Off-world: The Blade Runner Wiki
This article is part of a series of essays originally published on the now-defunct Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? Wiki. It has been imported here primarily for archival purposes, although it is still open for editing.


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Technologies used by humans in the novel produce artificial feelings and replace the need for personal interactions. As long as humans interact with technology, they can avoid feelings of loneliness.

  1. Empathy box - The empathy box allows humans to avoid loneliness. Aware and upset by the silence, John uses his empathy box to fuse since "the mutual babble of everyone else in fusion [breaks] the illusion of aloneness" (Dick, 23). To John, the "empathy box is the most personal possession" because it allows humans to interact with each other (Dick, 66). Similarly, Iran cherishes her empathy box because of the human connections it permits. However, the empathy box prevents human communication. For example, when Rick attempts to talk to Iran, and she instead fuses with Mercer, Rick cannot connect with his wife since he is fully engrossed by this technology. In this example, technology impedes normal human interaction between Rick and Iran, creating emotional distance between them

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  2. Penfield mood organ - Humans use the mood organ to dial specific emotions so they can experience emotions without actually possessing them. In the beginning of the novel, Rick implores his wife to use her dialing console to prevent a fight. He wants her to thoughtlessly dial emotions like "the desire to watch TV" or "awareness of the manifold possibilities open to [her] in the future" (Dick, 6). When emotions can be easily avoided with the mood organ, humans no longer require personal relationships to overcome feelings of isolation or loneliness.
  3. TV - Similar to the above-mentioned technologies, the constant noise of the television allows humans to avoid aloneness. However, when sound of the television is no longer present, silence is inevitable and loneliness is unavoidable. In the absence of television, humans turn to other technologies like the mood organ to prevent feelings of emptiness and loneliness. For example, when Iran turns off her television, she becomes aware of "the absence of life," and immediately desires her mood organ to cope with this feeling (Dick, 5). Similarly, John turns to his empathy box after he turns off his television because he cannot avoid "the echo of nothing" (Dick, 21). Television thus further replaces the need for social interactions by creating a false sense of security in humans. When the presence of the television is suddenly removed, humans cannot avoid the overwhelming loneliness that is left in this technology's absence.
  4. Electric animals- In the absence of real animals, humans often choose to buy and care for electric animals. Electric animals provide some level of companionship to their owners even though they lack an empathic identity with their owners (Dick, 42). Caring for an electric sheep displays a human's capacity for empathy. For example, Rick provides the same attention towards his electric sheep as he did towards his real sheep that had died, although he realizes the interaction is not as fulfilling (Dick, 12). The electric animals are a technology that allows humans to experience false feelings of empathy and emotions. Rather than interacting with other humans, owners of electric animals choose to maintain these false animals for emotional fulfillment.



  1. Technology and Companionship
  2. Space
  3. Binary Opposites
  4. Struggle between Buster Friendly and Wilbur Mercer
  5. Remediation into Blade Runner