12 March, 2009

How to Build a Better Cyborg...

Cyborg manual
Originally uploaded by runran
A lot of my writing lately has either been about zombies or cybernetic beings, and the other day while I was writing down an idea I had for a future short story about androids, I started thinking about some of the best stories ever written about cybernetic beings/androids.

The funny thing is they all seem to call into question the same issues. Phillip K. Dick's "Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep," has an elite model of android that blends in perfectly with mankind, but mankind still feels the need to wipe it out, while the androids just want to live a better life.

First and foremost, why on earth would mankind create cybernetic beings that LOOK and ACT just like mankind? Beings that could infiltrate the ranks of humanity undetected, live among us...

Then I thought about the movie AI, one of the most moving films about artificial intelligence that I have ever seen, and I realized that if we created things that were like people, that is probably exactly how we would treat them. We would make them as real as we could, so they were just like human beings, and then we would demoralize them and use them for circus entertainment and target practice.

Which, of course, is probably what prompted the cylons of Battlestar Galactica to retaliate against and attempt to annihilate their inhumane, human masters. So that brought me back to my original thought. Why would we create something like that if we were only planning to be cruel to it all along?

The short story that I will have featured in the upcoming issue of eMuse speculates on the above, basically posing the question, "If mankind could create a pseudo mankind to take his aggression out on without the guilt, would he do it, and would it be guiltless? In abusing a replication of mankind, is he not abusing mankind?"

What do you think? Is the portrayal of mankind in these types of stories a prelude of things to come? Will we one day create beings so real that they are indistinguishable from their creators only to treat them like crap?

Anyway, back to the keyboard. I'm thinking of clever ways to combine zombies and cyborgs... should make for some whacky horror/science fiction.


Helen Ginger said...

Way too deep for this early in the morning. I do think you bring up some good points, though. And it's actually something we should be thinking about. Won't happen, I don't think, in my lifetime, but it may be an issue in the future.


Bunny said...

Out of lack for better places to put this. I just wanted to let you how how much I totally enjoy reading your blog, and even happier that you are my friend!


Morgan Mandel said...

And then we have the movies where the cyborgs cross over the line and think and act like real people so we can feel sorry for them.

Morgan Mandel