Blade  Runner

Ragtag Cinema Columbia, MO


Dr. Karthik Panchanathan

Associate Professor, Department of Anthropology, University of Missouri

Blade Runner— What's so special about us?

A recurring theme in fiction is the idea of an artificially created intelligence that matches or even surpasses human intelligence. Dr. Panchanathan explores some of the science behind other kinds of intelligence, including animal, artificial, and alien, as well as some of the philosophy of why these ideas bother us so much.

What do we mean by intelligence, where do we think it comes from, and should there be a sharp line between what we might consider "real" intelligence and everything else?

Ragtag Cinema Columbia, MO

Film Synopsis

A blade runner must pursue and try to terminate four replicants who stole a ship in space and have returned to Earth to find their creator.

In the not-too-distant future, Los Angeles and the surrounding area has become a dystopian wasteland, heavily industrialized and overcrowded. Genetically engineered humanoid beings known as replicants are manufactured by the powerful Tyrell Corporation for use in dangerous off-world colonization. Retired police officer Rick Deckard (Harrison Ford), whose job was to track down replicants and assassinate them, is informed that four have come to Earth illegally. Called before his one-time superior (M. Emmett Walsh), Deckard is forced back into active duty to find and destroy the rogue replicants. Ridley Scott’s neo-noir classic initially polarized critics, but has since come to be regarded as one of the greatest sci-fi films of all time.

About the Speaker

Dr. Panchanathan is an associate professor in the Department of Anthropology at the University of Missouri. His research interests include the evolution of cooperation, cultural evolution, and the evolution of development. Panchanathan's courses include cultural anthropology, economic and ecological anthropology, the evolution of culture and cooperation, and statistics.