Most people don’t worry about being an artificial organism.
I’m one of those people who don’t worry. I don’t worry because I have iron-clad logic that proves otherwise.
But some do, apparently. A group of scientists met at the annual Isaac Asimov Memorial Debate to discuss whether the entire universe as we know it is just a simulation. After hearing the debate, Neil D. Tyson said he considered the chances “50/50.”
The “whole universe is a simulation” thing is interesting, but this is a blog, and I’m not that ambitious. I stick to my own little universe, which mostly includes coffee, pizza, a laptop, a cat, and me.
“Replicant” is the name for artificial humans in the Blade Runner universe. Hold on—bear with me. The film sequel will arrive in October 2017, so I have limited time to make Blade Runner references and have a reader first think of the 1980s version. I’m trying to cut back. I know I have a problem.
Working on it.
A core story element in the film is the inability of some replicants to know they are replicants. Human memory implants trick them. I think this applies to the simulation thing as well. If you’re a simulation but believe you are real, then you must have programmed memories.
But again, I don’t worry. Here’s why:
Inability To Learn From Mistakes
When I walk back into my place at the end of the day, I drop my cell phone and wallet in random locations on dark surfaces. They are both black. I am not able to find them again without a thorough room-to-room search while mumbling curses.
This would not happen to a replicant. Replicants are designed to be intelligent. They are modeled on humans, but improved–otherwise, what would be the point? They would apply advanced learning after a mistake and choose not to repeat it.
Unless the designers throw in a few obvious flaws as part of an effort to trick them. Something they can latch onto as proof that they are a fallible human. Ok, scratch this one.
I was in glasses by age 10. Who designs a child replicant to need glasses? Maybe by college-age, sure. That makes sense. Almost everyone’s eyesight declines eventually, so that would help a replicant fit in. But 10 years old?
And I don’t have that glowy pupil thing going on. I checked.
Unless the memory of me getting glasses at age 10 is an implanted memory. Someone else’s memory. Plausible. Forget this one.
My Daily Life is Not Dark, Rainy, or Sepia-Toned
It’s mostly bright and colorful. I prefer the dark and rain, but I rarely get my wish. It’s Atlanta, it’s the summer. I do my best to wear black and gray, but the world surrounds me with primary colors.
If I were a replicant, I’d spend most of my day hanging out on rainy street corners or walking through dark buildings. Even the daytime would be mostly muted grays, yellows, greens, and silvers.
I Try to Rationalize That I’m Not a Replicant
Replicants designed to think they are human wouldn’t worry about their origins. With implanted memories and good lives, they would direct their mental energy toward more fruitful pursuits, like watching television or reading about trends in watching television.
Ok, I admit that one replicant character in Blade Runner does try to rationalize that she is not a replicant. Rachel argues against Deckard’s assertion that she is artificial by describing her childhood memories.
But this happens to advance the plot. Three-act structure is a demanding master, and it cracks the whip on its fictional children without mercy. It’s not real, like me.
I don’t worry about being a replicant or a simulation because I don’t have to worry. That’s why I wrote this post, to show you how much I don’t worry.
So maybe my logic isn’t ironclad. Maybe it’s more like a fruit roll-up with the center chewed out.
But I feel like a real person, and nothing matters more than how a person feels.
My chances of being human are way better than 50/50.
Let’s say 60/40?