Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Androids

I made it through some of this, though not quite as far as I wanted. I found it quite interesting that humanity would make robots of animals. What purpose would this serve? It isn't like humanity can make any use out of these robots. (By use I mean biological use, they could do work and other chores that could normally be done by them, but could you eat an electric cow?) Wouldn't it serve humanity better to raise those animals that are still alive? I guess this is a personal matter for me, because no matter how realistic an animal-robot is, it still isn't the real thing. I could write more on this, but I feel like I would just run around in a circle. The problem is making human androids, because if they are made to act like humans, what's to stop them from temptation? Beyond that, they are stronger than humans, and probably do not want to be trapped by humans (their 'kin' so to speak).

3 comments:

Spergs said...

I also have not made much headway in the novel, but I do agree with what you're saying in terms of robot animals. There are certain aspects of robotics that would make such a pet desirable, but on the other hand there are a number of aspects of a living being that are considerably more desirable to have present.

For example, a robotic pet of any sort wouldn't acquire any illness (other than a computer virus perhaps!). It could be programmed to sense emotions, guard the house, play, or any other programs. As far as we know, you could purchase expansion packs for your pet. However, you take away the joy of having a living, breathing animal beside you. I've grown up with cats, and I've noticed that they seem to be able to sense emotions on your own. I'm sure their heat and purring could be imitated by a machine/robot, but it wouldn't be like the real thing.

This also flows into the following debate: what makes something "alive?" Can a machine "live?" It's a debate that could take up a couple of class periods, to say the least...

Adam said...

That last comment was me. I was under my primary Google profile at the time, rather than my UWGB one. My apologies if it causes some confusion. >.<

Sarah said...

It is interesting how we kinda see this kind of thing today. A while back people were entralled with Tomagachis and Giga pets and watching them and "raising" them. More recently we see the surprising popularity with Nintendo DS's game Nintendogs where one has to raise a puppy of choice in the game and is given several options to do so. Also, there are fuzzy stuffed/electronic animals we can buy that can be commanded by controls or more recently by sounds or verbal instuction. Though many of these examples pertain to children toys we still see this fascination with the ability to care for something not real but resembling life. Maybe it's a curiosity of finding out if one is able to care for something that is a machine made by man; what are the posibilities of the technology one may ask. Maybe it will set an example if the person can do the task in real life. However strange it may seem, it is happening today, and in the world of Dick's novel, most of the people don't have the luxury of real pets to care for...they have what is the next best thing, and it happens to be electric, it's "setback." However, these animals are almost so real they are undistinguishable and the people get them to still have that satisfaction of caring for something because to them it is better than nothing at all (exluding the concept of human contact which is not always satisfying to some). Though I agree with Mike that no artificial animal could replace the real thing, for the people in the novel, it worked.