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I am trying to think how his makers know that or even could know that David (and other androids) are immortal. The fact that androids have sort of messy and complex insides suggests to me that they could easily wear out. Is the idea explored? Is it suggested because they can continually repair David that he is effectively immortal or that his mind can be implanted in another body?

When Weyland is, in hologram form, talking to the group on the Prometheus, he says David will never die:

Here David himself says he will not die: Interpretation of the dialog between David and Weyland

I am a little surprised at the downvotes. It is clear that weyland thought david would not die -- he said exactly that. I would like to know why he thought so.

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    Who is the "they" in the first sentence? Aug 24 at 12:54
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    This would be better if you provided exact quotes; sometimes what we can deduce from what a character says depends on what we know about their understanding.
    – DavidW
    Aug 24 at 12:56
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    When did David's makers say he was immortal? We could really use an exact quote here, to put this question in context. Transcript of Prometheus. Transcript of Alien: Covenant. Aug 24 at 17:12
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    I'm not aware of any ideas in Prometheus. Aug 24 at 18:34
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Weyland never uses the word "immortal". He appears, clearly aged, and announces that by the time the message is played, he will be dead. The next thing he says is:

There's a man sitting with you today. His name is David.

And he is the closest thing to a son I will ever have.

Unfortunately, he is not human. He will never grow old... and he will never die.

The contrast is clear: unlike Weyland, his "son" will not suffer from ageing, and almost any damage he suffers can be repaired.

That doesn't mean that David will live until the heat death of the universe, just that the problems of human biology (evidently still unsolved) don't apply to him.

Also relevant is that Weyland is speaking from a position of envy, not explaining cold facts: he desperately wants a cure for whatever he's dying of, at any cost, but none is available. (You mention in a comment about uploading his brain to another body, but reading a human brain is a completely different technology from creating an artificial one, and clearly it isn't an option that's available.)

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  • i don't see a huge difference between never dying and being immortal except, perhaps, in the sense that since David is not actually alive, he will never technically die nor experience the decline leading to death. so he might cease to exist but would not have died any more than an automobile can die. but that is not really what i think Weyland meant. my point is, synthetics look very capable of death, complex enough internally that they could wear out in a way that could not be fixed.
    – releseabe
    Aug 25 at 20:11
  • @releseabe The point I was trying to make is that Weyland isn't actually making a scientific statement about synthetics. He's a dying man, making a poetic statement about the nature of life and death, as he dies in a very human way.
    – IMSoP
    Aug 25 at 22:23
  • i can't think what else he could mean other than either a very extended lifespan or simply that he could not die because he was never alive which is at odds with calling him his "son." i think the assertion that David had no soul probably rankled although this is not discussed -- Charley maybe got on his bad side with ribbing him similarly about not being a real boy; David may have done more than gotten even, I think.
    – releseabe
    Aug 25 at 22:44
  • @releseabe I think you're reading far too much into it. He's a dying man, making a poetic speech, not delivering a scientific lecture. He could have said "he won't age in a human way or die like I'm doing, although something might wear out or suffer an unforeseen failure", but that wouldn't have suited the tone of his speech.
    – IMSoP
    Aug 25 at 22:51
  • David says the same thing here, that while Weyland will die, he (David) will not: scifi.stackexchange.com/questions/165436/…
    – releseabe
    Aug 25 at 22:54
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Presumably, they could replace and repair parts.

Robot parts can be replaced more easily than human parts, so theoretically, a robot can be immortal better than a human. At the end of the film David's just a head, and in the next film he's re-atached to a body. The robots are clearly very flexible in their repair abilities.

That said, a large part of this is arrogance. David is an experimental model, and it's certainly possible that he might fail to live long. Weyland was very arrogant.

“Do you see this man? (…) I made him, and I made him in my own image, so he would be perfect, so he would never fail. I deserve this, cause you and I, we are superior, we are creators, we are gods. And gods never die”

He had an over inflated sense of personal ego, which made him (wrongly) overvalue his intellect and his creation.

Then he got murdered by an engineer.

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  • the obvious question is why weyland was not working on putting his mind into an android body but then that would have been an entirely different story entirely and one which has been explored multiple times.
    – releseabe
    Aug 24 at 23:43
  • He was hoping that the engineer would have some way to keep him alive, like transferring bodies. He didn't have a way to put his mind in an android body.
    – Nepene Nep
    Aug 25 at 8:17
  • Did he attempt to move his mind into the body of an android or explore this possibility in any of the books, etc.?
    – releseabe
    Aug 25 at 10:00
  • Not as far as I know. Presumably there were not any successful immortality technologies or they would use them instead. Just because a technology exists in some sci fi shows, doesn't mean it exists in other sci fi shows.
    – Nepene Nep
    Aug 25 at 10:12
  • sure and i also could see, like woody allen once said, that weyland wanted to achieve immortality by not dying. the old, put my mind in an android body or upload it to some virtual reality is nothing i would would want for myself either.
    – releseabe
    Aug 25 at 12:25

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