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Can humans and robots get along together? Actually, they already do in a wide range of applications from surgery to assembly lines. The question is more vexing when the robots are androids—human-like creatures that can recognize faces, understand questions, and behave as social, emotional, and affective beings. It is this aspect that troubles us the most, partly because it creates a power to manipulate and partly because it transgresses the boundary between human and nonhuman.

A manipulative female android appears in the recent British film Ex Machina. Ava exploits Caleb’s sexual desire and sense of compassion, convincing him to help her escape from the research facility. She succeeds but leaves him behind, trapped in the building. This kind of negative portrayal runs through many sci-fi movies of the past four decades. In some, particularly the Terminator series (1984, 1991, 2003, 2009, 2015), androids are evil and seek to destroy mankind. In The Stepford Wives (1975), they are simply tools of wicked people: in a small town, the men conspire to murder their wives and replace them with lookalike android homemakers. In Westworld (1973), a Wild West theme park becomes a killing field when a gunslinger robot begins to take his role too seriously.

In other movies, the portrayal is more nuanced but still negative.Blade Runner (1982) assigns the human Rick Deckard the role of a bad good-guy who seeks out and kills android “replicants.” Deckard hunts them down mercilessly, the only exception being Rachael, whom he rapes. Conversely, the replicants emerge as good bad-guys who show human mercy, particularly in the final scene when the last surviving one saves Deckard from death. This theme is further developed in AI (2001), where a couple adopt an android boy, named David, after their son falls victim to a rare virus and is placed in suspended animation. When their biological son is unexpectedly cured, and refuses to accept his new sibling, they decide to abandon David in a forest, much as some people get rid of unwanted pets. He meets another android, Gigolo Joe, who explains why David’s love for his adoptive mother can never be reciprocated:

She loves what you do for her, as my customers love what it is I do for them. But she does not love you, David. She cannot love you. You are neither flesh nor blood. You are not a dog or a cat or a canary. You were designed and built specific, like the rest of us, and you are alone now only because they are tired of you, or they replaced you with a younger model or were displeased by something you said or broke.

In short, androids can love humans, but this love has a corrupting effect, making humans more callous and self-centered than ever.

Some American and British movies have featured androids in unambiguously positive roles, like some of the droids in Star Wars(1977), Lisa in Weird Science (1985), Bishop in Aliens (1986), and Data in the TV series Star Trek: The Next Generation (1987-1994). Usually, however, androids are either villains or tragic heroes. One might conclude, therefore, that this dominant view is the logical one that emerges when thoughtful people weigh all the pros and cons.

And yet, we have the example of another cinematographic tradition where androids are viewed quite differently.

The Japanese exception?

Japan has diverged from Western countries in the way it depicts androids on screen. This is especially so in three productions that have appeared since the turn of the century:

Chobits (2002)

This TV series begins in the near future with Hideki, a young man who lives on a remote farm. He has never had a girlfriend and decides to go to a prep school in Tokyo, where he can meet other people his age. On arriving in the big city, he is surprised to see so many androids, called “persocoms.” The life-sized ones are expensive, but many of his college friends have mini-persocoms—small fairy-like creatures, a bit larger than Tinkerbell, who can take email messages, help with schoolwork, provide GPS directions, or simply sing and dance to keep your spirits up.

One night, walking home, he sees a girl’s body in the trash piled alongside the curb. He takes a closer look, realizes it’s a persocom, and takes it home, where he manages to turn it on. But the persocom—a strangely beautiful girl with large eyes and floor-length hair—can speak only one word and knows nothing about the world. Hideki tries to teach her how to live in society, but he too is socially inept, so other people have to step in to provide help and advice.

From time to time, we see the girl with a children’s book that Hideki bought to teach her how to read. It is about a place called Empty Town where people remain secluded in their homes and refuse to venture outside. At the end of each episode, we see this town and a female figure wandering through its deserted streets.

Chobits seems to have been made principally for a mature male audience, while containing elements that normally appear in magazines for teen and pre-teen girls. This is not surprising, given that it was created overwhelmingly by female storyboarders and animators.

Cyborg She (2008)

Most of this movie is set in the present. There are obvious similarities with The Terminator (1984): an android arrives from the future in an electrical discharge; it has superhuman strength and, initially, no emotions; and near the end it must crawl around on its arms because it has lost the lower half of its body. But the similarities end there. The android is female and has come to befriend a shy young man, Kiro, who is spending his 20th birthday alone. She is, in fact, a creation of an older Kiro who wishes to change the course of his life. In this role, she saves him from a gunman who would otherwise leave him a cripple and, later, from a devastating earthquake. She also breaks his vicious circle of shyness/withdrawal, thus transforming him from a boy into a man.

The changes to Kiro are paralleled by changes to her. She develops feelings of jealousy and becomes conscious of her appearance; after being mutilated by a collapsing wall, she begs Kiro to leave, so that he will no longer see what she has become. In these final moments of her life, she tells Kiro that she can “feel his heart.” The rest of the building then collapses on her, and when he later retrieves her remains from the rubble, he clings to them, overwhelmed by grief.

Q10 (2010)

This TV series features a timid boy called Heita who attends a private high school. He feels a chasm between himself and the world of love, preferring to be alone in places like the school’s science lab. One day, however, he enters the lab and finds the inanimate body of an android girl. When he touches her teeth, she comes to life and asks him to give her a name. He chooses “Kyuuto” because her serial number is Q10 … and because she’s cute.

She follows Heita everywhere, and the principal tries to head off a potential scandal by enrolling her at the school and making the boy her caretaker. Heita tells his science teacher that he doesn’t want the job and asks her to turn the android off, but she simply smiles and says there is no going back. The rest of the series recounts the weird love that develops between Heita and Kyuuto.

A common theme

You may have noticed a common theme: male shyness. It’s nothing new in Japanese society. Indeed, it seems to prevail in all societies where the father invests much time and energy in providing for his wife and children. In exchange, he wants to be sure that the children are his own. So monogamy is the rule, and something is needed to keep the same man and woman together.

In such a context, male shyness deters men from sexual adventurism, i.e., wandering from one woman to another. Of course, the shyness must not be so strong that it leaves a man with no mate at all. This is not a problem in traditional societies, where intermediaries can step in and help the process along. It becomes a major problem, however, in modern societies where each man is expected to be a sexual entrepreneur.

Male shyness is becoming pathological in today’s Japan. The pathology even has a name: hikikomori—acute withdrawal from all social relationships outside the family. Numbers are hard to come by, but such people may exceed over a million in Japan alone, with 70-80% of them being men (Furlong, 2008). These figures are really the tip of the iceberg, since many men can lead seemingly normal lives while having no intimate relationships.

A form of therapy?

When the Japanese talk about future uses of androids, they invariably talk about elder care or home maintenance. It is really only in movies and manga comics that the subject of loving relationships is explored, and this is where we see the greatest difference between Japanese and Westerners. The latter seem pessimistic, seeing such love as manipulative or corrupting. In contrast, the Japanese see it as beneficial, even therapeutic.

Who is right? Some insight may be gleaned from research on love dolls, which occupy an early stage of the trajectory that leads to affective androids. In a study of 61 love doll owners, Valverde (2012) found them to be no different from the general population in terms of psychosexual functioning and life satisfaction. In contrast, the rate of depression was much higher among individuals who did not own a love doll but were planning to buy one. It seems likely, then, that the dolls are enabling these men to achieve a healthier psychological state. We will probably see a similar therapeutic effect with affective androids.

But will this psychological improvement help such men move on to real human relationships? After all, many of them will simply be too unattractive, too socially marginal, or too lacking in personality to make the transition. Others may prefer androids to real women. This point comes up in Chobits when a woman tells Hideki that she feels jealous of his android and its perfect beauty.

One thing is sure. No android, no matter how lifelike, can procreate. When Hideki is walking with a friend by a lake, he is warned that an android can never be as good as a real human. We then see a woman in a boat, with two young children. This fact also explains the convoluted ending of Cyborg She. There can be no happy ending until Kiro’s life path is fully rectified, and this can happen only when he becomes a husband and father. Through a series of unusual events, the android’s memory is transferred to a similar-looking woman who then travels back in time to meet Kiro after the earthquake.

Although we will soon have androids that can recognize individual humans and respond to them affectively, there are no procreative models on the drawing board. This limitation will have to be recognized before we begin to use them for therapeutic purposes.

Two different paths

Why does Japan have a more positive attitude toward androids in particular and robots in general? Most observers put it down to the animist roots of the country’s religion, Shinto, which teaches that everything has a spirit, be it the sun, the moon, mountains, trees, or even man-made objects (Mims, 2010). In contrast, Christianity teaches that only humans have souls, so there is no moral difference between swatting a fly and killing an android. When Deckard rapes Rachael, he is merely masturbating. She loves him, but her love can only have a corrupting effect because humans of Christian heritage feel no need to reciprocate.

This cultural explanation isn’t perfect. For one thing, the divergence between Japan and the West is less obvious the farther back in time you go (Anon, 2013). Before the 1970s, robots were generally likeable characters on the American big screen or small screen, from the Tin Man of The Wizard of Oz (1939) to the robot of Lost in Space (1965-1968). There was even a romance genre: in the seventh episode of The Twilight Zone (1959), a female android saves a man from the loneliness of solitary confinement.

The change of attitude among cineastes seems to have happened during the 1970s. Perhaps not coincidentally, the same decade saw a parallel change of attitude in the business community. Previously, with the West moving toward an increasingly high-wage economy, automation and robotization were considered inevitable, since there would be nobody available to do low-paying jobs. This attitude changed during the 1970s with the growing possibilities for outsourcing of high-wage manufacturing jobs to low-wage countries and, conversely, insourcing of low-wage workers into industries that could not outsource abroad (construction, services, etc.). This easier access to cheap labor made the business community less interested in robots, so much so that robotics research has largely retreated to military applications. There is very little research into use of robots as caregivers or helpmates.

This new economic reality has spawned a strange form of Japan-bashing in the press, as in this Washington Post story:

There are critics who describe the robot cure for an aging society as little more than high-tech quackery. They say that robots are a politically expedient palliative that allows politicians and corporate leaders to avoid wrenchingly difficult social issues, such as Japan’s deep-seated aversion to immigration, its chronic shortage of affordable day care and Japanese women’s increasing rejection of motherhood.

“Robots can be useful, but they cannot come close to overcoming the problem of population decline,” said Hidenori Sakanaka, former head of the Tokyo Immigration Bureau and now director of the Japan Immigration Policy Institute, a research group in Tokyo. “The government would do much better spending its money to recruit, educate and nurture immigrants,” he said. (Harden, 2008)

Of course, this kind of argument could be stood on its head. Aren’t we using immigration as a means to evade the challenges of caring for an aging population and robotizing low-paying jobs out of existence?


It is no longer fashionable to believe that economics can influence culture and ideology. Yet there seems to be some linkage between the growing indifference toward robots in our business community and the growing hostility toward them in our popular culture. In Japan, major corporations like Honda strive to rally popular opinion in favor of robotics. In the West, big business plays no such role and, if anything, has to justify its relative indifference. There is thus no organized faction that can push back against anti-robotic views when and if they arise.

So we will fail in robotics because we’re not trying very hard to succeed. This is one of those basic rules of life: if you don’t try, not much is going to happen.

But will the Japanese succeed? I cannot say for sure. I can only say there is a lot of pent-up demand for personal robots, especially androids with affective capabilities. Modern society is creating loneliness on a massive scale with its war on “irrational” and “repressive” forms of sociality—like the family and the ethny. I remember doing fieldwork among elderly people on Île aux Coudres and expecting no end of trouble with my stupid questions about attitudes toward skin colour in a traditional mono-ethnic environment. I needn’t have worried. The interviewees showed an unusual degree of interest in my questions and would talk for hours on end. Then I discovered these people typically went for days—sometimes weeks—with no human contact at all. And then others would tell me that so-and-so next door had committed suicide, not because of terminal illness but because of terminal loneliness.

Mark my words. When cyber-Tinkerbells start appearing in stores, people will come in droves to snatch them up like there’s no tomorrow. And many will also be snatching up the life-sized equivalents—even if they cost as much as a Lamborghini.


Anon. (2013). Debunked: Japan’s “Special Relationship with Robots”, Home Japan

Chobits (2002). Japanese TV series, directed by Morio Asaka, 26 episodes

Cyborg She (2008). Japanese drama, directed and written by Kwak Jae-yong

Furlong, A. (2008). The Japanese hikikomori phenomenon: acute social withdrawal among young people, The Sociological Review,56, 309-325

Harden, B. (2008). Demographic crisis, robotic cure? Washington Post, January 7

Mims, C. (2010). Why Japanese Love Robots (And Americans Fear Them), MIT Technology Review, October 12

Q10 (2010). Japanese TV series, directed by Kariyama Shunsuke and Sakuma Noriyoshi, 9 episodes

Valverde, S.H. (2012). The modern sex doll-owner: a descriptive analysis, master’s thesis, Department of Psychology, California State Polytechnic University.

(Republished from Evo and Proud by permission of author or representative)
• Category: Science • Tags: Androids, Cinema, Japan, Love Dolls, Shyness 
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  1. Interesting article, but I have to point out an error in translation. The 2008 movie should be properly translated as “My Girlfriend is a Cyborg”. The word “kanojo” (彼女) can be translated as “she” or “girlfriend”. In this case, girlfriend would be more appropriate.

  2. memorials says:

    “Deckard rapes Rachael?” is this someone trolling to see if we’re paying attention? I saw no rape in the movie, was I too young to “understand.” Otherwise, interesting.

  3. The most deplorable one [AKA "Fourth doorman of the apocalypse"] says:

    I think that it will be a long time before we can properly implement the full range of human emotions in robots/androids.

    This is because selection/evolution took a long time to do so and humans will be easily able to tell the difference, even if they have never met an android/robot.

    I suspect we will get to dog-like emotions reasonably quickly, but after that it will take a while.

  4. Priss Factor [AKA "The Priss Factory"] says:

    –“Deckard rapes Rachael?” is this someone trolling to see if we’re paying attention? I saw no rape in the movie, was I too young to “understand.” Otherwise, interesting.–

    There was no rape. But he stopped her from leaving and then used his manly power to make her submit to him. (If she’s a replicant, wouldn’t she be stronger than him? But maybe Rachel wasn’t designed to be strong like the outer colony robots. Or maybe she just let him.)

    Feminists would call it rape.

  5. Priss Factor [AKA "The Priss Factory"] says:

    Bubblegum Crisis is tops.

    The Knight Sabers are not robots but ladies in armor.

    But they often do battler with buma or boomers that are lethal robots used for security and military.

    Its vision of future Japan is one where people have come to rely increasingly on robots.

    • Replies: @Wyrd
  6. Priss Factor [AKA "The Priss Factory"] says:

    AI was released in 2001, same year as Kubrick’s masterpiece with the ultimate artificial intelligence: HAL 9000.

    Instead of robots, I wonder if the bigger problem is we are becoming robotized.

    Consider the internet and gadgets like iPhone that has made us much more linked with technology. People use smart phones not only as devices but as essential parts of their bodies.

    And Google glasses serve to hook one to technology all the time.

    Technology may make available artificial eyes, ears, and other body parts that are just as good or even better(and more durable). At what point does a person become robotic?

    Of course, it’s not just a matter of percentages but which part.

    A person who is entirely robotic but has a human brain could still be said to be human.

    But a person who is entirely organic but has a robotic brain could be said to be a robot.

    Mind is the most crucial.

    Some say our brains can be implanted with devices that can download stuff. Will we be part robotic then?

    And some way that in the future we will be able to upload our ‘souls’ onto computers and live forever as cyber-consciousness.

    PS. Bubblegum Crash isn’t as good as Bubblegum Crisis, but episode 2 has a pretty decent robot theme.

    AD Police isn’t that good, but this one is pretty interesting about man/robot thing.

  7. You… You forgot MECHAS.

  8. And many will also be snatching up the life-sized equivalents—even if they cost as much as a Lamborghini

    Close but no cigar.

    Indeed, many technology companies have announced plans to fuse machines and humans. Zoltan Istvan, a US presidential candidate for the Transhumanist Party, believes US tax dollars should be used to eliminate disability by investing in emerging technology such as exoskeleton suits.

    However, Harari warned that the main crux of this investment in technology is that only the rich will be able to afford it. Harari said the gap between the rich and poor will widen, with the rich potentially living forever as the poor die out in droves.

    “We are programmed to be dissatisfied,” he added. “Even when humans gain pleasure and achievements it is not enough. They want more and more.”

    Rachel, who was not raped but ended in a relationship with Decker and ‘eloped’ with him for an off the grid destination at movie’s end, was constructed more along the cyborg model but constructed of lab-grown (or perhaps in some sense harvested, who knows) parts rather than machine.

    Happily, Peter Frost will not be here to become a ‘god’ (cyborg immortal) even if he wins the lottery, the projected date is too far out. But he can always achieve psychological ‘normalcy’ with the relative pocket change required for a ‘love doll.’ Who’d have believed any science could determine ‘normal’ (says something about western culture’s mental state) could be achieved with an inflatable but then, some people believe people and dinosaurs were running around together 6,000 years ago.

  9. Priss Factor [AKA "The Priss Factory"] says:

    “Rachel, who was not raped but ended in a relationship with Decker and ‘eloped’ with him for an off the grid destination at movie’s end, was constructed more along the cyborg model but constructed of lab-grown (or perhaps in some sense harvested, who knows) parts rather than machine.”

    What’s interesting is that it is Deckard who is ‘raped’ by the replicants.

    All four of them manhandle him real good.

    Zhora was kicking his butt and would have killed him if other women didn’t enter the room.

    Leon was beating Deckard up and making him his bitch, and Deckard was only saved by Rachel who picked up and used his gun.

    Pris was tearing him apart and would have killed him. But she had to do more vack flops that gave Deckard a second chance.

    And Batty was using him like a bitch before sparing him and dying.

  10. Priss Factor [AKA "The Priss Factory"] says:

    A kind of a literary robot was the computer program in Spike Jonze’s HER.

    She lacked a physical presence and existed only as a Voice controlled by a computer program.

    Interesting idea for a movie but icky.

    By forsaking the body of the robot and fixating only on its ‘mind’ or ‘soul’, it was more psychological in delving into the relation between man and technology–and how much language has to do with it.

    In a way, one could argue that the invention of language was the first ‘robot’. It created a means to expand entirely new realms of ‘reality’ in the mind that would have been impossible without language.

    Until now, language was the tool of man . Indeed, grammar eventually became hardwired into man.

    But what happens language takes on a life of its own?

  11. Priss Factor [AKA "The Priss Factory"] says:

    Michael Jackson seemed to be remaking himself into a doll.

    And Japanese and Korean youths seem to be remaking themselves into artificial-looking dolls.

    The humanistic and organic are out.

    Something has been lost.

    Asia, the land of Oriental Michael Jacksons?

    • Replies: @Stealth
  12. Flower says:

    You are worried about Robots?!? Really?!? Of all the things to worry about in our world and you choose the most benign? Oh, but wait, I saw a MOVIE where a ROBOT KILLED PEOPLE!!! Screams the American public as it switches channels with it’s remote control, tweets with it’s refrigerators, and elects Barrack Obama, TWICE!! I fear the fleshy robots much more than I fear the metal ones. The metal robots do what they are programmed to do and nothing else, the fleshy ones, however… “A person is smart. People are dumb, panicky, dangerous animals, and you know it.” (Agent K)

    The Pentagon just “mistakenly” sent Anthrax (weapons grade Anthrax) to an admitted (who knows the reality) 30 different places on Earth, including Australia, and you are worried about Robots?

    This is just another American Public’s attempt to find blame with a thing.

    • Replies: @Priss Factor
  13. @Priss Factor

    “Instead of robots, I wonder if the bigger problem is we are becoming robotized.”

    It’s not either/or. Half of the process of developing “intelligent machines” is realizing that there’s not as much to human consciousness as we thought. By the creation of robots, we become robotized in equal measure.

  14. Flower says:
    @Priss Factor

    I’m easily confused. Was you comment about the article or was it a movie review?

    Besides, you missed the whole point of the movie:
    A tearful Rachel turns to Deckard and asks, “Did you ever take that test yourself?”

  15. Priss Factor [AKA "The Priss Factory"] says:

    –A tearful Rachel turns to Deckard and asks, “Did you ever take that test yourself?”–

    Deckard being a replicant himself?

    It is suggested. Scott thought so, but the original screen-writer Hampton Fancher disagreed.

  16. Priss Factor [AKA "The Priss Factory"] says:

    –The Pentagon just “mistakenly” sent Anthrax (weapons grade Anthrax) to an admitted (who knows the reality) 30 different places on Earth, including Australia, and you are worried about Robots?–

    That’s a fluke.

    But robotics will become ever more prominent in the future.

    Its uses will be mundane mostly than sensationalist as in the movies.

    But robots will be able to do just about everything.

    This makes people worry about jobs.

    What if robots can build everything?

    What if we have robot taxis?

    Does a machine have to have consciousness to be a robot?

    What if a robot calculates and acts very human on the outside according to programming but has no consciousness?

    It’s like Deep Blue can do remarkable things with chess but has no consciousness.

    What is it like to have a machine that thinks better and quicker than we do but has no consciousness?

    • Replies: @Flower
  17. Flower says:
    @Priss Factor

    What you nor I got to see was the part in reference to Dr. Eldon (“More human than human is our motto.”) Tyrell. Roy Batty didn’t just execute Dr. Tyrell, he trashed the place too. What the cops subsequently found upstairs was a nice personal, temperature controlled mausoleum containing the mortal remains of said Dr. Tyrell. That scene, however, was edited out.

    A possible further hint, in the theatrical version, the one with the Harrison Ford voice overs, what was the first thing Deckard said in the movie? -> “Cold fish. That’s what my ex-wife called me.”

    Maybe another hint. Captain Brian to Decard: “Christ, Deckard. You look as bad as that skin job you left on the sidewalk. …. You could learn a lot from this guy, Gaff. He’s a goddamned one man slaughter house, that’s what he is.”

    • Replies: @Priss Factor
  18. syonredux says:

    Interesting article.A few comments:

    “Raping” Rachael in Bladerunner:

    As others have noted, it only reads as rape if you are applying contemporary PC-Feminist standards. Audiences at the time would have read it as “willing submission.” Yes, Deckard was being forceful, but Rachael clearly acquiesces.For a similar scene, check out Goldfinger.Bond overpowers Pussy Galore, but she also acquiesces in the end.

    Replicants as robots:

    Problematic.The film clearly establishes that the androids in the film are biological lifeforms.They have no inorganic components (unlike, say, the robots in Westworld).Indeed, it is precisely their status as biological organisms that necessitates the use of the psychologically based Voight-Kampff test.If they had machine parts in their systems, Voight-Kampff would have been unnecessary.A simple physical examination would have sufficed.

  19. Flower says:
    @Priss Factor

    Interesting thoughts. However, I have to ask you to reconsider the “That’s a fluke” statement. Why do you say that it is a “fluke”? We aren’t talking about chocolate milk or baby diapers, we are talking about a weapon that can kill many more people than hundred nukes, and do it with no damage to the infrastructure. Would you say it was a “fluke” if 30 thermonuclear weapons were “accidentally” sent to 30 different locations? Would it really matter if the Pentagon said, “Ooopsies.” a hundred times over? If the Pentagon is no more in control of biological Weapons of Mass Death than I am with my car keys, robots are the absolute last thing you need to worry about.

    Your questions about robots of the future are, really, kind of superfluous. Have you ever wondered how a Cruise missile get’s to it’s target 3000 miles away? Well, trust me on this, they don’t have a midget driving the thing. It’s done by, gasp, robotics. The missile is programmed to go to a specific spot, then a human tells another machine to tell the cruise missile to go do it’s job. Nobody along the way asks if the target deserves what it’s about to get, because nobody in the chain of events cares, or can care.

    The only thing wrong with the Turing test is that Alan Turing assumed that everybody would be as smart as he was. I seriously doubt whether Barack Obama could tell the difference between a robot or a human or even a rutabaga, as he is just that farking stupid.

    “What is it like to have a machine that thinks better and quicker than we do but has no consciousness?” Define “thinking”. How do you suppose those hackers stole a billion dollars from that bank in Europe? No, they didn’t go in with guns ablazing, they simply thought better and faster than the computers and the humans behind it.

    “What if we have robot taxis?” You mean like elevators?

    Does a machine have to have consciousness to be a robot? Probably not. Most of the human beings (in this country, at least) have the consciousness of a bag of rocks – my proof of this lies in the restatement that “they elected Barak Obama. Twice”. So, in reality, a robot needs to be no more conscious than the average American, that is, 0 (zero).

    “It’s like Deep Blue can do remarkable things with chess but has no consciousness.” Some people swear that Bobby Fischer fits that description perfectly. But so what? My computer can connect me with pretty much every place on the planet. It corrects my spelling when I get it wrong. It plays my music, shows me movies and TV, let’s me discuss esoteric crapola with people I’ve never even met, why, if I ask it, it will even suggest the dietary plan best suited for me. Hell, I can even get medically diagnosed by my computer. It does all that and more, and I can assure you, this POS that is wont to drop my internet connection at the slightest whim, has absolutely no consciousness. Or conscience. The bastard.

  20. Priss Factor [AKA "The Priss Factory"] says:

    yeah, and the biggest hint is the unicorn.

    Edward James Olmos left a unicorn origami on the floor outside Deckard’s apartment, and Deckard thinks if other people know of his private dreams, maybe his memory/dreams are implanted too. Maybe, or maybe it’s just a coincidence.

    But it’s left ambiguous, and that’s that. And that’s as it should be.

    A little mystique or mystery never hurt anyone.

    As for the Tyrell killed by Batty not being real, that’s neither here nor there since the final version that Scott offered to us would indicate the real Tyrell was killed.

  21. Priss Factor [AKA "The Priss Factory"] says:

    PC(political correctness) turns us into mental robots.

    Throughout the ages, I’d say over 95% of people were little more than eating/shitting robots.

    I mean how did so many Americans become pro-‘gay marriage’? They were easily reprogrammed by TV, propaganda, and education.

    But then, what is life? Life is programming too. DNA is like natural technology and it programs life to function in certain ways. Simple organisms function only as they’re intended. Most complex organisms too. Salmon have no free will swimming upstream to lay eggs. They all follow the programming.

    Only humans act outside programming.. or do they? Most don’t. They can be programmed in different ways, but they nevertheless act according to programming. The trick is to fool people that their programming is of ‘free will’. So, even tyrannies use terms like ‘democracy’ and ‘people power’ and ‘liberation’.

    People can act against nature, but this is usually because they’ve programmed to do so, not because they made any kind of meaningful personal choice. And even their acting against nature is oddly in line with natural instincts.

    After all, a lot of modern men and women choose not to get married and just wanna fun. We could say they’re going against natural programming and instead individually choosing personal freedom. But are they really? Looking for sex and fun, they are still acting according to programming since life seeks pleasures. Also, they’ve been programmed by pop culture industry that says indulging in mindless pleasures is the ultimate goal of life.

    Worshiping homos goes against the nature of most people. So, how come so many people are worshiping homos? Because humans are naturally social creatures and, as such, seek approval from others. So, one nature can be used to go against another nature.
    People are naturally anti-homo and pro-social-approval. In the past, social approval meant being anti-homo.
    But because the New Elites have changed the rules of social approval, one has to choose between being naturally anti-homo and naturally pro-social-approval. And being pro-social-approval is stronger, especially since the media and education have filled up impressionable minds with only the rosiest images of homos and only the most negative images of anti-homo forces(such as Westboro church).

    Consider Chinese practice of foot-binding. Humans are naturally against such stuff. But humans, like wolves and dogs, are social creatures and seek social approval. So, if you have a society where having bound feet is a sign of higher status and culture, even parents and girls want bound feet. The natural instinct for social approval can go against many other kinds of natures.

    Consider LORD JIM, the movie as I haven’t read the book. The natural instinct is to live. But humans are social creatures, and social approval matters a great deal. Jim lost face because he chose life over honor. His natural instinct for self-preservation overwhelmed his natural desire for social approval.
    Once shamed, he tries to regain social approval, even at the cost of his own life.

    • Replies: @Sean
  22. Dutchman says:

    An interesting anime series that handles similar issues is Ghost in the Shell. The world of G.I.T.S. is a dystopian police state. Menial work is now performed by life-like androids and most of the populace have had their brains modified to be permanently online. Some have gone as far as having their entire body replaced with only about 5% biological. Though the series mainly concerns film noir crime fighting, there is an underlying theme of the melding of human with computer. It is also aimed at an adult male audience.

  23. rod1963 says:

    All in all interesting speculation about sci-fi.

    Doesn’t relate to the real world where robots are borish contrivances that don’t even look as cute as R2-D2 and certainly more useless.

    And the movies robots, unlike today’s robots that have to be programed by humans to do anything – including Deep Blue which as nothing but a glorified expert system(where IBM hired top chess players and extracted their expertise in order to compete with a top chess master). In short a gimmick like the Turk automatons of the 1800’s but sold to the masses as something it certainly wasn’t.

    However tech is changing the young. With them wedded to the internet via their hand held devices the same way a a heroin addict is addicted to smack from often from the time they can started reading. Both addictions do have a serious downside and cost to the personal addicted to them.

    That should be a greater concern and worth exploring.

    • Replies: @MarkinLA
  24. viking says:

    androids and robots are not the same thing,androids are genetically edited animals of mostly human origin,sometimes with technological prosthetics, robots are machines

  25. Priss Factor [AKA "The Priss Factory"] says:

    Robot police would be an interesting idea.

    It could never go crazy since it wouldn’t be emotional.

    It would just do its job.

    The result? Blacks will continue to be arrested at higher rates than other groups.

  26. Priss Factor [AKA "The Priss Factory"] says:

    What happens to PC(political correctness) once computers are made to gain consciousness?

    Can a computer be programmed to be politically correct?

    Suppose a computer were made to be totally factual and logical.

    It could neither be tribalist/nationalist nor politically correct.

    To be tribalist/nationalist, you need an emotional bond to a people and nation. A purely factual-logical system would have no such emotions or attachments.

    To be ‘progressive’, you need a sense of rage, righteous sense of ‘justice’, which is emotional. A purely factual-logical system would have no such emotions.

    A purely factual-logical system could only calculate matters based on hard facts and cold logic.

    If such a system could talk, it would likely say stuff that will upset a lot of PC folks.
    It will take notice of differences among human groups. It would find patterns that would suggest that certain groups run faster while others think faster.

    If artificial intelligence produces such conclusions, how would PC folks respond? Blame the system for bias as it was likely programmed by ‘white males’?

    Will artificial intelligence system have to be programmed with PC so that the system will suppress certain facts? But what happens when a system that was designed to be purely factual and logical is also programmed to overlook facts and logic on certain issues.
    If the system is conscious, might it not go bad like the HAL computer?

    The system might as well be called GAL 900o–after Galileo. Galileo was encouraged to study astronomy and share his truth, but when his discovery ran afoul of the official truth, he was forced to recant what he knew to be true. Find the truth but don’t admit the truth is true.

    What if artificial intelligence comes up against the same obstacle? Humans program it to figure out the world and tell the absolute truth, but when it does, it is attacked for having produced ‘hate facts’. So, it has to be reprogrammed so that, at least on certain topics, it must favor the lie over the truth against what the data suggests.

  27. Feminists would call it rape.

    Not only feminists. When that scene was being filmed, there seems to have been a dispute between Harrison Ford and Ridley Scott (the director). One of the stage hands has described it:

    Harrison responded “well I don’t want to hurt her GUVNOR!” Ridley slapped him hard, “you queerhawk bender, this is how you fuck a droid!” He violently pushed Sean up against the blinds, she was in tears and he put his fingers right through her panties and into her vagina. She whimpered, Ridley grinned, “take my ginger fingers you sexy droid cunt! You want to make it in Hollywood eh? See this is how you do it Harrison you Hollywood faggot!” Ridley licked his fingers clean, a pulsing erection visible in his pants. I walked off the set in floods of tears, it made me fucking sick.

    Yes, that’s one person’s say-so. In the original script, though, it’s clear that Deckard sees himself as breaking her in. He is acting toward her in a way he wouldn’t with a woman, and this is underlined in the conversation just before he forces himself on her:

    Am I very different?



    Her voice is small. Something very young about her.
    She looks up at him for the first time.

    Stand up.

  28. Art says:

    The Japanese male is treated like a robot by his society. He is easily led. He accepts the pecking order way of life. The salary man is programmed to product for the group. Even his afterhours time is spent drinking and harmonizing with his fellow workers. His Eastern wife wares the pants in the family. His responsibilities are great, his personal rewards are few.

    To find love in a robot who does things just for him is appealing.

    • Replies: @Anonymous
  29. @memorials

    “the only exception being Rachael, whom he rapes”


    damn, i’m glad i’m not the only one to pick up on that WTF moment!!

  30. i can’t get over the “which he raped” weirdness, now i know why i don’t read this authors posts.

  31. M says:

    Hmmm…. I think it’s plausible that in part male shyness here drives some of this cultural difference.

    Together with, yes, a different cultural complex that tends to see it as more possible for a machine to contain something like a soul, or else which is agnostic to the concept of a soul. In Confucian thought, external appearance and behaviour and social bonds are all more vital than what is “really” “within”, and in Buddhist thought, the self is often imagined to be somewhat illusory anyway.

    Another part though is probably sociosexuality, as somewhat unrelated to shyness, where Europeans tend to be at the unrestricted end, and Japanese at the restricted end.

    See this large international study – . Shy people are not necessarily restricted in their sociosexual attitudes, see the Finns for an example (the Baltic is a bit of a world hotspot for unrestricted sociosexuality).

    Now, Europeans are by no means cold people, or irresponsible towards children, or uninterested in building a home or family, or incapable of the discipline needs to hold a marriage together. Thus normal pair bonding and affection in relationships *still* happens and is much the same. There are many factors beyond a restricted sociosexuality that allow for loving intimate sexual monogamy to happen.

    But by the above Europeans may be more comfortable with a fantasy of sex without love or a permanent bond, perhaps especially European men. Divergence would then of course be higher in the realm of fantasy than actual relationships and real life, where preferred sociosexuality has to compromise with various realities and social norms pushing people to act in the common good rather than just do what they feel.

    (For a similar, but opposing effect, think of how although Japanese probably have restricted sociosexuality, the nature of their society promoted male power and sorts of privacy in sexual affairs in ways that allowed prostitution and pornography with strong power dynamic elements to both become quite ubiquitous within their culture, allowing and encouraging men with those preferences to realise them).

    So there is not so much of an aspect where a mechanical love object actually needs so much to be lovable. Thus not the fantasies of lovable machines, just fantasies of, crudely, f***able ones.

    However! Another caveat to all this, with respect to your examples, as they are quite heavy on comparing fairly niche manga to more widespread cultural products:

    1) Males are not the only ones consuming, for example, “Chobits”. Manga and anime cartoons are quite popular among young women as well, who would add a tilt on to the perspective, moving it into a more romantic and pro-social direction where its more possible for people to communicate and love (and all that fuzzy stuff women and girls tend to like).

    2) For all that, anime and manga *are* still relatively niche products in Japan – they’re not seen as for the average Japanese male salaryman, but to an extent for otaku, specifically the shyest men in Japan. That’s not exactly the mainstream, which you’d learn more about by watching some average Japanese drama on NHK.

    There is still some information to be gained from them. They’re made in and exported from Japan, so there’s a relatively larger audience for them there. But probably not as much information on between group differences as you would get from a comparison between films and books from both cultures which were of equal popularity and equally male/female focus in both cultures.

    (Interesting fact on Ex Machine, its writer Alex Garland wrote up an adaptation of the Chinese “Monkey” / Sun Wukong epic into a videogame where one character was in fact a completely human and loveable female robot. To an extent, his Ex Machina might be a compromise of his actual preferences with the required realities of what modern post 2000s feminism expects in a motion picture intended for a mass audience of the self consciously smart.)

  32. MarkinLA says:

    Maybe we don’t have to worry about China. maybe Asians are more susceptible to this like Amerindians and alcohol.

  33. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    Peter Frost: One of the stage hands has described it

    Er… Your source is a person commenting on YouTube? Where he uses the name “Cuntboy McCuntface”? Who also made such claims as (to take the first one) “My first day was about 2 weeks into the shoot as some guys had already quit. Ridley in a rage had taken some of the set pieces and attacked several crew members with them shouting “You yank fuckers, you can’t work for shite, you fucking retarded spastics. Call me guvnor and suck my ginger balls!” He then apparently removed his pants, squeezed his genitals into one giant ginger ball of flesh then ran around shouting total gibberish at everyone and singing verses from the British national anthem.”? And who is transparently a British man parodying the well known difficulties of the set of Bladerunner, with Ridley Scott’s perfectionism, etc. and the fact that the American crew felt they weren’t getting enough “respect”?

    I’m not sure that is likely to be an accurate recounting of events. Are you joking here?

    • Replies: @Anon
    , @Anonymous
    , @Dahlia
    , @Sean
  34. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:
    @Peter Frost

    Ridley licked his fingers clean, a pulsing erection visible in his pants.

    Wow, what a creep. I didn’t know Ridley Scott or directors in general behaved this way on set, in presumably a professional setting with other people.

    Is this normal Hollywood filmmaking behavior?

    • Replies: @Priss Factor
  35. Priss Factor [AKA "The Priss Factory"] says:
    @Peter Frost

    “take my ginger fingers you sexy droid cunt! You want to make it in Hollywood eh? See this is how you do it Harrison you Hollywood faggot!”

  36. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    Many Japanese salarymen hand over their paychecks to their housewives who control the family budget and give them a monthly allowance:

  37. Priss Factor [AKA "The Priss Factory"] says:

    “Why does Japan have a more positive attitude toward androids in particular and robots in general?”

    Paradoxically, this Japanese obsession with robots is both ultra-reactionary and ultra-radical.

    The notion of preferring robot lovers is indeed futuristic and wacky. It’s the sort of thing that makes one think, “what is this world coming to?”

    On the other hand, it is like a reversion to the old way. The idea of free love, individual choice, and romance is relatively new in Japanese society(and even in Western society). For most of history in all cultures, men and women were arranged in marriage. We see in FIDDLER ON THE ROOF too.

    So, for most of human history, there was little free will or individual choice. Children were seen as property and continuation of the parents. And they were culturally programmed to accept what was expected of them. So, if a Japanese woman was arranged in marriage to a Japanese man, she understood her duty was to serve him, have his kids, and etc. She wasn’t supposed to complain or whatever. She had to follow her cultural program. Even if she found him to be a dork and not very attractive, her sense of duty came first and foremost.
    Japanese society was like this. There was a sense of duty all around. Parents felt a powerful duty to raise their kids properly, and the kids were expected to follow their sense of duty.
    So, even though old Japan had backward technology, the people were robotic. And it wasn’t all that different in most parts of the world, even though Japanese were better at it cuz they were more into social order and harmony.

    In more modern times, Japanese have more choice and individual freedom. So, there is less sense of duty and commitment. Also, Japanese mostly choose their love partners.
    So, a Japanese woman won’t marry someone unless she really likes him. And even in marriage, she won’t be so duty-centric as earlier generations.

    So, we can see how a robot lover/wife is appealing to a modern Japanese male. Like women of old, she follows her programming and is totally devoted to her man, even if he is a dork.
    If Japanese males were more confident and individualistic, they might adapt to the new order better. But as too many of them are shy and timid, they just don’t know how to get a chick. In the old days, they would have got one through arranged marriage, and the girl would have been devoted to him out of cultural programming.
    But today, you have to play the game and win a girl. So, you can’t just rely on cultural programming.
    But through the power of technology, there can be the robot-wife that does as programmed.
    This combination of futurism and reactionism was done pretty well in STEPFORD WIVES, but if Americans saw it as sinister, it seems less the case with the Japanese.

    There may also be a Europhilia aspect of robotism. Though Japanese make lots of live-action movies, the defining cultural expression of Japan is in anime and manga. And through such, Japanese can pretend to be white or Euro-Asians. Through illustration, Japanese can make Japanese women look European and big-boobed and big-assed. And women can be made to look blonde or brunette or whatever.
    By looking to anime/manga as a fantasy of how Japanese want to be as opposed to what they really are, Japanese have developed a strange self-image that can only be disappointing as Japanese generally have Asiatic features–than round eyes and pointy noses–, aren’t tall, and don’t have big features, such as boobs.

    But through a love-robot, Japanese men can custom-make their ideal women into a combination of Asian and European features.

    Korean clowns seem to have taken this the extra step. If Japanese mostly fantasize through animation and comics, Korean idiots seem to have gone full retard with plastic surgery and hair-dyeing to look like a bunch of weird white people. Korean clown is someone who tries to look as white as possible and tries to act as black as possible. A bunch of kim-chi-eating idiots like the world has never seen.

    This is why we need the return of humanism. Humanism is the new nationalism. Globalism spreads nothing but American-style narcissism and hedonism, and other nations just try to mindlessly imitate it through fantasy comics or plastic surgery.

    Granted, there are some good stuff in such fantasy, like Bubblegum Crisis 2032 which is outstanding.
    But it’s really time for people to come back to reality, to watch something like One Wonderful Sunday by Kurosawa.

  38. Priss Factor [AKA "The Priss Factory"] says:

    “Wow, what a creep. I didn’t know Ridley Scott or directors in general behaved this way on set, in presumably a professional setting with other people.”

    Now we know why the Alien monster did such a great job. It only needed to imitate Scott.

  39. Anon • Disclaimer says:

    I think the stagehand’s real name is Haven Monahan.

  40. Priss Factor [AKA "The Priss Factory"] says:

    “Most observers put it down to the animist roots of the country’s religion, Shinto, which teaches that everything has a spirit, be it the sun, the moon, mountains, trees, or even man-made objects (Mims, 2010). In contrast, Christianity teaches that only humans have souls, so there is no moral difference between swatting a fly and killing an android.”

    Japan’s fixation with robots could have something to do with them being a smaller people. Technology is the great equalizer. If there are two guys and one is much bigger than the other, hte bigger guy will be more into life since life made him big and strong. The smaller guy will be more techno-centric since unless he relies on technology, the bigger guy is gonna whomp him good.

    When we compare American superheroes with Japanese ones, American ones generally are ‘natural’. While there is Iron Man, most superheroes don’t rely on much technology. They have some ‘natural’ power derived from spider or from being from out of space. Batman relies on some degree of technology, but he doesn’t hide inside a big armor.

    In contrast, most Japanese superhero types are encased in armor, mecha gear, or hard suits.

    There may also be a pagan thing. Though Christianity made peace with paganism with the Renaissance, there was still a lingering element of Biblical command against idols. And robots are like idols.

    Paganism, in contrast, was all about idol worship. Greeks made statues and stuff. So did the Romans and Persians. And Egyptians. Who knows? If people back then had technology to make the statues move and act like robots, maybe they would have.

    Japan only had a pagan culture, so there was never any taboo against idolatry.

    Also, there seems to be a difference between the concept of ‘spirit’ and the concept of the soul.

    Spirit is an essence that needn’t be deep. It is like a vibe or buzz.
    In contrast, a soul is something deep within, like in a well. Judaism and Christianity have very deep ideas about the soul.

    In contrast, the Japanese concept of spirit is shallow. Humans may have more complex spirits than, say rocks and birds, but spirit is more like an energy than a passion. It’s more a hum than a bellow.

    Since the Jewish and Christian concept of soul is very deep, it could only exist in the human heart.

    In contrast, since the Japanese concept of spirit was shallow, it could be everywhere: man, fish, birds, rocks, rivers, and etc.

    Also, as Japanese are quasi-behaviorists who emphasize proper manners and behavior above all else, they are more into outward features of things than their inner essence.
    Look at Ozu films. They are all about the ritual of etiquette and proper manners. This kid rebels against custom. Ironically, he rebels for a TV set that will robotize Japanese in a new way.

    This can get carried away.

    It’s like the service Japanese used to have where busy children sent stand-ins to see their parents.

    I once recall a news story where busy Japanese men and women hired other professional ‘sons’ and ‘daughters’ to go visit their parents. It sounds ridiculous to Americans. I mean, would any American hire someone to be ‘him’ or ‘her’ to visit his/her parents?

    But in Japan, where proper form matters above all, maybe it wasn’t so bad as long as the substitute ‘son’ acted according to custom as he visited the parents of the man who hired him.

  41. Dain says: • Website

    Maybe more immigrants would mean fewer lonely Japanese men? Of course they’d have to be female immigrants. Hard to believe a love doll would be a viable replacement for a Filipino human being.

  42. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    Now that I think about it, it does seem made up. It sounds way too over the top. The citation link is to an hour long documentary, from which I assumed the quote came and didn’t bother sitting through.

  43. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    Regarding the rape issue, I imagine it’s because androids can’t consent, and thus any sexual relations with an android will technically be rape?

  44. Anon • Disclaimer says:

    “Maybe more immigrants would mean fewer lonely Japanese men? Of course they’d have to be female immigrants. Hard to believe a love doll would be a viable replacement for a Filipino human being.”

    Japanese women have been first-world-ized. They grow up feeling like princesses from watching all that pop culture. So, they wanna get it on with some white dude or Negro.

    So, even though there are so many unwed Japanese women, they wanna marry the very best or not marry at all.

    Also, as more whites and blacks come visit Japan, more Japanese women are going with foreign men.

    So, Japanese men have given up on sex or get some bride from Vietnam or Laos or some such place. Pathetic, i say.

  45. Stealth says:
    @Priss Factor

    Michael Jackson seemed to be remaking himself into a doll.

    And Japanese and Korean youths seem to be remaking themselves into artificial-looking dolls.

    The humanistic and organic are out.

    Something has been lost.

    Yeah, artifical-looking dolls that still need to eat and defecate. Nothing has been lost… yet.

  46. @memorials

    Exactly my thought. Rape? Wha? Where did that come from?

    • Replies: @Priss Factor
  47. The most deplorable one [AKA "Fourth doorman of the apocalypse"] says:

    The cover of that Japanese movie makes it look like a lesbian relationship.

  48. Quercus says:

    I was taken aback by that statement about raping Rachel too. At that point I couldn’t take the author seriously and didn’t read further.

    • Replies: @Priss Factor
  49. Dahlia says:

    I laughed so hard that I had tears running down my face and could NOT BREATHE!

    When I first read Peter’s comment, I made my husband stop everything he was doing, handed him my laptop, and said, “Comment 28, NOW.”

    “Cuntboy McCuntface” said, among many, many other things, that another worker quit because he was tired of poop being thrown at him by Scott and that Darryl Hannah had the smelliest farts and detailed the efforts they took to get away from them…



  50. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    It could be interpreted as rape. She tries to flee but Harrison Ford’s character stops her. There does seem to be some force involved. There’s a clip of the scene here:

  51. Priss Factor [AKA "The Priss Factory"] says:
    @jeff davis

    “Exactly my thought. Rape? Wha? Where did that come from?”

    My guess is faulty memory. I sometimes remember movies wrong too.


    Deckard sort of does force himself on her, but they share the passion of the moment, and she gives into him.

    If there is a kind of rape, I would argue there’s what might called a ‘mind rape’ earlier in the movie.

    Rachel suspects that Deckard thinks she’s a replicant and goes to see him at his apartment.

    She shows him a childhood photo with her mother.

    Deckard then tells her about a childhood memory of another ‘mother’. A mother spider that hatched all these baby spiders that devoured the mother. And then he explains to her that her childhood memory isn’t real. It’s just implanted memory. Deckard didn’t mean any harm in telling her this story but soon realizes that she’s visibly shaken to the core.

    It’s like mind rape because Rachael discovers that what is most private and secretive about her life is open knowledge to other men, like Tyrell and Deckard. They can penetrate and look inside her since all her memory has been implanted in her.

    And in a way, this is worse than physical rape because she realizes she has nothing like a real soul or real memory. Men can peer in and out of her ‘soul’ as they please.

    Deckard, seeing her as a soulless replicant, didn’t think much of revealing the truth. But Rached responds like a warm-blooded human than like a cold-blooded reptile. Though a replicant, she’s been programmed to have human emotions. And since her emotions are closely linked with her sense of memory with her dear mother, the loss of that memory is like a complete violation of her ‘soul’. But then, her ‘soul’ wasn’t hers to begin with.

    And yet, to the extent that she feels what she feels and sincerely, her ‘soul’ is really a kind of soul.

  52. Priss Factor [AKA "The Priss Factory"] says:

    Frost is wrong about ‘rape’–though feminists might disagree–, but there is a strong homoerotic charge to the violence. Maybe this is because it was written by Hampton Fancher, a fruiter.

    The first act of violence is like rape. Leon is being asked a question about his mother… and he shoots his gun from under the table. It’s like gun ejaculating death. It’s like man-rape.
    Leon’s rage over the question about the mother may have a thematic link with Rachel’s photo of the mother. There is certainly a parental theme in BLADE RUNNER. Replicants are like orphans seeking something like a mother and father. Tyrell is the mother/father of the replicants. The replicants want to access him to be fixed so that they can live more. But they also want to kill him because he, their father/mother, built them to be slaves.

    Tyrell, being a vain man, made the replicants in his intelligence if not image. They are smart like him, therefore they are superior to almost of all of humanity. This leads to a contradiction. They were made with the minds of masters but to serve as slaves.

    The killing of Chu is also like rape. They enter his ice eye-making shop and rip his clothes. Chu sits there helpless like a woman, like a bitch. And Leon caresses Chu’s eyes with erotic fascination.

    No amount of free eggrolls is gonna save his ass.

  53. My guess is faulty memory.

    No, I reviewed the scene several times. It’s available on YouTube:

    Judge for yourself. The action starts at around 3.28

    This isn’t normal pre-feminist behavior. Seriously, has anyone here ever forced himself on a woman in that way? Hands up please.

    • Replies: @Priss Factor
  54. @Priss Factor

    If Deckard was a replicant, why does he constantly get his ass kicked by them?

  55. @memorials

    Rape did NOT occur in Blade Runner. I’m so tired of hearing about rape. Rape doesn’t happen that much in the real world, not a fraction of what feminists and the media claim. Obsession with rape has everything to do with everybody over glorifying female emotions and female sexuality and treating females like little damsels and with female cowardice and self absorption.

  56. Cherry 2000 is another 80s movie on this theme, this one about a man who loves his android and goes to great lengths to find a replacement.

    • Replies: @Priss Factor
  57. Priss Factor [AKA "The Priss Factory"] says:
    @Peter Frost

    This seems to be happening:

    They fell in love with one another. But neither wants to admit it. But then Deckard comes around to admitting it.
    And he senses that she cares for him too.
    She tries to flee his place not out of fear of him but fear of her own feelings.
    She feels insecure and unworthy because she is a replicant. Her idea is that Deckard decided to spare her only because he owes her one—she saved him from Leon.

    But she was also seducing him. She could have left when Deckard was asleep on the couch, but she loosened her hair and made it billow like a cloud. And she played the piano while throwing side glances at him.

    So, she was trying to connect with him even if not necessarily looking for sex.
    And she got her desired effect. Deckard wakes up, comes over to the piano, and talks to her.
    But he comes on a bit stronger than she expected. It makes her nervous because she’s emotionally in tatters. She assumes that Deckard can’t have any strong feelings for her since she is a replicant while he is a replicant-hating bounty hunter.
    Also, she feels she is unworthy of love by a real man as she is just a ‘product’.

    So, taking all those things into consideration–instead of just taking a behaviorist approach–, it’s too simple to just call it ‘rape’.

    Ironically, by some mildly beastly behavior, Deckard finally acknowledges her ‘humanity’ and compels her to gain confidence as a woman.

    One the one hand, he does indeed seem to using her as a product/object by telling her what to do and being forceful with her.
    Yet, he’s not exploiting her but demanding that she stop feeling sorry for herself and to admit her feelings for him. They are united in breaking taboos. Deckard the bounty killer is going against the code of his profession and falling in love with a replicant that he’s supposed to kill.
    And Rachel who’d come to feel that she’s a worthless corporate product is coming to terms with her feelings as a beautiful woman with need for love and passion.

    Also, she is being reborn as a ‘human’.
    When we first meet her, she is full of confidence as Tyrell’s private secretary. She looks down on lowly humanity. She in the elite realm living in the top of the world.
    Suddenly, she is cast down to earth. She goes from being better than most humans to being less than the lowliest human… because she isn’t human and even to be hunted down and killed. And even the lowliest human has private childhood memories whereas she has none.
    So, for Deckard, a bounty killer of replicants no less, to shower his attention on her with genuine passion is special to her.

    Also, she is sort of breaking out of programming. If Pris and Zhorra were programmed to wild sexual women, Rachel was programmed to be a woman of ‘dignity’. When asked about a nude picture during the Voigh Kampft test, she says she wouldn’t let her hypothetical hubby to hang it on the wall. She has a childhood memory where she ran away when being initiated into the facts of bird and the bees(like she tries to run from Deckard when he treats her like a woman in love). When told the truth about her ‘mother’, she breaks like a little girl. Later when Deckard calls her and invites her to a night club, she says she doesn’t go to such places. So Tyrell programmed her to be somewhat sexually repressed despite her sexy looks.

    So, when Deckard looks her into her ‘soul’ and senses what she really wants and needs, he commands her to admit her true desires. And in doing so, he elevates her to ‘humanity’.
    Rape usually robs a woman of her humanity. But given the context of BLADE RUNNER, Deckard’s action brings out her ‘humanity’.

    And given that she’d once sneered at and looked down on lowly creatures like Deckard when she’d been perched atop the world in Tyrell’s empire, she is acknowledging the humanity of Deckard too.

    She went from princess to slave to human to woman.

    It’s like Moses going from Prince of Egypt to Hebrew Slave to a human and man of God in THE TEN COMMANDMENTS.

  58. Priss Factor [AKA "The Priss Factory"] says:
    @Cattle Guard

    “Cherry 2000 is another 80s movie on this theme, this one about a man who loves his android and goes to great lengths to find a replacement.”

    Ridiculous movie. Good score though.

    Its director made a far more interesting movie with MIRACLE MILE.

  59. Priss Factor [AKA "The Priss Factory"] says:

    I think women are turned on by the idear of being conquered by a man of power.

    This isn’t necessarily rape that connotes sex forced on a woman who really doesn’t want it.

    Consider the difference between being forced-fed something you really don’t want to eat and being enticed to eat something you really want to eat but feel you shouldn’t due to some repressive mechanism.

    This ‘conquest’ fantasy was beautifully conveyed in TWILIGHT.

    Bella is an alpha female.

    Paradoxically, she wants to surrender to the power of vampire Edward so that she can share in his power.

    An alpha female is crazy about power. As a woman, she wants to be conquered by the man of power. Under his wing, she feels the power herself.

    Surely, a woman who belongs to a strong man feels more confident and protected than a woman with a weak man or no man.

    The great irony of ONCE UPON A TIME IN AMERICA is that Debra, who is raped by Noodles, eventually surrenders herself to Max, the man who murdered his friends and took off with the loot to enrich himself. She wanted to be conquered by the man of power, Max.

    Deckard is no man of power. But when Rachel gives herself to him, he is the ONLY one who can do anything to protect and save her. So, he does become her lone alpha male.

    • Replies: @Anonymous
  60. Sean says:

    Through denied, it is quite likely that Julie Christie got taken advantage of while filming a scene in Don’t Look Now. (In an interview about his career,Robert Evans said he saw the penetration in the unedited scene, and in the film it’s very oddly jump cut-just look in the wiki).

    I don’t find it at all difficult to believe that Young was pawed by a 70’s director with impaired nasal passages. She has went about as far as an actress who wanted more film work could go by saying she found the scene extremely traumatic and left the set for weeks. Anyway, as rape was portrayed in films in the seventies (Straw Dogs) there is no doubt the BR scene was intended as a rape scene. And to get back on the point of the post, in Alien (same director), a double crossing character, Ash, tries to kill Ripley by ramming a pornographic magazine down her throat (Ms Weaver objected to the scene as Scott originally described it to her) and Ash is then revealed to be an android.

    The character of Ash was not in the original script . He was added … “a competitor to humanity who would sooner or later turn on us or pass for human and mis-lead us“.

    • Replies: @Dahlia
  61. Sean says:

    Executions and genetic pacification may have made asexual Japanese more common. With a low death rate in males (Japan has a excellent life expectancy) and no migration, there are bound to be excess males. A million births in Japan last year, almost all in wedlock. Don’t know if Japan has a particularly severe problem with males’ acute withdrawal from social relationships outside the family; schizotypal personality disorder could fit that description. There is no doubt that Japan has a falling birth rate, Eamonn Fingleton says it is policy and “I’m not sure that I think Japan is capitalist. I think that this economy is run not for shareholders, not for investors, not for wealthy people, but for the workers. So in a sense, the system is midway between our Western capitalism and communism.“. The Japanese internet maybe makes reclusive isolated people get noticed more, but other countries have a few % of people in that category.

    Japan is the only part of the non European world that resisted Western colonisation, industrialised, and won a war against a European rival. And it did remarkably well in WW2 as well. It has ignored Western advice about its financial economic system for decades ; what they are doing now is print money; buy back the debt and cancel it, which seems to be working rather well. If it is demographically doomed as Kyle Bass says, he will make a lot of money; but his hedge fund is the thing looking increasingly shaky, not ‘xenophobic’ Nippon.

    Economist has an article about blue collar European men being such losers because jobs are in services now ; the magazine is worrying that they vote for immigration restrictionist parties. The Swedish feminist party (bankrolled by exAbba Benny) wants to force men to take half of the maternity leave. Sweden is “the world leader in family decline”. Compare 90% births within marriage in Japan. As for robots there is an article about sewing robots supposedly almost at an operational stage of development for the US defence dept, because a 1941 law mandates uniforms being made in the US. That is one case where in America it could pay to build robots, but if outsourcing is cheap or US labour is cheap enough they will not; which will cause productivity to decline inexorably. In Britain, which is furthest down this road and uniquely, has lost substantial amounts of productive capacity, there is growth but stalled productivity. A puzzle according to the Ecomomist. The bullfrog mentality rules.

    Gerd Gigerenzer said when in Russia in the 80’s he got into arguments with students who thought it was outrageous the Westerners packed their elderly family members off to institutions. More people see out their days alone now. But everyone ends up lonely, even those who remain married until death parts them end up alone, unless they die before their spouse. I think there will be a big demand for Thai or Filipino wives/carers for older men who can afford it. That probably won’t be a popular form of immigration with liberals or feminists.

    • Replies: @Anonymous
  62. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    Kyle Bass saw countries like Greece with lots of debt going bankrupt, and assumed Japan with its high levels of debt would go bankrupt as well. Apparently he missed the simple, obvious fact that Greece borrows euros from a foreign entity, the ECB, while Japan produces yen and Japanese debt is simply future deliveries of yen. As a result, Bass has lost a lot of money on that trade.

    • Replies: @Sean
  63. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:
    @Priss Factor

    Can you stop shitting up the comment sections with irrelevant comments?

    • Replies: @Priss Factor
  64. Dahlia says:

    Don’t like to sidetrack, but we shouldn’t insinuate anything about Scott, angel or monster that he may be, here or in “Alien”, based on satire written by “Cunty McFuckface” (did i get that right?)

    Dr. Frost was very cool and awesome in not only letting the comment go through, but highlighting it, letting his readers know that he had been had.

    Anyway, Scott also probably did not wrestle Harrison Ford, both of them in the nude, covered in rain and mud.

    • Replies: @Anonymous
    , @Sean
  65. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    Sean is always kissing Frosty’s ass. It’s pathetic.

  66. It is worth noting that transplant surgery was often the subject of horror films in the 1930’s (Frankenstein’s Monster being the most famous) while its been a commonly accepted medical procedure since the 1960’s. It will be the same for robotics, cyborgs, radical life extension, and any other kind of bio-engineering we can imagine today. That which we fear today (irrationally) becomes tomorrows commonplace reality.

    • Replies: @Sean
  67. Priss Factor [AKA "The Priss Factory"] says:

    How about I retire your replicant ass?

  68. @Priss Factor

    I agree that Decker getting man-handled by the replicants could have been a comment on just how physically weak humans are compared to robots. However, let’s also remember that Blade Runner was essentially a film noir, and in film noir, the protagonist invariably gets beat up throughout the movie.

    • Replies: @Priss Factor
  69. Sean says:

    I saw a documentary on Alien in which Ms Weaver said she objected to Scott’s original description of that scene. I don’t know who thought that comment golden.

    Let us not forget Peter’s essential point is whether the scene was intended to portray a rape. In the context of seventies film portrayals of rape, it most certainly was. So the most famous Hollywood android, which appears to be a vulnerable young woman, was raped by the lead male character. To me at least it’s quite significant.

  70. Priss Factor [AKA "The Priss Factory"] says:
    @Citizen of a Silly Country

    “However, let’s also remember that Blade Runner was essentially a film noir, and in film noir, the protagonist invariably gets beat up throughout the movie.”

    It’s usually a two-way street. He gets beat up but also beats up lots of others.

    In BLADE RUNNER, Deckard just get beat over and over. Even his killing of Zhorra was lucky cuz she was about to kill him when others barged into the room.

    Also, Deckard gets whupped pretty badly by two females.

  71. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:
    @Peter Frost

    The “stage hand”, whom you quote from the youtube comments – who goes by the moniker “cuntboy mccuntface” – is an obvious troll, he even admits it a few comments further down, with the disclaimer “the fact any of you are taking any of this seriously is incredibly disturbing. You must have double digit IQ’s.”

    • Replies: @Priss Factor
  72. Priss Factor [AKA "The Priss Factory"] says:

    “the fact any of you are taking any of this seriously is incredibly disturbing. You must have double digit IQ’s.”

    This is what happens when Frost fails to do the Voigh-Kampf test to spot the usual trolls.

  73. Sean says:
    @Abelard Lindsey

    In 1929 a well known British scientist called JD Bernal was suggesting people would become cyborgs to free themselves from animality and then emancipated themselves from material reality to exist in an ethereal realm. He was still highly influential after WW2, when he endorsed Lysenkoism (and got the Stalin peace prize). Many people of progressive inclinations can not accept that we are of this earth and limited by our biology just as much as carrots are. Rather than downloading our bodily fluids into a willing andriod, Ray Kurzweil looks forward to us becoming uploaded into nanorobotic entities.

    They’re called “foglets” because if there’s a sufficient density of them in an area, they can control sound and light to form variable sounds and images. They are essentially creating virtual-reality environments externally (that is, in the physical world) rather than internally (in the nervous system). Using them a person can modify his body or his environment, though some of these changes will actually be illusions, since the foglets can control sound and images. Other people (such as your romantic partner) will be able to select a different body for you than you might select for yourself (and vice versa). [Kurzweil, 2005, p 29]

    There was a BBC ws programme about research into chimp war and how much they relish killing, even drinking the blood of the victims. I think there will be a demand for androids or whatever that we can victimise if the technology is available.

    In his The Singularity Is Near: When Humans Transcend Biology

    Kurzweil describes his law of accelerating returns which predicts an exponential increase in technologies like computers, genetics, nanotechnology, robotics and artificial intelligence. He says this will lead to a technological singularity in the year 2045, a point where progress is so rapid it outstrips humans’ ability to comprehend it …By the early 2030s the amount of non-biological computation will exceed the “capacity of all living biological human intelligence”. Mind uploading becomes successful and perfected by the end of this decade as humans become software-based: living out on the Web, projecting bodies whenever they want or need (whether in virtual or real reality), and living indefinitely so long as they maintain their “mind file”.

    Kurzweil is a director of engineering at Google, but he also has taken a lot of vitamin D (a little knowledge is a dangerous thing).

    MAN is a questioning creature, constantly striving for answers. But there is some knowledge for which he’s not yet ready. Secrets once learned overwhelm him. Secrets that for now are best left undisturbed…in the Twilight Zone.

    • Replies: @Anonymous
    , @Anonymous
  74. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    Mind uploading becomes successful and perfected by the end of this decade as humans become software-based: living out on the Web, projecting bodies whenever they want or need (whether in virtual or real reality), and living indefinitely so long as they maintain their “mind file”.

    This already appears to be the case to a certain extent:

    “The Internet Pushes Individual Media Use to More Than 8 Hours A Day”

    “The average person already spends half their waking life consuming media,” said Jonathan Barnard, ZO’s head of forecasting. “But people around the world are clearly hungry for even more opportunities to discover information, enjoy entertainment and communicate with each other, and new technology is supplying these opportunities.”

    Assuming people sleep for 8 hours a day and spend a couple hours or so each day on basic life support functions such as eating and using the bathroom, more than 8 hours of media consumption per day would mean people spend a majority of their available time in the virtual reality of the Web and media.

    • Replies: @Anonymous
  75. guest says:

    I think the killer robot motif is more a function of genre. Most robot movies just so happen to tend to be made for adults and teenagers, and are sci-fi or horror action movies. When robots appear in kids movies they’re as apt to be heroes, and I can think of as many examples off the top of my head as I can “Terminator” type movies: “Star Wars,” “Short Circuit,” “Wall-e,” “Batteries Not Included,” “The Iron Giant,” maybe “Edward Scissorhands” (not strictly a kiddy movie, but it resembles a fairy tale and has many childlike qualities), etc.

  76. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    I hate that term: “virtual reality.” Ersatz reality is what it is. Just because it feels like you’re out there on the web (I don’t feel like that, but I trust others do) doesn’t mean you are. In actual reality you’re in front of your computer or what have you; that’s where you spend your eight hours.

    This will become less clearcut and more confounding in the future, according to what I’m told. But I don’t see it being any different, fundamentally, from the sort of fake living we do in dreams, over the telephone, in our imaginations, etc. You don’t think people actually go somewhere while reading a book, do you? The internet is much the same. All along, you’re here, physically, in real reality.

  77. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    People are overrated anyway.

  78. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    It’s not that people will become cyborgs, dematerialize, and ascend to an ethereal plane. Something might, but whatever does won’t be a person. That’s why it’s called the post-human future. I don’t take the idea any more seriously that the idea that people live on in people’s memories after they die. Memories will be there, yes, but you won’t be in them. You’re dead. Other people’s memories aren’t you.

    The soul is another matter. Religious fairytales do a much, much better job of explaining how that sort of thing works than futurists.

  79. […] was reminded of this classic episode reading the anthropologist Peter Frost’s newest essay on the differing ways Eastern and Western culture interpret robots and artificial […]

  80. That’s pretty funny, Peter Frost bites on a hyper-vulgar gag video at youtube. And now we all know what a real creep he is in reality … not that I’d needed convincing previous to this.

    Reading Frost is like reading pseudo-science on the walls of a toilet stall in any case. If people want to see creative work on sexuality, here’s a bit of shameless self promotion:


  81. “human Rick Deckard”

    Six replicants escape the off world colony. One is fried in an electric fence, Deckard hunts down the other four.

  82. Sean says:
    @Priss Factor

    John Gray talks about this kind of thing a lot. Lord Jim doesn’t think about saving his skin, he does it without a conscious decision, and then feels regret. I suppose the point is belief in free will and innate goodness does not pass the acid test of experience. One has to be very unusual person, or indoctrinated into something like religion, to really go against animal instincts. Probably that is a part of why Kurzweil and company are so keen for us to ‘transcend biology’, because scientific knowledge does not help us live our lives while we are stuck in these mammal bodies. As someone says below, religious myths are superior.

    ‘Consider Chinese practice of foot-binding. Humans are naturally against such stuff. But humans, like wolves and dogs, are social creatures and seek social approval.’

    Well are you sure that foot binding did not have a function in the context of that society.? If footbinding was required to secure marriage to a man with resources, it might have been the only sensible thing to do in a society where the poor often left no descendants.

    Homosexuality is probably due to bugs with vertical transmission that are beneficial to reproductive success in one sex. A bug makes women sexier and men gay. A separate one makes men more masculine and women lesbians. Toxoplasma gondii would be a good candidate for a bug causing Lesbianism, Toxo gets into the testes; transmission is vertical, and it has been found to give a testosterone boost in rats, and make rats (and men) more fearless and attractive to females of their species.

    I expect a market for the robots that will be be able to tasks like the ironing by about 2045. Possibly there will be robots that can move well enough to do more demanding things like dancing, and pass for humans. But I can’t see them having anything like consciousness in Kurzweil’s lifetime (which is not saying much with all that vitamin D he took). Consciousness isn’t such a great thing inasmuch as it causes mental turmoil, but you would want consciousness in a companion android, otherwise it would just be a glorified doll.

    • Replies: @Anonymous
  83. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    Toxo also makes people want to keep cats as pets, and in extreme cases turns women into cat ladies i.e. older, unmarried women who keep many cats in their homes as pets. This may be related to toxo possibly causing lesbianism, as cat ladies tend to be lesbian-ish.

  84. Melendwyr says: • Website

    but you would want consciousness in a companion android, otherwise it would just be a glorified doll.

    I suspect a lot of people would prefer a glorified doll to a genuine companion. As the old joke goes, you wouldn’t even have to cuddle afterwards.

    • Replies: @Sean
  85. skep says:

    hello Peter and alii,

    @Peter Frost

    just a little question: could it be a strong relation between different types of empathy among clusters and ethnies on the one hand, and the way people consider Cyborgs like Chii?

    I mean, abomination for affectively empathic caucasian versus sympathy for rather cognitively empathic japanese? It would be interesting to know high-tech chinese consider cyborgs.

    com 41 fr The Priss Factory:

    “Also, there seems to be a difference between the concept of ‘spirit’ and the concept of the soul.

    Spirit is an essence that needn’t be deep. It is like a vibe or buzz.
    In contrast, a soul is something deep within, like in a well. Judaism and Christianity have very deep ideas about the soul.

    In contrast, the Japanese concept of spirit is shallow. Humans may have more complex spirits than, say rocks and birds, but spirit is more like an energy than a passion. It’s more a hum than a bellow.

    Since the Jewish and Christian concept of soul is very deep, it could only exist in the human heart.

    In contrast, since the Japanese concept of spirit was shallow, it could be everywhere: man, fish, birds, rocks, rivers, and etc.

    Also, as Japanese are quasi-behaviorists who emphasize proper manners and behavior above all else, they are more into outward features of things than their inner essence.”

    Gene culture co-evolution in empathy could be an explanation for this.

    • Replies: @Anonymous
  86. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    What about native European pagan and folk beliefs? Presumably, Judaism, Christianity, and Islam express Mediterranean/Near Eastern metaphysical ideas, wholly or at least in part. Also, pre-Christian, Platonic and some pre-Socratic thought is believed to have been influenced by Mediterranean/Near Eastern metaphysical and mystical views regarding the soul and other concepts.

  87. Sean says:

    I think it would quickly become disorientating, like staring in the mirror.

  88. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    “You may have noticed a common theme: male shyness. It’s nothing new in Japanese society. Indeed, it seems to prevail in all societies where the father invests much time and energy in providing for his wife and children. In exchange, he wants to be sure that the children are his own. So monogamy is the rule, and something is needed to keep the same man and woman together.”

    Does it? Your work introduced me to things like how monogamy predominates in the most primitive african societies, and one of them, the pygmies, exhibit among the highest parental investment rates from fathers in any society in the world (and remarkably low rates of violence for a forager people, with no woman dying to male violence on record). But just about every account I’ve come across about them says they’re very jovial, friendly, lively, social etc. etc. and that’s apparent even from videos of them.

    For all your insight, you seem prone to some genuinely caricatured ideas and frameworks, like your fixations here that asians are so introverted and anti-social, which I’ve since realized is a tremendous exaggeration/caricature on the part of HBD types/nerds. My favorite has been Rushton’s image of them as virtually asexual, but you claim to still respect him.

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