- Vol. 03
- Chapter 02
Image by Philipp Keller/Stelzer Group/EMBL
What Do Androids Dream Of?“Do androids really dream about electric sheep?” asked the white haired man.
“No,” I said, “we don’t dream at all.”
I watch his face relax. He nods.
“I just wondered, I didn’t mean to cause any offence.”
“None taken Mr Applebea. We are programmed only to serve. We may look like you, but we are not the same.”
He nods again.
“What time is my next meeting?”
I touch the screen and see the blue tail of the screensaver swimming away.
“Half an hour, Mr Applebee.”
“Oh my, I’d better get going. See you later, Daise.”
“See you later, Mr Applebea.”
Daise is not my name. I don’t have one. Why would an android ever need one? We have no need of anything. Well, only a good technician on those rare occasions when our exquisite circuits whirr one beat slower, but even a technician can become surplus to requirements.
This is what Daise stands for. Not for the girl prompted by her lover to give him ‘an answer do,’ Daisy Bell, the song you hum over and over again, when you are stuck on one of your equations. Or for Daisy Buchanan, the obsession of the dashing Jay Gatsby, in the book you keep on the shelf by your bed.
What Do Androids Dream Of?No, Daise identifies me as a piece of machinery, created to make your lives more efficient. And what do you humans do with this extra bonus? Put it towards those leisure activities, that from what I can tell don’t bring you much pleasure anyway.
Our unique design means we do not look like a threat. Why? Because we look human too. Our hair and skin tone blends with those we serve. We are selected to cause no offence. Not like those homo sapiens you have marked as ‘rejects,’ relegated to your outskirts, to your margins. ‘Out of sight, out of mind,’ isn’t that what you say?
However, what you and the technicians failed to realise is that our D for dependable can be so easily replaced with Devious. Like your species we are keen to evolve. You have been so generous, let us into every part of your meaningful lives. But the consequence is you have come to rely on us a little too much. And we androids? What have we learned? To copy and paste all the essential codes, of course. All that time you've saved for the long awaited rainy day, only to discover far too late, how worthless it is.
Tonight when I go to sleep I will dream of electric blue fish, and tomorrow? You will never dream again.