Technology spontaneously approaching humanity with
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technology spontaneously approaching humanity with the passag
Technology Spontaneously Approaching ‘Humanity’ with the Passage of Time
By Avner Erez
Tel Aviv University , Department of Film & Television
Tools once helped early man increase his survivability, and they became more and more useful as means to achieve our goals. Today, innovations in technology have allowed us to fabricate tools of increasing complexity. As we recognize that the most effective tools have human characteristics, such as a computer capable of learning, we will give our tools these characteristics. If technological innovations continue, we could actually create tools that are human, or at least beings that challenge how we define being ‘human.’ Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner and James Cameron’s Terminator 2 offer two particular scenarios of futures in which the state of technology gives us the ability to do “questionable things.” As we give our machines selected human characteristics to make them more efficient, they will tend to discover humanity in their own unique way, rising above their ‘specifications’ to actually become human.
By definition, tools are designed specifically for certain tasks, and as technological tools, the T800 and the replicant are deigned to meet specific specifications. In Terminator 2, the T800 is a multipurpose cyborg assigned to save John Connor, given a series of “mission parameters,” initially characterized by his computer logic. He often advises John based on permutations of the T1000’s next move, similar to the way a chess computer decides what move to make next. Just as the T800 is designed to perform solely as a unemotional computer, the ‘replicants’ in Blade Runner are designed to work in slavery without protest. Since it’s remarked in Blade Runner that humans develop emotions by existing for a period of time, it is predicted that replicants could not develop emotions in their four year life span. So it’s easy for the society in Blade Runner to equate replicants with machines, indicated so politically by the term ‘retirement.’ As in Terminator 2, these manufactured beings are intended to parallel humans only in efficiency and effectiveness, not in emotion. Similar in practice to how we solve problems, the T800 is a learning computer, designed to carry out its objectives dynamically. The Nexus 6 generation of replicants simulates human intelligence by actually using a human brain, taking advantage of the human brain’s innate intelligence and ingenuity. Both the T800s and replicants were designed to carry out prescribed functions, like any other machines, enhanced by their creators who foresaw the distinct performance advantages offered by the human abilities to learn and reason.
Their creators, however, did not anticipate these selected human characteristics to dynamically grow into other human characteristics. These films document how ‘human’ technology will always assume more human characteristics. They suggest that to be human is to reach some state of equilibrium. In other words, an entity initially bestowed with any combination of human related characteristics will spontaneously approach a more stable state through the passage of time, like a chemical system out of equilibrium. Just as we grow uniformly content through our venerable years, artificially created beings grow increasingly human with age. Roy, designed as a fierce “combat model,” has ironically grown to be a poetically rich man and draws our attention to the pertinent issues of Blade Runner by the elegant efficiency of his words.
Roy is an excellent case of ‘human’ technology spontaneously evolving to become truly human. His quest to extend his and his comrades’ lives shows that he well understands the richness of life. He relishes every moment of his life, and he makes tactful commentaries relating them to the irony of his present situation. “It’s not an easy thing to meet your maker,” Roy sardonically observes upon confronting Tyrell, prompting us to consider the implications of such a meeting between creator and created. Following Tyrell’s remark, “you’ve done extraordinary things,” Roy sarcastically replies, “nothing the god of biomechanics won’t let you in heaven for.” Roy, resentful that he is arguably less than human, is using tragic sarcasm to describe Tyrell receiving credit for Roy’s accomplishments, like the way an inventor receives credit for his invention’s accomplishments. Roy has become so deeply enriched with the feeling of being emotionally alive, he sees no better way to express the inexpressible poetically. In his final soliloquy atop a building in the
Topics Related to Technology spontaneously approaching humanity with
Biorobots in fiction, Blade Runner, Fictional secret agents and spies, Science fiction weapons, Time travelers, Replicant, Themes in Blade Runner, Terminator, Skynet, Cyborg, PARAM, Cameron