dbushey Reading Journal #4

In Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? (DADoDE) empathy is what distinguish humans from androids and In Caves of Steel (CoS) the first law governing robot’s artificial brains is to never hurt humans. CoS ends with a human and a robot walking out the door “arm-to-arm” because in that plot robots are programmed to respect and enhance human life. This possibility is negated DADoDE. The consequence is, naturally, that in DADoDE humans cannot associate with androids because in doing so they are risking their lives.

Psychopaths is an equivalent reference in our modern society. They are considered monsters, not-human. Laking the ability to empathize with other humans make them dangerous individuals that must be kept apart from society. As DADoDE emphasizes the empathy with animals is a good sign that a human care about others and he or she will nurture the development of the two species. Many psychopaths have the history of torturing and/or killing animals. We see that as a sign of lack of empathy and remorse. If more evidences confirm that, we  target that those people as threats.

The difference between the two sci-fi plots are the fact that a machine (android, robots) can be friendly or deadly. In CoS how they are built is what determines the relationship with humans. In DADoDE is an inherit defect of machines that dissociate them from humans.

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