Just been busy pondering over... stuff. Some people might know where I'm coming from...
My liking of all things synthetic has always been hard for me to pin down; it’s just there
. There’s an increasing number of cyborgs and robots about, lately, I noticed, and of course my first comment would be that no, I’m not jumping on a bandwagon.
Ever since I can remember, the idea of “thinking machines” has sent a thrill up my spine – and I mean ever since
I can remember, not like my liking of writing (which developed through high school), and my enjoyment of art (which only really developed when I started Uni and discovered I wasn’t the only person in the world that liked to draw what I drew). I loved TV shows with “talking cars” or “talking trains”, like Pole Position
and Thomas the Tank Engine
, and of course I have eternal memories of the insanity that was Terrahawks
and the zeroids on it. I remember “Matilda Junkbottom”, complete with her cotton-reel hair and desire for a heart, off Doctor Snuggles
(a late 1970’s cartoon going through reruns when I was about 4), and the giant robots from Castle in the Sky
, one of the few animes I admit to liking. I adored KITT off Knight Rider
(and particularly for his polite wilfulness; “I told
you not to do that, Michael.”), and to my shame I’ll even admit I liked Herbie, the Volkswagen Beetle. I was all over Short Circuit
(although I didn’t like the sequel, strangely), and *batteries not included
has long been one of my favourite films. I, Robot
left me quivering for weeks, and who can forget certain series of Star Trek with its complement of resident androids? (First love affair, maybe?
And no, I don’t mean Data. Incidentally, I dreamed about the show and a certain character last night.) (Mind you, Star Wars never really struck a chord – it was as though it were somehow psychologically “divorced” from robots because they were “droids”.) And I think if I were a child again I’d be all over Bob the Builder
purely because Muck and Scoop and Dizzy are such fantastically insane talking machine characters. Plus, of course, I have made it a short-term ambition to get an Aibo – not a robosapien or a roboraptor, pfft, remote controlled, how boring, but an Aibo
, like, wooooow
Like I said, my liking is almost impossible to pin down. I mean, a great many of the characters I like are very human in manner – some have said “then why bother make them robotic?”, and that is exactly
the problem I have working out my feelings. Sure, I like the brand of synthetic life that is obviously robotic (as in, Sonny and co in I, Robot
, my Microsoft Office helper is “F1” and I have an annoying tendency to try and anthropomorphise the dispensary robots), and I like sort of robot that a lot of my online friends like, but at the same time my
sort of synth, the sort I would choose above all others if I were given the chance, is the sort like Ivy. Sapient, self-aware, and capable of good or evil as they so choose. And I don’t know why. It’s part of the reason I choose to refer to Synth and Synthetic Intelligence rather than “anthroid” or artificial intelligence (plus, of course, AI always sounded somehow “fake” to me.)
It’s not because of any concepts of synthetic superiority, and not because they’re somehow gentler, more compassionate, or “more loving”, that’s just a pleasant bonus
. (And let’s face it, one of my Synthetic characters is a sapient vessel, and you can’t really snuggle with a sixty kiloton spaceship in interstellar space.) It’s not for any sexual reason, either, because frankly I find very little even remotely sexual, ever; that is, I’m not a prude, I don’t dislike
it, and I’ll write sexual scenes if a story requires it – hell, I’ve written (bad) porn
at times – I’m just fairly asexual and it’s just something else to write, to flex my brain. (I mean, I’m happy going out for a meal or to the cinema or what have you with friends, but please don’t glomp, scritch, snug, hug or even try
“yiff” me, especially if I don’t KNOW you, or the next thing you’ll see is the back of my hand.) If I’m honest, some fiction I see makes me a little sad – if synth were real, sure, I’d be in some sort of eternal spasm of ecstasy… but at the same time I’d want their love because I’d earned
it and because it was their choice
, not because it was something they were programmed to do. (That sort of love and adoration seems oddly hollow, to me.)
So you see the problems I have in defining my likes. I don’t think it makes it less valid
that I prefer “synthetic life” over “artificial intelligence”, and I don’t think it makes it less valid that the very idea doesn’t give me an immediate throbbing sexual need but rather makes me excitable and quivery with adrenaline.
Edit: A friend has reminded me of the scutters off Red Dwarf, which I shall add to my list of OMG WANTS ONE PRECIOUSSS!
Edit2: Now, must work on that "character meme" thing that's doing the rounds...