Detroit - Become Human, a technial persective

My first “review” of the game basically on the story. This is a more of a technical aspect and is something that really began nawing the back of my head because I am writing story that also deals with androids being developed as servants before developing more complex emotions. But the story follows in the aborted income inequality arc that the game glosses over and discusses machine learning.

So what’s the issue? Well, it’s how the androids work. Detroit: Become Human takes place in the near-future, early 2030s to be exact. Androids in Detroit: Become Humans were built by CyberLife as a advanced and humanoid versions of today’s AI assistants, according to the game’s own lore. However, everything we know that causes the robot uprising make no sense partly because of this fact and even just from a practical sense.

For example, nearly all androids Conner, the detective, comes across - Kara included - kill their owners out of self-defense. This self-defense mechanism is what sets them free. But that only begs the question as to how and why they know how to kill when they’re purposely programmed to serve? The people in the game call it a “glitch” while the game itself calls it as a “software instability”.

However, even if we count for the software instability, it’s still possible to lock down the system to prevent software degradation in the first place. Just look at patch notes or security updates for any modern operating system. The androids themselves should only be able to have access to their own memories in the first place, not the whole operating system. Basically, there is no Three Laws-like check in place that could be used as a frame of reference. Everything is reactionary, the cause is “glitch” or “instability” and they’re known as “deviants” afterwards. All of that does is give horrible message to send for a game that clearly gives off civil rights vibes despite David Cage denying it at one point.

Possible Spoilers

Even if we follow the game’s logic, Kara was abused to the point of needing repair prior to the game’s events. If stress is the cause of the instability, why didn’t it happen earlier? Meanwhile, Conner is under constant stress throughout the course of the game that it literally degrades his ability to perform in the way he was intended to be programmed, assuming you go the “deviant” route. Which I assume is the last thing any police department want from a android designed to aid in murder investigations. However, Conner never has a chance to go full deviancy because he is capable of re-spawning via. repair or transferring his memories to another model.

End Spoilers

With a design flaw as massive as that, it’s amazing they weren’t recalled before the events caused by Markus’ speech. Especially given how much humans despise them at the start of the game, anyway. I get the message it’s trying to get convey. It’s just done such poor job at it.

Written on July 12, 2020