Do androids have real dreams at all?

The story ‘Do androids dream electric sheep?”  is a novel that takes place in 1992 after a radioactive fallout that came about after a destructive war known as World War Terminus. This war destroyed most of the Earth, and the United Nations are trying to emigrate to colonies in other worlds to preserve the existence of humans and move them away from the aftermath of the radioactive fallout. The story follows Rick Deckard, who is a bounty hunter for androids.

In Chapter 1, the story starts out with Rick Deckard waking up in this world that is pretty much described as a wasteland due to the aftermath of World War Terminus. Rick also has a wife, Iran, who wakes up besides him because of an alarm that sounded off from something called the mood organ. The mood organs seems to be described as something that you can input commands to acquire the desire to do something. It seems to me that these characters, are androids. The reason why is because of how Iran reacted to Rick when he tried to reevaluate her mood organ. “Keep your hand off my settings” is what Iran said with bitter sharpness (pg. 3) and then she is able to change the command to have a different desire.  They nearly have an argument and Iran threatens him with just a few commands (pg. 4) to process in her mood organ in order to make the argument into more of a battle. Rick tries to avoid this dilemma and just sits down and admits defeat. Iran thinks of Rick as a murder, but in reality Rick only kills “andys”, short for androids. Their community seems to be running on a low population with empty apartments because of the radioactive fallout. A lot of the neighbors and even Rick & Iran themselves, have a pet. It seems to be a law for every homeowner or family, that they have to take care of a pet (it was a part of the law before the war). Rick owns a sheep, but unfortunately not a real one. It is described as an electric sheep that was built because Rick’s original sheep (that was real) died due to a disease called tetanus. When Rick discusses with his neighbor on what happened to his original sheep and having a pet shows a lot of importance to this society. Rick now has an electrical sheep that was created to be portray a real sheep but when he looks at the control panel of the electric sheep, it made him depressed. But then, he inputs the command to be businesslike for work.

In Chapter 2, we learn more about World War Terminus and how it made an enormous impact on Earth. It destroyed many individuals as well most of other lifeforms on Earth. People then emigrated to outer space where it’s the last place for them to go and search for new planets to live on. After the war, a disease began to spread to those who live in Earth still. An important character who caught the disease was John Isidore. He lives by himself in an apartment and carries an object called an empathy box. When he turned it on it showed a TV image with random colors and trails. When the visual image was clear, a single elderly man appears wearing a robe. The man in the image is Wilbur Mercer. Wilbur looks like he represents all that’s left of humanity for the rest of the individuals who still living on Earth. With the power of the empathy box, John can fuse mentally and spiritually with Wilbur and feel what is happening in their own vision. It starts out rough with pain and rocks being hurled at Wilbur. As the torment continues a quick sudden change to a different part of Wilbur. It goes back to a happier setting. The exact location was unknown but we’re able to see Wilbur’s foster parents, Frank and Cora Mercer. He lived with animals, and “had in fact been able for a time to bring dead animals back as they had been” (pg. 24). Wilbur did this in secret to hide from the rest of society in case if he would be classified as a freak and get arrested for being able to perform an action like this. Once he was caught, he was plunged and sent him into a different world, where the creatures he loved vanished and were extincted.

In Chapter 3, Rick is on his way to work and passes by a pet shop. He shows interest in an ostrich and considers buying it but he is living under poverty and can’t afford it. Rick is a bounty hunter and works for the Hall of Justice. He then finds out from the other hunters within the facility that one of his fellow bounty hunters was shot. There were new androids created called the Nexus-6 brain unit that are extra clever. Rick felt irritable after all of the commotion of what’s going on with the Nexus-6 because they surpass several classes of human specialties in terms of intelligences. “Androids equipped with the new Nexus-6 brain unit had from a sort of rough, pragmatic, no-nonsense standpoint evolved beyond a major – but inferior – segment of mankind” (pg. 30). This tells me that these androids are still dangerous to mankind and could go against it’s master. Rick recalls his experience with Wilbur or the following of Mercerism. He describes it as an “experience which he, and virtually everyone else… managed with no difficulty” (pg. 31). Rick then reflects to that experience and begins to theorize about life, how living things have to survive by going for its prey, and if they don’t, all predators would pretty much starve to death. This chapters seems to be about Rick’s mind battling between humanity and technology. Rick then goes back to the animal shop to see the ostrich. He tries to barter with the salesman and didn’t work out so much.

In Chapter 4, Rick has a meeting his boss, Inspector Bryant, to speak about the death of the bounty hunter that was announced in chapter 3. Inspector Bryant explains to Rick that he is not sure if the new Nexus-6 brain units would work with the Vogit-Kampff test (empathy test), which can endanger Rick if he tries to eliminate them, but Dave considered it to be accurate in the past. Inspector Bryant then tells Rick about the Rosen family and how it can be beneficial to them. Bryant wants to make a deal and see if they include several humans, as well as androids. Bryant then places Rick as acting senior bounty hunter. Rick visits the Rosen family in Seattle, known for their android creations, and meets with Rachael Rosen. As he is escorted to the conference room, Rick sees animals that he had never seen before. First was the raccoon which he had only seen it from 3-D films, but none were available for purchase anywhere. He looked at a transaction involving a purchase of a raccoon, and it was described as “astronomical”. I assume this means that it was a very expensive animal to purchase.  Rachael shows Rick an owl which are known to be extinct in this day and age (pg. 41). He believed it was just an artificial owl but it was a real one. Rick then meets with Eldon Rosen and discuss similarly of what Rick and Bryant were discussing earlier, the compatibility of the Vogit-Kampff test with the Nexus-6 brain units. Before his discussion with Eldon, Rachael notified Rick that all of their current outputs are equipped with the Nexus-6. Eldon allows Rick to do his tests, and takes out a “flat adhesive disk with its trailing wires” (pg. 46) of his briefcase. Rachael then questions how does the test show its results. The disk gives a response that will allow it to point respiration, cardiac rates, and another pencil-like instrument that can record the tensions within eye muscles. Rachael asks Rick to giver her the test. This chapter seems to focus a lot on Ricks fear of androids, and if the Vogit-Kampff test isn’t accurate?, how can someone tell if these new androids aren’t dangerous?

In Chapter 5, Rick begins the test on Rachael. He asks her to follow certain steps, which is apart of the test and she willingly does as shes told. He asks her questions and she gives her own answer to it. It doesn’t seem like this test has a right or wrong answer, it’s more of a “do you fall under this category, or this one?”. As he asks more questions, he comes to a conclusion that Rachael is an android. Eldon Rosen then interrupts and tells Rick that he is wrong and she is not an android. Rick becomes in denial and wants proof that she is not an android. As Rachael leaves, Eldon explain to Rick why she was considered as an android. In the end, Rick found the flaw and points out that the Rosen’s method of operation is the problem. The organization were creating what the colonists wanted and if their firm didn’t create more human type androids then they would of probably been out of business. Eldon also points out that he had cameras in the room, and Rick let the Rosens void the testing apparatus before he started the test on Rachael. This was a colossal error, which put Rick’s job on the line. They continue to discuss and Rick asks if Rachael can answer one more question from the test. He then points out his briefcase and strokes the surface as he describes what it is made of. He observes her reaction to the briefcase for a fraction of a second and then gathers his equipment and gets ready to leave. The Rosens wonder why all of a sudden he’s done when he needed to test other subjects, and he quickly proves that Rachael is indeed an android. Rachael does become a bit scared but Rick tells her he will not retire her. As he leaves the organization he suspects Rachael to be one of the Nexus-6 units. Now he must strive his way to earn his bounty money while trying to stay alive.

In conclusion, this story so far is still very confusing. A lot of the pieces of the puzzle aren’t shown yet, and there is a lot to assume. I’ve never read this story before, so I’m not sure what to expect but so far it seems like things are going to get ugly when it comes to the androids expanding and evolving if that does happen. Chapter 5, was probably the only chapter which confused me the most mainly with the conversation Rachael, Eldon, and Rick were having.

2 thoughts on “Do androids have real dreams at all?

  1. Yeah Chapter 5 is what really got to me. First, they talk about how the test, then he suddenly offers the owl, then gets blackmailed, and then proves shes an android. It made sense when they said the owl was artificial but nothing before that made it seem like that was their plan.

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