Of the known androids in the Alien franchise, Ash, Bishop, Call, David, Walter, do any of them show the basics of being or becoming sentient?

Sentient comes from the Latin sentient-, “feeling,” and it describes things that are alive. A sentient being can feel, perceive and sense things. They have an awareness of surroundings, sensations, thoughts and an ability to show responsiveness. Having senses makes something sentient, or able to smell, communicate, touch, see, or hear. All sentient beings have an awareness of themselves they can feel happiness, sadness, pain and fear.

In Alien, Ash, just after telling the remainder of the crew that they have no chance against the Alien gives a brief smile before being destroyed.

Bishop in Aliens (being built some 50-60 years after Ash) notes that though he had volunteered to remote drop the Drop Ship, comments he may be artificial but he is not stupid. Or does this suggest this was his basic programming for survival?

Call was a second-generation synthetic android built some 200 years after Bishop and was built by androids (it's not obvious that a machine designed and built by another machine that itself is not sentient, should be able to build in sentience) . At times she seemed somewhat emotional in her mission.

Does David, ironically the first to be built, seem to be a likely choice to be exhibiting some form of sentience? Or can his behaviour be explained by a poorly designed programme that allows him to kill?

  • It depends which film you're talking about. If you go as far forward as Aliens:Resurrection, then we meet Call, a fully sentient Android who's masquerading as a human; clip.cafe/alien-resurrection-1997/youre-the-new-model-droid apparently there are others like her.
    – Valorum
    Jun 13, 2021 at 18:43
  • 10
    This question really needs a precise definition of "sentience" as you are using it. From my vantage point: the answer is incontrovertibly Yes. All the androids are sentient as presented on film. However, that reflects my own ideas about what sentience means, and it is obvious that your own ideas differ. So: what ruler shall we measure sentience by in order to satisfactorily answer your question?
    – Lexible
    Jun 13, 2021 at 21:42
  • 2
    @jim - multiple users voted to close your question. Lexible was simply the only person to explain why.
    – Valorum
    Jun 18, 2021 at 18:51
  • Relevant meta: scifi.meta.stackexchange.com/questions/13405/…
    – Skooba
    Jun 18, 2021 at 18:51

1 Answer 1


If you take the word of English Professor M Kieth Booker, then yes, Ash and - by extrapolation - all the later Androids are sentient.

From Ashs Wikipedia page
Emphasis mine

Like the alien organism itself, Ash (and indeed the sentient ship's computer, named "Mother") is presented as, in the words of M. Keith Booker, a "distinctive mode of intelligent existence that seems alien to our own", and is in fact (if one counts the dead pilot of the crashed spaceship) one of a number of sentient non-humans that humanity encounters in the film.

Also, Bishop is capable for emotion, from his Wikipedia page
Emphasis mine

Immediately after his activation, Bishop is quizzed by a technician named Dr. Sasaki to ensure he does not suffer from any potentially dangerous faults in his character programming. Sasaki releases Bishop into a room containing other similar androids, although she privately voices her concern that he may be flawed, possessing emotional capabilities exceeding his intended capacity, like that of the decommissioned "David" line. Noting the reactions of people around him to his unorthodox responses, Bishop decides that he is simply "different"

Also assuming the Mirriam Webster definition of "sentient", yes, they all are.

sen·​tient | \ ˈsen(t)-sh(ē-)ənt , ˈsen-tē-ənt
1: responsive to or conscious of sense impressions sentient beings
3: finely sensitive in perception or feeling

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