Matrices of Embodiment
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Matrices of Embodiment book
To initially posit the idea of artifi cial people, this chapter briefl y extrapolates from one of the most widely cited science fi ction fi lm franchises. In the Alien series-Alien (Ridley Scott, 1979), Aliens (Cameron, 1986), Alien3
(Fincher, 1992), and Alien: Resurrection (Jeunet, 1997)—while the central concern is with the predominantly violent relationship between humans and acid-for-blood aliens, the four fi lms1 also create a meaningful narrative about non-human artifi cial entities. In the fi rst Alien fi lm, the science offi - cer Ash turns out not to be a biological human being, but rather a manufactured entity who, being an icon of Thatcherite economic rationalism, on ‘company orders’ attempts to kill the crew in order to save the alien since it has higher commodity value than they do. Ellen Ripley, the only survivor of that original crew, learns quickly to distrust non-human entities, leading to a confrontation in the sequel when she realises, once again, there are more than ‘just’ humans on board the ship in which she is travelling:
Ripley: You didn’t tell me there was an android on board! Why not? Burke: It’s standard procedure. Every ship has a synthetic on board. Bishop: I prefer the term ‘Artifi cial Person’ myself.