Welt am Draht (1973– )
Fred Stiller: Still 42-26-39?
Gloria Fromm: 39 1/2. You get fat, just sitting around.
Fred Stiller: But every inch is precious.
Newspaper Salesman: Daily News! Mystery Surrounding Super-Computer! Daily News! Mystery Surrounding Super-Computer! Daily News! Mystery Surrounding Super-Computer! Daily News! Mystery Surrounding Super-Computer...
Gloria Fromm: How's the computer coming?
Fred Stiller: Okay and how's working for Siskins?
Gloria Fromm: No, I mean it. I'm very interested in the Simulacron. Is it it true you've created an artificial world?
Fred Stiller: "World" is an exaggeration. Currently we've some 10,000 identity units. That's all we need for now. The world in a nutshell, you see?
Fred Stiller: You're nothing. There's the rub. Because nothing doesn't think.
Fred Stiller: Here's a riddle I came across: imagine a drawing of a Greek warrior holding a spear looking to his right and taking a step. With a turtle going the same way. First, does that ring a bell? Ever seen such a drawing?
Franz Hahn: Me? What's this all about?
Fred Stiller: Vollmer left me this drawing. Does it mean anything to you?
Franz Hahn: Bizarre, if you ask me.
Fred Stiller: Bizarre, sure. Does it remind you of anything?
Franz Hahn: Maybe.
Fred Stiller: What?
Franz Hahn: Zeno.
Fred Stiller: Zeno?
Franz Hahn: Yes. Zeno's paradox. Achilles and the tortoise. Achilles tries to overtake the tortoise, but cannot. By the time he reaches where it was, the turtle has moved ahead.
Fred Stiller: What could the paradox mean to our work?
Franz Hahn: I'm only the psychologist for the creations. But, as I recall, the paradox is meant to show that movement is an illusion.
Rupp, Journalist: Simon never wrote the article on the Rimini bust.
Gloria Fromm: 10,000 people. They're people, aren't they?
Fred Stiller: As you like. To us they're mere circuits. But to them... They live just like we do... build roads, listen to music, eat...
Gloria Fromm: And make love?
Fred Stiller: That, too. Make love, enjoy life, have kids.
Gloria Fromm: Exciting.
Franz Hahn: I can imagine what Vollmer's shattering discovery was. I bet it had to do with his attitude towards the identity units we'd programmed in his computer. You remember how he called them "my children".
Fred Stiller: He was only joking.
Franz Hahn: You can't spend years feeding data into a computer that allows for the simulation of every aspect of human behavior without asking yourself if it might lead to the creation of something resembling human consciousness.
Informer: For your own sake, forget everything you've seen. Or your life's not worth a dime.
Gloria Fromm: A living world in a box of microchips?
Fred Stiller: We're alive. They're like people on TV dancing for us.
Gloria Fromm: Good morning, Mr. Stiller. I'm a gift. Siskins thought you'd be pleased.
Fred Stiller: Of course. Of course, I'm pleased. A sight to behold. Isn't that what they say?
Gloria Fromm: Yes, they do.
Fred Stiller: The people in our simulation model think their world is the only real one.
Franz Hahn: So?
Fred Stiller: Who says this isn't also a computer? You, me, all of us, just electronic circuits. Identity unit 3,124,000, named Hahn. How does that sound?
Franz Hahn: Drunk.
Franz Hahn: Still suffering from your delusions?
Fred Stiller: Delusions? That's a good name for the baby.
Fred Stiller: The whiskey, peanuts, all artificial. Why are you gobbling them down? Nervous?
Franz Hahn: No, I was thinking they taste good for artificial peanuts.
Fred Stiller: Don't joke about it. You must have a screw loose.
Franz Hahn: Yes, an artificial one.
Maya Schmidt-Gentner: Who's with you know?
Fred Stiller: Where?
Maya Schmidt-Gentner: At work.
Fred Stiller: A woman named Gloria Fromm.
Maya Schmidt-Gentner: 42-26-39.
Fred Stiller: 39 1/2. From all that sitting. You should know.
Fred Stiller: The contact unit! That's it! The contact unit. We needed a contact unit for our simulation model to work. Einstein. If we're the simulation model of a real world, there must be an Einstein here who knows, who's in contact with above.
Fred Stiller: What strike?
Rupp, Journalist: A certain Fritz Walfang has been organizing the workers. To have you reinstated.
Fred Stiller: Reinstated?
Rupp, Journalist: It's great: worker initiative, solidarity. You should be proud.
Fred Stiller: None of it matters anymore.
Herbert Siskins: Dr. Stiller, we're not talking about opening a hot-dog stand, but a decision of major importance to the national economy.
Fred Stiller: I think, therefore I am. Right? Yes, I exist. I can't be alone in thinking that nothing really exists. Right. For Plato, reality exists in the realm of ideas. And Aristotle! He conceived of matter as passive non-substance that only becomes reality by thought.
Franz Hahn: I want to find out who's crazy - us or everyone else.
Fred Stiller: Well now, that's what I call a noble motive.
Einstein: He was on the verge of a breakdown.
Fred Stiller: Why?
Einstein: He knew.
Fred Stiller: What did he know?
Einstein: Somehow he'd found out - what he was.
Fred Stiller: You can't just find that out. Did you say something?
Einstein: You know my circuits prohibit it.
Fred Stiller: Crazy. Yes, he is. Is he? Stop! Your cigarette! Are you sure that's a cigarette?
Von Weinlaub, secretary of state: It's...
Fred Stiller: The idea of a cigarette. You see? The real cigarettes are somewhere else. Where real people sit on real chairs. Is that a chair? Say, "It's a chair."
Von Weinlaub, secretary of state: It's a chair.
Fred Stiller: It's not a chair. It's the idea of an idea of an idea.
Fred Stiller: My time's up. Good-bye, Einstein.
Einstein: Come on, show me. Come on, show me. Come on, show me. I can't bear it. Please take me with you.
Fred Stiller: You know that's absurd. I'll be back.
Fred Stiller: What are the limits to the perceptive faculties of our identity units? Listen, suppose we were beings who had been programmed in a computer. We'd sit here, drinking whiskey. We'd perceive what is in fact our imaginary world as if it were the real one.
Fritz Walfang: Of course, an electronically simulated environment would appear real to the electronic being.
Fred Stiller: You know about the sabotage during my hook-up. But that a cop who'd interviewed me once - forgot, and interrogated me again - that you don't know. Or, that the other night everything, the streets, lights, disappeared for a few seconds - that you don't konw. Nor can you imagine the dizzy spells and depression.
Franz Hahn: I see. A street vanished and then reappeared?
Fred Stiller: Yes!
Gloria Fromm: What can I do for you?
Hospital orderly #1: The madman.
Gloria Fromm: Which madman? What do you mean?
Hospital orderly #2: Stiller. He lives here.
Gloria Fromm: You mean Freddy? Yes, he is crazy - in bed, if you get my drift?
Hospital orderly #1: In bed?
Gloria Fromm: Crazy. Definitely.
Gloria Fromm: I'm one of his puppets. But, what's even worse is, I love it. At least at night.
Fred Stiller: Want to sleep with me?
Gloria Fromm: Ya.
Professor Henry Vollmer: [Holding up a mirror to von Weinlaub] What do you see? Please, please, what do you see? Let me help you, Mr.?
Von Weinlaub, secretary of state: Von Weinlaub
Professor Henry Vollmer: Alright. von Weinlaub. You are nothing more than the image others have made of you. That's all.
Herbert Siskins: I must apologize for Professor Vollmer. He's been working day and night. His nerves have always been delicate. The line between genius and madness, you know.
Franz Hahn: I've thought a lot about you, Stiller. I believe with your new responsibility for the simulation model and the unusual stress of your job, you're overworked, psychologically unstable. Think about it. Everyday you reign like God over a miniature world you helped create and which you mistake more and more for the real world. You can add and delete people at will. This leads to feelings of guilt, depression and fear. You need to relax, forget it all.
Gloria Fromm: [Unexpectedly, Stiller finds Gloria Fromm waiting in a car outside of Franz Hahn's home] Getting in?
Fred Stiller: Quite a coincidence, isn't it?
Gloria Fromm: It's no coincidence. Dr. Hahn phoned me. He thought I could take your mind off things. It was fine with me.
Fred Stiller: Me, too.
Fred Stiller: Strictly speaking, it isn't a computer in the conventional sense, but rather an electronic simulation system with tremendous storage capacity. As Professor Henri Vollmer put it, with this system we achieved the qualitative jump to an autonomous computer. We've created an artificial miniature world out of circuits, switches, electronic impulses and reflexes. When fully functional, it will lead a life of its own according to our rules and with its own dynamics.
Fred Stiller: You have to imagine the inside of our simulation model - we call it Simulacron - as a reproduction in miniature of our society. At the moment, we have slightly over 9,000 so-called identity units, each of which has the faculties of perception, thought, memory, imagination, and so forth, of a real human being. With Simulacron, we have, in a word, a tiny universe identical to our own. Into this universe, we can introduce certain impulses which... impulses which lead to highly specific reactions. Reactions that precisely replicate human reactions 20 years in the future. This means we can use Simulacron to avoid the mistakes we'd make in that period. For example, we can, to be extremely concrete, use the Simulacron to learn consumer habits 20 years from now, how housing needs will evolve, which transportation modes will become obsolete and which ones will be in use.
Fred Stiller: You're not Fritz Walfang. You're Einstein. My God, what is this?
Einstein: [Disguised as Fritz Walfang] Let me go, please! Don't send me back. It's my only chance. I want to be a human being. And I will. This is the first step. I'll make the next one, too. Into the real world.
Fred Stiller: What do you mean? This is the real world...
Einstein: That's what you think. But the truth is this world, which you take for reality, is only a simulation model of the real world. Fred Stiller, the big computer boss. You're nothing but a mass of electrical circuits. The identity unit Fred Stiller. You're a number, like everyone here. A number in a research laboratory. Admittedly, in a highly advanced one. Professor Vollmer knew it. That's why he had to die. And now you know.
Einstein: It can't be, Einstein. Tell me it's not true.