I am getting very tired of autistic behaviours and coding being used to demonstrate or emphasise that a robot or android isn’t quite or fully human.
It is telling that so often the only way allistic writers can imagine and depict what it means to be sapient but not human is to borrow,
liberally, from autistics.
There is no escaping this message every time I see yet another autistic-coded robot or android in an SF TV show or novel: we autistics are less human. I doubt that this is an intentional message on behalf of the writer, but it doesn’t have to be intentional to harm, and harm it does. They do not see us as properly, fully human.
(This even extends to things like all the jokes in The Big Bang Theory about Sheldon Cooper being a robot or an alien; his behaviour is continually presented as non-human.)
In the year 2018, can we please find ways to indicate a robot’s differing expressions of consciousness, sentience and sapience that don’t mimic the very human behaviours of autistic people? Can we stop positioning autistic behaviour and coding as something non-human?
Note: this is targeted at allistic writers, not autistic writers. Autistics who want to explore how years of autistic-coded behaviours in portrayals of robots and androids mean that these characters are actually more human to us than allistic characters should do so. Autistics who want to write robots with our behaviours and mannerisms because that has been too often the only representation we get in spec fic should so so. And please link me, because I would dearly love to read autistic-authored SF that takes this awful trope and makes much-needed representation and empowerment from it.