While browsing through my iTunes collection, I came upon some episodes of my favorite television show, Battlestar Galactica. As I watched a couple minutes of several sections of the episode, I found myself drawing connections between Neurolaw and the Cylons, which are essentially robots who have evolved to the point where they look, act, and even emote like their human creators. The “final 5” are Cylons who just recently realized that they are robots, which results in an identity crisis as these “five” had lived their entire lives truly believing they were human.
The most obvious connection to Neurolaw lies with these identity crises among these “final 5.” Upon finding out about their robotic nature, an internal conflict they face is not knowing whether or not their actions are a result of their own volition or their robotic “programming.” They worry about performing immoral acts such as killing their own friends, especially in light of what has previously happened to a Cylon character, who believed she was human, but as a result of her true robotic nature, carried out programming to perform an unwilling assassination. This especially relates to the issues of culpability that we have discussed in class. The assassinator robot acted and even truly showed remorse for her murder, yet, was unable to go against her own malicious programming. The viewers are left to wonder if she is truly culpable for her actions; she certainly did not have the intention to kill, but was forced to kill as a result of her inherent programming. This is the same dilemma we see in neurolaw: should people be guilty of the immoral actions they committed if they were simply biologically “programmed” to commit these actions? Furthermore, the Cylons are portrayed to be as human as their biological counterparts. By doing this, the writers of the show imply that the machinery of the Cylon’s robotic brain can still produce human emotions. This especially relates to the Neurolaw perspective as the human brain as simply a biological machine churning out our actions and emotions.
From an Nov.3, emailed blog.