Wednesday, February 7, 2007

Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?

The was an excellent novel that moved along at a steady pace. It made me question some things, such as how dependent humans are on technology already and how much more dependent we could become. I found that using an emotion machine to generate different feelings to be scary and a bit confusing. First of all, how would that type of machine really make the humans different from the androids? To me, the machine makes a process out of feeling emotions, just as the androids had to think logically about things to figure out what feelings they may have. Such as, when Rachel was going on about how she felt for the other androids and how it must be empathy towards them. She had to think logically and follow a certain process to come to that conclusion. This is similar to how humans in this novel have to think about what they want to/need to feel before dialing it on the emotion machine.
I was confused about how the androids were made of biological parts-yet scientists had not yet found a way to have cell regrowth. How would this be possible-there is no way that enough human parts are lying around for the number of androids that are built.
I did like how Philip K. Dick made the reader question who Methodises really was. Although it seems as though the androids, especially the tv personal, proved that he was in fact an old time actor, they are a couple of spots where both J.R. and Rick seem to have an encounter with him. On the other hand, Dick makes that conclusion hard to buy because J.R. is known to have had hallucination's in the past and also because he is deemed a 'special' due to his brain being fried. When Rick encounter Methodises, he is under a lot of stress, which could be a cause for the hallucination. Plus, in the end, Rick believes that he and Methodises are the same person for a while and it is not clear if he ever really came to the conclusion that he is just Rick.
Finally, the last thing that struck me is the fact that the androids seemed to be enslaved by humans. It is as if the humans are so dependent on technology, they no longer wish to do any menial labor or any other job deemed beneath them, thus employing the androids to do it for them.
Overall, I did enjoy this novel. It caused the readers to think how like androids were to humans at this time and how dependent the humans became on technology.

**Note, this was done on Monday originally. This is the draft that was saved thanks to this site :D.


Kirk said...

Amanda, first just a quick question. Who is "Methodises"? It seems as though you are refering to Mercer unless I missed something in the reading.

Second, yes as we talked about in class yesterday, Dick's work does blur the line between what is human and what is not, i.e. the androids. But as you also point out Rick, Iran and the other characters are very much dependent on technology in their lives. Which I would contend that we are now just as well. Since humanity first starting coming up with tools and machines we have become more and more dependent on them. Even now as I type this response on my computer, which is connected to the internet, using electricty, in a home that has water lines and all sorts of manufactured devices, such as a furnace so that I can stay comfortably warm while I write this.

Where would we be as a culture without technology?

In a sense I would say that we are dependant now on technology. But I would disagree with your assessment in Dick's novel that "it is as if the humans are so dependent on technology, they no longer wish to do any menial labor or any other job deemed beneath them" since because of the androids physicall and intellectuall capabilities we could literally have them do everything. Of course in the novel we only see a glimpse of life on earth and not how things are on the colony planet (Mars I think it is). But as the professor has pointed out where would the blind person be without their cane. Which is just another way of refrasing were would I (substitute yourself here for "I") be without technology item "X" (substitute any item you wish here, e.g. car, phone, electricity, computer, etc.).

We are, as we are finding out in this course, already a cyborg, techonlogically dependant species.

The question then may not be so much how we got here as were do we go from here? And your post brings out some of the questions that we will and should ask in this regards.

Amanda said...

Yes, sorry about that. Methodises is Mercer. I have trouble copying things from one place to another.