SF Mayor Race 2004
September 06, 2003
Android Test For Mayorial Candidates

So I know nobody really cares right now, with the recall going on and all, but San Francisco's about to vote in a new Mayor this November, and I think it's a pretty important election worth paying attention to.

I'm voting for Tom Ammiano. He's my local rep, and a damn good one at that.

He also doesn't hate poor people, like Gavin Newsome apparently does (arguably, the front runner in the race). As demonstrated by his actions in last year's "Care Not Cash" campaign, Gavin likes to blame the poor for being poor and to take their benefits away without explicitly defining what "services" they are going to get in return...but that's another story. (One with a happy ending actually, because a judge threw out the whole "Care Not Cash" fiasco some months ago!)

Anyway, for this article, that's all beside the point. This puppy's just plain funny.

Update: I just confirmed w/the Ammanio folks that these are real interviews! They are not made up.

(Funny, I guess Ammiano was the only one that got the Bladerunner reference :-)

More Human than Human

A field guide for testing if the San Francisco mayoral candidates are human or not.
By John Holden for The Wave.

Here is the full text of the article in case the link goes bad:

http://www.thewavemag.com/pagegen.php?pagename=article&articleid=24031

More Human than Human
A field guide for testing if the San Francisco mayoral candidates are human or not.
John Holden


Send this Article to a friend! Printer Friendly replicant (repí-li-kant) n.
1. A genetically engineered creature composed entirely of organic substance designed to look and act human.
2. An android.

With Willie Brown finally leaving his gold (plated), diamond-encrusted throne, there has been no shortage of hats thrown into the mayoral ring. San Francisco politics are now a microcosm of Californiaís own, greater gubernatorial ďchallenges.Ē Rather than confuse you with endorsements, position papers and other outmoded means of political influence, weíve decided to get to the bottom of the only question that matters: Is a particular candidate human or an insidious replicant, possessed of physical strength and computational abilities far exceeding our own, but lacking empathy and possibly even bent on our destruction as a species?

The only reliable method that we know of for sniffing out replicants is the Voight-Kampff Test, created by Phillip K. Dick in his book, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep and later used by Harrison Fordís character, Deckard, in the film Blade Runner. The test uses a series of questions to evoke an emotional response which androids are incapable of having. By the candidatesí responses to this line of questioning, we feel we can say with some certainty whether or not theyíre replicants. However, weíre stopping short of recommending that you vote for them or not. After all, though a replicant mayor may be more likely to gouge a supervisorís eyes out with their thumbs, they have another quality that could be great in an elected official: a four year life span.


SUBJECT 1: ANGELA ALIOTO

The Wave: Reaction time is a factor in this, so please pay attention. Now, answer as quickly as you can.

Itís your birthday. Someone gives you a calfskin wallet. How do you react?
Angela Alioto: Iíd accept it.

TW: Youíve got a little boy. He shows you his butterfly collection plus the killing jar. What do you do?
AA: Iíd look at it. What do you mean what would I do? As opposed to saying ďhow horrible?Ē I would tell him how beautiful it is.

TW: Youíre watching television. Suddenly you realize thereís a wasp crawling on your arm.
AA: Iíd knock it off. Itís something Iím used to doing in politics [Laughs].

TW: Youíre in a desert walking along in the sand when all of the sudden you look down, and you see a tortoise, Angela, itís crawling toward you. You reach down, you flip the tortoise over on its back, Angela. The tortoise lays on its back, its belly baking in the hot sun, beating its legs trying to turn itself over, but it canít, not without your help. But youíre not helping. Why is that, Angela?
AA: That would never happen. I wouldnít turn it over in the first place, and the thing with it being in pain is out of the question. Let me ask you, John, how does this fit in to the bigger picture when you ask me about the dying tortoise and the dead butterflies?

TW: Theyíre just questions, Angela. In answer to your query, theyíre written down for me. Itís a test, designed to provoke an emotional response. Shall we continue? Describe in single words, only the good things that come into your mind. About your mother.
AA: My mother? Sheís beautiful. Sheís an artist. Sheís a renaissance artist.

CONCLUSION: Her defensiveness over her lack of empathy for the butterfly is telling, as is the comparison of a political rival to a wasp that should be knocked off. I think we can safely say that Angela Alioto is indeed a replicant, albeit one that ďlovesĒ the implanted memory of her mother. Keep an eye on her.


SUBJECT 2: SUSAN LEAL

The Wave: Itís your birthday. Someone gives you a calfskin wallet. How do you react?
Susan Leal: Disappointed.

TW: Youíve got a little boy. He shows you his butterfly collection plus the killing jar. What do you do?
SL: Iíd be fascinated.

TW: Youíre watching television. Suddenly you realize thereís a wasp crawling on your arm.
SL: Iíd kill it.

TW: Youíre in a desert walking along in the sand when all of the sudden you look down, and you see a tortoise, Susan, itís crawling toward you. You reach down, you flip the tortoise over on its back, Susan. The tortoise lays on its back, its belly baking in the hot sun, beating its legs trying to turn itself over, but it canít, not without your help. But youíre not helping. Why is that, Susan?
SL: I donít know, I mustíve lost my mind.

TW: Describe in single words, only the good things that come into your mind. About your mother.
SL: Honest. Supportive. Liberal. Interesting.

CONCLUSION: The dissociation Susan expressed in response to the tortoise question confirms what we already knew: Susan Leal is a replicant. However, by evaluating her response to the wasp question (word for word as Rachel Ė totally a replicant Ė answered it in Blade Runner), we can tell that sheís at least a Nexus 7. If you vote for Susan, you will be electing a replicant, but one of the most highly advanced models available.


SUBJECT 3: MATT GONZALEZ

The Wave: Reaction time is a factor in this, so please pay attention. Now, answer as quickly as you can.

Itís your birthday. Someone gives you a calfskin wallet. How do you react?
Matt Gonzalez: Iím sorry, what kind of wallet?

TW: Calfskin.
MG: Calfskin, I donít even know what that is.

TW: Do you know what a cow is, Matt?
MG: Yeah.

TW: Baby cow.
MG: Um, I have no idea how I would react.

TW: Youíve got a little boy. He shows you his butterfly collection plus the killing jar. What do you do?
MG: These are great questions. Iím not sure if theyíre ideal for 9:00. We were up pretty late at the office. I can only associate to things that Iíve seen or done in my own lifeÖ.

TW: Youíre watching television. Suddenly you realize thereís a wasp crawling on your arm.
MG: I guess I would probably just knock it off.

TW: Youíre in a desert walking along in the sand when all of the sudden you look down, and you see a tortoise, Matt, itís crawling toward you. You reach down, you flip the tortoise over on its back, Matt. The tortoise lays on its back, its belly baking in the hot sun, beating its legs trying to turn itself over, but it canít, not without your help. But youíre not helping. Why is that, Matt?
MG: Well I donít think I would have knocked it over in the first place and I donít get any amusement out of making tortoises suffer, so I donít think that would be me. You must have confused me for one of my opponents.

TW: Shall we continue? Describe in single words, only the good things that come into your mind. About your mother.
MG: Just a positive person, no negative energy at all. Next time could we do this later in the day?

CONCLUSION: Androids do not dream of electric sheep because they donít sleep, unlike Matt Gonzalez who was up late ďworkingĒ at the office. His obvious grogginess leads us to the conclusion that he is indeed a human, but one with an ill-formed sleep schedule. Were he a replicant he would have already gouged out six eyeballs, broken in to the genetic design lab and made a trip to the juice bar by this time of the day.


SUBJECT 4: TOM AMMIANO

The Wave: Reaction time is a factor in this, so please pay attention. Now, answer as quickly as you can.

Itís your birthday. Someone gives you a calfskin wallet. How do you react?
Tom Ammiano: Iíd look for money.

TW: Youíve got a little boy. He shows you his butterfly collection plus the killing jar. What do you do?
TA: Iíd think this was Blade Runner. Thatís my reaction.

TW: Youíre watching television. Suddenly you realize thereís a wasp crawling on your arm.
TA: Call 911.

TW: Youíre in a desert walking along in the sand when all of the sudden you look down, and you see a tortoise, Tom, itís crawling toward you. You reach down, you flip the tortoise over on its back, Tom. The tortoise lays on its back, its belly baking in the hot sun, beating its legs trying to turn itself over, but it canít, not without your help. But youíre not helping. Why is that, Tom?
TA: Thatís interesting. I donít know. Iím a republican?

TW: Describe in single words, only the good things that come into your mind. About your mother.
TA: Tenderness. Yelling.

CONCLUSION: The self-awareness required to recognize that youíre being administered a Voight-Kampff Test automatically eliminates the possibility of you being a replicant. Good work, Tom! Youíre human! Now watch your back.


SUBJECT 5: TONY RIBERA

The Wave: Reaction time is a factor in this, so please pay attention. Now, answer as quickly as you can.

Itís your birthday. Someone gives you a calfskin wallet. How do you react?
Tony Ribera: Good. Iíd be happy.

TW: Youíve got a little boy. He shows you his butterfly collection plus the killing jar. What do you do?
TR: Iíd ask him to explain it to me.

TW: Youíre watching television. Suddenly you realize thereís a wasp crawling on your arm.
TR: Slap it.

TW: Youíre in a desert walking along in the sand when all of the sudden you look down, and you see a tortoise, Tony, itís crawling toward you. You reach down, you flip the tortoise over on its back, Tony. The tortoise lays on its back, its belly baking in the hot sun, beating its legs trying to turn itself over, but it canít, not without your help. But youíre not helping. Why is that, Tony?
TR: Well, I think I would help. I like tortoises. As a former athlete Iíve always been very slow, and I feel I can relate to them.

TW: Describe in single words, only the good things that come into your mind. About your mother.
TR: Happy. Cheerful. Optimistic. Pretty. Fun.

CONCLUSIONS: Inconclusive. While generally empathetic, there is a homey quality to Tonyís answers that are almost too good to be true. As if they wereÖ programmed. Fifty-fifty heís a skin job.


SUBJECT 6: GAVIN NEWSOM

The Wave: Reaction time is a factor in this, so please pay attention. Now, answer as quickly as you can.

Itís your birthday. Someone gives you a calfskin wallet. How do you react?
Gavin Newsom: I donít have anything to put in it. I would thank them and move on.

TW: Youíve got a little boy. He shows you his butterfly collection plus the killing jar. What do you do?
GN: I would tell him toÖ You know what? I wouldnít know how to respond. Howís that for an answer? Is this a psychological test? Iím worriedÖ

TW: Theyíre just questions, Gavin. In answer to your query, theyíre written down for me. Itís a test, designed to provoke an emotional response.
GN: Oh, I got you.

TW: Shall we continue?
GN: Sure.

TW: Youíre watching television. Suddenly you realize thereís a wasp crawling on your arm. How would you react?
GN: I would quietly sit and wait for the wasp to move to the next victim.

TW: Youíre in a desert walking along in the sand when all of the sudden you look down, and you see a tortoise, Gavin, itís crawling toward you. You reach down, you flip the tortoise over on its back, Gavin. The tortoise lays on its back, its belly baking in the hot sun, beating its legs trying to turn itself over, but it canít, not without your help. But youíre not helping. Why is that, Gavin?
GN: [Immediately] Not a chance. I would never flip the tortoise over in the first place.

TW: Describe in single words, only the good things that come into your mind. About your mother.
GN: Ethics. Commitment. Sacrifice.

CONCLUSION: Almost too close to call. Almost. Newsom displays a defensiveness when his empathy is questioned. Heís aware that heís being probed for emotional responses, and even expresses concern about this. However, this concern is alleviated a little too easily by our crafty V-K interviewer. Newsom is definitely a replicant. Probably a Nexus 5.

Posted by Lisa at September 06, 2003 08:37 AM | TrackBack
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