Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?

 

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.

 

Criticism

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”.

 

Discuss

  • 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.

5 reaktioner till “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?”

  1. Will we be able to build human-like robots?
    We can already create robots that look like and act in someways like a humanoid, but they can never become a human due to a few reasons. Firstly is that every situation is difference, there’s no right or wrong answer that a programme can follow, humans aren’t logical , we are emotional creatures that act after we feel. The second reasons would be the so called Uncanny Valley. When robots are in the making they’re trying to be perfect which the human eye can spot, because nobody is perfect we are all bad and imperfect in out ways.

    https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/1/10/Mori_Uncanny_Valley_sv.svg

    What would the major risks and rewards be for human civilization?
    ​Everything would be more effective than a man that constantly makes mistakes which impacts the time and money we spend. A society which only consists of robots would be the most efficient way of living. There’s no risk really because humans will always outsmart the robots.

    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?
    Yes they will. The biggest impact would be that people won’t have jobs and no money to spend. The society would have to become money- independent

    Can a robot have a soul? Can it have human value?
    ​A soul is a very abstract thing, that we think don’t exist. This applies to robots too. The ”soul” is what we think and what we link and what we prioritize in different situation and a robot can not be that smart.

    Gilla

  2. Will we be able to build human-like robots?

    We believe that you can make them look the same but not make them the same on a biological level. We can program them to act like us, but not be the exact same, since they won’t bo through the same emotional evolution as us.

    What would the major risks and rewards be for human civilization?

    Robots that replace humans in an unsafe workplace would allow us to not do said dangerous job, keeping us safer.

    Another risk would be the constant fear felt by humans. Humans would feel threatened for various reasons.

    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?

    There is a bigger chance of them outperforming us in the workplace, and some cases social life, than emotional life. They might be able to fill a void and remove loneliness. But then again, are you alone when you are the only thing in an empty room or when there is no one to talk to in said room?

    Can a robot have a soul? Can it have human value?

    Since the soul is hard to define and seen as something simple but complex, we do not believe a robot could have a soul. It could have a copy of human value, but could not have THE human value.

    Gilla

  3. Yes we will be abel to make human-like robots. Living would be easier but unemployment would go through the roof. Yes they will outperform us in the workplace, in social life, in our emotional life. Either we would loose our sense of purpose or we would pursue a new purpose like art etc.

    Gilla

  4. 1. Yes, maybe not during the current century but sometime in the near future the possibility is great.
    2. The risks would be that if they have a higher average IQ then us humans, they could definitely outsmart us and be the ruling species on this planet. The rewards would be that you wouldn’t have to the heavy carrying of stuff.
    3. They would’ve outperformed us in workplaces because they won’t get tired over the time of working and would get much more done than us humans would which will have a negative effect on some people because the robots would take over the jobs leaving people unemployed. The social life is a difficult thing to know, we now that they would be intelligent but social life is based on experience and one person could not decide something that is funny or interest every different types of human. The emotional part is possible, maybe the robot would support you during ruff times or when you’re sad, angry or stressed but maybe not show love.
    4. No, us humans have no real knowledge of a soul, if it exists or if it’s able to be created. All robots or machines created by humans won’t have a human value, it is created by humans to help them and make life easier for them. It’s almost the same as saying that a car is a human.

    Gilla

  5. 1. We will be able to build a human-like robot because we have the technology to do it. But, the problem is the power. If we can get more power somehow there’s still a chance to build a human-like robot.

    2. The major rewards for the human civilization is that the robot can do things to us, like for instance shopping. And the major risks could be for instance we can be lazy or having a war against the robots.

    3. The robots will outperform us very well in workplaces because they will not get tired and has more energy than us. But, the disadvantage is that we people can become unemployed. * We didn’t have much time to complete the question because we discussed with the whole class instead*

    4. No, robot can’t have a soul because we believe that they can’t have. It can otherwise have human values because we can program them like humans.

    By Aaron, Axel, Robert, Johan

    Gilla

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