The intertubes are full of people who’ll try to convince you that [media organisation X] are trying to subversively promote [sinister civilisation-corroding sociopolitical agenda Y], and most of them are, to be frank, loonies. But you can make your own mind up about Kyle Munkittrick, who suggests that – deliberately or not – the Pixar animation house are preparing young minds for the ethical debate of the coming decades: that of non-human personhood.
Pixar has given those who would fight for personhood the narratives necessary to convince the world that non-humans that display characteristics of a person deserve the rights of a person. For every category there is a character: uplifted animals (Dug), naturally intelligent species (Remy and Kevin), A.I robots (WALL-E, EVE), and alien/monsters (Sully & Mike). Then there is the Incredible family, transhumans with superpowers. Through the films, these otherwise strange entities become unmistakably familiar, so clearly akin to us.
The message hidden inside Pixar’s magnificent films is this: humanity does not have a monopoly on personhood. In whatever form non- or super-human intelligence takes, it will need brave souls on both sides to defend what is right. If we can live up to this burden, humanity and the world we live in will be better for it.
I think there’s an element of agent provocateur and tongue-in-cheekness going on there, though some gloriously curmudgeonly comments suggest that taking it at face value makes stupid people quite angry… which is something of an added bonus. 🙂
(If you ask me, it’s all part of Steve Jobs’ masterplan to make the whole world as user-friendly and cutesy-poo as a MacOS icon. Gimme the grim Linux meathook future any day…. )