Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?

An analysis of reality itself

Ed Noble
Thoughts And Ideas

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Photo by julien Tromeur on Unsplash

The 1968 science fiction novel Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? is known primarily for being the inspiration behind the 1982 film Blade Runner, and later its 2017 sequel Blade Runner 2049. Written by Philip K. Dick, it imagines a dystopian future in which a polluted atmosphere on Earth has led to emigrations to off-world colonies, as well as the creation of androids (servant robots identical to humans).

It is a number of these androids that the protagonist, Rick Deckard, is tasked with “retiring” (killing). These human replicas are identical to real humans in appearance, and Deckard has to carry out a test to determine whether they are in fact androids or not. The latest model of android, the Nexus-6, can pass all the tests apart from the most advanced empathy assessment. The underlying implication is that as robots become more sophisticated, it will eventually become impossible to discern the difference between a real human and an android.

The novel contains many interesting themes concerning existential fulfilment and identity, but this question of authenticity is more relevant today than ever before. Yesterday, Medium sent an email to users stating that:

“Beginning May 1, 2024, stories with AI-generated writing (disclosed as such or not) are not

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Ed Noble
Thoughts And Ideas

I write about philosophy, psychology and ethics. I live and work in London, having previously studied physics. Started writing in lockdown.