Simulacrum and the Threat of Androids Essay

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Simulacrum and The Threat of Androids

Phillip K Dick’s novel Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep extrapolates from the computer and consumption-obsessed culture of 20th century America. Technology and technological manners of reproduction create a dystopian world where humans increasingly rely on machines to replace a world destroyed through nuclear war and loss of natural resources. With all organic matter on the planet racing towards extinction, the future world of DADOES becomes a simulacrum of reality created through screens, machines, robots, and other technologies. In this dystopian world, human culture has devalued emotions and empathy, instead turning towards mechanical modes of interactions through their hyper-reality. The androids hunted by Deckard are a product of this procession of simulacra; they were born from the hyper-reality created in the absence of morality and empathy. Deckard’s struggle with the morality of being a bounty hunter is actually the larger struggle of humanity to reclaim the real from the hyper-real. Though bounty hunters are not actually killing humans, the android creatures are so real as to have the same affect on their murderers; by brutally killing these humanoid androids, humanity is still engaged in the amoral simulacrum of the world. The utter futility of this gesture of resistance resonates within the novel and is reflected in the dystopia within which the characters function.

This world of hyper-reality functions without emotions or empathy: in this corporate controlled, cyber-punk future world, morality has mostly been taken out of the picture. World War Terminus illustrates this as the logic behind the use of nuclear weapons can only be carried out when morality is no longer an issue, and empathy is not present. That corporations are so in control of the world is another way in which the hyper-reality functions outside of empathy and morality; capitalism as a system uses only the logic of the markets to function. The procession of simulacra operate with logic and functionality, leaving no room for emotions or morality.

The androids created by the Rosen Corporation were originally more rudimentary, however they evolved subsequent generations until they came out with the Nexus 6 advanced model (17). The specs on the Nexus 6 show that they could be “equipped with an intelligence greater than that of many human beings” (15). The android Luba Luft was able to infiltrate the ranks of the best opera stars through her vocal virtuosity, even Deckard was left impressed: “it rated with that of the best, even that of notables in his collection of historic tapes” (36). Luba Luft’s ability to surpass the human vocal cords marks the…