How far can we go in artificially changing the human body and still be human?
And what about the concept of being? When are we aware?
Introducing Kara, an android in a short movie, made to showcase the engine of the Playstation 3 by a design company called Quantic Dream.
This small video reveals a question however, greater than how far we’ve come in graphic design and visual programming. It questions the very fabric of existence.
In the video, Kara is assembled and given standard questions to check that her programming is in place. She then requests to know her creator’s motives for creating her: “I am merchandize?” followed by “But I thought…” The video then goes on to show Kara crying, frustrated, and in the end, frightened exclaiming “I am scared!”. We cannot, at this point, argue that Kara is not aware. She is emotionally awake, feels impulsively, and obviously is outside of her standard programming. But is she alive? Is she human?
The work “Being and Nothingness” by Sartre, describes that a human is different than an object, because it has the ability to objectify the other. A human has the ability to provoke feelings in others, and to become the judge of others in the meeting with them. Sartre’s prime example of this is the ability to feel ashamed. This simply translates to Kara’s feeling of shame when the other sees her naked. This does not strictly make her human, because Kara is only a subject able to be within the other’s objectification of her.
Following this strain of thought, Kara exclaims her fear and the other decides to send her off without destroying her. Kara is, in the eyes of the other, humanlike, alive.
Sartre, J – Being and Nothingness, 1943