Karen Salmansohn once said, “If you don’t pay attention to the signs, you’ll end up in the wrong direction.” Philip K. Dick is using the book Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep to warn the people about how artificial intelligence will eventually take over the world. In Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep, the author Philip K. Dick believes that marketing will eventually lead humans to want more and more things, humans will want to clone themselves and alter their DNA, and humans will lose themselves in the virtual world.
Even though there may be a variety of things that Dick was trying to warn us about, the main warning was about artificial intelligence. Throughout the book, the reader is able to get a look into the world of what it would be like to watch artificial intelligence take over the world. As the book unfolds Dick presents the reader with two main questions: “What is human?” and “What is an android?” As the book goes on, the reader is able to identify, who is actually human and who is an android. Throughout the book, Rick Deckard is trying to find six state of the art androids and “retire” them. Most of the androids that he has to retire have a job and disguise themselves as a human being. Philip K. Dick is warning the reader about artificial intelligence and how eventually they will blend in with the humans and become one.
The second idea that Dick is trying to warn us about is that marketing will eventually lead humans to want more things than they actually need. In a way, Philip K. Dick was right about how marketing will lead humans to wanting things that they don’t need. Marketing also makes people think they need things that they actually don't need. In the book, there any many hints that a company is turning technology against a population in order to sell a product that they don’t need. One main example is that people are sold robotic animals as a way to show their status of being able to afford an item that most people aren't able to afford. In our world today, humans are engulfed into the world of marketing where they think they want to buy things that they probably can’t afford or even something that they don’t need.
The third idea that Dick was trying to warn us about was that humans will eventually want to clone themselves and alter their DNA. In the book, the androids may not be “clones” of humans but the androids are imitating humans and acting like humans would so they don’t get caught and “retired.” Even though this has not happened yet, Dick believed that this event will eventually occur in our lifetime. Cloning has started happening but many attempts have failed to clone the animal. Scientists are able to clone animals but not humans yet, they still have yet to master the cloning process yet. Some clones can be considered the androids but some other clones can be the animals. At the beginning of the book, Deckard shows his neighbor that his sheep is fake, but it wasn't always like that. “I had a real sheep, originally. Sheep get strange diseases. Or put another way, sheep get lots of diseases but the symptoms are always the same; the sheep can't get up and there's no way to tell how serious it is, whether its a sprained leg or the animal dying of tetanus. That's what mine died of: tetanus. I thought about it, and finally called one of those shops that manufactures artificial animals and they made this.” Cloning can happen in many different ways and Dick was right about warning the reader of cloning.
The fourth idea that Dick was trying to warn us about was humans will lose themselves in the virtual world. Humans have already started losing themselves in the world of technology and the virtual world. Dick imagined a world in Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep where many people used a thing called “Empathy Box.” The Empathy Box links people into a collective consciousness based on the suffering of Wilbur Mercer. Mercer is a man who walks up a mountain while stones are being thrown at him, the users share the pain with him and even have marks after the “journey.” Many people in Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep have an empathy box and use this box to connect with Mercer. A mood organ is also used at the beginning of the book to allow humans to dial in the mood that they would like to feel. Rick Deckard’s wife feels she needs to have the feeling of depression, so one day she dials depression. “My schedule for today lists a six-hour self-accusatory depression.” Many companies today are making virtual realities and allowing people to imagine what it’s like to spacewalk. With phones, many humans today are seen all their cellphones all the time. For many teenagers, cell phones are their lifelines and they aren’t able to live without them. Technology and the virtual reality world has sucked people in to want more and more. Dick’s dream may not have happened yet, but for all people know it could be a couple years away.
Philip K. Dick used Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep to warn people of what he believes could happen in the future. Just like in life, many people miss the signs that are being thrown at you. If you ignore the signs, you will eventually end up in the wrong direction. Many writers are trying to warn their readers of what they believe could happen in the future and many of the readers ignore the signs. If humans ignore the signs that are being pointed in the right direction, they will end up on the wrong path. Philip K. Dick is warning his readers about how artificial intelligence will eventually take over the human world, marketing will eventually lead humans to want more and more things, humans will want to clone themselves and alter their DNA, and humans will lose themselves in the virtual world. All of these predictions have already started happening and many of us have ignored the signs that Dick has given the world. Dick’s predictions can be wrong but they are certainly close to happening in our world today.