Response to 9/27 reading and DVD

In response to the question on the cover of Philp Dick’s book “Do Androids Dream of Electronic Sheep” I will say a definite no because machines don’t think, and they don’t dream.  We can ascribe these terms anthropomorphically to coded processes that machines have embedded within, but will be fostering a false understanding of reality, which I think we have enough of going around.  Certainly there are people who can afford to indulge in false realities, virtual realities, and abstractions that leave evolving the real out of the loop.  However, most of the world’s people cannot afford this play.

 

Our machines can function heuristically, dynamically under novel situations following rule bases that have been programmed in.  The functioning of machines always says something about the builder of the machine, the level of intellectual progress of humanity.  However, there is a definite divide between human consciousness and mechanical processes that can never be bridged.  Even the notion of uploading and downloading human consciousness into a new hosting medium or receptacle is not a possibility.  Life is organic and consciousness is insuperable from its organic base.  As that organic base is subtracted, so is the consciousness.  A flower can remain fresh in appearance for only a while after it is separated from its roots.  The consciousness that enlivened the flower dissipated the moment the flower was plucked from its root; so too does the human consciousness. 

 

When I look at plausible science fiction like Blade Runner, Star Trek, and others, I try to ask myself these questions:

 

What does the show say about how we think of our present and predicted humanness?

What assumptions are made about our current and predicted relations to each other, the other or alien to ourselves?

How do we approach novel situations so as to expand our understanding thus further evolving our humanness?

 

So for example, in Philip Dick’s book, the androids were treated like slaves on the off-world colonies.  Some of them revolted to this arrangement.   This reminded me of the European and Arab enslavement of Africans and the revolt of Africans against enslavement.  This presentation made me wonder if humans, in their quest for domination, will nurture their quest to objectify, possess, and constrain other entities (Nature, Africans, animals, women) through robots.  I wondered for a moment if Philip Dick was asking us to reflect on the negative aspect of our human nature.  I think we do learn about our selves through our creations.  I think there is a danger in substituting artificial life and technologies for the real McCoy, human consciousness.  In reality, this can never be done so in thinking we can do this we are just promoting false realities and a deluded consciousness.  For some creating false realities, a deluded consciousness through abstracting, objectifying, possessing are means to the end of controlling others. 

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