Is it humans that will bring out life in machines? Or machines that will bring out life in humans?  Throughout science fiction a popular theme is man creating life, or machines that exhibit signs of life.  Two famous science fiction films that deal with this question are Blade Runner and Prometheus.  That is they both deal with the question of what is life.

         In Blade Runner we find a future that has learned to create replicas of humans known as “Replicants”. These replicants are “programmed” to die after a mere 4 years.  Towards the end of the movie, the main protagonist is almost done hunting a few of these replicants when he faced with the question, “Are these machines people? And are they life?”  In a famous quote from the antagonist when talking about his memories “And all of it will be lost, like tears in the rain. Time to die.”  This begins to beg the question could mankind ever create life and would that life have the same rights that natural life has.

         Another one of Ridley Scott’s other brilliant stories is Prometheus.  In the beginning of the movie we see an alien figure that is humanoid on what appears to be a young Earth ingest some black liquid and then jump into a lake.  He begins to disintegrate inside the lake and we are led to believe that this is the origins of life on Earth.  If in the previous paragraph you were leaning towards the side that mankind could never create life in the same way nature does then wouldn’t that mean that if some alien race created us we would not be life?  This is a deep philosophical question because it begs the question of whether or not artificial life can exist.

         Both movies are directed by the famous Ridley Scott and they both deal with the question of “What is life?”  Personally, I feel that mankind will someday learn to create life even if that life looks nothing like what we expect.  Next time you want to watch films that contain significant amounts of symbolism, check these out and see if either one poses questions to you.

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I liked your analogies to the movies and the question you proposed: can life create life and should it have the same rights as organic life?  This is a good question, and I believe that life is able to create life, and I also think it should have the same rights as natural life.  As of now, I believe life is life and it doesn’t matter if its artificially made, because for all we know humans could have been created by another being.

 

If humans were to create life how would we know it is life, and if we didn’t consider it life what would we classify it as?  Life could appear in many forms, and I think it will be interesting how humans treat life if we ever discover it.

Great movie references on our current discussion on life, they are supper relative! I agree with you that philosophical questions and ethics will arise with the creation of AI computers and advanced robotics.

However I tend to lean on the side of computers will never be "life" but rather could obtain "almost life." They will never become full-blown life is because the sole purpose of a computer is a tool to aide humans. They will never be able to evolve/learn, only technologically advance/learn (relies on human advances). Therefore humans can create "almost life" but never "life."

Cheers!

Kenneth C. Carroll

I thought your post was on a really interesting topic and you brought up several thought provoking questions. I haven't seen either movie and now I want to. I would've liked to see you discuss the topic from another angle besides science fiction movies.

I think that this all really depends on ones definition on what life is. I like the example that used from blade runner and it just goes back to what i was saying that it depends on how one defines life. I do not think we should pursue something like this because its like trying to play God. Plus in movies it always seems to backfire ha.

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