Quantic Dreams’ new narrative video game imagines the consequences of relying on robots in a thrilling study of control, subservience and humanity

In 1950, Isaac Asimov imagined a future in which sentient robots are built to serve and protect humans, but end up doing the opposite. Almost seven decades later, that scenario has become much more prescient as artificial intelligence and robotics technologies bring us closer to a world of helpful, servile automatons. Now, Detroit: Become Human, a narrative adventure from experimental studio Quantic Dreams is the latest work to imagine the consequences of relying on such super smart machines.

Set several years in the future, the game takes place in a world where androids have taken over most menial tasks and humans are figuring out what to do with all their leisure time. The major manufacturer of replicants, CyberLife, says its machines are safe and under control, and everyone is happy to trust them. But when a small group start to show human-like awareness, fear and resentment grow. Detroit: Become Human gives players control over several of these awakened droids as they form a kind of underground movement and start demanding some rights.

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