Asimov: “Robot Dreams”
Dick: Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?, chapters 1-6
notes & response:
-“I want to inspect the positronic brain pattern.”
-“Did she have a computer implanted in her skull? Or was it her brain which, for decades, had done nothing but devise, study, and analyze the positronic brain patterns? Did she grasp such a pattern the way Mozart grasped the notation of a symphony?”
-“The robot may prove too valuable to dismantle.”—“But how can it dream?”
-Acclimate, how?—We don’t acclimate, we dictate.
-“You’ve made a positronic brain pattern remarkably like that of a human brain. Human brains must dream to reorganize, to get rid, periodically, of knots and snarls. Perhaps so must this robot, and for the same reason.”
-Who’s supervising us…our biotechnicians?
– N. I. C. E.
(we are here for Totalitarian (the world is
the world) Tiptoe here for us)
-“I see things that have no connection with what I conceive of as reality. I hear things. I react oddly. In searching my vocabulary for words to express what was happening, I came across the word ‘dream.’ Studying its meaning I finally came to the conclusion I was dreaming.”—“How did you come to have ‘dream’ in your vocabulary, I wonder.”
-“Instead of saving, so we could buy a real sheep, to replace that fake electric one upstairs. A mere electric animal,…”
-“So I put it on my schedule for twice a month; I think that’s a reasonable amount of time to feel hopeless about everything, about staying here on Earth after everybody who’s small has emigrated, don’t you think?”
-“But a mood like that,” Rick said, “you’re apt to stay in it, not dial your way out. Despair like that, about total reality, is self-perpetuating.”
-To say, “Is your sheep genuine?” would be a worse breach of manners than to inquire whether a citizen’s teeth, hair, or internal organs would test out authentic.
-What would an “improved end” look like?
-Will human ingenuity eventually allow for the design of better walking/talking 3D versions of ourselves?
-“In connection with this a weapon of war, the Synthetic Freedom Fighter, had been modified; able to function on an alien world the humanoid robot—strictly speaking, the organic android—had become the mobile donkey engine of the colonization program.”
-Machines promise something like Ethical Slavery
Is it feasible to think of the robot as being too valuable to dismantle when “progress” seems to promote dependence on these mechanical beings? It’s an elegant notion to fathom a robotic being that’s capable of dreaming simply because it offers the opportunity for imagination and the imaginative complex [perhaps beyond one capability]. Therefore, as terrifying as it may be to consider, it would appear as though this suggests the development of these robotic machines approaching more of a hybrid, human condition. Could it then be argued that this is what makes us human—to dream [which I guess implies consciousness of some sort]? It seems appropriate to me. Perhaps this is where we have the opportunity to escape persecution or ethical slavery. This seems to be more apparent as the scientists provide more of the human condition for Elvex. The machine becomes more like man in that he can dream and create, and therefore knows what it means to feel as a result.