The second of this week’s films presents a charming scenario in which Gumdrop, the domestic robot, auditions for a part in a movie.
The CGI in this film is used to spectacular effect, creating an entirely believable robot. But the most striking feature of all is Gumdrop’s charisma. As robots go, she’s certainly cute and her gestures and body language are incredibly human. But what really gives her character is the fantastic vocal performance from Venti Hristova, whose self-conscious giggles and light hearted banter really bring her to life.
At last, here is an opportunity for me to write about something that has been bubbling below the surface of my thoughts throughout this course. Several times over the past few weeks, I have started to bring it into my blogs, but then edited it out again because the subject is so huge that it threatened to dominate the discussion when there were other issues that I wanted to explore as well. The subject: personality.
So what is personality and how might androids acquire one? The makers of Gumdrop and Blade Runner seem to have hit upon the same answer. Though Gumdrop is all shiny synthetic parts and blinking lights, she shares something very significant with the very beautiful replicant Rachael in Blade Runner – a history. In Gumdrop, we see the hopeful young actress’ backstory through a series of home videos. In Blade Runner, Rachel’s creator borrows the memories of his neice to give Rachael the illusion of a past.
Studies have shown that personality plays a significant role in human communication. Interestingly, we can relate best to others who show their imperfections . As the popular idiom goes: “To err is human…” but what does that mean for the future of robots like Gumdrop and Rachael? From the casting couch to the psychiatrist’s couch perhaps.