In other stories, precisely the opposite is assumed, the alleged inability to dream of intelligent machines. In the film Eva (Kike Maíllo, 2011), set in an imaginary city of Santa Irene, in which there is a leading Faculty of Robotics, the security key to a defective or potentially dangerous robot is none other than: “What do you see when you close your eyes?”. It’s a good security strategy because, as well as being a question which is not usually asked on a daily basis, it is assumed that a robot does not dream, it can have no vision if its optical sensors are not open and running. It is therefore a question to which they have no logical answer to avoid the deactivation protocol. It works perfectly.
In dreams are often remembered, in a faithful or modified way, recent or old experiences that we are even unable to recall consciously. In a wonderful scene which was not included in the final footage of The Iron Giant (Brad Bird, 1999) the viewer can have a glimpse of the giant robot’s dreams, who, because of a blow to the head when he landed on the Earth, does not remember his alien past that emerges unconsciously during sleep.
This unconscious vision of the giant robot even generates a signal that he is capable of reproducing on Dean’s TV, a friend and the owner of the auto wreckers in the town that has given him shelter. Nowadays there are research groups working on the possible visualization of dreams in humans, detection of signals that may be associated with different elements to better understand these processes. When the future in which this goal is achieved comes, in the case of machines these images will be much easier to obtain than in biological beings, which will leave them more exposed to human judgment.
In the film Prometheus the opposite is true. It is the robot David the one who profits from his technological advantage to become an “oneiric voyeur”. While the rest of the crew is in hibernation on their way to the moon LV-223, David remains active during those years in charge of the ship performing maintenance functions, cultivating his brain and watching films. So much free time allows him to use an interface to see the dreams of Elizabeth Shaw (Noomi Rapace), unravelling her past and motivations and establishing a special relationship with her.
The dream world is sometimes very private, thoughts and feelings arise that are difficult to share with others, even with people of our most intimate circle. If our intelligent machines were to dream in the future, would they want to tell us what happens in their dreams? And if we could visualize dreams thanks to technology, will it be convenient to record their dreams? Dr. Susan Calvin in Robot Dreams is very clear about it.
Attribution of photograph: https://www.flickr.com/photos/isadoragraves/3563067912/in/photostream/
Translated by Olga Lledó Oliver