Through the first five chapters of Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?, by Philip K. Dick, we are presented with a post-apocalyptic world, where a world war(W.W.T.) seems to have wiped out most of the human race, and nearly every known animal. ¬†Most of the survivors chose the path of emigration, where individuals would move to another planet and leave the fallout covered Earth. ¬†We are introduced to a Bounty Hunter named Rick Deckard, whose line of work is to “retire” androids that have gone rogue. ¬†As we go along through the chapters, there’s realization that this bounty hunter job is more complicated than it seems. ¬†A device is used in order to help with the process of finding these androids, by helping the hunter distinguish them from humans. ¬†Distinguishing between an android and a human being with the Voigt-Kampff scale is no easy task, though effective, there are limitations.

The Voigt-Kampff scale is used to distinguish an android from a human. ¬†This scale was designed for the sole purpose of discovering androids that have gone rouge, and not make the mistake of killing off a human. ¬†“The Voigt-Kampff Empathy Test, had emerged as criteria by which to judge. ¬†An android, no matter how gifted as to pure intellectual capacity, could make no sense out of the fusion which took place among routinely among the followers of Mercerism”(30). ¬†Mercerism being the religion that the people follow here, have followers that are solely empathetic. ¬†Meaning that they go through this trance where they “connect” to Mercer through the Empathy box mentally and somehow physically. ¬†Since androids are generally considered humans without feelings, it is evident that this device can easily distinguish one from the other. ¬†Unfortunately, there are limitations to this device.

There are possibilities that humans might fail the Voigt-Kampff test due to a mental disorder. ¬†Humans that suffer from schizophrenia are known to have problems controlling their emotions, behavior and thought process. ¬†Hence, it’s possible that humans with this disorder can, possibly, fail the test. ¬†Inspector Bryant mentioned, “The Leningrad psychiatrists think that a small class of humans beings could not pass the Voigt-Kampff scale. ¬†If you tested them in line with police work, you’d assess them as humanoid robots”(38). ¬†So the limitations to the Voigt-Kampff scale is that people that have mental issues are not able to produce the same feelings or responses compared to that of a healthy human. ¬†Therefore, it’s possible to mistaken a human for an android and, worst case scenario, actually kill them.

The advancement of android development is leaving its toll on the reliability of the scale. ¬†The “Nexus-6” as we know is the new type of android that is being distributed by the Rosen orgainization, which seems to have the capabilities to pass the Voigt-Kampff test. ¬†Rachael Rosen was the first subject from the control group to undergo the test, directed by Rick. ¬†Once the test was over, Rick declared that she was an android, but both of the Rosens were able to fool him into thinking that she was a human. ¬†It was only when Rachael mentioned, “‘Your owl, dear,’ ‘Remember? ¬†We’ll tie your home address around its leg and have it fly down San Francisco'”(58), that Deckard was able to realize that there was something off with her. ¬†Normally if a human were to know the gender of an animal, then, in third person, the animal would be referred to as his or her, not its. ¬†With Rachael using “its” when referring to the owl, Rick was able to question her empathetic legitimacy and thus have her take a second test. ¬†Therefore, it is possible that an android as advance as the “Nexus-6” is still unable to emit¬†perfect human qualities.

Overall, the hunt for rogue androids isn’t something to be taken lightly. ¬†Their artificial intelligence is enough to fool anyone at first glance, but with the Voigt-Kampff scale, you can easily trace one to an extent. ¬†What I find interesting though, is how are androids able to kill their masters in the first place? ¬†Is it possible that their masters have pushed them to the limits of their capabilities, which then caused them to rebel? ¬†These are some questions that I’m looking to find answers to in the chapters to come.