The Robocops are Already–and Have Been–Here

Donna Haraway engages the cyborg/android as a metaphor to explain the intrinsic duality of human nature while also positing the semi-artificial brain as a means for discovering the key to independent consciousness. Haraway describes her cyborg as a machine utterly incapacitated by the very idea that things like Freudian psychology or religion or drugs or the many other methods for insinuating—let’s call it stupidity—into the higher critical thought available to most people. Haraway even suggests within the world of the cyborg, gender has been deconstructed and annihilated.

I would like to take this opportunity to suggest that your positioning of the liar known as Officer Darren Wilson as the observer of android mechanics in the form of Michael Brown is the metaphorical antithesis of the reality of the situation. In fact, I find it interesting—perhaps distressing is a more appropriate descriptive term—that though you managed to find it necessarily to utilize everything from Martin Scorsese’s adaptation of “Hugo” to a Drake commercial in your examination of the nature of the android, you failed to introduce into your otherwise well-calculated analysis of the artificial human construct that androids are and have been amongst normal people for decades.

The illustration of Michael Brown as a sort of “Incredible Hulk” combination of Superman with an implacable focus and artificial man impervious to pain seems at odds with the suggestive nature that cyborgs and their artificial brethren require empathy as a vital component of their creation. Where can such empathy exist within the electrical signals zooming through the network of connections in the brain while under the control of drugs? Ah, but such a capacity of empathy depends entirely on the synthetic stimulants responsible for rewiring those connections, don’t they?

Your deconstruction of the language that Officer Wilson used to describe his encounter with Michael Brown is nothing less than a brilliant application of abstract theory to concrete facts, but in my own interpretation of your interpretation, I have located within his capacity to attribute the worst possible aspects of the android mentality to Michael Brown an unexpected—and doubtlessly unintended—inversion of one of the underlying dramatic conceits common to many stories of the android whose slowly dawning conscious apprehension of his artificial nature ultimate results in that most pertinent of all questions: “Who am I?”

I suggest that Officer Darren Wilson belongs to that illustrious group of artificial robotic creations who are not consciously aware of their own lack of humanity. In other words: the robot that has been programmed to not realize that it is a robot. Officer Wilson is, I would argue, just another replicant in a service industry perfectly designed to be populated only by fellow replicants: the law enforcement industry.

If there is any real life analogue to every single android you describe with such vivid imagery and imagination, it would the American law enforcement official. These are people living in a world where gender difference is of such minor significance that they it may as well be a described as a genderless subculture. The recent movement to the opening segment of the national network newscasts of the almost daily occurrences of extremely excessive force by law enforcement officers reveals shockingly little differentiation among the sexes when it comes to the readiness to engage in overzealous and overly violent reactions to anyone who dares question their authority.

They act without any apparent regard for moral instruction whether spiritually divined or obtained in a more secular manner that is capable of providing any authentic understanding of the difference between what is moral and what is immoral and so remain vigilantly engaged in a mechanistic response to the rest of society that is devoid of the capacity for applying individual values within each unique context. If there is any cinematic resource to which robopsychology—a term used by you, but which I view from the perspective of it describing the construction of values based entirely upon a monomythic singularity detached from any expectations of authentically human analysis of data which has been received from external sources—it would have to be, of course, “Robocop.”

In fact, the only resource that could ever be considered entirely necessary when creating a metaphorical analysis of a gender-neutral taxonomic imperative toward devising an artificial (non-sentient) human being, would be “Robocop.” Why? Because we are and have been surrounded by non-thinking, non-sentient, genderless artificial humans working as robocops for decades. The point being that the robotic predictability and inability to express any seeming empathy that is characteristic of cops has made them an almost invisible army of androids that we don’t recognize as emotionless automatons due to their more violent emotional nature. If one can authentically point to any specific sub-group of human beings who seem to fit Donna Haraway’s description of the modern android as removed from the inherent duality of human nature, it would have to be cops in America, circa 2015.