

In the future, sci-fi writers will not disappear, but become sidelied, a little resembling the puppet shadow play, he claimed.

In his opinion, science fiction will persist, but it won’t become the kind of mainstream content that is constantly at the center of public attention.

Liu shot to fame on the back of his “Three-Body” triology, which depicts the attempt of an alien civilization called Trisolaris to invade Earth to avert its own destruction.

Thanks to his success, science fiction has been growing in popularity in China over the past few years, but Liu said the genre is now going downhill.

“The reason sci-fi literature is going downhill is that the things people have described in a sci-fi world are no longer outlandish,” Liu observed, adding that only in primitive social conditions can humans develop wonderous imagination and then produce appealing sci-fi work.

Several of Liu’s works have been adapted into films and won wild acclaim at the box office.

At the 2021 World Artificial Intelligence Conference in Shanghai, Liu surprised the audiencey by announcing a decision to join AI titan SenseTime as a head of research to study the “organic amalgam of sci-fi industry with AI.”

Avatar photo
Ni Tao

Ni Tao is the founder and editor-in-chief of cnrobopedia. Prior to cnrobopedia, he had a full decade of experience with a major state-run English-language newspaper as a tech reporter and opinion writer. He is also a communications specialist, having provided consultancy services to established firms like Siemens, Philips, ABinBev, Diageo, Group (Nasdaq: TCOM, HK: 9961), Jianpu Technology (NYSE: JT) and a handful of domestic startups. A graduate of Fudan University, he writes widely about China's business and tech scenes and other topics for global publications including South China Morning Post, SupChina, The Diplomat, CGTN, Banking Technology, among others, and tries to impart his experience to students at Fudan University Journalism School, where he is a part-time lecturer. When he's not writing about robotics, you can expect him to be on his beloved Yanagisawa saxophones, trying to play some jazz riffs, often in vain and occasionally against the protests of an angry neighbor. Get in touch with him by dropping a line at

Articles: 662