Sarah, this story is a sweet morsel to enjoy.
StevenG
31

Thanks for the response! I’d like to respond to some of your points about the flaws and, well ramble a bit about my perspective on the whole thing.

Your first flaw:

I disagree with your idea that there is an answer to how things will be done in the future. We have no idea how things will be run in the future. This is all speculation. Being a ‘person’ has nothing to do with being self-aware or sentient, in this reality, or in the one I have constructed for this piece. There are animals that are self-aware. Yet they are not legal (VERY IMPORTANT DISTINCTION) persons. Throughout history, and still today, certain parts of society have been treated as second class citizens due to one trait or another that has nothing to do with their cognitive ability. It is arbitrary and rooted in beliefs or some ulterior motives. As for why the code gives recognition, it is because the state/corporation (which in this reality is a monopoly of sorts) have jointly determined that this code will be what is the cut off for legal definition. Like 18 for adulthood in some states. Arbitrary. The code creates the desired effect across all platforms, giving ‘consciousness’ and ‘personhood’ to its recipients. It doesn’t truly make sense, which is why the android has issues with it.

And my above reference to second class citizen ties into the contradiction you pointed out. There isn’t a contradiction in what is reality of world of the protagonist. The protagonist can choose to do things. That is legal. He/she can own property. That is all well and fine. It is the more meta-intellectual matters of mind and ‘soul’ which are off limits. The more…exclusive benefits. Real life examples: minors, African-Americans and other minorities in the mid 1900s. They were ‘citizens’ with limited rights. They could own property, but they were restricted in what they could do on a more intellectually based level. Same with women/wives. Essentially, the androids who are not persons are like wards of the state or how women were in the past and what self-driving cars will probably be in terms of legality in the future. They can do most everything, but the higher functions and products they turn out are not their own; they are their intellectual creator, as they are not seen as able to produce originality. They can choose, but their choice is not seen as directly their own.

So basically I disagree with your definitions of person/they do not line up with the legal definitions constructed by the Middle Kingdom of the piece. Your assertions for what a person is and what that means do not hold, which is just a framing issue.

Onto the second: When you say that the protagonist is a non-person, that is where as the author I have to say you have misread the intent of the piece. The idea of someone being given personhood or personhood being defined by arbitrary aspects is ludicrous, and the android realizes that. He/she is a person because he/she understands that by asking the question he/she proves that he/she is a person. The upgrade is bogus. State-determined personhood is bogus. It is an illusion. The protagonist sees the insanity of the entire concept and rejects existing on their terms and chooses to create a society without such madness.

As for the slave remark, slaves ARE people. Every slave in history has been a person. The androids are no exception. There is no delusion in this piece. This is an attack on the delusions that society has made dogma.

Anyway, I really need to write a hate letter to main-stream sci-fi. Thanks again for the response, but I really need to explain my point because, well, it was bothering me.