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New Sci-Fi Short Film Asks Who Among Us Is Secretly a Westworld-Like Robot

Who indeed.
Who indeed.
Image: Dust (YouTube)

Undercover robots are just like Hansel: They’re so hot right now. Who Among Us, a new short film from Dust, turns the Turing Test into a reality game show, where billions of people are trying to guess which contestant is actually a machine—learning uncomfortable truths about human nature along the way.

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Directed by Rebecca Kahn and Abhishek Prasad, Who Among Us seems to take heavy inspiration from shows like Black Mirror and Westworld. It unfolds on a successful game show (of the same name) where six human contestants have been trying to suss out which one among them is a robot. It’s now the final episode, with two contestants remaining.

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Everyone believes that Seven, who’s exhibiting odd behavior, is the secret robot. But the twist is that every contestant, regardless of what they actually are, believes they are human. As the entire world turns against Seven, humiliating her to the point of a near-breakdown, even she starts to doubt herself. In a statement, the directors said they were interested in exploring the intersection of reality television, trauma, and exploited technology:

We wanted to explore how the media and groupthink can cause a person to doubt what they know to be true. Seven’s character goes through the trauma of gas-lighting, but on a public scale. Reality television specifically exploits and bends the truth in this way. We just extrapolated how that would play out in the future when bots like Siri and Alexa become nearly indistinguishable from humans. Wouldn’t there be a game show where contestants have to figure out who among them is the machine? The fascinating part is how open we are to untested technology, especially when it’s entertaining.

You can watch Who Among Us above, or check out more on Dust’s YouTube page.


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Video Editor and Staff Writer at io9. My doppelganger is that rebelling greeting card from Futurama.

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DISCUSSION

brianfowler713
Brianfowler713

Stupid question, but shouldn’t you be able to tell if someone is a robot by taking a blood sample, or scanning a metal detector over their hand or arms?

I get the appeal of secret androids, but it completely ignores how complicated the human body is and how many systems an android would need to emulate. There’s the respiratory system, the cardiovascular system, the digestive system, sweating, bad breath, blood clots, acne, healing cuts or scars, body temperature, brainwaves. And even if you manage to make something like a flipping T-800, you still have a metal skeleton under all of that living tissue. It’d be easier just to clone a person and mind control the clone.

The best example of a secret android is in ALIEN. No one knew Ash was a robot because no checked. As soon as he takes a hook, his robotic nature became obvious really quick.