Real HumansIn no time at all the family this week devoured the Swedish science fiction series, Real Humans. The plot meanders and falters in the tenth and last episode but until then it keeps the viewer fascinated through excellent acting and the juxtaposition of strong human characters (with all their human faults) with supposed androids (with strong human characteristics and, in Blade Runner fashion, developing characters – I am not giving too much away by saying that.) All the ethical and political challenges that the interaction between human beings and robots could produce are here, from sexual ‘exploitation’ through to displaced anthropomorphism (can you be loyal to a machine? can a machine be racist?), from mechanical Stakhanovites to anti-robot (or ‘hubots’, as they are dubbed) Luddites. The human characters cleverly range from teenagers with angst and attitude to bored and frustrated housewives, and from ambitious professionals to anxious blue-collar workers afarid for their jobs. And, of course, the whole thing can be seen as an allegory for immigration and the racist tensions it produces, which is why it is, to my mind, no coincidence that one of the central hubot figures, Mimi, is Asian in appearance. This is moral philosophy and science fiction made fun.