Thursday, October 18, 2012
Basis for my book.
Data from “Star Trek”, Johnny 5 from Short Circuit, Andrew from The Positronic Man (Bicentennial Man), the Cylons from “Battlestar Galactica”, the replicants in Blade Runner, The Terminator, Transformers, KITT from “Knight Rider”, and even WALL-E and EVE exhibit that spark that could be acknowledged as a soul. Edward Scissorhands can even fall into this group. The list goes on and on; there are so many stories that we’re familiar with that examine the conjecture and supposition of what it means to be human.
We are fascinated with projecting human-like qualities onto machines. We love to imagine that somehow, by our own hand, we could cultivate an intelligent, sentient being that exhibits kindred traits. We are intrigued by the potential for growth beyond one’s programmed parameters, the ability to reason and ruminate beyond simple automation.
In Amaranthine, I wanted to explore this theme from the opposite direction. Instead of a machine longing to understand and experience the spirit of humankind (the essence we take for granted), I wanted to speculate the consequences of a person’s humanity being stripped away. What sorts of limitations would be imposed? How would the technological superiority affect our emotions and perceptions? Which of our hard-wired needs would we have to sacrifice in exchange for these modifications? In the transition from the biological to the mechanical, what would we lose and what would we gain? Would the enhancements be for the better or for the worse?
The marriage of man and machine is certain; we see it today with synthetic organs, myoelectric prosthetics, pacemakers, and even brain implants to help the vision-impaired.
But what would happen if one’s body was entirely artificial?