Type: Process Essays
Sample donated: Herbert Mason
Last updated: September 20, 2019
Humans and Technology The constant invention of newtechnology has hindered different environmental factors in our current societythat no longer promote natural selection of a distinct and new-favored bodilycharacteristic. Technology has removed those factors that once played a role inour survival and genetic evolution, such as massive droughts and dangerouspredators, and as technology has grown, we have lost most of the process ofnatural selection. As we become more immersed in our advancements intechnology, it is not so easy to see human evolution at work these days. Itseems that culture and technology drive our human evolution. With that said, itcomes to no surprise that with our curiosity of life, we imagine whatpost-human culture and life (the future) possibilities we hold by our advancementsin science and technology. What affect does technology have on culture andjustifications about existence? It comesto no exception that Blade Runner byRidley Scott plays with this forthcoming of future human life and culture in adark demeanor of simulacrums. It is through this film that Scott suggests themorbid effects technology has on human existence. The portrayal of the cultural consequencesof futuristic technologies, and the complex interaction between technology andstreet culture that Ridley Scott brings to life in Blade Runner conveys the effect of technology on the culturallandscapes of cyberpunk’s fictional world – a world inhabited not only byhumans, but also artificially constructed life forms, and where manufacturingand mechanization are so prevailing that factories stretch as far as the eyescan see them.
Through this atmosphere and setting, Scott brings up the presenceof simulacrums in human society, in which human replicants are created in thesame respects to humans. They are perfect humans, which look like, talk likeand feel (emotions) like humans (the crux of what defines a human in this movie).Manufactured mainly by the power Tyrell Corporation, as well as other bigbusinesses, replicants were banned from earth, and would be “retired” if theyever tried to come back to Earth by police (Blade Runners). With regards tohumanity as a whole in this fictional world, the result of furtherindustrialization leaves the world in all aspects to be seen as a simulacrum.
The modifications made to the aesthetics of the geography and human life aretaken to the point of decay, where the world no longer has substance in what itonce was: a geography based no longer on the interactions with nature, but ofindustrial metal work; a world no longer inhabited only by humans, butreplicants as well. The ultimate simulacra in this movieare the replicants themselves: a merging of genetics and semantics, ofcomplexity and simulation that negate what defines us a human being. The linebetween the false and true of human life is blurred, and can be seen in thecharacter of the replicant Rachel. She further exemplifies the ideal simulacrumbecause she does not know whether or not she is a replicant or human.
She isable to recognize her emotions, her memories, her sexuality, as a human would,but cannot discern who she truly is. Herethe world is so desolate of nature and so capitalized that life itself hasbecome a commodity with monetary value: replicants and animals are not born butmanufactured and fabricated. What defines human existence in this movie isblurredA more notable and greater example of the idea of human existence is thecharacter Roy Batty. A replicant, he sought to be accepted by those who hadcreated him, and because of this, it suggests Batty to encompass the uniquefeature of being human: a conscience mind, although he himself knows that he isa replicant. Throughout the movie, he struggles with the aspects of beinghuman, and as a result, conveys to the audience, his true ambition to livebeyond the four-year extermination his maker, Tyrell encoded into him.
With such a complex persona, both as areplicant and human, it imposes the idea of not only simulacrums of humans, butalso human evolution. Theenvironment we live in today has been almost completely artificially influenced.Advances beginning with the agricultural and industrial revolutions, haveforever shaped our way of life and made us less susceptible to external naturalstimuli, like diseases and hunger. It has come to a point where we are able tomake gratuitous alterations to the lifestyles we live, and where not only formfollows function, but form follows tastes, desires, and ambitions. With thatsaid, it poses the question of, will human modification/alteration be taken tothe point that we are able dissect and manufacture human emotions.
It is no longer only our biological needs thatcreate selection forces, but also our cultural and technological needs, and asa result the identity of human existence is able to follow a different path. Itis still to early to tell if we will be able to recreate the human body fromthe ground up, and what affects it will have on a society. But in the meantime, movies like Blade Runner gives a glimpse of the possibilities of thefuture.