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"Science fiction writers, I am sorry to say, really do not know anything. We can't talk about science, because our knowledge of it is limited and unofficial, and usually our fiction is dreadful."
- Philip K. Dick

Nexus-6 Brain Unit  
  The processing power behind android intelligence.  

It takes a lot of processing power to emulate human responses. Let's look under the hood of the most advanced replicant in the novel.

The Nexus-6 did have two trillion constituents plus a choice within a range of ten million possible combinations of cerebral activity. In .45 of a second an android equipped with such a brain could assume any one of fourteen basic reaction-postures. Well, no intelligence test could trap such an andy. But then, intelligence tests hadn't trapped an andy in years, not since the primordial, crude varieties of the 1970's.

The Nexus-6 android types, Rick reflected, surpassed several classes of human specials in terms of intelligence. In other words, androids equipped with the new Nexus-6 brain unit had from a sort of rough pragmatic standpoint evolved beyond a major - but inferior - segment of mankind... But new scales of achievement, for example the Voight-Kampf Empathy test, had emerged as criteria by which to judge. An android, no matter how gifted as to pure intellectual capacity, could make no sense out of the fusion which took place routinely among the followers of Mercerism - an experience which he, and virtually everyone else, including subnormal chickenheads, managed with no difficulty.

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

It is interesting that in Dick's world of the novel, the androids are able (to some extent) to mimic empathy by calculating the appropriate response. The nature of the Nexus-6 hardware is not discussed, but it is made clear elsewhere in the novel that the only way that androids can be distinguished for certain is through bone marrow testing. So we can assume that the "brain" of an android is practically indistinguishable from our own. Philip K. Dick's concept of an andy is very close to the original concept of a robot from Capek's classic work from the 1920's.

And how do you calculate your emotional responses?

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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

Nexus-6 Brain Unit-related news articles:
  - Nexus One? Nexus Six Is Google Phone You Want
  - Nexus 6 Phone Vs. Nexus-6 Android Comparison

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