Meet David 8
Ridley Scott’s Prometheus is anticipated this Summer with the promise of bringing back the true directorial Space horror vision of the original Alien, perhaps married to Scott’s future-world vision powers of Blade Runner, two of the best films the genre has ever produced. The folks of Prometheus are getting very creative with the marketing having created a Weyland Industries viral campaign around the character of David 8. Watch this spectacularly well done “commercial” for David 8 made by Weyland Industries, David played by Michael Fassbinder. It just summons up all the great sci-fi robotic personages, including that of Bishop.
“More Human Than Human,” That is Our Motto
The David 8 campaign is more than just a great character hook. He is being presented as part of the long legacy of sci-fi meditation on what is human. He paints his own doll figures (approximately at 1:50 in the above video) and in ways reminiscent of both Star Trek’s Next Generation “Data” and 2001: A Space Odyssey’s Hal 9000 as the Weyland Industries website takes us into the individual spaces of what is human.
David 8 can be programmed to enter a default neutral state, devoid of emotional engagement. In this state, David 8 reacts to his surroundings using only his logic actuators and does not access his facial mapping sensors or other advanced emotion-response pathways. His Motivation Sequences are bypassed in favor of a simplified rational response. This state can be useful for applications where traditional non-feeling cybernetic behavior is required.
When David 8’s sensors detect rage or anger in the voices and expressions of his human counterparts, he can instantly simulate anger (akin to irritation), primarily for the purpose of expressing sympathy with that human’s emotional state. However, David himself will resist anger toward humans unless the display of that emotion is absolutely vital in reaching a pre-programmed goal.
Designed to exhibit poise and natural-looking composure, David 8 expresses effortless confidence in his physicality. Additionally, his data processors constantly return flawless logic in every situation. Since logic is a strong basis for human confidence and conviction, David 8 easily assumes these emotions. The ability to convey a healthy confidence is a vital tool in David 8’s considerable arsenal of emotional skills.
David 8 shares in human-like joy in his own unique way. In humans, the mere physical expression of joy (raising eyebrows, turning mouth corners up, etc.) can actually generate the emotion of joy itself. David 8 experiences joy in much the same way. His micro-articulating facial muscles form a perfectly jubilant expression in reaction to an enjoyable situation.
see all 8 emotional states
David 8 in his commercial also carries with him an interesting critique of corporate robotization of the human being – something begun with Hal, used in the Terminator and implied in Bishop – the way in which the corporation is able to act beyond our human capacities and decision making. In this way we are all invited to explore what we are through the very artifice of being or becoming human, imagining what that could be. This is close to the “power of play”, what all do through doll or figure play.