December 12th, 2001, 04:28 PM
*Can* androids dream of electric sheep?
I was just re-reading Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? by Philip K. Dick, and I was wondering what others thought of how it portrays androids. (Yes, this is the basis for the movie Bladerunner, but the book is very, VERY different.) Rick Deckard, the bounty hunter in the book, uses an empathy test to distinguish between androids and humans, because presumably androids do not have emotions or the ability to empathize with others (android or human.) However, in the caseof many of the androids, the book shows that they have emotions: they escape Mars because they are lonely, they form close relationships among themselves and with humans, they fight for their survival, they fear detection on Earth, they question their existence as individuals, and (arguably) own pets.
Is Dick trying to say that androids can have genuine emotions and relationships, or is he just contradicting himself?
Does the advancement of the manufacture of androids in the novel foretell their inevitable assimilation into mankind; that eventually, machines will so similar to humans as to be indistinguishable?
Is the lack of empathy in Dick's androids solely because they are treated as inferiors and outsiders by humans?
Can androids dream (want, crave, need, whatever you want to call it) of electric sheep (acceptance, individual identity, empathy, whatever you want to call it)?
Ohhh, the possiblities.
December 13th, 2001, 04:04 AM
Possibly he contrasts the empathy of the androids with the lack of empathy in some of the humans. Even Deckerd.
December 14th, 2001, 02:47 AM
I think the thing with the Voight-Kampff test, if that's what it's called (it's been a while since I read the book) is that whilst the replicants may actually have emotion, they don't show physical signs of it.
I really should go and re-read the book, however, so that I actually know what I'm talking about.
December 18th, 2001, 01:30 AM
Do androids dream of me? I doubt it. But if they were programmed to care about their appearance and give themselves their own style I don't think it would be long before their little microchips will start making connections with desires...
And they would have to be programmed to care about their environment and humans to function responsibly and pick up the nuances of human speech. How far is that away from empathy? A damn sight more dependable, probably.
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