Being Human: Androids, Humans, and Identity in “Red Dwarf”
pdf

Abstract views: 136
PDF Downloads: 81

Keywords

Transhumanism
Posthumanism
Science Fiction
Television
Red Dwarf
Androids
Artificial Life

How to Cite

Layton, D. (2021). Being Human: Androids, Humans, and Identity in “Red Dwarf”. Galactica Media: Journal of Media Studies, 3(3), 321-343. https://doi.org/10.46539/gmd.v3i3.173

Abstract

One of the more popular transhumanist ideas is the belief that technology will allow for the transfer of human personality into a machine or cyborg body. Additionally, some transhumanists believe that this transfer could happen with few to no problems, and that such a transfer would result in a definite improvement of the human species. The episode “DNA” from the humorous British science-fiction television series Red Dwarf presents a story that challenges this idea of the easy transfer of personality. The story of the android who gets his wish to become human allows the writers to invert the common belief in Western thought that being human is inherently better than being an imitation of a human, and that technologically upgrading human bodies will produce “better” humans. By inversion, the program presents the idea that clearer and more ethical thinking is needed regarding technological enhancement, and not the utopian visions of many transhumanists.

https://doi.org/10.46539/gmd.v3i3.173
pdf

References

Alba-Juez, L. (2017). The variables of the evaluative functional relationship: The case of humorous discourse. In L. Ruiz-Gurillo (Ed.), Metapragmatics of Humor: Current Research Trends (pp. 11–34). John Benjamins Publishing Company.

Attardo, S. (2001). Humorous Texts: A Semantic and Pragmatic Analysis. In Humorous Texts. Berlin; Boston: De Gruyter Mouton. doi: 10.1515/9783110887969

Bakhtin, M. M. (1984). Problems of Dostoevsky’s Poetics (C. Emerson, Trans.). Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.

Bostrom, N. (2005). In defense of posthuman dignity. Bioethics, 19(3), 202–214. doi: 10.1111/j.1467-8519.2005.00437.x

Brooks, R. A. (2002). Flesh and Machine: How Robots Will Change Us. Pantheon.

Bye, E. (1991). DNA. In Red Dwarf (season 4, episode 2). BBC Video.

Clark, A. (2003). Natural-Born Cyborgs: Minds, Technologies, and the Future of Human Intelligence. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Clocksin, W. F. (2003). Artificial intelligence and the future. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London. Series A: Mathematical, Physical and Engineering Sciences, 361(1809), 1721–1748. doi: 10.1098/rsta.2003.1232

Frye, N. (1957). Anatomy of Criticism: Four Essays. Princeton: Princeton University Press.

Fuller, S. (2014). Evolution. In S. L. Sorgner & R. Ranisch (Eds.), Post-and transhumanism: An introduction (pp. 201–212). Peter Lang GmbH, Internationaler Verlag der Wissenschaften.

Graham, E. L. (2002). Representations of the Post/human: Monsters, Aliens and Others in Popular Culture. Rutgers University Press.

Hauskeller, M. (2012). Reinventing Cockaigne: UTOPIAN THEMES IN TRANSHUMANIST THOUGHT. Hastings Center Report, 42(2), 39–47. doi: 10.1002/hast.18

Hayles, N. K. (1999). How We Became Posthuman: Virtual Bodies in Cybernetics, Literature, and Informatics. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Hopkins, P. D. (2008). A Moral Vision for Transhumanism. Journal of Evolution and Technology, 19(1), 3–7.

Kurzweil, R. (2009). Superintelligence and singularity. In S. Schneider, Science Fiction and Philosophy: From Time Travel to Superintelligence (pp. 201–224). John Wiley & Sons.

Nagel, T. (1974). What Is It Like to Be a Bat? The Philosophical Review, 83(4), 435–450. doi: 10.2307/2183914

Park-Ozee, D. (2019). Satire: An explication. Humor, 32(4), 585–604. doi: 10.1515/humor-2018-0009

Regis, E. (1990). Great Mambo Chicken & the Transhuman Condition: Science Slightly Over the Edge. Addison-Wesley.

Satinover, J. (2001). The Quantum Brain: The Search for Freedom and The Next Generation of Man. John Wiley & Sons.

Simon, Z. B. (2019). Two cultures of the posthuman future. History and Theory, 58(2), 171–184. doi: 10.1111/hith.12108

Tegmark, M. (2017). Life 3.0: Being human in the age of artificial intelligence. Vintage.

Tennison, M. N. (2012). Moral Transhumanism: The Next Step. Journal of Medicine and Philosophy, 37(4), 405–416. doi: 10.1093/jmp/jhs024

Warrick, P. (1977). Images of the man-machine intelligence relationship in science fiction. In T. D. Clareson (Ed.), Many Futures, Many Worlds: Theme and Form in Science Fiction (pp. 182–223). Kent State University Press.

Wennemann, D. J. (2016). The concept of the posthuman: Chain of being or conceptual saltus? Journal of Evolution and Technology, 26(2), 16–30. Retrieved from http://jetpress.org/v26.2/wennemann.htm

Wilson, S., & Haslam, N. (2009). Is the Future more or less Human? Differing Views of Humanness in the Posthumanism Debate. Journal for the Theory of Social Behaviour, 39(2), 247–266. doi: 10.1111/j.1468-5914.2009.00398.x

Creative Commons License

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.