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A
common theme for many science fiction works is simulated life or death. Simulations
are a form of an ethical dilemma, a
situation in which a difficult choice has to be made between two courses of
action, either of which entails transgressing a moral principle. Simulation
is a computerized imitation of something in real life. So, with that being said
simulated life or death would be living in a computerized simulation whether it
be after you have passed away or living your life.
Do you choose to live an afterlife in a simulation or do you pass over like
normal? Is it ethical to live in a simulation instead of living your normal
life?

            The film series
Black Mirror is a science fiction TV series created by Charlie Brooker. Like most
science fiction works it is almost always about the unanticipated consequences
of new technologies. The first episode we watched in class was called “Be Right
Back”. This episode tells the story of Martha, a younger woman whose husband
was killed in a car accident while taking back a moving van they had rented to
move into their new house. As Martha mourns the loss of her husband, she
discovers that there is a form of technology out there that will allow her to
communicate with a simulated version of her deceased husband and reluctantly
decides to try it out. As the story continues she is given the opportunity to
go to the next level with the simulation, a human robot version of her husband.
She was very skeptical of doing this but she was very overwhelmed with having
to raise her child by herself. She soon realizes that the simulated version of Ash
was a mistake. Despite the robot being able to satisfy her sexually, she got so
frustrated with the fact that he was not able to show any form of emotion and
was not able to perform old habits that Martha enjoyed. Another story that is a
lot like this one is the book, “Algorithms for Love”. In this story, the
character Elana created a doll robot to try and help her get over losing her
daughter. These stories are a great example of the ethical dilemma simulated
life. A simulated version of a human being isn’t always going to be the same as
the original. Robots may be able to do almost all of the same things a normal
human can do mechanically but they will always lack the ability to show full
emotion.

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            Another
film from the series Black Mirror
that we watched was called “Men Against Fire”. The author, Charlie Brooker, wants
us to believe that simulation might be a great idea at first but then we find
out that it’s not all it was cracked up to be. This film is set in a future
with a dystopian element that tells the story of Stripe, he is a soldier in a
government controlled military organization that hunts and exterminates mutants
known as “roaches”. Stripe kills his first two roaches and gets praised for
them but he starts to feel different afterwards. The military soldiers are
implanted with a chip called MASS, this chip controls what they see, remember, smell
and hear and is all ran by the government. Stripe began feeling different after
his kills because his MASS chip had a glitch and began to show him what the
roaches really looked like, normal human beings. Once Stripe realizes he has
killed innocent humans he freaks out and rebels against the organization. As
time passes stripe is caught and wakes up inside a room with the military
psychologist standing there. The psychologist reveals the truth to the Stripe
about why they are trying to eliminate the people they call “roaches”. Stripe
wants out of the military and wants to go back to being a normal human. The
story ends with stripe being honorably discharged and his memory being
completely erased. Stripe thought that going in the military and started a new
life would be a great experience but it was far from it. Charlie Brooker wants
us to see from a different view that simulated life is really not all that it
may seem. It’s crazy to even think about having a chip implanted in you that
our government could control.

            The final
episode of the series Black Mirror that we watched was “San Junipero”. This
episode, unlike the other stories, is about living a simulated life after
death. The episode is set in 1987 at a beach town called San Junipero, where
the character Yorkie who is a very shy woman that is visiting the town. She meets
and falls in love with the wilder character of the story, Kelly. Revealed later
on we see that San Junipero is a simulated world that the elderly and deceased
can live in. We learn that Yorkie has been paralyzed and really not able to
enjoy her life for almost her entire life and wants to be euthanized so she can
live in San Junipero permanently. Kelly ends up marrying Yorkie so she can authorize
for her to be euthanized. After Yorkie has passed and is living in San
Junipero, Kelly is reluctant to join her because she had a husband and daughter
that died and did not join the simulation. However, she later decided to join
and lives in San Junipero so she can be with Yorkie for the rest of eternity. Do
you think its ethical to live in a simulation after death? I feel like
personally I wouldn’t want to live in San Junipero after I pass. I wouldn’t mind
trying it out like they were able to but I don’t feel that it would be all that
great to live the same life for the rest of eternity like they would. With
Kelly not wanting to join the simulation at first it resembles that not all
people would want to live a simulated life.

            The last
science fiction film we watched in class that has the theme of simulated life
is the movie EVA, written by Sergi Belbel. The movie starts off in the year
2041 where humans on earth live side by side with human robots. The movies main
character Alex fly’s back to his hometown to start a new project. His superiors
at the Robotics Faculty approached Alex with the idea to create a robot in the
form of a child, the brilliant scientist goes to return back to his parents’
house to begin working on the project when he finds his childhood love Lana has
married his own brother David. Their daughter Eva seems to possess characteristics
of a genius that makes Alex obsessed with her. From the moment that they meet
the two of them share a special bond almost like a father and daughter. Alex
wants to build the new robot child just like Eva so he asks her to come to his
house so he can run tests on her to figure out how he wants the robot to act.
The relationship that Eva and Alex have given him doubts about finishing the
project and this rekindles the fire that Lana and Alex once had. One day Lana
goes to Alex’s house because she had something very important to tell him, that
Eva was her and Alex’s robot they had created back before Alex had moved away.
Eva eavesdrops on the conversation between the two and she runs away. This
results in Lana chasing after her and finds her face down in the snow on the
edge of the mountain. Lana gets her to wake up and Eva gets very upset about
her being a robot and not a normal human being because her whole life she
thought she was one. She ends up pushing her mom off the cliff and killing her.
This leads to Alex destroying Eva later on because she had a fault in her
system which made her kill her mother.

 

 

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