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(Fic) Is this testing whether I'm a Replicant or a lesbian, Mr Deckard?

27th March 2009 (12:16)

Inspired by a conversation about Dollhouse with alexeia_drae</lj>. Background on the Voight-Kampff test (from Blade Runner) is here.

ETA - I've also done a similar post on the two female Terminator characters from the Sarah Connor Chronicles.

Good morning, Agent Ballard - or Mr Ballard, I should say. I need you to answer some questions for me.

Why? I had enough of that psychometric test bullshit with the Agency.

I'm sorry. It's necessary, and it won't take long. I'm going to describe some social situations to you, and I would like you to describe how you would feel or what you would do. In this test reaction time is a factor, so answer as rapidly as you can.

All right. Get on with it.

You are given a calf-skin wallet on your birthday.

I already have a wallet. I'd thank them, I suppose.

You have a little boy and he shows you his butterfly collection, including his killing jar.

Is this supposed to be my own son? A kid who kills animals as a hobby doesn't sound too healthy, it's one of the warning signs. I'd talk to him.

You're sitting watching TV and suddenly you discover a wasp crawling on your wrist.

I'd keep still until it flew away.

In a magazine you come across a full-page colour picture of a nude man. Your wife likes the picture. The man is lying face down on a large and beautiful bearskin rug. Your wife hangs the picture up on the wall of her study.

Yeah, that would be one reason why I'm glad I'm divorced.

You're visiting Fisherman's Wharf in San Francisco. You become hungry and enter a seafood restaurant. One of your friends orders lobster, and the chef drops the lobster into the tub of boiling water while you watch.

I hate lobster. Gives me gas. I'll take the sea bass.

You rent a mountain cabin in a verdant area. It's rustic knotty pine with a huge fireplace. On the walls someone has hung old maps. Currier and Ives prints, and above the fireplace a deer's head has been mounted, a full stag with developed horns. The people with you admire the decor of the cabin.

Yeah, nice. Am I here to meet a contact or what?

You're dating a woman and she asks you to visit her apartment. While you're there she offers you a drink. As you stand holding your glass you see into the bedroom; it's attractively decorated with bullfight posters, and you wander in to look closer. She follows after you, closing the door and putting her arm around you.

Is the room wired? Maybe behind those posters? Ah yeah, the woman. Hell, I don't mind her taking the lead, why should I? I'll kiss her.

You are watching an old movie on TV. It shows a banquet in progress; the guests are enjoying raw oysters. The entrée consists of boiled dog, stuffed with rice.

What is this, some weird foreign arty crap? Is this movie Canadian?

Describe in single words, only the good things that come into your mind about your mother.

Strong. Capable. Kind.

You’re in a desert walking along in the sand when all of the sudden you look down, and you see a tortoise. It’s crawling toward you. You reach down, you flip the tortoise over on its back. The tortoise lays on its back, its belly baking in the hot sun, beating its legs trying to turn itself over, but it can’t, not without your help. But you’re not helping. Why is that?

That's sick. This whole test is bullshit, just like I thought.

Never mind, Mr Ballard. Thank you. This test is over.

So then, for those of you playing along at home. Is Agent Ballard a Replicant Active, or not?

Poll #1372982 Voight-Kampff #1

Is Ballard an Active?

Yes he is
No he isn't
*Pulls out a gun and shoots you*


Posted by: joe_sweden (joe_sweden)
Posted at: 27th March 2009 14:50 (UTC)

I went with "pulls out a gun and shoots you" - cos that man is one violent little fcker.

Posted by: StephenT (stormwreath)
Posted at: 27th March 2009 16:26 (UTC)

No he's not! He's cute and cuddly like a big teddy bear!

And he may also be an evil killer robot or Active. Maybe.

Posted by: ~ Meg ~ (I threw a ham at Jeff Winger!) (jadestrick)
Posted at: 27th March 2009 16:34 (UTC)
Dollhouse - Paul

There's no way. He's the Knight in Bruised Armor. :)

But I adore you for putting him to this test. ;D

Posted by: StephenT (stormwreath)
Posted at: 27th March 2009 16:52 (UTC)

Thank you. :-)

(I've just done the same for Cameron and Weaver from 'Terminator', if you're interested.)

Posted by: ~ Meg ~ (I threw a ham at Jeff Winger!) (jadestrick)
Posted at: 27th March 2009 21:55 (UTC)

Oh cool! I'll have a look!

Posted by: Elena (moscow_watcher)
Posted at: 27th March 2009 16:35 (UTC)

Right now he isn't. But if Joss gets season 2 he could change his mind and retcon Paul's status.

Posted by: StephenT (stormwreath)
Posted at: 27th March 2009 16:54 (UTC)

Or maybe he's the only person in the entire world who isn't an Active...

Posted by: eowyn_315 (eowyn_315)
Posted at: 27th March 2009 17:43 (UTC)

Er, I went with the gun, partly because he totally, totally would, but also because I'm not sure I understand the test (and I even read the link!). I'm noticing a theme with killing animals in the situations - is it that the more you have a problem with it, the more human you are?

Posted by: StephenT (stormwreath)
Posted at: 27th March 2009 19:09 (UTC)

Basically, yes. In the book (and the film too, although it's less clear there) Deckard rigs up a machine to monitor the subject's pupil dilation and blush response - basically a lie detector. He then asks them these questions, the idea being that humans will react with empathy, disgust, sadness etc at the different situations; while androids will either not respond emotionally, or try to fake their response and get it subtly wrong.

The actual verbal replies aren't really the point of the test, but it was fun trying to think how Ballard would respond to them.

Posted by: sister_luck (sister_luck)
Posted at: 27th March 2009 17:58 (UTC)

I don't think this test would work on an active - the way I understand the technology there is nothing to distinguish an imprinted active from a real human being. On the other hand, there must be some sort of failsafe - (apart from the pre-conditioned triggers like the "treatment" thing and the trust in the handler).

Also, I don't think that Ballard is an Active.

Posted by: StephenT (stormwreath)
Posted at: 27th March 2009 19:14 (UTC)

I'm not sure that it wouldn't work, or at least something similar. Especially if the imprint is composited together from several different personalities - which I gather most of them are - it could be that detailed psychometric tests would pick up subtle clues that would be different from a normal person's brain. Or if Topher takes shortcuts and uses the same early childhood memories for every imprint, that might show up too.

And I don't think he's an Active either, really, but given that everybody else is turning out to be one...

Posted by: foreverxkisses (foreverxkisses)
Posted at: 27th March 2009 18:08 (UTC)

'Is this movie Canadian?"
I should hit you but I'm laughing too hard. ;)

Posted by: StephenT (stormwreath)
Posted at: 27th March 2009 19:15 (UTC)


I have nothing against Canadian movies, honestly! I was speaking in character!!

Posted by: foreverxkisses (foreverxkisses)
Posted at: 27th March 2009 19:18 (UTC)

Sure, sure. You just hide behind the character. :P

Posted by: Chani φ (frenchani)
Posted at: 27th March 2009 18:57 (UTC)
tahmoh dollhouse

Did you read my post on Dollhouse? I guessed that Paul might be both a client and a doll.

Anyway if Ballard is an Active like Rachel who didn't know she was a replicant, can I play Harrison Ford's role?

Posted by: StephenT (stormwreath)
Posted at: 27th March 2009 19:26 (UTC)

Um. I can't remember if I've read it. Possibly not if you posted it back when the episode came out; I try not to read any spoilers until after I've seen them, and I might have forgotten to go back to it afterwards...

You can play with Harrison Ford any time you like. :-)

Posted by: Chani φ (frenchani)
Posted at: 27th March 2009 20:08 (UTC)
tahmoh dollhouse

I posted it on Saturday, I think.


Posted by: alexeia_drae (alexeia_drae)
Posted at: 27th March 2009 19:10 (UTC)
Miss Kitty Fantastico

Well, I went with 'no' because I doubt he is, but I had no idea what I should put on the basis of the test alone! Other than whether or not Ballard is an animal lover.

Posted by: StephenT (stormwreath)
Posted at: 27th March 2009 19:28 (UTC)

Well, if he's a replicant he wouldn't be an animal lover. If he's an Active, it would depend on how he was programmed (but there might be subtle clues in how much something squicks him or interests him compared to a normal person). His responses pretty much rule out him being a Terminator, at least. They're much more polite.

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