Monday, October 6, 2008

Assignment 3 - Option 1

In Dick’s novel “Do Androids Dream of Electronic Sheep?” technology plays an enormous part in how the world gets shaped for people such as Rick Deckard and J.R. Isodore. Representation, as we defined in class, is “the representation of an event or series of events”. Technology was the driving force in the decimation of the world due to World War Terminus and had many other impacts on everyone’s lives.

To me representation means how the author relates technology to the events that have happened in the book. In “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?” Dick shows a destroyed Earth, mainly due to the use of technology. “In a giant, empty, decaying building which had at once housed thousands, a single TV set hawked its wares to an uninhabited room” (13).It is plain to see that the desolate terrain of the Earth is due to a nuclear war that had erupted between the United States, with help from the Rand Corporation, and other nations around the world. This nuclear winter has caused the Earth to be covered in a radioactive dust that everyone now has to seek shelter from. Technology also played a huge part in the social standings of many people that still inhabited the Earth.

With all the new technology available in the new world a caste system came along with it. During this time many corporations, such as the Rosen Corporation, have been developing androids to live alongside humans. These androids are seen as the lowest of the low. “The TV set shouted, ‘—duplicates of the halcyon days of the pre-Civil War Southern states! Either as a body servants or tireless field hands, the custom-tailored humanoid robot-designed specifically for YOUR UNIQUE NEEDS, FOR YOU AND YOU ALONE—given to you on your arrival absolutely free, equipped fully, as specified by you before your departure to Earth’” (15). This quote shows that the androids were given away to everyone, no matter how much money you had or your social standing before you emigrated. However, if you were a “chickenhead” or special you were almost on the level of these androids. The technology of being able to emigrate to Mars had left many specials stuck on the destroyed Earth. People like Isodore, who seems to be less developed to everyone else, are labeled as chickenheads when they are actually very smart. Even though his book was written in the 1960s there are a lot of similarities in life today.

With the current threat of terrorism and WMD’s a nuclear winter is looking like a grave possibility. While there may not be androids present in today’s world there is a strong possibility that they could be introduced. There are many forms of artificial intelligence around today, whether it is robots putting together products or simple machines being controlled by humans. You never really know how the future would end up but considering the way we are going I believe Dick’s book is a good prediction, maybe not in the year 2021 but later down the line.

1 comment:

Adam Johns said...

You're taking our definition of narrative and calling it representation, which is kind of weird.

"To me representation means how the author relates technology to the events that have happened in the book." -- why? This seems like an interesting take, but I don't really understand it; it deserved an explanation.

The difficulties of this paper emerge naturally from the fact that you don't really seem to get the prompt, and even after defining representation in your own way, you don't really design a thesis around it. Most of the rest of the paper reads as a summary of certain aspects of the novel, which kind of - but not exactly - zoom in on the social commentary within it. At the end of the day, even if you're beginnning to get more focused at the end, this is mostly summarization, without a clear argument or much of a relationship to the prompt.