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DIGITAL PEOPLE

has become.The stark cut-off between cyborg RoboCop and human Murphy adds an element of tragedy to RoboCop and mirrors the isolation that Maltzer felt would be the lot of cyborg Deirdre.

Another emotion that grows in RoboCop is the desire for re- venge on the gang that murdered his human predecessor. He does not take the law into his own hands but, following proper procedure, kills the criminals in a gun battle and proves the guilt of the corporate executive who was secretly tied to them.This satisfies both his linger- ing human side and his cyborgian police side, and the story ends with a hint that both have come together: Asked, Whats your name?RoboCop replies,Murphythe final line in the film.

In that same era, the writer Marge Piercy deeply explored the theme of a wholly artificial being, which she made a main character in her 1991 novel, He, She and It. The story takes place in a future world with corporations as powerful as governments, horrendous lev- els of pollution, and widespread use of an Internet-like Web. Against this background, much of the novels focus is on the emotional and humanistic issues that would surround the creation of a sophisticated android.

Shira works for one of those vast corporations. When her mar- riage dissolves and she loses custody of her son, she returns toTikvah, the Jewish free town where she was raised. There she meets Yod, a human-appearing and, therefore illegal, being made by the scientist Avram, whose earlier attempts have shown violent tendencies. (Yod, named after the tenth letter of the Hebrew alphabet, is Avrams tenth effort.)This time,Avram asks Shiras scientist grandmother, Malkah, to help program a more acceptable personality forYod.

Shira sees that Avram has created something special inYod, which is based on the technology of human implants and replacement body parts.The scientist had built

. . . the equivalent of minute musculature into its face area, in order to deliver a simulacrum of human reactions. . . .The artificial skin felt warm, its surface very like human skin. . . . [Shira] could feel the cyborg tense under her fingers, which surprised her. It made her feel as if she were being rude, but that was absurd . . . computers did not flinch when you touched them.

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