What is Detroit: Become Human?
“Detroit: Become Human is an neo-noir thriller. The plot revolves around three androids: Kara, who escapes the factory she was made in to explore her newfound sentience; Connor, whose job it is to hunt down deviant androids like Kara; and Markus, who devotes himself to releasing the androids from servitude. The characters may survive or perish depending on the choices that are made, which serve to shape the story as customized by the player.” according to Developer Quantic Dream based in France. The game is currently for PC, and PS4.
Could Humanoid Robots Really Start A Revolution?
People who have played Detroit: Become Human are now wondering if the premise in the game could become reality in the future. Let’s be honest, the idea of artificial life is not new. In fact, robotic humanity is already a thing and in some places, robots do the work that humans used to do. Like cleaning floors, or cooking. With so much new technology at our fingertips every day, the concern of AI robots going ballistic is a legitimate concern.
When walking through the game, you realize how people treat androids as humans, both good and bad. The game also takes it even further as to establishing a civil rights movement for the androids.
Futurist and AI author, Martin Ford, has stated that this depiction of civil rights for robots has a lot of potential in the future. “Yes, it’s possible if machines someday achieve human-level intelligence as well as consciousness,” he says. “If a machine is conscious then it has the capability to suffer. Enslaving it or otherwise mistreating it would be very problematic. For this reason, we may choose to build robots for many uses that are not so intelligent or conscious.”
However, a humanoid robotic developer does not seem to buy it.
Professor Nadia Magnenat Thalmann, who revolutionized the robotic movement by creating the first social robot stated, “I see any machine as a machine. A high level simulation tool but nothing real. Of course, a robot may be an intelligent actor, capable of adaption, but it has no self-awareness, no self-complexity, no behavioural traits, and no sorrow. It literally has nothing to compare with a real human. It’s as if a laptop with AI programs would suddenly have human rights. For me, it is nonsense… even if the game proposes machines have emotions, this is just a simulation of those emotions.”
Nadia’s humanoid robot is able to return greetings, hold multilingual conversation, maintain eye contact, recognize people it’s previously seen, and can simulate emotions through facial expressions and gestures. All in all, it’s just a simulation, but it still makes you wonder if it’s already too much to handle.
If robots had civil rights, even though it’s considered just a “simulation” there may still be this small chance of a robotic revolution. And let’s not forget the amount of unemployment that could unveil from human robots replacing jobs. This depiction is clear in Detroit: Become Human. Something as simple as self checkout isles already exist and have replaced cashier positions in supermarkets, and the local Walmarts have robots cleaning floors.