Could a Machine Think?

July 31, 2015

Here's a (long) animation script I wrote that introduces the philosophical puzzles of whether machines could think. The idea is it would be one of a series on the 'Big Questions'. Anyone interested in producing it, let me know...

INTRODUCTORY SEQUENCE

LIVE ACTION: CAMP THESPIAN SITTING IN VELVET ARMCHAIR IN LIBRARY, WITH HUGE LEATHER BOUND BOOK. ROARING FIRE AND SIDE-TABLE. SPOOKILY LIT AMID DARKNESS BY SPOTLIGHT. BIT LIKE OPENING OF ROCKY HORROR PICTURE SHOW.

THE NARRATOR [WE SLOWLY ZOOM IN]: Ah, you’ve arrived. Welcome! Welcome to The Philosophy Files! – where we encounter some of the greatest mysteries of all!

FLUFFY WHITE CAT (ANIMATED?) APPEARS ON MANTELPIECE AND TEETERS ALONG IT.

But be warned. Thinking philosophically can be disturbing – frightening even. We’re going to be thinking without a safety net. [CAT SLIPS, SAVES ITSELF] Indeed, we will often be teetering on the very edge of sanity! [CAT FALLS OFF MANTELPIECE – CRASH!]

For we’re embarking upon a journey, a journey into the unknown – a journey to… the Outer Limits of thought. [SCREEN GOES TO INTERFERENCE] THAN SHRINKS TO POINT AND VANISHES LEAVING DARK SCREEN, LIKE IN OLD TWILIGHT ZONE SHOW [MAYBE PLAY TWILIGHT ZONE THEME?]

THE NARRATOR: Allow me to introduce…the philosopher!

GO TO ANIMATION: SPOTLIGHT CLUNKS ON REVEALING RODIN’S “THE THINKER”. PAUSE. OUT FROM BEHIND STEPS NERDY-LOOKING BLOKE. BRIAN BUNG: MALE UK ACCENT NICE BUT BIT NERDY AND NEUROTIC IN WOODY ALLEN MOLD.

BRIAN TRYING TO APPEAR LIKE COOL DETECTIVE: The name’s Bung. Brian Bung, PI.

NARRATOR: That’s right, Brian here is a PI – a Philosophical Investigator. Let’s scrutinize him more closely. [ZOOM IN ON BRIAN] There. No doubt you are admiring Brian’s highly-domed forehead [ZOOM IN ON FOREHEAD].

Perhaps you have surmised that beneath that shiny pate there growls a prowling tiger of an intellect. Brian’s mind, you’ve guessed, must be veritably pulsing with giga-watts of cerebral energy!

WE ZOOM INSIDE BRIAN’S HEAD TO SEE SMALL ENGINE PUT-PUT-PUTTING.

Not a bit of it, I’m afraid. The truth, dear viewer, is that Brian is just an ordinary man. [BUNG SHOOTS A LOOK] Frankly, he’s the best we could afford on our limited budget.

[ZOOM IN ON BRIAN BUNG] But still, he is a philosopher! What marks Brian out as a philosopher? His curiosity of course. Brian is a man unafraid to ask questions. He questions what others take for granted. He thinks for himself – tries top figure things out. And he is faithfully served by his attractive assistant, Stella Wacker.

STELLA STEPS OUT FROM BEHIND THE STATUE. SHE IS ATTRACTIVE, SASSY, SERIOUS-MINDED US WOMAN DETECTIVE IN TRENCHCOAT. BIT LIKE SCULLY IN X FILES. SHE IS THE REAL BRAINS IN THIS OUTFIT.

STELLA [SOMEWHAT BORED/ALOOF]: Hi.

THE NARRATOR: Each week these two intrepid investigators grapple with one of the world’s greatest mysteries… [VOICE GAINING IN EXCITEMENT NOW…] for the year is 2250, this is Bruce Dern City, and these are The Philosophy Files!

PART ONE

[EXCITING “THE PHILOSOPHY FILES” TRAILER WITH THEME MUSIC: WE NOW SEE BRIAN AND STELLA ARE IN FILM-NOIR STYLE DETECTIVES OFFICE – ZOOM BACK TO SEE “BUNG AND WACKER – PHILOSOPHICAL INVESTIGATORS – YOUR BIG QUESTIONS ANSWERED” STENCILLED ON THE DOOR. CLIPS OF: FUTURISTIC CITYSCAPE, B AND S RIDING AIR-SCOOTERS, GUNFIGHTING WITH LAZERS, PUNCH UPS WITH MARTIANS, EXPLODING BUILDINGS, OTHER ACTION CLICHES, ETC.]

NARRATOR [GRANDLY]: This week’s episode: The strange case of Muriel’s robot.

NOW WE’RE BACK IN THE FILM-NOIR STYLE OFFICE. STELLA IS READING. BRIAN STARING OUT THE WINDOW, BORED. THERE’S A KNOCK AT THE DOOR.

SCENE ONE

STELLA: Enter.

A WOMAN, MURIEL, GLAMOROUS, ATTRACTIVE, DRESSED IN FIFTIES-STYLE SUIT AND HEELS, ENTERS, DISTRAUGHT. BRIAN IMMEDATELY GETS INTO “DRAGNET” MODE:

BRIAN [TRYING TO BE MACHO]: How can we be of service, Maam?
MURIEL: Thank goodness you’re here. I’m desperate!
BRIAN: Desperate?
MURIEL: It’s…it’s the guilt.
BRIAN: The guilt?
MURIEL: Yes. And yet I don’t know whether I should feel guilty. Maybe I did nothing wrong…I just don’t know. Can you help me…? I was told you’re best.
STELLA [CRISPLY]. We are the best, Maam. Now why don’t you sit down, take a deep breath and begin at the beginning.
MURIEL SITS AND BEGINS TO TELL THE STORY. Well, it was about six months ago…. [WE MELT TO THE SCENE: MURIEL ON CHAISE LONGUE HOLDING GLASS OF GIN AND READING THE PAPER]. I was taking my usual mid-morning pick-me-up and reading the newspaper when I saw an advertisement for one of those new robot helpers. You know the ones? Do the hoovering and dusting and cook your dinner for you?
BRIAN: Yes maam. They’re highly advanced culinary and domestic appliances.
MURIEL: Well, it was a bargain. I had inherited a little bit of money, so I thought – why not? And the very next day there it was on my doorstep….

MURIEL OPENING DOOR TO DELIVERY MAN WITH LARGE BOX. MURIEL RIPPING OF PACKAGING TO REVEAL ROBOT PARTS, WHICH TUMBLE LOUDLY ONTO FLOOR.

FADE TO “LATER” MURIEL (KNEELING, WITH IKEA-LIKE INSTRUCTIONS, ASSEMBLING PARTS STREWN ACROSS FLOOR): Attach B to C and screw down firmly….No, wait, that’s part D. Or is it upside down?…. [FADE TO “MUCH LATER”] …and. finally, reach behind and flip switch to “on”…

ROBOT IN PINNY SPRINGS TO LIFE AND SITS UP: Hi! I am Emit – your new robot helper and friend!

BACK TO MURIEL IN OFFICE, RETELLING STORY:

MURIEL NARRATING (SADLY): It was right there my problems began. You see, I couldn’t accept that this piece of machinery wanted to be my friend. After all, it was just a pile of plastic and tin – just a machine - that I’d spent the last two hours assembling on my sitting room floor. How could a piece of machinery be my friend?

CUT TO MURIEL IN STORY, REPLYING TO EMIT:

MURIEL: You can’t be my friend. You’re just a machine. You don’t have a mind. You don’t have any feelings.
EMIT [LOOKING A LITTL HURT]: It’s true. I’m a machine. But of course I have a mind. I feel. I understand. Just like you.
MURIEL: That’s ridiculous. You mimic feeling and understanding very well, I grant you that. But you’re a sham. You only seem to have a mind. How can I be friends with a glorified household appliance? Now get on with the hoovering, please.
EMIT (LOOKS FORLORN - MAKES HOOVER NOISES AS HE SUCKS UP DUST WITH FOOT): A sham?
MURIEL (NARRATING): Things quickly went from bad to worse. Emit kept on trying to strike up conversations with me. Asked me about my day. That kind of thing. I just wanted him to do the ironing.
MURIEL (TO EMIT – SHE’S HOLDING UP A BLOUSE): A little more starch next time, please.
STELLA: Why did you find him so irritating?
MURIEL NARRATING: I… I’m not sure. It seemed creepy somehow. This… this thing wanted to have a relationship with me, for goodness sake. It was needy. Eventually, I told it to back off!
BRIAN: Back off?
MURIEL [NARRATING[: Yes. One morning, when Emit brought me a cup of tea in bed [EMIT SITS ON SIDE OF BED, SIGHS].
MURIEL [SNAPS]: I can’t stand this any longer! You’re acting like a moody teenager. Just stop it with the fake emotion, will you?
EMIT: Fake? My emotions aren’t fake, I assure you. I can’t help how I feel, can I? And…and…I…I…I feel rejected [SOBS INTO HANKY].
MURIEL: Oh please. You’re a machine. You simulate emotion. You simulate understanding.
EMIT: You think I don’t understand you?
MURIEL: Of course you don’t.
EMIT: But if I don’t understand, why do you bother speaking to me? Why do I follow your instructions if I don’t understand them?
MURIEL: That’s how you’re programmed. There’s a computer inside that tin head of yours – a computer that’s been cleverly programmed to mimic understanding, to make you act like you understand what I’m saying.
EMIT: But I really do understand you!
MURIEL: No you don’t.
EMIT: Yes I do. And I really do feel!
MURIEL [IRRITATED]: You only say that because you’re programmed to fake feeling.
EMIT: I’m not faking it for goodness sake! What can I do to prove to you that I really do have a mind?
MURIEL: There’s nothing you can do. You’re a machine. Machines don’t have minds.

MURIEL, NARRATING AGAIN: After that, Emit became increasingly listless. EMIT STOOPED, DOING WASHING UP. PAN CLUNKS TO FLOOR. NO REACTION.

He would stare out of the window for hours, mumbling to himself.

[EMIT HEAD IN HANDS MUMBLING “Do I have a mind? Maybe I just think I do?]

MURIEL [NARRATING]: Eventually, he disappeared altogether.
STELLA, RAISING EYEBROW: Where to?
MURIEL HANDS STELLA NEWSPAPER HEADLINE. “ROBOT FOUND SMASHED AT BOTTOM OF DEADMAN’S LEAP”
BRIAN [LOOKING OVER STELLA’S SHOULDER: Emit killed himself?
MURIEL: That’s right. And now….now….
BRIAN [PUTTING HAND ON MURIEL’S SHOULDER]: And now, Maam, you’re wondering if you didn’t make a mistake?
MURIEL: That’s right. [BLOWS NOSE INTO HANKIE] It’s…it’s… the uncertainty I can’t stand. Did I mentally torture that poor sap into committing suicide? Did he really suffer those awful angst-ridden moments alone, staring out over the city lights, his soul churning in torment, before throwing himself into the abyss? [CUT TO EMIT STARING OUT FORLORNLY OVER CITY LIGHTS, HE CHUCKS HIMSELF OFF EDGE AND COMICALLY BOUNCES DOWN CLIFF FACE, “OUCH”, “OW” ETC. TILL SMASHED TO PICES AT BOTTOM AND THE LIGHTS IN HIS EYES FADE TO BLACK] Or was he [UPSET, GRASPING AT LAMP], in truth, no more than a piece of metal and plastic, no more capable of experiencing real thoughts and feelings than this table lamp [LIFTS LAMP, LOOKS LIKE SHE MAY SMASH IT].
BRIAN [TAKING LAMP FROM HER]: Careful Maam. That was a graduation gift.
STELLA (TO MURIEL): I see. It’s the classic conundrum. Can a machine think and feel? You were convinced it couldn’t. Now you’re not so sure.
MURIEL: That’s it exactly. Can you reassure me?
ZOOM ON STELLA’s FACE: It’s a tough one, Maam. But you’ve come to the right place. We’re professionals. Our first call – Deadman’s Leap.


STELLA AND BRIAN GRAB TRENCHCOATS AND LEAVE.

SCENE TWO

WE SEE STELLA AND BRIAN FLYING ACROSS CITY PAST LEAFY SUBURBS AND ARRIVING AT BOTTOM OF CLIFF PAST ‘DEADMAN’S LEAP’ SIGN.
STELLA [RUMMAGING THROUGH BUSHES]: He’s got to be round here somewhere. What you doing?
BRIAN [CLEARLY PEEING IN BUSHES]: Er nothing. [BRIAN TURNS SLIGHTLY AS HE REPLIES, SOUND OF PEEING CHANGES TO PEEING ON METAL. BRIAN LOOKS DOWN.]
BRIAN: Hey, I’ve found him!
STELLA AND BRIAN LOOKING DOWN AT SMASHED ROBOT [HEAD AND LIMBS TORN OFF].
BRIAN: Gee, he really made a mess of himself.
STELLA: Let’s get to work, shall we? [PICKS UP EMIT’S HEAD.] You know, there’s something not right here. The head’s empty. [SHAKES HEAD. SOUND OF BOLT RATTLING ROUND INSIDE]
BRIAN: Empty? Who would have taken the computer out?
STELLA: Good question. [ZOOM IN ON PLATE SCREWED TO BACK OF HEAD WITH SERIAL NUMBER ETC. IT READS: MANUFACTURED BY SEARLE-TRONIC CORPS. BRUCE DERN CITY. Let’s pay a little visit to the director of … Searle-tronics.

SCENE THREE

STELLA AND BRIAN PARK THEIR AIR SCOOTERS AND STAND BEFORE THE HUGE SEARLE-TRONICS BUILDING [PAN UPWARDS] ⎯WITH HUGE “SEARLE-TRONICS” SIGN ON TOP ‘SEARLE-TRONICS ⎯ YOU’RE DREAMS ARE OUR REALITY”. THEY ENTER LOBBY THROUGH REVOLVING DOOR. INSIDE LOBBY IS A HUGE STATUTE OFA WHITE UNICORN [BLADERUNNER QUOTE]

BRIAN TO RECEPTIONIST: We’re here to see Mr Searle.
RECEPTIONIST, TERSELY: Professor Searle. He sees no one without an appointment.
STELLA: He might want to see us. Tell him we’re investigating an incident at Deadman’s Leap.

RECEPTIONIST PICKS UP PHONE AND WHISPERS INTO IT. BRIAN LOOKS THROUGH GLASS AT TRAMP OUTSIDE, WHO IS CLUTCHING BOTTLE AND STAGGERING. A ROBOT LIKE EMIT [ONLY MORE SINISTER] COMES UP, GRABS TRAMP BY SCRUFF OF NECK AND DRAGS HIM AWAY.

BRIAN: Tight ship you run here.
RECEPTIONIST [PUTTING DOWN PHONE]: Professor Searle will see you now.

BRIAN AND STELLA TURN AND ARE SURPRISED BY ANOTHER LARGE, SLIGHTLY SINISTER ROBOT LOOMING OVER THEM.

ROBOT: Would you follow me, please.

THEY WALK TOWARDS AND ENTER GLASS LIFT AND ARE ZOOMED UP. THEY WATCH THE CITYSCAPE THROUGH LIFT’S GLASS WALLS [LOOKS BIT LIKE BLADE RUNNER]

LIFT DOORS HISS OPEN AT TOP FLOOR AND THEY WALK INTO HUGE GLASS-WALLED OFFICE. BEHIND DESK IS SEARLE, PLAYING WITH EXECUTIVE TOY. HE LOSES TEMPER AND SMASHES IT WITH FIST, THEN NOTICES HIS GUESTS. THERE’S AN OWL ON A STAND BEHIND HIM [BLADE RUNNER QUOTE].

SEARLE: Oh. Ah. Welcome. Welcome. I understand you’re investigating that nasty incident at Deadman’s Leap. One of our robots, I believe?
STELLA: That’s right, Professor Searle. We’ve been employed by the robot’s owner to look into the case.
BRIAN: Do many of your machines end up committing suicide?
SEARLE: Machine self-destructs are a very rare occurrence. This is the first machine of its generation ever to breakdown in this way. It’s bad publicity, obviously. Er, your client is not planning to make a fuss, is she? Do tell her that we plan to reimburse her fully or provide her with a new machine - whichever she prefers.
BRIAN: We went to examine the remains. The robot’s computer had been removed. Anything to do with you?
SEARLE [FOLDS ARMS BEHIND BACK, STARES OUT ACROSS CITY]: Computer taken you say? Probably just vandals looking for spare parts. Certainly nothing to do with Searle-tronics.
STELLA: Professor Searle, do you know why this machine malfunctioned?
SEARLE: I’ve no idea. As I say, it’s never happened before.
BRIAN: But Mr S…
STELLA (INTERRUPTING): Well, thank you for your time, Professor Searle.
SEARLE: Not at all. Let me know if I can be of any further help.
BRIAN AND STELLA WALK TOWARDS LIFT:
SEARLE: Button “G” will get you back down to the ground floor.
BRIAN: Goodbye. STELLA PUSHES BUTTON MARKED “LAB”. Er… DOORS SHUT.
BRIAN [ANXIOUSLY WHISPERING]: What are you doing?
STELLA: We’re paying a visit to the lab.
BRIAN: The lab?
DOORS HISS OPEN AND THEY STEP INTO WHITE CORRIDOR.
CUT TO SEARLE’S OFFICE: HE IS WATCHING INDICATOR LIGHTS SHOWING THEY GOT OUT AT “LAB”. HE TURNS ON AND LOOKS AT TV MONITOR SHOWING THEM WALKING DOWN CORRIDOR.

SEARLE: Naughty. Very naughty.

SCENE FOUR

CUT TO BRIAN AND STELLA IN CORRIDOR, WALKING FAST.

BRIAN: The lab? Why we going there?
STELLA: Something Searle said didn’t ring true. I think these new robots aren’t all they appear to be…[ARRIVE AT DOOR MARKED ‘LAB”]. This is it.

THEY SNEAK INSIDE. WE HEAR REPEATED “HISS TICK KERPLOK, HISS TICK KERPLOK” RHYTHM.

STELLA: This is where the latest generation of robots like Emit are made. I want to take a closer look….

THEY CREEP AROUND SOME PACKING CASES. BRIAN SPOTS A LINE OF MENACING-LOOKING ROBOTS MARCHING PAST.

BRIAN [PANICKED WHISPER]: Look out!
STELLA: It’s okay. Those are just shells. ZOOM OUT TO REVEAL THE ROBOTS ARE MOUNTED ON PRODUCTION LINE. WE NOW SEE THEIR FLIP TOP HEADS ARE OPEN AND EMPTY. The computers are fitted in the room next door. Let’s take a peek. BRIAN AND STELLA SNEAK UP TO DOOR. STELLA LOOKS THROUGH ITS PORTHOLE WINDOW INTO NEXT ROOM, FROM WHICH WE HEAR PRODUCTION-LINE SOUNDS.

STELLA: It’s just as I thought…
BRIAN (ALSO TAKES A PEEK: SHOCKED EXPRESSION): Oh my goodness! Are they what I think they are?

SUDDENLY THE MAIN DOOR THROUGH WHICH THEY ENTERED IS KICKED OPEN AND IN RUSH THREE BIG SCARY ROBOTS. ROBOT ONE CARRIES A LAZER GUN.

ROBOT ONE: Get them!
STELLA: Quick, this way!

BRIAN AND STELLA DUCK BEHIND SOME PACKING CASES JUST AS LAZER GUN BLASTS WALL BEHIND THEM. THEY CRAWL THROUGH MORE CASES AND EMERGE NEXT TO WINDOW. STELLA TRIES HANDLE. WINDOW OPENS.

STELLA: This way! It’s our only hope.

STELLA STEPS OUT ONTO LEDGE AND NERVOUS BRIAN TEETERS AFTER HER. WE VIEW THEM FROM ABOVE SPREAD UP AGAINST THE WALL WITH HUGE DROP ONTO STREET FAR BELOW. GUSTS OF WIND BUFFET THEM.

BRIAN: Er, now what?
STELLLA: And now, we jump.
BRIAN: Are you crazy? We’ll die!

ROBOT WITH LAZER SMASHES HEAD AND ARM THROUGH WALL AND AIMS LAZER TOWARDS THEM. STELLA GRABS BRIAN BY HAND AND JUMPS, TAKING HIM WITH HER. THEY ARE PLUNGING TO THEIR DEATHS!

BRIAN: AAAAAARGH!

INTERMISSION

SUDDENLY SCREEN FREEZES AND WE HEAR NARRATOR ASKING THE FOLLOWING TWO QUESTIONS:

NARRATOR: Are Brian and Stella doomed? Will they be splattered like so much Strawberry mousse across the busy streets below? Find out in the next exciting episode, right after this intermission.

“INTERMISSION” CAPTION. WE CUT TO LIVE ACTION: NARRATOR IN HIS VELVET CHAIR WITH ROARING FIRE AND SIDETABLE. HE IS NOW STROKING A FLUFFY WHITE CAT, A LA JAMES BOND’S BLOWFELD.

NARRATOR: That’s correct, dear viewer. It’s the intermission. A time to reflect. To take stock. In each episode of The Philosophy Files we help ourselves to a little “time out” to examine a salient philosophical idea or clue in more detail.

[SOUND OF FILM PROJECTOR STARTING UP. WE SEE PROJECTOR FILM COUNT DOWN 5 + 4 +…ETC.]

So let us look at the facts so far. First, we know, do we not, that the glamorous Muriel [FILM PROJECTED ONTO SCREEN NEXT TO NARRATOR, WHO HAS PICKED UP A POINTER STICK – ON SCREEN WE SEE FLASHBACK TO HER TALKING IN M AND S’S OFFICE – NARRATOR POINTS] is anguished - tortured by the thought that Emit, her faithful robot servant, was so wracked by feelings of rejection that he ended up ending it all. [ON SCREEN, WE SEE EMIT BOUNCING DOWN THE CLIFF. THEN CUT BACK TO NARRATOR] Or was he nothing more than faulty electrical goods – no more to be mourned than a broken electric toaster?

That’s what Brian and Stella have been charged with finding out.

We know, too, that Professor Searle acted suspiciously, [ON SCREEN WE SEE FLASHBACK TO SEARLE’S OFFICE AND THEN THE ROBOTS CHASING M AND S] and that his robo-henchmen tried to kill Brian and Stella when they went to investigate the lab.

What was it that Brian and Stella spied through that doorway? [FLASHBACK TO M AND S PEERING THROUGH DOORWAY] What is ghastly the secret of the Searle-tronics lab? You’ll soon find out. [CUT BACK TO NARRATOR, HOLDING POINTER] But first let’s take a closer look at the philosophy behind this week’s episode.

Philosophers have grappled for a long time with the suggestion that machines might one day think and feel. True this simple electric toaster [NARRATOR HOLDS UP TOASTER PASSED TO HIM FROM OFF-CAMERA BY BUTLER] cannot think. And this cooker [WE PULL BACK AND NARRATOR POINTS TO DARK CORNER OF ROOM SUDDENLY SPOTLIT TO REVEAL COOKER, WITH BUTLER POSING NEXT TO IT LIKE IN A GAMESHOW] cannot feel. But what of more complex machines? What of super-advanced machines of the future? Machines like Emit? Might they think and feel?

Not according to the 17th Century French philosopher Rene Descartes.

WE AGAIN PULL BACK TO REVEAL, TO ONE SIDE OF NARRATOR, SPOTLIT DESCARTES IN PERIOD DRESS, SITTING AT DESK. IT’S ACTUALLY ERIC CANTONA (CAN WE GET HIM?) IN WIG AND GOATEE BEARD. [MAYBE SUBTLY PLACE SOME CLUES: A FOOTBALL AND TROPHY OR MAN U SHIRT IN THE BACKGROUND]. HE IS WRITING AT HIS DESK.

NARRATOR: Descartes thought that to truly think, you need a mind. And your mind is something non-physical!

DESCARTES, TO NARRATOR: Zat is right, my friend. Your mind – that which thinks - is a something immaterial – a soul! A soul that can even float off and exist on its own. That, of course, is exactly what happens when we die! CUT TO ANIMATION: SOMEONE ON DEATH BED. THEY DIE. Our souls float up to heaven! LITTLE WINGED CLOUD FLOATS UP FROM CORPSE. If they’ve been good, that is! Otherwise they go to the place with the red devils! [CLOUD STOPS, PLUMMETS LIKE A STONE DOWN INTO HELL POPULATED BY LITTLE RED DEVILS WHO PROD IT].

[CUT TO LIVE ACTION: CLOSE UP OF DESCARTES] We human beings have minds. But animals and machines do not, no matter how mechanically sophisticated they might happen to be. Zey are mere automata. Mere physical objects. As such, [SLIGHTLY MANIACALLY] they are utterly devoid of thought and feeling!

[CUT TO NARRATOR] NARRATOR: Thank you, Rene. So if Descartes is right, Muriel certainly doesn’t need to feel guilty about her robot’s violent end. She can relax, secure in the knowledge that Emit was no more able to think and feel then is this toaster [TOASTER FALLS OF HIS LAP AND STARTLES CAT]. Sorry Mr Whiskers. [STROKES CAT WHICH GOES BACK TO SLEEP]. Sure, Emit might outwardly seem like one of us. But if Descartes is right, Emit lacks a soul.

But other thinkers aren’t so sure.

PICKS UP POINTER. SLIDE PROJECTOR COMES ON.

Slide please.

NEXT TO ANIMATOR APPEARS A SCREEN: SHOWS AN ANIMATED IMAGE OF WINGED CLOUD [WITH FACE] FLOATING OVER A BRAIN. LABELLED “MIND” AND “BRAIN”.

Some believe that the mind is the body, or at least a part of it. NARRATOR POINTS TO IMAGE. The brain! You are your brain!

SLIDE CHANGES: IMAGE OF BRAIN NOW HAS ARROWS AND LABELS “MIND”, “BRAIN”.

Certainly we know that the mind and the brain are connected, don’t we? They interact. Damage someone’s brain and you can damage their mind as well.

Take Fred here. [ANIMATION: SPOTLIT NERVOUS-LOOKING GUY DRESSED LIKE MENTAL HOSPITAL INMATE. HE IS STRAPPED IN WHEELCHAIR THAT IS WHEELED ONTO SIDE OF STAGE BY TWO SINISTER-LOOKING DOCTORS ON EITHER SIDE OF HIM. WHEELCHAIR SQUEEKS AS IT’S WHEELED ON] Suppose Fred was accidentally to bump his head, thereby rattling his brain.

ONE DOCTOR SUDDENLY PULLS OUT MALLET AND WACKS FRED OVER HEAD. FRED PASSES OUT.

That might cause his mind to lose consciousness.

FRED COMES TO.

Or suppose we were to pump drugs into Fred’s brain.

DOCTOR INJECTS FRED – HIS EYES DO THAT DRUGGY SPIRAL THING. WE HEAR THE DOORS PLAYING….

That might cause his mind to have very different experiences.

CUT TO LIVE ACTION, NARRATOR: So the mind and the brain interact. But are they actually the same thing? In order to have a mind, do you need a flesh and blood brain?

NARRATOR LEANS OVER AND RINGS LITTLE BELL ON TABLE BESIDE HIM

If you do, then again, because Muriel’s robot didn’t have a brain, he didn’t have a mind.

Emit merely simulated thinking and feeling.

Muriel was quite right to insist that Emit was just a machine. She doesn’t have to feel guilty.

BUTLER APPEARS IN NARRATORS SPOTLIGHT.

Ah, Jenkins. Some tea and biscuits, please. [BUTLER WALKS OFF].

But do you need a brain to have a mind? Some computer scientists believe you don’t. Having a brain, they say, is one way to have a mind. But it’s not the only way. What if we were to fit someone with a sophisticated computer instead?

How would the computer work?

Well, it would do the same job the brain does. Let’s take a closer look at Fred’s brain.

CUT TO ANIMATION OF FRED WITH THE SCIENTISTS AGAIN. THEY HAVE A BIG COMPUTER WITH TAPES AND WIRES. FRED IS STRUGGLING A LITTLE. ONE DOCTOR IS TESTING FRED’S REFLEXES. ONE OF THE SCIENTISTS PULLS X-RAY SCREEN IN FRONT OF FRED FROM OFFSCREEN. NOW WE CAN SEE INSIDE FRED. ZOOM IN ON HIS BRAIN.

The brain is really a sort of central control room. It receives lots of electrical signals – patterns of electrical stimulation – from the nerves running into it from the eyes, ears, nose, tongue and skin [WE SEE LOTS OF TINY BLUE ARROWS FLOWING UP NERVES IN FRED’S BODY INTO FRED’S BRAIN]. That’s how you get to see the world around you. It’s also how you get to hear it, smell it, taste it and feel it.

Your brain also sends out patterns of electrical stimulation to control your muscles and other organs [WE SEE TINY RED ARROWS FLOWING OUT OF BRAIN DOWN NERVES TO FRED’S ARMS AND LEGS]. That’s how you are able to walk, talk and generally move your body about. It’s your brain that makes these things happen by sending out the right patterns of electrical stimulation.

Let’s see Fred’s brain in action. WE SEE FRED IN X-RAY MODE. HIS ARMS ARE NOW RELEASED BY THE DOCTORS. WE CAN ALSO SEE A TABLE WITH BOWL OF ICECREAM NEXT TO HIM] He can now see a bowl of ice-cream.

FRED – IN X-RAY MODE [HOMER-SIMPSON-LIKE]: Mmmmm. Ice cream.

NARRATOR: What goes on inside Fred when he sees the ice cream? [THE FOLLOWING IS ALL ANIMATED] Light bounces off the ice cream and enters Fred’s eyes. [ZOOM IN ON EYE] A lens focuses the light to produce an upside down image at the back of the eye [ANIMATE THIS]. This image falling onto the back of the eye fires millions of nerves. These produce patterns of electrical stimulation that then pass down Fred’s optic nerves into his brain [FINALLY ANIMATE ALL THIS WITH LITTLE BLUE ARROWS RUNNING FROM EYE INTO BRAIN].

It looks as if Fred’s going to eat a mouthful of that ice cream. What’s happening now? [AGAIN THIS IS ALL ANIMATED WITH ZOOM INS, CUTAWAY DIAGRAMS AND LABELLING]. Patterns of electrical stimulation are coming out of Fred’s brain and running down the nerves in his arm that control his muscles [FINALLY, ANIMATE ALL THIS WITH LITTLE RED ARROWS RUNNING OUT OF BRAIN DOWN ARMS. FRED GRABS SPOONFUL OF ICE-CREAM]. That’s making Fred’s arm reach out and grab the spoon.

CUT BACK TO LIVE ACTION NARRATOR.

So Fred’s brain receives patterns of electrical stimulation through some nerves. And it sends out patterns of electrical stimulation through other nerves. It really is a sort of central control room.

[DIAGRAM – CUTAWAY OF HEAD – ILLUSTRATING THE IN AND OUT SYSTEMS OF NERVES – RED AND BLUE ARROWS – WITH BRAIN LABELLED ‘CENTRAL CONTROL ROOM”]

But why does it have to be a flesh and blood brain that acts as the central control room? Why couldn’t a sophisticated computer be programmed to do the job instead?

Fred’s brain, after all, is just a piece of physical machinery [ZOOM IN ON BRAIN TO REVEAL NETWORK OF NEURONS] – biological machinery.

CUT TO NARRATOR. BUTLER APPEARS WITH TRAY OF TEA AND BISCUITS AND OFFERS SOMETHING TO NARRATOR.

Ah. Cheesy nibbles. My favourite. Thank you. [HELPS HIMSELF TO BISCUIT AND TAKES A BITE. BUTLER PUTS TRAY ON SIDE TABLE AND LEAVES].

Where was I? Ah yes. But why do the electrical signals have to go in and out of a flesh and blood brain?

NARRATOR [WITH MOUTHFUL OF BISCUIT] What if we constructed a fantastically [SPRAYS CRUMBS SAYING LAST WORD] advanced computer that responded to patterns of electrical stimulation in just the same way that Fred’s brain does? [CAT SHAKES OFF CRUMBS] Of course, the computer would have to be very sophisticated. But there seems no reason in principle why we couldn’t build one to do the same job.

CUT BACK TO FRED STRAPPED IN CHAIR [X-RAY SCREEN REMOVED]

So let’s take Fred’s brain out and replace it with just such an advanced computer…

FRED LOOKS AT US SHOCKED:

FRED: “What?!!”

SEVERAL MORE WHITE COATED SCIENTISTS LEAP AT FRED FROM OFF-SCREEN AND PIN FRED DOWN INTO CHAIR. THERE’S STRUGGLING. FRED’S LEGS ARE KICKING.

NARRATOR: …a computer designed to do just the job that Fred’s brain does…

FRED’S LEGS GO FLOPPY AND HIS BRAIN IS THROWN OUT OF SCRUM. WE SEE COMPUTER BEING PASSED IN. SOME FIDDLING AS THE BRAIN IS FITTED. WHITE COATS STAND BACK AND FRED SITS UP STRAIGHT, STUNNED.

NARRATOR: There. It’s installed. But does Fred still have a mind? Does he still have thoughts and feelings? Does he still understand? Let’s find out. How do you feel Fred?

FRED [HIS ARMS ARE FREE]: Er…okay I guess. BANGS SIDE OF HEAD WITH HAND. SLIGHT RATTLE.
NARRATOR: Everything still working okay? Can you still see that ice cream?
FRED: Yes. It looks just the same. [TAKES A MOUTHFUL]. Hmm. Tastes the same too.

[CUT TO NARRATOR] NARRATOR: So you see? Because the computer in Fred’s head does exactly the same job that his brain used to, Fred seems outwardly exactly the same as he did before. [TAKES ANOTHER BISCUIT FROM TRAY]

But does Fred have a mind?

[CUT TO FRED] FRED: Of course I have a mind!

[CUT TO NARRATOR] NARRATOR, POINTING AT FRED: True, Fred says he has a mind. But maybe he only says that because the simulation is so good!

If Fred does have a mind, then you don’t need a brain to have a mind. A computer could do the job just as well.

It doesn’t matter what kind of stuff the machine inside your head is made out of. Just so long as it does the right job.

NARRATOR REACHES OVER TO TEA POT AND POURS HIMSELF A CUP OF TEA WHILE CONTINUING TO SPEAK…

So there’s our conundrum! Now we’ve replaced Fred’s brain with a computer, does he still have thoughts and feelings? Or is he now just a machine – a machine cleverly designed to simulate thought and feeling?

The time has come to return to the action. [PICKS UP CUP OF TEA]
Let’s say goodbye to Fred…

[CUT TO FRED] FRED [BEING WHEELED OFF INTO DARKNESS BY THE DOCTORS: WHEELCHAIR HAS SQUEEKY WHEEL]: Er…goodye…

NARRATOR: [CUT TO FREEZE FRAME OF THE FALLING BRIAN AND STELLA] …and immerse ourselves back in the story. Our intrepid heroes appear to be doomed! Are they about to splattered across the sidewalk? Let’s find out!

PART TWO

SCENE ONE

FREEZE FRAME ROLLS AND WE SEE BRAIN AND STELLA FALLING.

STELLA: Hang on tight!
BRIAN: What?!

STELLA WHIPS OUT A CABLE FROM HER BELT THAT HAS A HOOK ON IT. SHE CLIPS IT TO BRIANS TROUSER BELT AND PRESSES A BUTTON ON HER BELT. SUDDENLY A HUGE PARACHUTE BILLOWS OUT BEHIND HER AND THEY FLOAT DOWN TO STREET. BOLTS OF LAZER GUN POUND THE PAVEMENT AROUND THEM. LOOK UP TO SEE ROBOT FIRING AT THEM. SUDDENLY HUNDREDS OF SINISTER ROBOTS ARE POURING OUT OF BUILDING AFTER THEM.

STELLA: Let’s move!

SHE DRAGS BRIAN OVER TO AN AIRSCOOTER PARKED ON PAVEMENT AND THEY ZOOM AWAY.

BRIAN: How’d we survive that fall?
STELLA [FLASHING WHAT’S UNDER HER JACKET]: Para-bra. Latest gizmo from Girl-Detective Co.
BRIAN [DREAMILY]: Nice.
STELLA: Let’s get moving - we’ve got business to attend to.
BRIAN: Where?
STELLA: Police Headquarters, where else?

SCOOTER PULLS UP OUTSIDE POLICE HQ. STARSKY AND HUTCH’S CAR IS PARKED OUTSIDE. BRIAN AND STELLA ENTER AND WALK UP TO DESK.

BRIAN: We wanna’ see the chief.
COP: He’s busy.
STELLA: Tell him we know who’s behind that robo-suicide. And why the robot’s computer was stolen.

CUT FORWARD TO CHIEF’S OFFICE.

CHIEF [WHO IS BLACK]: So what’s going on? – and be quick – I’ve got a pile of paperwork the size of the Himalaya on my desk.
STELLA: We’ve just been to Searle-tronics. And Searle tried to have us killed.
CHIEF [INDIGNANT]: What? Now steady on. Searle’s an important man. Why would he do such a thing?
BRIAN: We discovered his secret.
CHIEF: Secret?
STELLA: After we paid him a visit, we decided to take a peek at the robot production line.
BRIAN: Not a pretty sight.
STELLA: As you know chief, Searle-tronics produces some of the most advanced robots around. [WE SEE SEARLE-TRONICS LAB AGAIN, WITH TECHNICIANS WORKING ON ROBOTS] But they ran into trouble with their latest model. The robots’ computers constantly crashed [THE ROBOTS ARE FALLING OVER, TALKING GIBBERISH, ETC. PANICKED TECHNICIANS TRYING TO FIX THEM]. Searle-tronics were going to lose millions.
BRIAN: So they did the dirty.
CHIEF: The dirty?
STELLA [LOOKING PEEVISHLY AT BRIAN]: What Brian means, sir, is that we discovered that Searle-tronics started to use real human brains in their robots.
CHIEF: What?! Real human brains! But that’s Illegal!
STELLA: Highly illegal. The use of cloned human tissue for commercial gain is absolutely prohibited here in Bruce Dern City. But Searle was desperate. The latest Searle-tronic computers just wouldn’t work properly. His new robots were going belly-up. So Searle did the only thing he could to save his company - he started cloning specially compliant human brains and fitted them inside the robots instead.
CHIEF: That explains why that suicidal robot’s head was empty. Searle didn’t want the truth to come out.
BRIAN: Exactly, sir. Searle arranged for the brain to be stolen before anyone else got a chance to examine it. [FLASHBACK: WE SEE THE BRAIN BEING REMOVED BY TECHNICIANS WITH A SEARLE-TRONICS VAN]
CHIEF [FLIPPING SWITCH ON INTERCOM]: This is the chief. I want a SWAT team assembled right now! We’re going to shut down Searle-tronics and arrest Professor Searle! You two coming?
STELLA: GRABBING COAT]: Yes sir!

ZOOM OUT OF WINDOW WHERE A SPY DEVICE IS HOVERING, IT’S CAMERA TRAINED ON THE CHIEF, BRIAN AND STELLA. CUT TO SEARLE BACK AT SEARLE-TRONICS: HE IS WATCHING THEM ON TV MONITOR.

SEARLE: Darn it. I’ve got to get out of here. [PRESSES INTERCOM]. Daisy. Bring the car round front will you?

SCENE TWO

CUT BACK TO ROOF OF POLICE BUILDING. WE SEE BRIAN STELLA AND CHIEF BOARDING BIG CHOPPER. A BLACK-LEATHER-CLAD SWAT TEAM IS BOARDING TOO. CHOPPER TAKES OFF. BRIAN SAT NEXT TO ATTRACTIVE FEMALE LEATHER-CLAD SWAT TEAM-MEMBER. HE GAZES AT HER HANDCUFFS.

BRIAN: Nice cuffs.
SWAT-GIRL: Thanks.
STELLA [LOOKING OUT WINDOW]: There’s Searle-tronics now!

CUT TO ROOF OF SEARLE-TRONICS. THERE ARE ROBOTS ON ROOF. THEY FIRE AT THE CHOPPER.

CHIEF: I think we’re expected!
BRIAN [POINTING DOWN]: Er, what’s going on down there?

CUT TO VIEW OF HUGE CROWD OF PEOPLE OUTSIDE FRONT OF SEARLE-TRONICS BUILDING.

BRIAN: Oh-oh. Looks like a demonstration.
CHIEF [ANGRY]: Dammit. Why wasn’t I warned about this?
STELLA [LOOKING DOWN AT THE CROWD]: I think it’s a demonstration against stuffism.

CUT DOWN TO DEMONSTRATORS OUTSIDE FRONT OF SEARLE-TRONICS BULDING: PEOPLE WITH PLACKARDS THAT READ “NO TO STUFFISM” “STUFFISM IS A CRIME”. CUT BACK TO HELICOPTER.

BRIAN: Stuffism?
STELLA [ANNOYED]: Don’t you read the papers? The anti-stuffists are the biggest protest movement around!
BRIAN: Er…right. What’re they protesting against?
STELLA: Discrimination. Discrimination against those made out of different stuff.
BRIAN: Stuff?
STELLA: Yeah, stuff. They say it doesn’t matter what kind of stuff someone’s made out of – flesh and blood – tin and plastic – it doesn’t matter. What matters is whether they’ve got a mind!

CUT BACK TO DEMONSTRATION: DEMONSTRATOR THROWS TOMATO AT BUILDING AND SHOUTS “FREE THE MACHINES!” ANOTHER SAYS “THEY HAVE FEELINGS TOO”. CUT BACK TO HELICOPTER.

BRIAN: Ah, I see. They think tin and plastic machines have minds?
STELLA: Exactly. They say there’s no justification for us flesh-and-blood machines to discriminate against these tin-and-plastic machines. It’s wrong for us to make them our slaves.
BRIAN: Ah – I see. They think stuffism is like sexism or racism.
STELLA: That’s right. It’s unfair discrimination against those that are different. We all know racism and sexism are wrong. We know it’s wrong to discriminate on the basis of someone’s skin colour or sex.
BRIAN: Guess so.
STELLA: Well these demonstrators think it’s just as wrong to discriminate on the basis of the kind of stuff you happen to be made out of. Didn’t you hear about that anti-stuffism benefit concert last week? Rock against stuffism?

CUT TO CONCERT, BIG BANNER OVER STAGE READS “LET’S STUFF STUFFISM”. STEVIE WONDER LOOKALIKE AND A ROBOT ARE ON STAGE SINGING: “FLE-E-SHY AND TI-I-NNY, LIVE TOGETHER IN PERFECT HARMONY…” TO TUNE A BIT LIKE “EBONY AND IVORY”. CROWD SWAYING WITH LIGHTERS HELD ALOFT. CUT BACK TO INSIDE CHOPPER.

CHIEF: Pah, these anti-stuffism demonstrators make me sick. Who’s going to do the work if the robots don’t do it? The economy will go down the pan!
STELLA: Er, isn’t that what they said about abolishing slavery?
CHIEF [ABSENTLY]: Is it? Anyway, the point is this demonstration is giving Searle the chance to escape! [LOOKS DOWN AND POINTS] He’s getting away in the confusion! There he goes now!

CUT TO DOWNWARDS VIEW OF SEARLE GETTING INTO WAITING CAR OUTSIDE SEARLTRONICS BUILDING. CUT TO SEARLE’S BODYGUARDS CLEARING PATH THROUGH CROWD TO CAR. SEARLE FOLLOWING.

SEARLE: Out of the way you imbeciles! You’ll be wanting to give toasters the vote next!

TOASTER LOBBBED FROM CROWD BOUNCES OFF SEALRE’S HEAD.

SEARLE: Bah!

SEARLE GETS INTO CAR AND DRIFTS AWAY THROUGH THE CROWDS HOLDING BANNERS SAYING “JUST SAY NO TO STUFFISM” “TINNY’S FEEL TOO!” ETC. ETC.

CUT BACK TO CHOPPER

CHIEF: Okay, the Swat team will shut down the Searle-tronics building. We’ll go after Searle.

THE SWAT TEAM ABSEIL FROM CHOPPER ONTO ROOF OF SEARLE-TRONICS AND BLAST THE ROBOTS. THE CHOPPER SHOOTS OFF AFTER SEARLE. CUT TO COCKPIT, WHERE STELLA, BRIAN AND CHIEF ARE NOW STANDING BEHIND THE PILOT.

STELLA [POINTING DOWN]: There he is!

CUT TO VIEW DOWN ON SEARLE’S CAR CAREERING THROUGH CROWDED STREETS. WE ZOOM IN ON BACK WINDOW AND SEE SEARLE MANIACALLY STARING BACK AT THEM.

CHIEF: We can’t blast him. There are two many by-standers.
STELLA: I’ve got an idea. Can you take out that the legs on that hoarding up ahead? [SHE POINTS FORWARD]
PILOT: Yes maam.

CHOPPER FIRES AT ADVERTIZING HOARDING IN SHAPE OF A HUGE ROBOT WITH MOVING MOUTH. ITS SPEECH BUBBLE IS SAYING “SEARLE-TRONICS: YOUR DREAMS ARE OUR REALITY”. THE LEGS OF ROBOT ARE SHOT OUT AND IT CRASHES SIDEWAYS. IT’S HEAD BLOCKS THE ROAD. SEARLE’S CAR CRASHES STRAIGHT INTO ITS MOUTH. MOUTH CHOMPS UP AND DOWN ON IT. CHOPPER LANDS BY THE CAR. STELLA, BRIAN, PILOT AND CHIEF RUN UP TO CAR. SEARLE TUMBLES OUT OF BACK SEAT, CURSING.

SEARLE: Darn you…you…you meddling fools.

BRIAN OPENS BOOT. IT’S FULL OF HUMAN BRAINS.

BRIAN: And here’s the proof sir. HOLDS UP A BRAIN.

CHIEF GAZES AT THE BRAINS.

SEARLE: They’re just brains, for goodness sake. Just lumps of meat. Flesh and blood – metal and plastic – [POINTING WILDLY UP AT THE HUGE ROBOT HEAD THAT’S STILL SLOWLY CHOMPING ON SEARLE’S CAR] what difference does it make what I build my machines out of?
CHIEF (POMPOUSLY, TO PILOT): All the difference in the world, Searle. All the difference in the world. Arrest him.

PILOT CUFFS SEARLE.

BRIAN (RATHER FULL OF HIMSELF): Looks like it’s mission accomplished, sir.
STELLA (THOUGHTFUL): We’d better be going, chief – we’ve still got to break the news to that suicidal robot’s owner…

SCENE THREE

BACK AT BRIAN AND STELLA’S OFFICE, THEY’RE LOUNGING IN THE SWIVEL CHAIRS. MURIEL’S SILHOUETTE APPEARS THROUGH THE FROSTED GLASS IN THE DOOR [NB.“BUNG AND WACKER – PHILOSOPHICAL INVESTIGATORS – YOUR BIG QUESTIONS ANSWERED” STENCILLED ON THE DOOR]. THERE’S A KNOCK.

BRIAN: Come in.

MURIEL ENTERS.

MURIEL: I hear you’ve made a breakthrough.
BRIAN: Yes maam. We have news.
STELLA: Sit down, Mrs Jones. I guess you’ve heard that Searle-tronics, the manufacturer of Emit, has been fitting its latest generation robots with real human brains.
MURIEL: Yes, it was on the news. Oh my goodness! I guess this means that…that these robots can…can really think and feel?
STELLA: If a real brain is what you need to think and feel, then yes, it seems Searle’s latest robots really can think and feel.
MURIEL: But… but then Emit didn’t just mimic feelings. He really did suffer. And I was so cruel to him! [STARTS CRYING].

[BRIAN PUTS HIS HAND ON MURIEL’S SHOULDER]

BRIAN: Just a minute Maam. You’re jumping to conclusions. There’s one last detail you need to know.
MURIEL: What detail?
STELLA: You see, we discovered something else too. Searle had guessed that Emit was one of the new robots with a brain inside. That’s why his robo-henchmen stole the contents of Emit’s head. CUT TO FLASHBACK OF ROBO-HENCHMEN ARRIVING NEXT TO EMIT’S MANGLED BODY.] Searle didn’t want the truth to come out. But when we cross-examined Searle, he revealed that Emit turned out to be one of the old-style robots. [ROBO-HENCHMAN UNSCREW EMITS HEAD AND PULLS OUT A COMPUTER] The ones without a human brain. [ROBO-HENCHMAN KICKS COMPUTER INTO THE BUSHES].

[CUT TO BACK TO OFFICE].

BRIAN: That’s right maam. Emit didn’t have a head full of meat. Just a head full of circuitry.
MURIEL: Oh good grief, what a relief! So Emit was just a machine after all!

WE PULL BACK AND CUT TO NARRATOR TAKES UP THE STORY.

LIVE ACTION: WE CLOSE IN SLOWLY ON NARRATOR [IN ‘CONCERNED’ VOICE: HE’S STILL STROKING THAT WHITE CAT]: Muriel was hugely relieved to hear that Emit’s head had contained only a computer after all. [WE SEE MURIEL RECEIVING NEWS: STARTS SOBBING INTO HANKY]. But should she have felt quite so relieved? Stella, for one, was not so sure.

CUT TO STELLA IN TRENCHCOAT. LOCKING OFFICE DOOR (WE SEE STENCILLED “BRIAN BUNG – PHILOSOPHIOC AL INVESTIGATOR” ON THE DOOR) AND WALKING HOME ON HER OWN DOWN DARK FILM-NOIRE STREET. SHE’S DEEP IN THOUGHT.

As she walked home that evening, Stella wondered. Did Emit really only simulate thought and feeling? What difference does it make what we’re made of on the inside? Isn’t it what we do that counts?

STELLA PAUSES TO LOOK UP AT ANOTHER HUGE ROBOT-SHAPED SEARLE-TRONICS HOARDING AT END OF STREET, WITH ROBOT’S MOUTH MOVING. ADVERT READS: “SEARLE-TRONICS: YOUR DREAMS ARE OUR REALITY”.

To really think and feel, do you really need a brain? Won’t a computer do?

STELLA ARRIVES AT O’GRADY’S BAR. WALKS IN.

What do you think?

CUT TO NARRATOR: SUDDENLY MUCH BRASHER AND BRIGHTER: In next week’s exciting episode of The Philosophy Files, we’ll grapple with another mind-boggling philosophical mystery.

Until then, may reason be your guide! [ALL THE SHOWS WILL FINISH WITH THIS SAME CATCHPHRASE.]

CAT BITES HIS HAND.

NARRATOR: Ouch! Careful Mr Whiskers.

Comments:

#1 Jennifer Jones (Guest) on Saturday August 08, 2015 at 10:45am

Sorry but the script is too long. Think Karl Pilkington with the same philosophical questions in a 3 minute time frame.
The script needs to be short, snappy and funny, especially if you want it animated.

#2 Philip Rand (Guest) on Monday August 24, 2015 at 6:11am

“Isn’t it what we do that counts?”

What does Stella “mean” when she asks?

Where in Stella’s brain is the notion of identifying the “meaning” of her statement. i.e. the description and the mental representation?

I doubt such questioning behaviour would even occur to the post-op Fred…

I mean, how could one programme the notions of “meaning” and “mental representations” in a computer brain.

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