The story is not quite the same – but beyond that I’m thinking about the medium, reading vs viewing. There’s more time for reflection, but because I’ve (happily) seen Blade Runner so many times it’s also not authentic reading: the faces of characters are from memory rather than imagination. Or is it my augmented imagination? 😉
Note: I suggested Robot & Frank for our viewing despite it not truly fitting with typical notions of cyberculture as its focus on memory adds to the usual exploration of memory-identity relationships explored within cyberpunk. In Robot & Frank, Frank has dementia, so is losing the memories which could be said to bind him to his identity. At the same time, he has to make a decision to wipe the robot’s memory – about which the robot is very pragmatic: he is not a person, so it should be done. However, in the film he has clearly become more to and done more for Frank emotionally than it’s popularly accepted that robots can. Unlike extropianism, in which man can escape his mortality through technological augmentation, in Robot & Frank the robot helps the human regain his sense of himself before ultimately accepting the loss of memory and what that will mean for that same self.
Note: Ghost in the Shell is a manga which was created by Shirow Masamune, and adapted into a movie in 1995. The movie is directed by Mamoru Oshii. The story is set sometime in the 21st century, in a time where the line between man and machine is blurred: robots are implanted with human tissue, and humans augmented by mechanical implants/cyborg bodies. The counter-culture element comes through the presence of ghost hackers, who break into the human/computer interface to reprogramme human minds (‘ghosts’) so that they become puppets (of the master hacker, the Puppet Master) that can be manipulated into doing the Puppet Master’s crimes.
The film explores the relationship between identity and memory, and what differentiates humans from machines. Notions of extropianism and dualism are developed by the character Motoko, who questions whether cyberbrains have the potential to generate their own ‘ghosts’, and whether her mind actually belongs to her body or her brain has just been stuffed in a body.
There’s also more on the need for diversity: the Puppetmaster laments that he is only able to make copies of things, but life is dependent on diversity. Similarly, another character, Togusa, suggests that the group is weakened by being too similar because it leads them to have the same reactions and therefore become too predictable to enemies. Seems to be a recurring theme..