Sunday, April 19, 2009

Intuitive Leap

Intuitive Leap
Originally uploaded by Else Barnard
I've been thinking a lot lately about Blade Runner. Avatars, like replicants, are almost indestructible in practice, but are sometimes strangely delicate and vulnerable.

I can fly thousands of meters into the air, then plummet to the ground without a parachute; falling so far that descent actually becomes tedious. I hit the ground, then brush myself off and walk away. There may be a few points of damage - if it's been turned on at all - but even that springs right back up to full health without so much as a bruise. Even if I am shot, blown up, or otherwise damaged enough to die, I'm not killed, just sent home. 'To regroup', as they say.

But invulnerable, sadly, I am not. My existence is entirely contingent upon outside factors: the health of LL's servers, or their market share for that matter. Most tellingly, my existence is dependent upon that of a flesh-and-blood human, out there in your world. A loss of time, or interest, or a turn of poor health, could mean my ceasing to be. Those of you who know me, but not my puppeteer, would never know where I'd gone, only that I was here once, but no more.

Still... Roy Batty was wrong. We do believe in what he claimed to have seen, the attack ships on fire, and the Tannhauser Gate. What's more, we remember that he saw them... and so, even though he never existed in meatspace, the idea of 'Roy Batty' is now distributed through countless diverse media both electronic and organic.

Immortality via redundant backups. I like that.

- E