I watched Blade Runner tonight, which I was sort of interested in seeing because a group of people watched it a few weeks ago in the basement of Queen Anne’s. I walked in about three-quarters of the way through, so I didn’t know what was going on then.
In the movie, there are a group of robot-like creatures called replicants. They look like humans but lack emotion and empathy. They’re not allowed on Earth; instead, they are only to be used for work on the off-world colonies. However, some of them try to hide on Earth, and so a group of policemen called blade runners work to track them down.
The plot centers on the idea of separating the humans from the replicants, ultimately leaving the audience with two questions: what exactly are humans anyway, and how are robots or replicants any different from them? Is there a difference?
We’ve discussed the question in DCC before, and we decided that the difference is that humans are autonomous and can express emotions or feelings. In the movie, however, the replicants were essentially autonomous, and some experimental replicants were given false memory implants, which would help them to act more like humans.
I think people really overthink the whole robots debate. They are as intelligent as we make them. If we don’t experiment with giving them false memory implants or similar abilities, we won’t have to worry about them being an issue. I think robots should only be used to do things that humans are physically incapable of performing on their own; we should never try to make them be anything more than that.