0336 - Enemy combatant - 2024.03.11



Why does Robocop still call himself "Robocop", once it's revealed that he is not, in fact, a robot? He is, as the viewers know, a cyborg, a human police officer named Alex Murphy who happens to be using an extremely elaborate prosthetic to compensate for his otherwise life-threatening medical condition.

Does Robocop receive a salary and benefits? Can Alex Murphy own property or vote? If the cops go on strike, is he on the picket line alongside them? Can he retire or quit or be fired, and how much of his prosthetic would he be allowed to keep if he left? Can he be held accountable for misdeeds he commits, either on- or off-duty, and what kinds of penalties could be applied to him? Does Alex Murphy have the right to remain silent, the right to legal representation, and the right to a fair trial?

Alex Murphy has relationships. He is a human being with friends and family, preferences and opinions, pleasures and pains. Can he take up a hobby? Can he go into a different line of work? Is there anything other than shooting suspects in the genitals that he would be good at and enjoy? Could he survive outside of a major metropolitan environment, without the resources and technologies that maintain his prosthetic and account for his extensive disabilities?

What happens when you're at a figure drawing class alongside a newly civilianized Alex Murphy, and something suddenly makes him freeze up and paw repeatedly at his empty thigh holster? Who do you call? How do you help him? Would you be concerned for the safety of the model and your fellow art students? Could you feel safe, continuing to come to class the next day?

How much of a cyborg are you?

Do you rely on medications or glasses or prosthetics? Do you need electricity or water or special food or a particular environment in order to survive and thrive? What percentage of your life and livelihood relies upon modern technology? How integrated are you with your tools? Personally, while I may be able-bodied (for a given definition of the term), I make my money using computers, I express myself using computers, and most of my relationships are mediated through computers. Mason Williams may still be able to exist without access to the Internet, but I wouldn't be Tailsteak any more.

Given the progress of technology, human beings are becoming more and more cybernetic every year - perhaps not with thigh holsters and chips in our brains, but with things like a smartphone in your pocket that you would feel naked without. How much more pronounced would we expect such integration to be, in the coming century? At what point do we cross the line from "Alex" to "Robocop"?

And, if Robocop is stronger and healthier and safer and more useful than Alex Murphy could ever be... at what point is "Alex Murphy" a lost cause?


0336 – 2167/07/07/09:52 - Rosenthal College hex
LC (still pinned by Caleb’s stance): So… um… Caleb? Are we… uh... can we move forward?
CP: I am capable of moving forward in a variety of gaits, yes.
LC: Great! Uh… forwarrrrrd march!
CP: Enemy combatants are not authorized to give me orders, marching or otherwise.
LC: Enemy comba… uh…
LC: I’m not your enemy, Caleb. You know me.
LC: Please say that you know me?
CP: I do know you, Lee Rapunzel Arabelle Caldavera. Born Mon Sept two, two-one-three-seven. Gender not assigned. Current address: four-two-eight-seven Western Avenue, residence two-three-zero-five. Unemployed.
LC: Great, you know my blood type and my Cancred number too?
CP: Alfa-positive-Charlie-Charlie-Mike. Three-four-four-one-niner-