Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Let's Talk About Androids



Androids are all over the popular culture right now. Sometimes they're called synths or replicants or whatever- but they're basically designed to look and act like a human. Most of the stories about androids explore whether they should be treated as humans or if they're just machines.  

Can an android have feelings? If there are no feelings or sense of "self" is it just a machine? But once feelings are involved- once an android  can make decisions based on feelings or self awareness  does an android warrant consideration as a persons? 

And then there are the practical considerations of having one. Would you want an android? If someone is alone or elderly would they be a good companion? And would you be comfortable going to sleep knowing they're there? 




Do you have a favorite book or movie dealing with androids? Here are a few I think are good. 

Ex Machina is the best android movie I've seen in a while, it's very moody and atmospheric and explores whether an artificial life form such as an android should have the same rights as a person- or any rights. Alicia Vikander portrays Ava, the android in question, and the film also stars Domhnall Gleeson and Oscar Isaac (both of whom were in Star Wars The Force Awakens). Their roles in this movie are very different to say the least. 

 

Blade Runner of course is a classic and while it's not my favorite movie, I do like the visual effects and the rainy, neon lit dystopia that it represents. I think the story gets a little weird but I was fascinated by the replicants that are hunted by the police for the crime of existing and wanting more life. 



Humans is a show on AMC/ Channel 4 that explores all these themes as well. Set in the near future where synths are available for house hold tasks (and even sex) it of course becomes apparent that some of them have feelings.  

Image result for humans amc

You can have a look at the user guide for a Synth here. 

21 comments:

  1. I don't know if I'd want an android for myself right now. Maybe as you said - when I'm old and can't do things by myself? I have to admit that even self-steering cars kind of creep me out and though I know humans actually make more mistakes than machines, I feel better if I know there's a living, breathing person controlling the machines in the end.

    But androids would be crazy useful - not just at home but in space, in rescue missions and such. So I'm all for science, you know, as long as androids don't really think for themselves. :)

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    1. I think I'm with you. Not sure I'd want one now- but yes for older folks I think it might actually be helpful. I'd prefer people be in charge of the machines too. :)

      I think it's that thinking for themselves bit that's a little scary.

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  2. I think in reality the whole android thing would seriously creep me out. I've seen enough movies to know that an android can go really wrong. I do like the idea of an android for someone who isn't quite able to live by themselves.
    Normally androids in fiction aren't my thing but I just read and loved Cinder so I'm all about them now!

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    1. Yeah same here. Too much can go wrong as books and movies like to show us ha ha. I didn't know Cinder was about an android, although I guess I should have judging by the cover. Guess I never though of it...

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  3. I don't think I'd want an android...or even for them to become too common. They kind of freak me out because of how complex and morally ambiguous they can become, when you factor in if they can feel or not. I do like reading/watching books/shows/movies about them though. An old guilty pleasure is I, Robot and Terminator XD And I'm a huge fan of The Lunar Chronicles as well ♥

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    1. Agree. I think if an android was thinking or feeling for itself, that might be just a little too dangerous. :)

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  4. I agree with the other commentators, I find androids to be really creepy. I think it's the fact that it resembles a human but isn't one is what is really unnerving. Great discussion!

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  5. Ex Machina looks fantastic and I've heard a lot of great things about it. Blade Runner is such a classic. I hadn't heard of Humans before but it looks intriguing. :)

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  6. I've watched the first couple of episodes of Humans. I found it interesting but have not gone on to the rest of the season yet. I haven't seen many movies with this theme.

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  7. The idea of real life androids with emotion and all that is so far off and unreal to me that I tend to think of it more as fantasy than sci-fi (not in terms of genre, but just, like, in terms of realism). So I guess I never give real thought to this topic. But if they did have feelings, that would definitely warrant treating them like people, in my opinion.

    However, I don't think I'd want one. I agree with the other commenters that it would creep me out, and being able to make decisions on their own and execute very human tasks like opening doors and walking into rooms but being a lot more indestructible than us would be terrifying!

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    1. I think they definitely have to have rights like people if they had feelings/ emotions. And if that were the case I'm not sure I'd want one either. If not though I might get one lol. They could be useful- guard the house, fix the car, etc. Although I guess that would be more a robot than an android.

      Alex and Ada kinda explored that- the guy got one and didn't want it (it was a gift) but after activating it he didn't like that it was just a machine. He wanted it to have thoughts and desires of its own, and of course everything got fun when she did. :)

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  8. Ex Machina was a really good movie. My favorite android show was the newer Battlestar Galactica show. Man it was so good. I had a serious addiction to it and just wanted it to never end.

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    1. I never saw that. I did like Ex Machina though, totally agree there.

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  9. I like the show Humans, and I'm glad there will be a 2nd season. Hell yeah, I'd want one. It would be my bestest friend. :D

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    1. Me too. And yeah I'll take one. lol

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  11. I didn't know that's what Humans was about. The name made me think of Being Human, which was urban fantasy, so I never even looked into it. Now I'm going to have to.

    My experience with androids in movies can be mostly summed up with the words: I, Robot with Will Smith. So, maybe the movie isn't spectacular, but I thought it was a lot of fun. I've thought more than once I should read the book, too, but I've just not gotten there. As for actually having an android - I think it would be awesome! But also, I'd never quite shake the feeling that they want to kill all humans and exist without us. (Of course, it kind of makes me wonder WHY I'd still want one!)

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  12. I had to go look at the user guide for Synths - pretty hilarious that it exists! I think I'll check the show out now. I don't know how I'd feel about actually owning an android - it would be interesting, that's for sure!

    Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction

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  13. Blade Runner is a fave of mine. I loved A.I. Artificial Intelligence. I think that movie explored the robot rights issue extremely well. It also made me snot cry more than once. Oh, and Bicentennial Man! I adored that movie, too. I explored the robot tights issue, also. I have not seen Ex Machina. Yet. It has been recommended to make several times by friends, and my nephew. My son won't watch movies or TV programs with realistic robots. The whole idea scares him. He says robots are only okay if they are small enough to kick across the room. Ha! I would like a companion robot, but not one that looks human. I would love one like Teddy from the A.I. movie. Plus, it would be okay with my son because it would be small enough to kick across the room. :D

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    1. And the Twilight Zone episode titled The Lonely. I think that is my earliest memory of seeing a human looking android.

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  14. I think having one in my house would make me very uncomfortable but I suppose they would be wonderful at all the jobs we don't want to do.

    Blade Runner was so underrated the first time I saw it many years ago, I am so glad it gets the recognition it deserves now. Rutger Hauer in that scared me to death.

    The cylons like 6 in BSG also freaked me a little, I would rather have an obvious robot than a cyborg.

    Oh but just remembering the android/cyborg dude in Aliens whose name I have forgotten, he was cool, I could live with him!

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