Friday, October 26, 2007

Graded Blog #8 - "I'm Human. I Swear."

I offer no excuse for this blog being late, but let me enumerate some of the realities I had to face this week. Organic Chemistry 2 Test, Organic Chemistry 2 Lab report, Societies Midterm, and Developmental Psychology Midterm. The typical human response would be empathy. Have some.

Can "human nature" be duplicated by machines and, if so, are humans then just a special sort of machine? This question brings up interesting ideas held in Do Androids dream of Electric Sheep and “The Girl who was plugged in” Primarily, they deal with concept of artificial life. Both pieces of literature question what it means to be human and imply with the technological future looming ahead of us comes the convergence of humanity and machine.
“A bounty hunter is a professional murderer who’s given a list of those [androids] he’s supposed to kill.” (Dick 129) Rick Deckard is a bounty hunter of the twenty-first-century; his job is to hunt down and kill androids. As staged in Dick's novel, the android inaugurates a crisis of subjectivity. Unfortunately for Deckard, androids aren’t the typical metallic personas one might see in television shows like “Futurama”; the androids are almost indiscernible from human beings. “Empathy toward an artificial construct? He asked himself. Something that only pretends to be alive? But Luba Luft had seemed genuinely alive; it had not worn the aspect of a simulation.” (Dick 123) The only difference between androids and humans is the androids lack of empathy for animals (Rick feels empathy for androids so he questions his humanity); yeah as ridiculous as that sounds, one can understand the ethical conundrum that Rick Deckard faces in his effort to assert his humanity. Rick Deckard represents the convergence of man and android thought. He conceives himself as, in fact, a non-self; as a being that amounts to no more than a sequence of embodied experiences.
The corporate control of existence and the response to establish a meaningful existence by Paul and P.Burke, link aesthetically to Phillip K. Dick and his implications through Rick Deckard. In “The Girl who was plugged in” P.Burke is representative of our collective ontology. P. Burke is an outcast. In her original and final form, Burke is "the ugly of the world" (Tiptree 45). Contingent with the idea of the non-self, she does actually worship the corporate gods and comes to love living in the luxury of society but Burke is merely an employee to make the corporation tool, Delphi, a profitable investment. GTX executives do not empathize with the likes of Burke. Mr. Cantle wonders to himself "what gutters do they drag for these Remotes" (Tiptree 52). Although born into the corporate hierarchy/family, Paul is as much an outsider as Burke. He's a revolutionary fighting against GTX with the corporation's own equipment, making shows "pregnant with social protest. And underground expression" (Tiptree 66).

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