We’re entering into topics related to man’s quest for knowledge, science, and Enlightenment. We come to touch upon the ultimate scientific (?) or religious (?) creation, the creation of life? This might be within our reach? Will we, humans, finally ascend the throne, and become divine? Creators, ourselves, of human life?
The main plot of Do Androids… follows Rick Deckard, a bounty hunter who is faced with killing (”retiring”) six escaped Nexus-6 model androids, while a secondary plot follows John Isidore, a man of sub-par IQ who aids the fugitive androids. In connection with Deckard’s mission, the novel explores the issue of what it is to be human. Unlike humans, the androids are claimed to possess no sense of empathy.
In the book we meet a world where a final, apocalyptic, world war has killed millions, driving entire species into extinction and sending the majority of mankind off-planet. Those who remain, venerate all remaining examples of life, and owning an animal of your own is both a symbol of status and a necessity. For those who can’t afford an authentic animal, companies build incredibly realistic simulacrae: horses, birds, cats, sheep . . . even humans.
Klaus Benesch writes about Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? primarily in connection with the psychologist Lacan essay who writes about something he calls the ”mirror stage”.Lacan claims that the formation and reassurance of the self depends on the construction of an Other through imagery, beginning with a double as seen in the mirror.
The androids, Benesch argues, perform a doubling function similar to the mirror image of the self, but they do this on a social, not individual, scale. Therefore, human anxiety about androids expresses uncertainty about human identity and society. Beseech puts an emphasis on the body to illustrate the shape of human anxiety about an android Other. The debate over distinctions between human and machine usually fail to acknowledge the presence of the body: ”If machines are invariably contrived as technological prostheses that are designed to amplify the physical faculties of the body, they are also built, according to this logic, to outdo, to surpass the human in the sphere of physicality altogether”.
- Will we be able to build human-like robots?
- What would the major risks and rewards be for human civilization?
- Will they outperform us in the workplace, in social life, in our emotional life? What will be the consequences of advanced social robots customized to our needs, to society and to the individual?
- Can a robot have a soul? Can it have human value?
Summarize your thoughts and post as a comment.