More Human Than Human

June 6, 2008

So the other day I happened to catch part of that wonderfully animated Disney classic Pinocchio. Everyone knows this story (at least Walt’s version) and have at some point in their existence seen this heart warming tale.

To me this same theme is recycled over and over in SciFi films and TV. It is that plot device where things/entities/machines want to be more human (More Human Than Human is our Motto). I guess it is a natural way to explore “what it means to be human” by using a story that is drilled into our childhood memories.

Star Trek has made a franchise out of this: Mr. Data (the robot who wants to be human), The Doctor (the A.I. who wants to be human), Mr. Spock (the alien hybrid who wants to be human), Constable Odo (the alien raised by humans who wants to be human) and Seven of Nine, the human (raised by aliens) who wants to be human.

Some other examples: Roy Batty in Blade Runner, Annalee in Alien Resurrection, Kal-El from Superman, the T-800 in Terminator 2 , Andy the Android in Bicentennial Man, Boomer from Battlestar Galactica, the Starman from Starman, and all the characters from Third Rock From the Sun.

How about a robot who’s happy to be a robot, like Bender from Futurama? Or an AI happy to be an AI like Agent Smith from the Matrix? (who was perfectly happy as a program and couldn’t stand the stench of humanity)

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