Science Fiction Dictionary
A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z

Latest By
Category:


Armor
Artificial Intelligence
Biology
Clothing
Communication
Computers
Culture
Data Storage
Displays
Engineering
Entertainment
Food
Input Devices
Lifestyle
Living Space
Manufacturing
Material
Media
Medical
Miscellaneous
Robotics
Security
Space Tech
Spacecraft
Surveillance
Transportation
Travel
Vehicle
Virtual Person
Warfare
Weapon
Work

"I went back to science fiction to try a few experiments …and my first experiment was a disaster…"
- Alfred Bester

Electric Sheep  
  An electronic farm animal; a non-organic robot covered with sheepskin that acts like a sheep.  

In the future world of Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep, the Earth has been ruined - how this occurred is not important to Dick. Few animals were able to survive; it is a signal social accomplishment to have a live animal. Since a live animal is too expensive, robot animals are procured instead.

Perhaps you are looking to purchase or research a robotic companion? You've come to the right place.

He ascended … to the covered pasture whereon his electric sheep "grazed." Whereon it, sophisticated piece of hardware that it was, chomped away in simulated contentment, bamboozling the other tenants of the building.

Of course, some of their animals undoubtedly consisted of electronic circuitry fakes, too (he had never nosed into the matter)…Nothing could be more impolite. To say "Is your sheep genuine" would be a breach of etiquette.

Technovelgy from Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?, by Philip K. Dick.
Published by Doubleday in 1968
Additional resources -

For additional verisimilitude, some of the "animals" could even feign illness, until "cured" by a repairman disguised as a veterinarian (see disease circuit).

It was also possible to create an autonomous robotic version of an actual pet:

An inspiration came to Isidore. "What about an exact electric duplicate of your cat? We can have a superb handcrafted job by Wheelright & Carpenter in which every detail of the old animal is faithfully repeated..."

In the novel, humanity has effectively ruined the natural world; the obsession with mechanical animals is used to both show the shallow social needs of human beings as well as the quirky, likeable quality present in people who love their pets. Androids don't seem to have the capacity to care for others, of their own kind or even animals.

It is true that we have a special admiration for creations like Sony's Aibo that we do not have for real animals. As the French philosopher Jean de la Varende remarked about androids and automatons, "I admire the man who gives himself so much pain to manufacture what God makes so easily".

On the other hand, it is also true that philosophers have for centuries believe that animals are mere automata anyway; as Descartes says "all the actions of beasts are similar only to those which we perform without the help of our minds."

Compare to robot dog from The Iron World (1937) by Otis Adelbert Kline, robot animals from Reunion on Ganymede (1938) by Clifford Simak and Purza the Pukha, from The Rowan, a 1990 novel by Anne McCaffrey.

Don't miss Ray Bradbury's mechanical hound from Fahrenheit 451; a fireman's best friend? Perhaps.

Comment/Join this discussion ( 2 ) | RSS/XML | Blog This |

Additional resources:
  More Ideas and Technology from Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?
  More Ideas and Technology by Philip K. Dick
  Tech news articles related to Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?
  Tech news articles related to works by Philip K. Dick

Electric Sheep-related news articles:
  - Biomimetic Robot Animals - Not All Are Cute
  - 'Electric Sheep' Gaining On Real Pets
  - Heart Robot Wants To Feel Your Love
  - Dream Cat Venus An Android's Dream
  - 'Electric Sheep' Runs On Real Grass - EATR Robot
  - EATR Robot Is A Vegetarian
  - Robot Cats Perfect For Older Britons
  - Does PETA Dream Of Electric Groundhogs?
  - SmartBird Robotic Bird In Flight
  - Do Swiss Roboticists Dream Of Electric Sheep?
  - Cheetah Cub Robot From PKD's Android Dreams
  - Should Humanity Switch To Robotic Pets?
  - Joy For All Companion - Robot Pet
  - Robot Animals Set To 'Spy in the Wild'

Articles related to Robotics
Shanghai Guidelines For Humanoid Robots
Desktop TARS Robot From Interstellar
Robots Can Now Have Smiling Faces With Human Skin
Rizon 4 Ironing Robot

Want to Contribute an Item? It's easy:
Get the name of the item, a quote, the book's name and the author's name, and Add it here.

<Previous
Next>

Google
  Web TechNovelgy.com   

 

 

Technovelgy (that's tech-novel-gee!) is devoted to the creative science inventions and ideas of sf authors. Look for the Invention Category that interests you, the Glossary, the Science Fiction Invention Timeline, or see what's New.

 

 

 

 

Science Fiction Timeline
1600-1899
1900-1939
1940's   1950's
1960's   1970's
1980's   1990's
2000's   2010's

Science Fiction in the News

Space Exporers! Now, You Can Drink Your Own Urine
'those suits they wear -- call them 'stillsuits' -- that reclaim the body's own water...'

SpaceX EVA Spacesuit Tested By Polaris Dawn Crew
'Now, except for weight and heat, the same conditions prevail in this chamber as in space.'

Automatic Bot Traffic Is 38 Percent Of HTTP Requests
'there were so many worms and counterworms loose in the data-net...'

Shanghai Guidelines For Humanoid Robots
'Now, look, let's start with the three fundamental Rules of Robotics...'

Desktop TARS Robot From Interstellar
What's YOUR sarcasm setting?

Robots Can Now Have Smiling Faces With Human Skin
'I am a cybernetic organism...'

Virtual Rat Predicts Actual Rat Neural Activity
'..the synthetic intellects at the Place of Knowledge had far outstripped the minds of men.'

GoSun EV Solar Charger Drapes Onto Your Car
'...six square yards of sunpower screens.'

Rizon 4 Ironing Robot
'But after washing and drying clothes had to be smooth - free from fine lines and wrinkles ...'

Cognify - A Prison Of The Mind We've Seen Before In SF
'So I serve a hundred years in one day...'

More SF in the News

More Beyond Technovelgy

Home | Glossary | Science Fiction Timeline | Category | New | Contact Us | FAQ | Advertise |
Technovelgy.com - where science meets fiction™

Copyright© Technovelgy LLC; all rights reserved.