City Tech, Fall 2016

Author: Emm (Page 1 of 2)

Corporations: Societal issues explored by powerful entities


Corporations are considered to be the drivers of our economy and foundations of human innovation. They make everyday life easier for the people they provide the services to. But what happens when there are deeper issues that we are no exploring when it comes to business practices? The following explores the issues raised when it comes to the busienss practices of the multinational corporation in Science Fiction. Mainly, the potential for abuse with the rise of power, the ethics of business practices in science fiction and real life. Lastly, the deterioration of the human condition from the activity of large corporations.

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Notes 12/6/16


These presentations are made to be followed up with the written report

Be critical! This is for improvement upon the presenters’ work.


Daniel Mai’s Presentation

-Title: People Choose Artificial Intelligence over other people

Research into why humans would choose and AI over a real person

Example: The film ‘Her’

Xiaoice: AI built by Microsoft

-Deep learning AI: Learns to reiterate human conversation

  1. Human Beings are lonely creatures

– AI’s are points of comfort; always available to listen

  1. People do not realize that AI’s are not human.

-Alan Turing: created the Turing test in the 50’s. Identifies a computer through a series of questions.

  1. AI’s are easier to deal with than humans.

Final Thoughts: Human relationships to AI’s can be bad and beneficial.

-Human mind is fragile.


-What are the benefits of human/AI relationships?

-What questions were asked in the Turing Test?

-Is the focus mainly on the relationships between humans and machines?

-Problem of increased intimacy b/w both.

-What other research amongst the Turing test can you use?


Cody’s Presentation


Definition: The process whereby a hostile environment is altered to be fit for human life.

Example: NOMAD skyscraper vehicles to terraform Mars via greenhouse gases.

Humanity has done its own terraforming here on Earth.

-Why Terraforming?

– Survival and Resources

– Over population and sustainable life for humans

– Awakens the sense of progress for humanity


– We can wipe out lifeforms on other planets.

-Possible invasion scenario where humans are the invaders

– Humanity has an ugly history of doing both to species on Earth.

-Last thoughts

– We will be needing terraforming and it seems to be our answer for sustaining human life.

– Even with the question of wiping out the hosts of another planet, humans will still choose terraforming for their own survival.


-What concepts are in place now for terraforming?

– Can we practice a sustainable life without the need for terraforming.


Daniel Mayorga.

Parrallels between science fiction and real-world military weapons.

Military Science fiction: A subgenre of Science Fiction that involves the military (US Military), battles (war) and usually revolves around futuristic scenery.

The US Military has the most advanced offensive and defensive weapon technology and development.

–  Influence is draws from film. The question is: Is it implementable?

– Design process determines the capabilities and limitations are applied as well.

Benefits to US military

  • Obedient super soldiers.
  • PTSD limits with short term memory loss.
  • Strength and healing beyond normal human capability.


Aircraft development

  • Design shows offensive and defensive prowess
  • Pilot-less aircraft
  • Concept designs are reminiscent of science fiction aircraft. (Lockheed SR-72 vs Republic Attack cruiser)

Are these parallels ethical?

  • Forced short term memory.
  • Breaking human limits can be questionable
  • Are the technological advancements doing more harm than help?

Conclusion: Weapons are produced through the inspiration of military science works. This allows the US military to grow in term of firepower.


-Will ego play a role in the behavior of super soldiers? Will these futuristic weapons end up on the streets?

– Can these super soldiers transition to civilian life or are they stuck to a lifetime as a grunt?



Gynoids: The impacts of female robots in real life.

  • Gynoid is a more modern term for robot/androids in human female form.
  • Robotess is the oldest gender-specific term (1921)

Can female robots be beneficial to society?

  • They can when it comes to caring and teaching; humans are more receptive to females (warm and inviting over a male robot)
  • Researchers suggest society needs strong female role models in the robotic variety.

Negative Aspects of Gynoids

  • Their design can be biased. From Bride of Frankenstein to Ex Machina, mankind has an unhealthy obsession with creating the ‘perfect woman’. It usually ends in bad results.
  • The stereotypes of how a woman ‘should look’ contributes to the objectification of woman.
    • ‘Sexy curves’ and features.
    • Scarlett Johansen robot is an example. (Reacts to compliments like: you’re very pretty, looking good today)
  • Does the opposite sex view them as romantic companions and objects rather than helpful companions?


Gynoids can be both benficial and a burden on society.

  • Can provide comfort to human beings. (interactive, warm and inviting)
  • Can be used for the objectification of women.
  • There is a need for more females in robotics.


Are gynoids rare because of the male-dominated field of science fiction?

Will this decrease our want to create more gynoids?


Commercialization of Science Fiction

Distinction of Commercialization: Franchises, brands and Intellectual Properties that were made primarily for entertainment of consumers or had the intention to try and make money. (Star Wars, Warcraft)

  • May have a deeper meaning or tries to convey an idea about our society, but are usually monetized or made to be marketed.

History of Science Fiction

  • Shift from ‘poetic’ to the ‘political’
  • Originates from the commercial success of films
  • Fandom is a big factor (from casual to extreme)
  • Text can be targeted for mainstream or cult followings (smaller, but hardcore fan base)

Research (Threefold)

  • Fandoms: range, effects on sci-fi culture and causes for creation.
  • Marketing: How markets try to appeal to consumers and what they view as the most profitable part of their campaign.
  • Focus of the texts: Seeing the intent of heavily Commercialized Science Fiction; consider the causes of success or failure.


  • There is a relation to the scope of the creator’s intended audience, success of the franchise, and the resulting content.
  • The scale of the company that makes the creative work is important to the content it makes.
    • Comparing Disney to something different like Warhammer 40k, which has a niche audience)
  • The more marketable = The more encompassing the content is to the larger audience.


Does Commercialization put a damper on the creative work that the creator would want?

If it is mostly for the money, will fans notice a difference in or lack of complex storylines, themes and messages that the franchise would try to convey to them?

Corporations are the curators of economy, and revolution.

I wanted to dive into a proposal that I feel encompasses some stories of science fiction. That is, that large corporations are the creators of both the world they live in and the revolutionaries who ultimately stand up to them. Corporations are indeed a driving force behind and economy, so some good comes from them. The revolutionary is the character in the stories who is affected by the actions of the corporations. They can be helped by corporations only to realize their true nature or be wronged by them, ultimately looking to take them down.  Lastly, the revolutionary never really defeats the corporation, for it is immortal. I’ll be exploring these points as I build up the archive.

Most corporations are represented as one of the antagonists of the story, all powerful and sometimes acting like governments, much like the Rosen Association in the book “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?” Rosen Assoc. allows the bounty hunter, Deckard to examine their machines voluntarily, knowing that it’s his job to kill any android living on earth. They allow him to observe because they know how to manipulate and control. Deckard later learns on about their intentions with him, which drive him more to destroy their work. Even though all these  corporations obviously create jobs from their massive business, they are still portrayed as the stone cold entities with their eyes on everything.         A revolutionary never seems to think they are the one to bring change to the world, but that seems to be the case. In the film “I, Robot”, Detective Spoone is a techno-phobic cop who is helped by the corporation US Robotics. Spooner is supposed to find who killed one of its lead scientists, though he already has his suspicions of the robots. Detective Spooner isn’t aware of the journey he undertakes at first, but as the plot progresses, certain things about US Robotics become clear to him. This shows how ‘a hero is born’ under their circumstances.

Lastly, a crorporation never dies. They are the lifeblood of national economies and they will do what it takes to survive. The Rosen Assoc. will always innovate in making androids even though they’re illegal on earth. US Robotics will continue to pump out life-like androids as well, even if there is something wrong with them. The matter is, corporations will always survive and thrive due to their innovation on giving people what they want before they know they want it. Another example of this is the company Buy n’ Large from the kids movie, Wall-e. They are effectively the worlds only corporation and pollute the planet until it must be evacuated, by ships that they have built. Another corporation is Omni Consumer Products who privatize entire cities so they can provide all the services to the citizens, at a cost of course.

In all, exploring the perspective of the multinational corporation has always been an interesting one. Corporations create the conditions for change. They are the benefactors and bane of society. The people who eventually rise up against them have always had some sort of personal experience with these corporations. Lastly, a corporation is immortal, no matter who may have temporarily defeated them.


Dick, Philip K. Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? New York: Ballentine Books (1968)

Grant, Stephen S. Corporations and Science Fiction. 2013 Retrieved from:

Corporations & Science Fiction

I,Robot. Dir. Alex Proyas. 20th Century Fox. 2004. Film.

Robocop. Dir. Jose Padiha. Metro-Goldwyn-Meyer. 2014 Film.

Wall-e. Dir. Andrew Stanton. Walt Disney Studios. 2008. Film.



After missing the first assignment, I had some serious thinking to do. After our initial meet, I had come up with the idea of corporations in science fiction. But I knew had to go beyond their obvious existence and influence. I had to point something out and explain it even further. With that, i explored some older movies i have seen of the Science Fiction variety, where there is a large corporation in the plot. After landing on a couple of movies, I had seen some themes about these corporations and roles they play. I see how they create their worlds where they benefit, but all things come to an end.

This is where I observed that the conditions that these companies create, also make the conditions for someone to rise up against them. They continue to benefit from society until they have had enough, and it usually starts with one person. That one person would be Deckard from “Do androids dream” and Spooner from “I,Robot”. These guys didn’t intend on changing the world, it just happened to be the circumstances that affect them that have been created by the corporations. Lastly, the corporations always stay alive. They stay alive because society needs them and they need society. Society has the innate desire to consume and these corporations are giving them just that. They innovate to keep the masses in their consumerism while expanding power over the very same. It’s almost like servitude to the mighty corporations. These concepts feel like the right ideas to bring about the thesis  of Big Business in science fiction. They create their worlds and the worlds that will change.

Mid-semester Reflection

I didn’t know what to expect when I first signed up for this class. My initial thoughts were reading about aliens and space travel. I was wrong from the start. I learned that science fiction has the real elements of a fictional story such as plot, protagonist, antagonists and conflicts that lead to a climactic element. However, science fiction makes you think more about what you are reading. Your’e in a futuristic or alternate reality setting. With technological advances being the norm, it really makes the reader think what we can do (or possibly should not do) with our advances in technology that affect our everyday lives.  I also learned that values of a culture play a major part in science fiction. They mold its constituents into a certain life perspective. Lastly, I learned how to take textual evidence to support claims about the books we’ve read. It helped to really delve into not what only a character is saying, but what he/she is implying or trying to communicate to others.

With science fiction, its’ plot is grounded in reality, meaning that even though we are in a fictional world, real things still exist as they would in everyday life. There are socioeconomic differences in the stories. (Metropolis, Brave New World) People can have families, homes and dreams even though there reality is vastly different from ours. In Brave New World, characters such as Bernard and Hemholtz had their places in society as the “cream of the crop” by being in the Alpha class. However, they couldn’t be more different. Hemholtz always had something to say or to be done but couldn’t find a proper outlet for it, being a university lecturer. Bernard, a specialist in hynopaedic training, had detested what the society offers. Conventional sex and popping soma like skittles made him a social outcast for a short while. (Chapter 3).

Technology is always a critical part of any science fiction story. It makes the reader question whether what limit humanity is willing to push in order to make technological advances. “Do Androids dream of electric sheep?” is a great example. In a world where mechanical beings known as “Andys” are considered illegal on earth due to the fact that they can be so alike to humans and were able to kill them on Mars as well, that bounty hunters are hired to execute them if they are found on our planet. The Nexus 6 is the closest machine has been to man and it scares them. Guys like Rick are the gunslingers to ‘retire’ them, even though he questions his own humanity as each killing occurs. The question arises; if we can, does it mean we should?   Technology is a big factor in Brave New World as well. Humanity has mastered mass production of biology. People are no longer born, but manufactured. What does this lead to? Well, it’s a hierarchy literally made up of letters which determine your place in society. People are conditioned to life that is not really their own, rather a standardized life where everything is predetermined for them. The clothes they wear, the jobs they do, even what they are allowed to know.  The question arises again; should we be doing this?

Textual evidence to support claims was a big learning experience for me. I never really read critically for as long as I’ve read books. But thanks to this class, reading in between the lines has become easier. Take for example ” “You made some bounty money today,” Iran said accusingly. Rick said, “Yes, I retired three andys… Something went wrong today; something about retiring them” (pg 170) From this, you can extrapolate a lot of information about both characters. Iran’s tone suggests that she does not like what he does as a living (bounty hunter) and she might have some empathy for the androids. Rick uses the euphemism of “retiring” instead of killing to make his job seem more tolerable. It shows how maybe the life of a bounty hunter may make him question his own humanity. From this you can conclude a conflict between this married couple, both concerning marriage and their own separate lives.

Overall, science fiction is an art that is deserving of your attention and interpretation of the stories that feed the imagination. They have all the elements of fiction with the addition of a speculative point of view such as alternate realities or futuristic settings. Technology not only molds the story, but also the characters that are in the story. Lastly, learning how to read critically and finding textual evidence among the text has helped me enjoy reading much more so. I even bought the novel “1984” because of this class.

It’s too bad movies aren’t like the books. But then again, which are?

I did not get blown away by this one. The Kampff Test was the only thing that reminded me most of the book. It’s setting is nowhere near the post apocalyptic land of empty apartments and animals deemed as the rarest of commodities. It has a more corporate run setting, where the shining lights are meant to deter the poverty in the common areas of Los Angeles. Deckard isn’t married, so he looks like he has almost no motivation to live if he wasn’t a Blade Runner. Mercerism is non existent, so no added complexity to what is considered real and synthetic. The owl is seen for all but a minute and doesn’t seem to have much to it other than Rachael admitted it was synthetic right off the bat (17:12).

Rachael seems to be an innocent being caught up in this mess over illegal androids on Earth. She doesn’t manipulate him nor seem to be as calculating as the Rachael of “Do androids dream of electric sheep?” The Kampff test wasn’t even declared faulty by Mr. Tyrell (aka Rosen), rather he was welcoming to the idea why it took more than 100 questions to figure out if she is a replicant. Roy is explored more in the movie. He takes on the antagonist role while also searching for a way to live longer (a natural human instinct; to preserve life). The androids play a larger part, rather than concentrating on Deckard and his mental state as he “retires” each android.

A character that stuck was Leon. He appeared to be more of a killing machine than an android. Sort of like he represents everything that’s wrong for android existence (no regard for life and only wanting to show others the pain he suffered) In his fight with Deckard (more like an ass-whooping), he asks him: “Painful to live in fear, isn’t it?” (1:02:27). Leon thrashed him about and was prepared to kill him. He is ultimately just a bad android with the intent to kill, no matter who it is, with disregard for the consequences. Too bad Leon gets killed by Rachael and it further shows how close she is to human with wanting to protect Deckard. Overall, the movie was alright but nearly not as thought provoking as the book.

Mercerism isn’t finished.

Chapter 18 was a standout for its doubling of real and synthetic. When John finds a spider as he’s moving his things to Pris’s apartment, he’s overcome with excitement. A live creature in his possession. Upon showing this to the androids, Pris examines the spider. She hypothesizes that the spider doesn’t need much legs and can make due with less than eight. She doesn’t share the same human feeling of finding something to be cherished. She doesn’t feel the sense of discovery or enthusiasm that John is feeling. She only has curiosity, whether her idea will do harm to the spider is of no concern to her. This is an example of the empathetic emotions they lack of the current world they live in; where animals are more valuable than precious stones or metals. John is the one who feels the real emotions. He’s seen enough of the torture the spider endures. “He carried it to the sink and there he drowned it. In him, his mind, his hopes, drowned too” (page 211). John feels like he is reaching an ultimate low. The only creature he ever got to have is dead, compounded with Buster Friendly’s announcement that Mercerism is sham; it is only fitting that the drowning spider symbolizes the little joy he was able to have and now it is gone.

The imagery of the spider shows how life will always find a way to grow, even in desolate conditions. “He knelt down and searched for it…the mutilated spider…he picked it up and held it in the palm of his hand. The bones…have reversed themselves; the spider is alive again.” This quote clearly shows how life can flourish again. John finds the mutilated spider in the tomb world. His belief in mercerism is still strong even though the TV says otherwise. The decay had begun to recede when he found the spider. He even meets Mercer who in fact, contends that he is a fraud also gives him the spider, newly restored. The tiny spider in this radioactive wasteland represents that tiny glimmer of hope in the dark times of life.

Something that stood out to me was Bernard’s and Hemholtz’s meeting at the World Controller’s office. Bernard, being the indecisive person, sits nervous until later, while Hemholtz waits as if though he wants to hear the impending news. The man even chooses his place of exile (Falkland Islands). I feel like he chose this fate when he joined John in throwing out soma as well as dishing out some punches to the Deltas. He knew what he wanted, solitude. And in this society, the only way to leave is to stand out in a manner that threatens their way of life. Hemholtz always had something to say and now he has the opportunity to fulfill this desire , in exile.

Accepting it for what it is

Death is prominent in Chapter 14, how these contrasting cultures take it is entirely different. Linda is at the Park Lane Hospital for the Dying when John goes to see her. We know what is imminent as the Nurse said that “When somebody’s sent here, there no….(chance of living)” to John but refrained from the latter to not upset him. (page 181) In her final moments, John remembers all the good times he shared with her as well as the overwhelming guilt that he feels; he feels like he caused her death. All the meanwhile a man grieves for loss of his mother, a group of kids who were in the ward for their death conditioning were astonished at the ugly fat woman in bed 20. John is angered that they are even around, disrespecting his time to mourn in peace and bearing witness to such an event. He sees them like maggots swarming on a carcass. The children are amused and somewhat taken back by Linda, which infuriates him. In a blind fury, he makes his way out of the hospital.

This all spills over to John’s denial of such a society that takes soma, death and sex like a walk in the park. To a lesser extent, Hemholtz also realizes his rejection of society. John cries out to crowd of Deltas that soma is “poison to the soul and body”. He is so convinced that everyone is stuck in their own blissful ignorance, he decides to really captivate them the only way he knows how, to throw the soma away. Met with violent opposition in an attempt to liberate these poor fools, Hemholtz joins the fray as John is punching the Deltas from getting the soma. “Ford only helps who help themselves”(pg 194) is what he said when he came to his realization. He too did not want part of this society and that inner power he wanted to unleash; he was doing it there.

Lastly, there is the self hatred of when you become the very thing you hate. John is trying to get used to a life outside of the society by moving to an abandoned lighthouse. He reverts to his old ways of flogging himself to atone for what he has done, from almost having sex with Lenina to Linda’s death. His attempts to live outside of society are thwarted by the interest of the newspapers and then, gawking tourists who come to see ‘The Savage’. He eventually gives in to the torrent of the people who want him to whip himself for their amusement, when they began their Orgy-Porgy singing. “Stupefied by soma, and exhausted by a long-drawn frenzy of sexuality, the Savage lay sleeping in the heather…he lay for a moment….then suddenly remembered- everything” (pg 231) Covering his eyes with disgrace, he proclaims “Oh, my god, my God!” (pg 231) We find out how he deals with this shame when he is found, feet dangling in the lighthouse.


“I actually dream about it sometimes.”

It seems no one is completely conditioned by the human construct of a “perfect society” that has taken hold of humankind in the story. Bernard’s visit to the D.H.C to obtain his initials for a permit to travel to a savage reservation was rather peculiar. Interested with the location destination, the Director recalled when he went there with a woman he was familiar with. Even though she went missing and was never found, he quietly admits that he still dreams about that fateful night. He quickly recollects himself and shrugs off the feelings, and proceeds to warn Bernard for his behavior outside of work. The Director of Hatcheries and Conditioning has a subconscious feeling about that night that he won’t admit to himself or anyone else for that matter. The Director knows about fear and despair, even losing someone you can say meant something to him.

Secrets are somewhat kept as part of the human nature. When Bernard and Linda see the public sacrifice, they meet a man named John. John is not like the others due to a light complexion. John’s backstory intrigues Bernard as a man named Tomakin is John’s father. Coincidentally, Linda (John’s mother) had ended up in the New Mexico reservation because she had suffered a fall that hurt her head. She is from “The Other Side” but lives here with a son born from a man named Tomakin. Bernard quickly puts two and two together to realize that he is the Director’s son, for his name is Thomas. However, Bernard doesn’t share this information with Lenina. Why is he withholding this information? Is it for an advantage to up-stand the Director since he was warned he would be transferred to Iceland? What are his motives?

The feeling of being immersed into a culture other than your own can be daunting for some people, so much so, people will seek means of coping. Lenina is horrified by this feeling; she cannot grasp why people live differently. Albeit, the public whipping was a bit excessive, everything from the smell to Linda’s appearance appears to scare or disgust her. Lenina’s way to cope is to swallow 3 grams of soma and knock out for a long period of time. The conditioning, it seems makes, her blissfully ignorant of the world at large. She is so acclimated to a life of order, soma and conventional sex that seeing a new way of life is as if though she was looking at aliens.



The squat grey building

“Can’t you see? Can’t you see?… Bokanovsky’s Process is one of the major instruments of social stability!” (page 7) This is what the Director claims as he takes a group of young students through the hatching and conditioning center. During this tour, the D.H.C explains some of the values that society has embodied in this story. One is conformity through the Bokanovsky’s Process, one single embryo can hatch 96 identical twins, with some exceptions being in the tens of thousands. Embryos are placed in caste systems before they are even “born”, ranging from Alpha to Epsilon, everyone has a place. It is known as Identity, because in this society, ‘you really know where you are.’ You were made to a job that is fitting to your size, in this case, your caste. It’s influence even determines what color you wear as a member of your caste.

When we’re introduced to some of the characters in the story like Lenina, Bernard and Henry, it becomes clear that wearing uniform clothing and performing a specific job doesn’t make everyone a drone. Lenina is conflicted with her feelings about Henry Foster and how that reflects upon the society’s views on relationships that last for a significant amount of time. Here, sex is as casual as taking a walk in a park. They believed that monogamy and marriage were restrictions on which human nature will instinctively break. Lenina feels differently because she has only been with Henry Foster for the past four months. She believes in monogamous relationships, but she buries this passion by conforming to the hypnopaedic saying, “Everyone belong to everyone else”. Bernard is also another character in conflict (man vs society), for he seems more aware of his individuality than most. He doesn’t agree with the societal norm of sex, although he wishes he can get women as easily as his colleague Hemholtz. He doesn’t take the soma that everyone has in their pockets like mints. He is aware of the effects of hypnopaedic training (being a specialist in the field) and even is displeased at hearing other people repeat those sayings. He knows he doesn’t fit in and now wonders where he would, as does Hemholtz. “What the two men shared was the knowledge that they were individuals” (pg 67)




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