We went to see the new ‘Bladerunner 2049’ movie on Saturday, and I liked it a lot. Ryan Gosling is Officer K from the LAPD and hunts down replicants (robots that look and act like humans), then discovers he might be a very special replicant himself. Are his memories real or not? is a big part of the movie, as is the destroyed Earth backdrop. There was a Blackout (electromagnetic pulse) event in 2022 that destroyed all digital data records on Earth, and as a consequence Officer K has to knock on doors and ask people (and replicants) questions, to get information.
I loved the enormous fields of solar power generation stations in the opening scene, the massive seawall that protects LA from the sea, and the flying cars. There is also Officer K’s holographic girlfriend Joi (says she: ‘I missed you, baby sweet – what a day, hmm?’), and a cool holographic jukebox player. But in the final analysis, the movie is about what makes us human. A perennial science fiction question seems to be: could artificially intelligent (AI) creatures be made human, say, with implanted memories? What is illusion, and what is ‘reality’, anyway? As Albert Einstein famously said: ‘Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one’.