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)