on this theme is poor Yorick, the brain in a vat
in the story, “Where Am I?” in my
, disembodied and living in a “vat.”
Robocop is part-human brain, part computer.
After a gruesome accident, the brain part
(vehicle of some of the memory and personal
identity, one gathers, of the flesh-and-blood
cop who was Robocop’s youth) was reembodied
with robotic arms and legs, but also (apparently)
partly replaced or enhanced with special-
purpose software and computer hardware. We
can imagine that HAL spent some transitional
time as Robocop before becoming a limbless
, a virtual machine, a software
duplicate of a real person’s brain (or mind) that
has somehow been created by a brilliant hacker.
It has the memories and personality traits
acquired in a normally embodied human lifetime
but has been off-loaded from all-carbon-based
hardware into a silicon-chip implementation.