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"Everything starts as somebody's daydream. And, when you're daydreaming, it is science fiction. It's when you start work out how you put it together, true science fiction becomes real science."
- Larry Niven

Voight-Kampff Empathy Test  
  A test consisting of a set of images and questions, asked while the subject's biometric data are gathered; intended to separate humans from non-humans.  

The Voight-Kampff test attempts to distinguish androids from human beings by autonomic responses to questions that should elicit an empathic response. Because it seeks to gather and measure biological information for security purposes, the empathy testing procedure is a kind of biometric identification system.

"I'm not a peace officer," Rick said. "I'm a bounty hunter." From his opened briefcase he fished out the Voight-Kampff apparatus, seated himself at a nearby rosewood coffee table, and began to assemble the rather simple polygraphic instruments...

"This" - he held up the flat adhesive disk with its trailing wires - "measures capillary dilation in the facial area. We know this to be a primary autonomic response... This records fluctuations of tension within the eye muscles.

From Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?, by Philip K. Dick.
Published by Doubleday in 1968
Additional resources -


(From Harrison Ford Gives The Test)

The history of tests to distinguish human beings from machines is short, but interesting. Alan Turing devised what is commonly known as the Turing Test; the crux of the test is language usage.

It is intriguing to note that Dick has vacated the field from the standpoint of trying to defend human intelligence versus machine intelligence; he relies on emotional response. Biometric data are also used to authenticate the person being tested. At the time the novel was written, computers were able to play chess, but poorly. (Turing himself wrote the first chess program in 1950, using a limited size board and fewer pieces. Claude Shannon published the first article on the subject, outlining how a computer would evaluate and choose positions. Chess programs reached Grand Master status by 1988.)

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Additional resources:
  More Ideas and Technology from Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?
  More Ideas and Technology by Philip K. Dick
  Tech news articles related to Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?
  Tech news articles related to works by Philip K. Dick

Voight-Kampff Empathy Test-related news articles:
  - Is Your Candidate Human?
  - Portable MRI Scans For Psychopathy Like Voight-Kampff
  - Emotion Detector Like PKD's Voight-Kampff Empathy Test
  - SimSensei Plus Kinnect Equals PKD's Voight-Kampff?

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