The Simulation

17/02/2006
The difference between 'Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep' and 'Blade Runner' is that the androids in the book are essentially psychotic. They do not feel empathy or affinity with other life. In the film, however, they do begin to develop their own emotional responses. They break their submission to their owners, and must therefore be killed because they are out of control. And, because they do develop these feelings, the question of whether they are 'real' people or created ones becomes irrelevant. That difference - emotional, empathic responses - means that they may as well be human.

The simulation can become real if, to all intents and purposes there is no difference between the two. The actual origins of the simulation may be artificial, but the difference must, ultimately reside in the opinion and perception of the viewer.

We can say that both simulation and surveillance are both 'strategies of the real', although in different ways - while simulation masks the absence of the real, surveillance unmasks its presence. As a result, both are also strategies of appearance. Someone who simulates appears real, but one who observes prefers to mask their appearance.