I watched the machines stamp down, the huge moulded pieces of metal flattening under the force. Moving along the conveyor belt, mechanical arms reached down, manipulating the metal and making, well, more mechanical arms. More machines reached out, putting the pieces together, and depositing the humanoid android carcasses into what resembled a roller-coaster seat, with a metal barrier dropping down around them. Continuing down the factory, I saw the blank androids entering the last parts of the production line: First, the chip boards and other thought processing units were inserted into various crevices on the human figures. Then, they were connected to the master computer, their software was updated to the latest patches. Lastly, laid down flat on the benches, they passed into human hands - a line of skilled artisans, programming the last details.
"What happens here?" I asked the supervisor.
"Ah, this is where the magic occurs. The technicians add the 'human touch' to the whole thing, you see?"
I didn't see.
"In short, they program the android's thoughts. They make sure, for instance, that the androids dream of electric sheep."
I glared at her, but she didn't seem to be making a joke. I asked, hesitantly:
"Like in the book?"
"What book? Everyone says that... No, we programme them like that so they only think of electronic sheep. They used to think of real sheep, you see. And that had pretty disastrous consequences... Did you know, if a sheep is startled a lot, it doesn't produce any wool? You can spend a whole day pulling their udders, but nothing!"
I nodded even though the woman was a moron. Sometimes, I wonder if we've become too reliant on technology.