Artificial life

I started watching the new Star Trek Picard TV series. I'm liking it so far. It is nice to see Picard and Data again. They were my two favorite characters from Star Trek TNG. I'm glad this series continues the exploration of Data's storyline on becoming more human. I've always been fascinated with the idea of whether robots and androids could actually become real, which is usually defined as having emotions and free will.

This brought to mind the homunculi in the anime series Fate Apocrypha. I suppose homunculi are the magical variation of androids. The same question was raised about whether they have free will. And pretty much any book or show that brings up artificial life seems to make the point that they can achieve free will.

Then my thoughts took an even wilder turn as I recalled how Sam Harris talked on his podcast about the illusion of self control. He seems to believe that even we humans really lack free will, that our decisions and actions are really just part of the cause and effect of systems within our biology. So in a way we are just like androids or homunculi, too.

Jordan Peterson talks about our biology in a similar fashion, though I think he believes we still have free will to make choices about how we respond to these systems within us. He often talks about how this point is important because it really determines whether there can be such a thing as morality. We certainly act like we believe in free will, and treat each other as if we all have free will. Otherwise if we don't, what's the point of it all?