- Essay #2 Draft is due by 11:00 pm tonight (on Canvas)
- Star Trek: The Next Generation “The Measure of a Man” (1989)
Essay #2 Draft
Your Essay #2 Draft (with outline) is due tonight by 11:00 pm. Turn it in on Canvas in .docx or .pdf. Also, I will comment directly onto your documents when I provide feedback, so, if you didn’t see those comments from Essay #1’s Draft, go back and look. Essay #2’s final (due next Monday, 6/24) is worth 200 points, so I’ll expect significant revision.
I’m sure you’ve noticed that I’ve been delayed with things in the last week or so. Well, I have plenty of reasonable excuses, and I was almost out of the woods when the road construction by my house–literally right next to my house–knocked out my cable and internet. I came to campus, and, after updating 6 or 7 colleagues on what I’m doing during summer vacation (which is a joke because I’m not on vacation), I was able to get back to my classes. I see that Banner will be down tonight, but the Canvas people assure me that it won’t affect Canvas…We’ll see.
If you’ve had me before, you’ll know this is the time when I unleash a barrage of insults condemning those out there conspiring against me (and, by extension, us). Use your imaginations–this is science fiction class after all. One thing I would definitely go into detail about is our ever increasing dependence on technologies. This isn’t something that happened in the last 30 years; it’s been going on for millennia. However, things have changed quite rapidly in the last few decades. Our dependence on these technologies plays out in science fiction narratives, which ask (or, more accurately, imply) where is the human’s or humanity’s place in the hi-tech world?
Humanness and Humanity
Many science fiction texts discuss what it means to be human. Often times aliens are metaphors for differences in race, ethnicity, and nationality while robots are more often metaphors for class issues. There are also themes about being human in general and what it means to be a sentient being. Alan Turing’s Turing Test asks a series of questions to judge whether or not a player (computer or human) is human or is responding in programmed ways (which is what Artificial Intelligences do). Alan Turing’s life was portrayed in The Imitation Game (2014), but a more relevant science fiction film from that same year was the great Ex Machina (2014). I don’t believe I could assign that and keep my job, but it’s a great film. It’s slow but suspenseful and has many sexually explicit scenes, so you probably wouldn’t be interested.
The Star Trek: The Next Generation episode I asked you to watch “The Measure of a Man” (1989) fits in nicely with “Bicentennial Man”. One of the central themes is what does it mean to be human (slavery or servitude is also a theme). Your Canvas prompt for 6/18 will ask you to discuss what our class’s texts have to offer to the age-old question of what it means to be human, including what it means to be an equal.
Make sure you turn your Essay #1 Draft with outline in before 11:00 pm.
For the next two days, I’ll have notes up for Wall-E (2008). I find this to be a very important film. Don’t forget to do your posts by Friday, June 21st (a decade of freedom!). I hope to have feedback on your drafts by Friday, so you can revise and turn in the final Essay #2 on Monday, June 24th by 11:00 pm.