Androids Can Dream of Electric Sheep, Part I: The Evolution in Battlestar Galactica

This will be a five-parter concerning the possible development of androids, quite possibly within our lifetime.  With technology progressing as fast as it is, it is not without the realm of reason now.  Japan and the U.S. have already developed prototypes, but they lack the sufficient artificial intelligence to be considered sentient.  But the primitive and basic algorithms for true artificial intelligence has been created, and consumer computers have quad processors and the ability to multi-task with little hindrance. Now it’s a matter of time before the algorithms and computer language evolve…

The Search for God

In Battlestar Galactica’s world, both the humans and the Cylons were attempting to search for God.  With the advent of destruction of Cylons, Starbuck found out the Cylon fighters, such as Scar, were indeed living, and they were merely rebooted into another model continuously upon death.  Even more importantly, the original Centurions developed the 12 human models to help them find God.  Number Seven, played by Tricia Helfer, being the most important, as she never altered her search, despite pressure from other Cylons to end her search.  A machine’s search for God ultimately made her and Baltar decide not terminate the humanity’s existence on Earth in the finale.

Centurion to Cylon to Human

In the new Battlestar Galactica, the development from the Centurion to the Twelve ultimately gave the Cylons a chance to explore humanity and to take advantage of them as well.  Tactically, it allowed them to find Earth, and Seven’s final decision to save humanity on Earth gave humans a chance not to suffer another apocalypse.  The Centurion was originally nothing more than battle machines designed as gear of war, much like the Terminator.  The Cylon was a step forward in evolution to becoming more human-like.  And, when the Cylons developed the Twelve copies, the Twelve finally perfected that formula of both appearing human and acting human and a few embraced human ideology. For the most part, these androids, the Twelve, took on human form in order to blend into human society and subvert it.  This infiltration theme runs rampant in most science fiction, and it’s a reflection on human nature, more than the machines themselves.  

Can Androids Be Human?

Aesthetically, androids can, as machines developed by Japanese manufacturers have shown.  But they are nothing more than elaborate mannequins.  Again, the only problem is the artificial intelligence.  These machines can respond to voice and touch in a generally basic form, responding contextually within the program’s limitations.  These machines lack the capability to respond like a human, adapting their conversation fluidly with changing topics and streams of thought.  Perhaps with more memory and further evolution of the algorithms, these machines can finally be considered androids.  But can these androids find God or otherwise embrace religion or philosophy? That might have to wait…