Dick, the author of Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?—the source material for Blade Runner—was both deeply engaged with issues of artificial intelligence, and deeply paranoid. That is to say, he was the science fiction writer for whom being transformed into an android, and then having your head lost to the labyrinthine bureaucracy of an airline, might be considered most fitting. In How To Build an Android, David F. Dufty explains how Dick was made into a machine by an endearingly nerdy group of roboticists. Dufty, who observed the development of the robot while a postdoc, uses the unlikely story to meditate on the state of robotics and artificial intelligence. In particular, he describes the peculiar way humans interact with machines—and what it takes to make us feel as though a robot is alive.
Tags: Blade Runner