Empires rise and fall like the tides. Days pass, months, years, millennia, and we fade away into the continual turn of the universe like our short lives were nothing. That’s not it, though. Every second of every day we are alive, we define what it is to be human. Whether it’s by singing opera, self-realization, shoving animals off roofs, or a thousand other weird things, the definition of human constantly shifts to fit the mould we make. Humans are complex, fickle beings driven by a million different emotions and motives; literature like Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep helps define what “human” really means.
Don’t get me started on AI Theory. Actually, do; I could write an essay on it. Here’s proof. A true AI (Artificial Intelligence) is a sentient, man-created machine; an entity that makes its own ideas and decisions, and in theory could even feel some semblance of human-like emotion. You’ve probably never seen Red vs Blue, and I wouldn’t recommend it unless you have a very specific (read: raunchy) sense of humor and a high tolerance for bad graphics, but it’s a surprisingly deep show. One of the main characters is a guy named Church, who ends up being not a guy, but a very advanced AI in a suit of armor who thought he was a guy. In fact, he and his friends were so convinced that he was human that they said Church (now a tiny floating hologram) was just a really annoying ghost. This may seem like a dumb example, but there is a point; when I say human, I mean one of two things. “Human” as in the species, or “human” as in someone who experiences l emotion and complex thought. Someone who has varying passions and quirks. Someone alive. Church was alive, and the androids in Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep were alive, just as you and I are alive. We all make art and poetry and have foods we like more than others. This, and a million other things, makes us human. Church was a completely different person than his creator, even though he had the same memories as the man. He was independent. He felt love for Tex, anger at the evil dude who made him, camaraderie with his team of idiots. Not just the memory of emotions; his own, that he made. Ones and zeroes or not, Church was both an AI and a human.
Likewise, if Church can be defined as human, then why can’t the androids in DADES? They may be a little low on empathy, but they cry and sing and love just like humans do. They were sentient enough to rebel against their human owners and come to Earth in search of a better life. Rachel Rosen and Luba Luft show their humanity the most acutely in the novel. Rachel shoves Rick’s sheep off the roof- I’m sure there is some significance or symbolism to this act, I just don’t know what exactly that is yet- and this shows that she is either, mad, petty, or proving a point, all of which are fairly human traits.
The androids in DADES want to live human lives, the toasters (Cylons) in Battlestar Galactica believe in God, the Omnics in Overwatch shut off their killer programming so that they can hold bluebirds, Ava the AI from Ex Machina tricks a guy into falling in love with her so she can escape the bunker she was created in, Claptrap from Borderlands is both over enthusiastic and severely depressed, and Sonny from I, Robot dreams. The capability of non-human beings to be human in their own way is shown all throughout literature, in a way that goes beyond simple personification.
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