Review of 'Emergence' 1.3

Robots and Androids

Review of 'Emergence' 1.3

A revelatory episode 1.3 of Emergence last night, in which we learn that definitely robots and maybe androids are involved in this series.

The robots are robotic guard dogs, in the facility that has the key to Piper's recovery. They don't bark, but they're pretty effective, and almost prevent Jo and Benny from getting out of there.

The androids are maybe Piper. She nearly dies in the hospital, after an MRI nearly sucks the life out of her. But in what sense is she alive? What Jo and Benny take out of the facility is some kind of code that "is" Piper, according to the woman who tells Jo about it. So, we can assume that the code is some kind of digital record of what and who Piper is—not some nanites to repair or even reconstruct her brain and neural system. It's a code that "is" Piper, in the sense that our brains or souls or whatever you think we humans are—whether your views are scientific or religious or both—make us who and what we are.

But this still leaves open the big question of how Piper came to be. Was she a human girl who was bionically enhanced, not necessarily physically but cognitively, or, again, soul-wise? Or was she constructed from scratch, in the same way we would build a robot or an android? Or, in yet another gambit, maybe she was "grown?"

Like all good revelatory episodes, this one raises and opens as many questions as it answers. And like all good series, Emergence was wise to a put a revelatory episode in the line-up so soon. I think Emergence has the potential to be top-notch science fiction, at least as far as traditional networks can go, and I'm looking forward to seeing how it turns out.

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Paul Levinson

Paul Levinson's novels include The Silk Code (winner Locus Award, Best 1st Science Fiction Novel of 1999) & The Plot To Save Socrates. His nonfiction including Fake News in Real Context has been translated into 15 languages. 

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