This article accompanies episode 10 of The Anthill podcast on the future.
From Humans to Westworld, from Her to Ex Machina, and from Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D to Black Mirror – near future science fiction in recent years has given audiences some seriously unsettling and prophetic visions of the future. According to these alternative or imagined futures, we are facing a post-human reality where humans are either rebelled against or replaced by their own creations. These stories propose a future where our lives will be transformed by science and technology, redefining what it is to be human.
The near future science fiction sub-genre imagines a future only a short time away from the period in which it is produced.
Channel 4/AMC’s Humans imagines a near future or alternative world where advanced technology has led to the development of anthropomorphic robots called Syths that eventually gain consciousness. As the Synths become increasingly indistinguishable from humans, the series explore notions of what it is to be human: societally, culturally, and psychologically.
The second series was particularly concerned with the rights associated with being able to think and feel – and the right to a fair trial. Odi, an outdated NHS caregiving Syth who features in both seasons, chooses a form of suicide (returning to his original setting and rejecting consciousness) as he can’t deal with his new reality.
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