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Cylons

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In the ‘original’ (1978) and ‘reimagined’ (2003) versions of the science fiction film and TV program Battlestar Galactica, the Cylons are a mechanical race of beings created by mankind but which have turned on their creator.

Image via Tumblr

In the reimagined TV series, the Cylons may look exactly like human beings. Not unlike the Hal 9000 in 2001: A Space Odyssey, the Borg and The Matrix, Cylons symbolize the possibility of mankind becoming endangered by machines. And on the sociological level, Cylons could be taken to represent the very real issues of depersonalization, alienation and, as sociologist Max Weber put it, the bureaucratization and rationalization of human beings in contemporary society. Not only that. As the above poster suggests, Cylons could represent hostile spies in otherwise healthy societies.

The background story to the Cylons is pretty complicated. It’s actually quite amazing how thoroughly the Battlestar Galactica writers fleshed out – maybe not the best metaphor in this instance – their identity.¹

The word Cylon, itself, stems from an actual Athenian nobleman.

¹ Especially in the reimagined series: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cylon_%28reimagining%29

Related Posts » Artificial Intelligence (AI), The System

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