Being Human: Androids, Humans, and Identity in “Red Dwarf”


Transhumanism Posthumanism Science Fiction Television Red Dwarf Androids Artificial Life

How to Cite

Layton, D. (2021). Being Human: Androids, Humans, and Identity in “Red Dwarf”. Galactica Media: Journal of Media Studies, 3(3), 321-343.


One of the more popular transhumanist ideas is the belief that technology will allow for the transfer of human personality into a machine or cyborg body. Additionally, some transhumanists believe that this transfer could happen with few to no problems, and that such a transfer would result in a definite improvement of the human species. The episode “DNA” from the humorous British science-fiction television series Red Dwarf presents a story that challenges this idea of the easy transfer of personality. The story of the android who gets his wish to become human allows the writers to invert the common belief in Western thought that being human is inherently better than being an imitation of a human, and that technologically upgrading human bodies will produce “better” humans. By inversion, the program presents the idea that clearer and more ethical thinking is needed regarding technological enhancement, and not the utopian visions of many transhumanists.


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