29 October 2007

Do Android's Dream...

The first Philip K Dick novel I've finished. I saw A Scanner Darkly last summer and really liked the movie and bought the book this past spring, probably about the time we were planning our move. I seriously read all but maybe the last 20 pages and packed it, so now it is in a box somewhere all but finished.

I have never seen Blade Runner straight through but it is one of those that i've basically seen, in a 20 mins here, 15 mins there and the story synopsis is every where kind of way. I liked it and do intend to search out more by the author.

Since it is a pretty well known story, i don't want to go over that bit again, i want to compare it to another robot novel i just read, The Caves of Steel by Asimov. I think Caves is a much more philisophically optimistic novel as a whole while Dream is more optimisitic about our technological progress but very pessimistic about humanity. R Daneel, the main robot character in Caves, comes off as a pretty good guy. He seems to feel a kinship with humans and does want to understand them and help them. Is this due to the 3 Rules in Asimov's universe? Rachel Rosen, the main robot we see in Dream, is from a far technically superior level (the police have to do bone marrow analysis on robots in this universe to verify that a dead body is a robot) but mentally seems very deficient, especially compared to R Daneel. The robots in this world are incapable of understanding empathy and don't care about humans, other robots, or life in general. My personal definition of empathy, vaguely Buddhist as it is, is the understanding that other things feel, and hurt, in the same way that i do. I would think that some level of this could be programmed into a robot, especially as it is mentioned they feel pain.

I was thinking of doing a rating system of some sort. haven't confirmed what i am wanting to do with that yet so i'll just say this was definitely worth the read.


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