The age of robots and self-cleaning homes is not far away, and as we prepare for extraterrestrials to arrive to our blue planet, we sometimes forget to wonder about us. We are fascinated and totally curious by what we yet don’t understand. While scientists and theorists look among the stars and under the sea for answers to big questions, the secret to life and the universe could be right next to you. Putting aside questions like “are we alone” and “why are we here,” is it possible that, like Anya Taylor-Joy’s Morgan, we are actually artificial? Maybe not all of us, but the technology already exists to create a fully-functional artificial human.
What Makes Us Human?
Approaching this question takes much care, one, because we can answer it in many different ways. It is this distinction between answers that makes this question intriguing, because what makes us human to you, could be totally different from what, say, your friend thinks. Keeping that notion, there are though, concrete aspects in which everyone certainly agrees, and one is the human physique.
We all know what a human looks like and we all know what makes up a human internally, but when it comes to Morgan, she, like us, has the same human physique. So, what makes her different than us? An answer could be that unlike Morgan, the way we were born is a principal aspect that makes us human. For nine months we are a seed that grows inside our mother’s belly, and from there you know the rest. Morgan was not born that way, she was created in a laboratory. So, she is not a human right? Sure, you could say that, but why do we still classify Dolly, the cloned sheep as still a sheep? This same idea applies to Morgan and to the theory that some humans may actually be artificial. Taking movies, TV shows and actual science, let’s explore how any of us could actually be a “Morgan.”
The Science Behind Artificial Humans
Right now, human body parts are being grown in labs around the world. The science behind Regenerative Medicine has made breakthroughs, as hands, arteries and even kidneys are man-made via human stem cells, bone marrow and an artificial composite material. With noses, fingers and hearts being grown, are we close to making an artificial human?
While there’s more than just body parts to the human system -- consciousness and the mind are as integral to being human -- apply the science of Regenerative Medicine to machines like EDI (Electronic Deceptive Intelligence) and FACE (Facial Automation for Conveying Emotions), and we would have a creation ilke Ava from Ex Machina. But we are years from that development.
We know that right now it’s impossible to have a fully functional android among us. So is there a way that a person like Morgan can exist? Morgan producer and famed sci-fi director Ridley Scott definitely thinks so, as he said during a Q&A after an early screening of the film at the Egyptian Theater:
"It’s already happening. We’re so far down the line in speculation far more than it’s been discussed. If you get the smartest computer that you could design, the first thing you’re going to do is design another computer that is smarter. Then you get these two computers to commune. Once you do that, then you’re in real trouble. They’re so far ahead of you. So you always have to keep your hand on it."
A TV show that has also given us an answer to that question is NBC's Blindspot.
Blindspot And Artificial Life
(SPOILERS for Season 1 of Blindspot ahead)
Through Season 1 of Blindspot, we followed the life of Jamie Alexander’s Jane as she discovered her own secrets with the help of the FBI. Sullivan Stapleton’s character Kurt Weller befriends Jane, believing her to be a close friend who was thought to be dead, and forgives his father who had supposedly killed her.
After falling ill, Weller’s father tells Kurt the ultimate truth, that he indeed had killed the woman Taylor Shaw, thought to be Jane. Confused and out of his mind, Weller discovers Taylor Shaw was actually dead all along, even though Jane’s DNA was a complete match.
We later indirectly find out that Jane was part of a top secret government program that created artificial life. While Season 1 left us with more questions than answers, Blindspot has given us a Morgan in the form of Jamie Alexander’s Jane. So is the government actually creating "Morgans?"
Stranger Things And Conspiracy Theories
(SPOILERS ahead for Stranger Things and Morgan.)
Conspiracy theories are everywhere and we love them. They inform the hit streaming Netflix series Stranger Things, which is open to many interpretations.
One theory revolves around Millie Bobby Brown’s powerful young character Eleven. Her supposed mother, Terry Ives, volunteered for dangerous government experiments, but unknown to her and the scientists, she was pregnant. After literally losing her mind due to the experiments, the child became property of Dr. Martin Brenner (played by Matthew Modine) and his government-funded organization. Due to Ives' mental state, the theory is that Eleven, like Jane from Blindspot and Morgan and Lee Weathers from Morgan, was grown in a laboratory. She appears to be a human girl, but, according to the theory, is something very different.
"Bioengineered humans...They offer the greatest challenge to humanity because once the germ gets into the species it’s goodbye to humans" - Luke Scott
For more Stranger Things and theories, check out these articles:
- 'Stranger Things' Facts & Theories: Everything We Know About Season 2 On Netflix
- The 'Stranger Things' Cast Have Plenty Of Favorite Moments, But Little '80s Knowledge
- 'Stranger Things' Fan Theory Reveals What Will Happen To Eleven And The Demogorgon In Season 2
So, Is There A 'Morgan' Among Us?
According to conspiracy theories, NBC, Stranger Things and Hollywood, yes there could be, but according to science, not yet. One could theorize that the government has created "Morgans" and wiped out their memories via mind control like MK Ultra, but that’s just a theory. Stranger Things tackled a part of the idea via Eleven, who might not be Terry Ive’s daughter. NBC revealed Jane’s major secret in Season 1 of Blindspot and we recently found out that like Morgan, Kate Mara’s character was also created in a lab. Science is showing us that artificial life is possible, and I myself believe we are just a few years away from seeing the first artificial human. Is there one among us now? It's not impossible. I just hope that if there are or if you are, that at least you have Scarlett Johansson’s voice from Her.
Want more science fiction? Check out these articles to feed your inner geek:
- 3 Other 'Grown Up' Extraterrestrial Movies You Need To See Before 'Arrival'
- 8 Times Science — Not Superpowers — Saved the Day
- How the Mad Scientists of Comic Books Expose the Worst And Best Of Us All
Morgan is now playing in theaters everywhere. Check out the trailer below: