Battlestar Galactica Forums

Syfy (ended 2010)

Cylons - Man, Machine, or Superman?

  • Avatar of MrBovineOrdure

    MrBovineOrdure

    [1]Jun 11, 2008
    • member since: 06/03/07
    • level: 6
    • rank: Small Wonder
    • posts: 411

    In another thread; "Isn't it nice" I brought up BSG actors turning up in other roles. Eddie Olamos was brought up in the movie; Blade-Runner. This brought up a different idea.

    In this movie; Blade-Runner, perfect humans are manufactured for slave-work. I wondered how far you can go with technology before you recognize the inhumanity of your intentions?

    Let's say for instance, if you cloned a human, I think there would be an almost universal condemnation if your intent was to clone them to become slaves (aside from the seemingly universal condemnation of even making human-clones in the first place). How could anyone by todays standard make a being, perfect to the cellular level, knowing it has memories, knowledge, feelings, sentience and expect to throw that being into slavery with no moral conflicts?

    Yes, we use to do that with the real thing, and in fact it still exists today but those are in places that don't exactly recognize any forms of human rights. (Not exactly countries I'd want to live in being aquainted with ours for so long)

    I guess in the case of the colonies, they really didn't create perfect beings. They were in fact machines who were given thoughts and intelligence. Sort of dancing on the edge of sentience for your own benefit.

    In the past though, slaves were thought of as inferior people. Something easy to exploit and rationalize as being "better off" as you're providing a living for them

    In the case of the Skin jobs in both Blade Runner and BSG, they were superior to humans. Could anyone be so monumentally stupid to make Homo-superior and expect them to submit to slavery?

    It just seemed far-fetched to me.

    Mr BO

    You must be registered and logged in to post a message.
  • Avatar of MichaudMR

    MichaudMR

    [2]Jun 11, 2008
    • member since: 03/22/06
    • level: 17
    • rank: The Crazy Neighbor
    • posts: 429

    Ok I'll bite

    In Blade Runner the Replicants had the major flaw of a very short lifespan, "the light that burns twice as bright, burns half as long" was the famous quote I believe. They also didn't have childhood memories until the Rachael model who was an experiment.

    With BSG (2003) I don't believe the humans ever intended for the cylons to ever have anything more than machine intelligence. does the toaster you have on your kitchen counter become a slave because it has a microchip in it? Where do you draw the line? Did the cylons evolve into sentience by mistake like in the original Terminator movie?

    So did the Humans really manufacture an Uber-Human, or were they just victims of their own hubris?

    You must be registered and logged in to post a message.
  • Avatar of 123home123

    123home123

    [3]Jun 11, 2008
    • member since: 05/24/02
    • level: 55
    • rank: Bounty Dog
    • posts: 11,760
    We still don't known who made the human-form Cylons (the "skin jobs"). Did the Final Five make them? Did the other Cylons make them? Or did some renegade humans make them? The answer to that question is necessary before we can examine the morality and ethics of the Colonials in the BSG universe.

    We could look at the Cylon Centurions separately since we know the humans made them. We don't know exactly how intelligent they are or the extent to which they experience emotions. We know that the Cylon Raiders can experience emotions (from the "Scar" episode), but I think the Cylons might have created the Raiders, not the humans.
    You must be registered and logged in to post a message.
  • Avatar of HeHateMe5

    HeHateMe5

    [4]Jun 12, 2008
    • member since: 04/12/08
    • level: 3
    • rank: Soup Nazi
    • posts: 61
    what if the skinjobs are really just advanced humans who are able to immediately reincarnate to a primary source using advanced technology. Human cloning is a possibility in todays science and that would explain why they hate the colonials so much becuase they believe they are the superior of the two races. As you see, when the HUB(advanced technology) is destroyed, the skinjobs are no different than the colonials. Someone blew up the dude behind the curtain...
    You must be registered and logged in to post a message.
  • Avatar of HeHateMe5

    HeHateMe5

    [5]Jun 12, 2008
    • member since: 04/12/08
    • level: 3
    • rank: Soup Nazi
    • posts: 61
    its like a bad star trek episode where the skinjobs are whats left of what thier creators made by who knows how long ago and they have lost the ability to procreate but have the technology to reincarnate only to find out that the emotion of love was lost who knows how long ago until the colonials came along.
    You must be registered and logged in to post a message.
  • Avatar of HeHateMe5

    HeHateMe5

    [6]Jun 12, 2008
    • member since: 04/12/08
    • level: 3
    • rank: Soup Nazi
    • posts: 61
    I've officially lost it.
    You must be registered and logged in to post a message.
  • Avatar of MrBovineOrdure

    MrBovineOrdure

    [7]Jun 12, 2008
    • member since: 06/03/07
    • level: 6
    • rank: Small Wonder
    • posts: 411

    I bring this up because this is very familiar territory in story-telling. An arrogant human creates a human-like device only to be destroyed by that human-like device.

    Isaac Asimov brought this up early on in his story-telling. He started creating robot stories with well established rules (The laws of robotics) because he was tired of the same "Frankenstein" story being told over and over.

    As a result, his stories were of the; "We have a robot, it went bad, seeming to break the laws, lots of intrigue and conflicts until we learn that the robot was only following the laws you silly humans" type story.

    The Colonials followed the "Frankenstein" type story on a grand scale with their creation of the metal Cylons.

    Who knows what the creators of the skin-jobs had in mind for their creation, but consider this.

    If you understand the laws of evolution, then would you really want to create something that would replace your species?

    This thought would hold true if the humans or the metal cylons were responsible for making the skin-jobs.

    If on the other hand, it was a lord of Kobol, then they could only be accused of making a better tool. (And that's assuming that the Lord is a greater evolutionary product than the skin-job he created) Perhaps the Lord did this as a "Gift" to the human race?

    Of course making something that could potentially replace your race isn't too far-fetched an idea. For about the first half of the 1900s, Eugenics proposed just that.

    Mr BO

    Edited on 06/12/2008 5:20am
    Edited 2 total times.
    You must be registered and logged in to post a message.
  • Avatar of MichaudMR

    MichaudMR

    [8]Jun 12, 2008
    • member since: 03/22/06
    • level: 17
    • rank: The Crazy Neighbor
    • posts: 429
    I'm less certain about eugenics looking to "replace" humans. I believe the idea was to accelerate evolution along by careful selection of who was allowed to procreate. After all, we humans have been tinkering with nature for thousands of years with domestic animals like horses for example. However, cooler heads prevailed when it was pointed out how for every desirable trait that was passed on, several more undesirable traits came with it leaving a highly specialized, less hardy animal.
    You must be registered and logged in to post a message.
  • Avatar of MrBovineOrdure

    MrBovineOrdure

    [9]Jun 12, 2008
    • member since: 06/03/07
    • level: 6
    • rank: Small Wonder
    • posts: 411

    True, I was thinking along the lines of Gattica. Eugenics taken to it's logical extreme where genetic traits determine your position in society.

    We've tinkered with plants and animals for a long time and changes through breeding by definition take a long time. The improvements on the Cylons though were a little more rapid.

    Breeding a great potato and a crop of wheat were great ideas until everyone decides to plant that one type of plant. Vast areas of mono-cultured plants may have been resistant to diseases common at the time, but once that disease changes, you may find large swaths of crops dead.

    I'm not against improvement of any species. It's just that you have to guard against unintended consequences. Breed a better something and the tendency is to spread that something everywhere because the new traits are so great, but you have to keep around some of the old stuff as a protection. Probably one of the reasons that breeds of tomato plants at your Wall Mart and Lowes produce fruit that taste so sweet when I yearn for the day when Tomatoes actually tasted like something. Now I can only find that taste in Heirloom tomatoes. (Maybe I just need some pointers in growing tomatoes)

    In the case of my argument though, we're talking about creating something significantly different and the creators don't seem very concerned with the consequences.

    Mr Bo

    You must be registered and logged in to post a message.
  • Avatar of 123home123

    123home123

    [10]Jun 12, 2008
    • member since: 05/24/02
    • level: 55
    • rank: Bounty Dog
    • posts: 11,760
    Breeding can take place very quickly. This is true with simple organisms like insects but it can also be the case with animals like dogs. New breeds can be created in a matter of years, I think.

    Dogs are a prime example of an animal that underwent intensive breeding over the centuries so that the wild wolf became a faithful companion for humans. I saw a recent documentary on the National Geographic channel that showed just how reliant dogs are on us human-folk for emotional support and how finely tuned they have become to the simplest of visual cues from us.

    A funny example is the way dogs track human eyes. Given a choice of two cups, the dog can tell which one has a doggie treat if the researcher just looks at one of the cups. Chimpanzees cannot pick up on this cue at all. What was even funnier is that the researcher can put a piece of food on the floor and sit still in a chair and then tell the dog not to touch the food. (The dog was the researcher's own pet.) The dog looked at the woman and licked his lips at the food but he obeyed. However, he kept watching the woman's eyes. She maintained the exact same posture but closed her eyes. She told the dog not to touch the food. When the woman closed her eyes, the dog snuck up and ate the piece of food.

    I thought of this particularly because Baltar was going on about dogs and their "masters" in the recent episode ("The Hub").

    Pure-breed dogs often have specific ailments or problems that mixed-breed dogs don't experience as often. For example, bulldogs can no longer give birth naturally in most cases. The puppies need to be delivered by C-section because the jaws are too big for a natural birth. Other breeds face increased risk of certain cancers, arthritis and various other diseases and conditions. Actually, it's similar to the genetic diseases (e.g., hemophilia) that arose among some of the European aristocracy because of all the selective marriages and in-breeding.

    Hmm, I'm trying to tie this back into the show somehow but I seem to have lost my way. This is mostly just side chatter and speculation anyway because we just don't know who created the human-form Cylons.

    But what if some humans combined electronic enhancements with their own bodies? Thus, an ancient Saul Tigh may have turned himself into a Cylon. Then there would be no issue of someone creating a superior "replacement." Tigh would have "created" himself, as a Cylon. The same with the other Final Five members. Maybe these were the Lords of Kobol, or the ones who were cast out. The more I go along this line, the more problems I see with it. This would mean that the Final Five were around long before there ever were robotic Cylons. It's all a bit confusing, which is why I usually don't think about this topic too much. I normally wait to see how the writers fill in the backstory and explain the mythology of the show.
    You must be registered and logged in to post a message.