Does Phillip K. Dick’s Android Dream of Electric Sheep?

Well, I don’t know how else to say this, except that this exists:  

It’s not perfect technology, by far, but the beginnings of Artificial Intelligence (AI) is there. This got me thinking—what would AI consider art? Would they be able to create it?

Anyone who knows me, or reads this blog often enough, knows that I love the show Futurama, and within that show, the robot Bender plays through some of my philosophical questions on robots and their ability to create art.

But Amanda, you might say, that is just a television show. True, but literature, television, movies, plays, and all the rest exist not only for entertainment but so we, as writers and readers, can ask “What if this happens?” and use our imagination and creativity to work the problem out.

My first problem: Can a robot be imaginative enough to create? Futurama has an answer to that:  

Okay, so now in the world of Futurama, a show imagining what it would be like to be a 20th century guy in a 30th century world, robots can have imagination and are capable of creating new (albeit cheesy) worlds of imagination.

Does that translate into being able to create art? Doesn’t art, such as poetry or lyrics for songs, require more than just imagination and creativity alone? What about experience?

Futurama has an answer to that, too:  

Well, I guess, if we take Futurama as a forecast of the capabilities of AI in the future, robots will have the ability to be imaginative, creative, and the desire to seek out new experiences and create works of art.

I don’t know about you, but I’d be interested in hearing robot poetry someday. I just hope that this ability to create art doesn’t create a riff between artificial life and human life. But that’s in another Sci-Fi universe completely, right Phillip K. Dick android?  


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