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Sara Palacios Echeverry

ENGW 1102

October 2014

Sara Palacios Echeverry


ENGW 1102
Professor Kapica
INQ Note 3
October 2014

What exactly makes us human? Is it just biological components that make up an


organism? Or is there more to it? A soul? A critical mind? An identity? Defining
humanity is such a complex task, but most of the people agree that theres a specific
something, an essence that separates human beings from the rest of living species.

The Pilot episode of Caprica explores these ideas, and more importantly, deals with
the question of the creation of human life. In a sense, it challenges religion as it
establishes a rivalry between technology and the idea of an absolute being, creator
of the world. In the first place, the city of Caprica itself is defined by technology. Its
main focus is the innovative development, and their reliance on technological
advances is evident. For example, they show how the agency of what appears to be
some sort of homeland security or city defense, is investing on Graystone Industries
in order for them to build robotized soldiers. This implies they are putting the citys
safety in the hands of technology. They have faith on these intelligent artifacts. On
the other hand, what they dont trust is the monotheistic religion: TSO. Although
they believe in some gods, they think that the idea of having a single god that
created the universe and knows to differentiate between good and bad is dangerous.
This is where the contrast among the two takes place. The TSO is portrayed as the
adversary of the city. Terrorism, they call it. Whereas, technology is shown as the

Sara Palacios Echeverry

ENGW 1102

October 2014

savior, a positive thing that makes everything easier. I think that this conflict goes
beyond the sole problem of whos the enemy and whos the ally. In my opinion it
connects back to the initial idea of defining what, or in this case, who makes us
human.
As with everything in life there are multiple assumptions on the inception of
humanity, the two big ones being science and religion. Religions main purpose is to
explain the origin, and termination of life. Most religions share the notion of a
supernatural being that created the universe. A force that is able to give and take
away life. They rely on faith entirely, a sort of belief that is not based on proof. This
is the complete opposite form science, which is a discipline that tries to explain
phenomena using evidence. Science has not only tried to comprehend how the
human body is integrated but it is also attempting to imitate its functions, more
specifically, the brain. In the past decades research has been focused on artificial
intelligence. Creating small artifacts that mimic different functions of the brain. But
what if in the future we are able to not only focus on single functions like memory or
motor skills, but rather creating something that encompasses all of the brains
activities? Something where we can implant memories, likes and dislikes that
characterize our identity. Does that mean weve discovered how to make that
something which makes us human? In other words, have we discovered how to
create human life? This is the case in Caprica. Zoe was able to create a prototype of
artificial life. This prototype was able think, remember, have opinions, make
judgments, but was she really human? Science has always tried to disproof beliefs of
religion. The one they most struggle with is the origin in life. What Caprica does is

Sara Palacios Echeverry

ENGW 1102

October 2014

basically simulate a situation where this struggle no longer exists. So that both
parties (science and religion) are equal in terms, and people can finally decide who
explains it better: science or religion?
Discussion Questions
1. What do you think makes us human? Is it possible to replicate a persons
essence/ identity?
2. What is the real difference between Zoe and her copy? What does Zoe has
that her copy hasnt?