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