"[The VK is] a very advanced form of lie detector that measures contractions of the iris muscle and the presence of invisible airborne particles emitted from the body. The bellows were designed for the latter function and give the machine the menacing air of a sinister insect. The VK is used primarily by Blade Runners to determine if a suspect is truly human by measuring the degree of his empathic response through carefully worded questions and statements."

- 1982 Blade Runner presskit definition of the Voight-Kampff machine

If you think that the combination of experience, intuition, and imagination makes science a uniquely human capability, think again!

Say hello to the Robot Scientist, a completely automated system that carries out cycles of experiments on yeast functional genomics.1 It originates hypotheses, devises test experiments, runs the experiments using other, droid-type lab robots, interprets the results and then formulates another cycle of...

Interested in reading more?

Magaizne Cover

Become a Member of

Receive full access to digital editions of The Scientist, as well as TS Digest, feature stories, more than 35 years of archives, and much more!
Already a member?