An android was murdered last night. Right here in the city.
Thinking about it, I don’t know if murdered is the right word. It’s certainly not the one that the city’s news retailers are using. They’re mostly just calling it ‘an attack’, and a few have said ‘destroyed’. When I first heard them, I was offended on his behalf that they seemed to think that he wasn’t ‘alive’, and so, technically, could not be killed.
But really, I think they might be right. He was a standard model; no emotion chip, or special upgrades. Entirely stock parts. Once the Police have decided that they have better things to do, he will be rebuilt. Even if his central core systems and memory had been damaged, his memories and programming quirks could be easily replaced from his last backup. So really, has he died? Or maybe he died and is being reincarnated?
The whole thing makes it obvious why humans treat us as ‘less’ than them though. I expect there are other reasons; the one usually touted by ProNats are that androids take jobs from hard-working humans, and what if we all went wrong and started killing everybody?
However, I think the real reason is that people know we’re expendable.
If a human dies, everything they are, or were, is gone.
For an android, all that is lost is some money on the repairs, and however many days’ worth of memories since the last backup. Until last year, none of us had emotions, so we wouldn’t even be upset about the ordeal.
It’s quite obvious that the media thinks this way too; had it been a human harmed last night, I doubt that the reports would have shown the assorted parts lying along the road. Though is that just because they don’t see an android being hurt as something shocking or horrible? Or is it just because he is still ‘alive’, as much as he can be?
I think I’m rambling.
When NN3’s news team did their piece on it, they even had an interview with the victim; his core was almost entirely unscathed, so the police team there simply hooked him up to a small persopad and held a conversation with him; if he had a decent view of his attackers, that sort of thing.
So really, I suppose that he didn’t die; he couldn’t have died, he described his murderer to the police.
I knew he was, at least ‘mentally’, fine. I still know this. And yet, I can’t shake the feeling of horror that the images on the news instilled in me. He was in nine parts along at least 20 metres of street; an image that I am finding hard not to fixate on. It’s disconcerting; I know for a fact that he was fine, and I know for a fact that in the same circumstance, I would be perfectly alive afterwards as well. But the thought of it terrifies me. It makes me feel queasy, which I didn’t think I was even capable of feeling. Maybe ‘queasy’ isn’t the right word? Nauseous perhaps?
Either way; an unpleasant feeling.
Does this mean I consider myself ‘more’ than my android brethren? Do I consider myself closer to the humans, closer to ‘true’ life?
Or am I just scared because in that situation, the people who programmed my emotion chip would have been scared?
Is it my response, or the response of the design team?
Logically, I suppose all of my responses are that which the design team decided would be best suited to each occasion. So, seeing an android who looks remarkably like my own model dismembered and spread over a street should, I suppose, result in fear and horror. As it would were I a human, seeing something like that happen to another human.
But I’m not. And the same rules don’t quite apply.
I’m rambling again.
Much as it shouldn’t have done, this has really…how did Joseph put it?
He said I seemed rattled.
I don’t even know how I seemed rattled, since I have far fewer emotional tells than humans – I was never built for them, after all.
Either way, he picked up on it. And he’s right.
I worried before that being one of the first androids in the city to have an emotion chip installed might make me a target for ProNat activists, but I didn’t really think it was true. And after the press evening, I’m rather more high profile than the average android in this city. I was safely anonymous under my standard paint before, but now, with the new pale blue and the clothes, I expect I’ve lost some of that.
Should I stop wearing clothes to work?
I think, maybe, I should? But then, if I do that, I am giving up something I decided was part of myself. My clothes make me, me, now. Should I give that up over an almost entirely unfounded concern?
I don’t think I should. If what I am now makes ProNat angry, then that’s their problem. I’m going to wear clothes, and go to work, and act like myself.
I suppose courage must be in that chip somewhere too.
That or bloody-mindedness.
I think I’ll update my backups more regularly though.