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Voight-Kampff machine

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BladeRunner Voigt-Kampff machine

Voight-Kampff

Originating in Philip K Dick's novel Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?, the Voight-Kampff machine or device (spelled Voigt-Kampff in the book) also appeared in the book's screen adaptation, the 1982 science fiction film Blade Runner.

The Voight-Kampff is a polygraph-like machine used by the LAPD's Blade Runners to assist in the testing of an individual to see whether they are a replicant or not. It measures bodily functions such as respiration, heart rate and eye movement in response to emotionally provocative questions.

Use of the machineEdit

In the film two replicants take the test: Leon (played by Brion James) and Rachael (played by Sean Young). In Blade Runner, Deckard tells Tyrell that it usually takes 20 to 30 cross-referenced questions to distinguish a replicant. With Rachael it takes more than a hundred. Tyrell said Rachael was "special".

Description from the original 1982 Blade Runner presskit:

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.

The Voight-Kampff machine is perhaps analogous to (and may have been partly inspired by) Alan Turing's work which propounded an artificial intelligence test — to see if a computer could convince a human (by answering set questions, etc.) that it was another human. The phrase Turing test was popularised by science fiction but was not used until years after Turing's death.

ReferencesEdit

  • Future Noir: The Making of Blade Runner by Paul Sammon (Orion, 2004) ISBN 0752807404
  • Retrofitting Blade Runner: Issues in Ridley Scott's "Blade Runner" and Philip K. Dick's "Do Android's Dream of Electric Sheep?" by Judith Kerman (Popular Press, 2003) ISBN 0879725109

External linksEdit

The Blade Runner series
Films Blade Runner | Soldier
Characters Rick Deckard | Eldon Tyrell | Gaff | Rachael | Roy Batty | Leon Kowalski | Pris | Zhora | J.F. Sebastian
Locations Tyrell Corporation | Bradbury Building | Tannhauser Gate
Cast Harrison Ford | Rutger Hauer | Sean Young | Edward James Olmos | Daryl Hannah
Crew Ridley Scott | Hampton Fancher | Michael Deeley | David Peoples
Novels Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? | The Edge of Human | Replicant Night | Eye and Talon
Games and comics The Blade Runner Videogame | A Marvel Comics Super Special: Blade Runner | Blade Bummer
Making ofs Future Noir: The Making of Blade Runner | On the Edge of Blade Runner | Future Shocks
Other topics Philip K Dick | Themes | Soundtrack | Vangelis | Voight-Kampff machine | Spinner | Replicants

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