The Ultimate Test


Ah, yes to determine if you are a human or a robot cleverly disguised with what the humans think is “skin”.  The topic of determining who is who and what is what is common in science fiction. Often painted in a bleak dystopian future, where society is dark and filled with dim neon lights; or been destroyed by an atomic bomb or two; the thought of Artificial Technology being an enraged enemy trying to destroy all that is flesh and bone. Because robotics and AI technology are coming up as a big society game changer, it is addressed in different forms. From novels to movies, and even video games, it’s touching our lives in hypothetical ways on real fears.

In movies and novels like Do Robots Dream of Electric Sheep? (Blade Runner, 1982) the Void-Kampff test is developed to determine human from machine, or Replicant in this case.  Using questions to stimulate a strong emotional response. This theory of tough emotional questions is also applied in a more recent story line of Fallout 4, a recently released video game in 2015. Unable to detect the difference between human and robot, one community develops a test like the Voigt-Kampff test, calling it the “Safe Test”; asking the visitor to answer the questions as honestly as possible. When all is said and done, they really are not any closer to determining if you are a robot or not.

So will we one day be this dimly lit dystopian future, searching for rogue robots or questioning our neighbours about their authenticity? If one day we were to have indistinguishable humanoid machines around us, what sort of tests will be devised to know what’s what; or will we even need one? What sort of questions does one need to ask for successful determination of human or machine? Emerging technology of computer chips in humans, cybernetic limbs and prosthetics are becoming a new frontier for us humans. Do we eventually categorize these people in the same as these AI?  Where is that line of “no longer human” drawn? Indeed, more questions about our morals as a society may be put to the test, rather than the machines.

So when asked:

“You are approached by a frenzied scientist who yells, ‘ I’m going to put my quantum harmonizer in your photonic resonation chamber!’

What’s your response?” (Fallout 4, 2015)

2 thoughts on “The Ultimate Test

  1. Very interesting post Kelsey! It’s neat to read about someone else’s thought’s on the future and how AI technology could be beneficial or harmful. It definitely brings the subject to light in which most of us don’t want to even begin to think about or discuss yet. I am one of those people who has never seen Blade Runner, both the 1982 or 2017 release. I will have to look into watching those movies in the near future. It will be a totally different thing to see when having chips implanted in is the new norm. I read about it in an article online where employees have the chip implanted in their hand in as an access key!

  2. I like that you referenced two different popular entertainment icons for the knowledgeable of video games and movies. I feel that if you had given some references that other people think of when AI is mentioned (Ex. Terminator; I,Robot) then maybe some people will understand what you mean. This is just what I think.

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