Study Guide

Blade Runner Technology and Modernization

Technology and Modernization

TYRELL: Commerce is our goal here at Tyrell. "More human than human" is our motto.

In Blade Runner's vision of the future, genetic engineers are able to toy with human life for the sake of making money, which shows that commerce has become more important than life itself, in a way. No character in the movie demonstrates that evil better than Tyrell.

ROY: Chew, if only you could see what I've seen with your eyes!

Chew created Roy's eyes—but he doesn't know what it's like to experience reality through them. Chew views these eyes as a technology he's created, whereas Roy uses them to experience reality.

SEBASTIAN: They're my friends. I make them.

Sebastian lives surrounded by bizarre, semi-human toys, which he created himself, apparently out of biological material. It's prophetic, in a way: Sebastian is like someone in the present day who only has virtual friends online or in video games but not in real life. He's a somewhat sad and sympathetic character for this reason.

DECKARD: Replicants are like any other machine. They're either a benefit or a hazard. If they're a benefit, it's not my problem.

This quote demonstrates that Deckard hasn't really seen the true humanity of the replicants yet. He still views them the same way that everyone else does, as tools and biological machines. But falling in love with Rachael and receiving mercy from Roy helps change his perspective.

RACHAEL: I'm not in the business. I am the business.

Rachael points out that she—an apparently conscious being, not particularly different from other humans—has been turned into a commodity. Even though she's alive, she's completely enslaved to the money interests that have created her.

RACHAEL: Do you like our owl?

DECKARD: It's artificial?

RACHAEL: Of course it is.

In Blade Runner's version of 2019, many animals have become extinct—hence, the ones we encounter in the movie, from Tyrell's owl to Zhora's snake, are all artificial, the animal equivalents of replicants. In Philip K. Dick's novel Do Android's Dream of Electric Sheep?, owls are the first species to go extinct.

TYRELL: I'm surprised you didn't come here sooner.

ROY: It's not an easy thing to meet your maker.

TYRELL: What can he do for you?

ROY: Can the maker repair what he makes?

Tyrell can't repair Roy and extend his lifespan to a normal human length: he's a deeply flawed creator. In this case, his creation (Roy) rebels against him and kills him in retribution. The replicant technology created by Tyrell has stopped being technology and has gone out of his control—the replicants have transcended their slave-like status and demonstrated that they're real people, more or less.

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