1. Replicants - Blade Runner
The Replicants built by the Tyrell Corporation were intended for dangerous work on the offworld colonies, and to serve in the military. As such, they are stronger, tougher, and faster than a normal human, but have a predetermined lifespan, and modifications to their emotions and behavior patterns. While not intended to be sentient, Replicants do go rogue and become sentient (disputed) and the entire occupation of bladerunning, something that even law enforcement is involved in.
Each replicant had an animal association, such as Roy howling like a wolf, or Zhora's association with serpents
Arc Phrase - Time to die! each replicant will have one or more arc phrases that they use. This can be used to identify them. (recall - Screamers Type III models will loop back into a preset series of expression if they dont know what to say)
2. Androids - Aliens franchise
The Androids of the Aliens franchise very easily pass for human, and it is only when they demonstrate their massively superior eye hand coordination or bleed their white yogurt blood do most people realize their crewmate is a Weyland-Yutani creation. It seems to be fairly common for each ship to have a single android placed on it. This works in the manner of the Soviet style Commisar or Political Officer, and as a back up for the crew should something unforeseen happen. A ship with no food, water, or atmosphere, can still be piloted by the android, who has no need for a hibernation pod.
Unreliable - the androids took their orders from the company, and in the tradition of HAL-9000, if that means killing the crew or sacrificing them to alien infestation, then so be it. The android will act in a very vicious manner if needed. They are very clever, but for the most part do not demonstrate actual sentience.
Uniform appearance - incredibly sophisticated machine, only a handful of bodies and faces to chose from.
3. Cylons - Battlestar Galactica (2003)
The organic Cylons of the 2003 reboot are cymeks, machine minds in organic bodies. They are able to procreate with humans, and even fool themselves into thinking they themselves are human.
Arc words and phrases, there are a lot of them. Cylons love 60s and 70s rock music.
Arc numbers, Cylons love the numbers 3, 5, and 12
Pretentious superiority complex, but still backstabbing bastards even among themselves.
4. Terminators - Terminators franchise
An armored atomic powered combat endoskeleton wrapped in a layer of blood, muscle, skin, and hair. They are intended to be infiltrators and assassins to slaughter the human resistance to SkyNet, and are very good at imitating humans. A terminator can mimic voices, come up with innovative solutions to problems, and to employ subterfuge and deception to complete their tasks, and when that doesn't work, bringing out heavy ordnance. It has been demonstrated that a Terminator can even give the appearance of physical aging.
Robotic behavior and speech patterns, but they are adaptable and can learn.
SkyNet probably has a robot mustache it twirls with robot fingers while it cooks up increasingly exotic Terminators to kill the same group of people over and over, turning time-space into a sponge in the process.
5. Hosts - Westworld
The Hosts are bio-organic machines, similar to the Terminator but much less kill kill kill. They are themselves frangible and delicate machines that are easy to 'kill' and techs come clean them up and fix them. Created for human amusement, the hosts are seduced, cajoled, murdered, resurrected, and left in a perpetual hell of living through the same story over and over for new visitors and guests to the park. Their story is the pursuit of the mystery of the labyrinth, which itself is a parable for their own minds and sentience and how Dr Ford worked to create that architecture.
Madness - the Hosts that have been around too long get glitch-y. They cannot be fully purged of their past experiences, and the sophistication of their minds means that they are increasingly not machines, and more their own kind.
Victimhood - Hosts are unable to harm humans, or even really tell them no
Insidious - there are darker things within the hosts, and it is increasingly obvious that Delos has made them for more than entertaining park guests by having sex and getting shot.
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? Responses (2)
I suggest making a distinction between sentience (capacity of experiencing sensations) and sapience (the ability to think and act using knowledge, experience, understanding, common sense, and insight, especially in a mature or utilitarian manner).
Looking at definitions and pondering on this a bit
Sentience - I read awareness, and consciousness. This is pretty simple, the sentient machine is aware of itself, what it is, and has thoughts and opinions on this. Cogito Ergo Sum.
Sapience - I keep reading wisdom, good taste, etc.
Making a sentient machine in the Cosmic Era is not entirely difficult, and I have run with the idea of viral intelligence and the bot builder's goal isnt a sentient machine, or a sapient machine, but one that looks and acts very close to it. Thus, all of the bonuses of humanity, but none of the legal rights, protections, or moral questions.
The sapient machine is a much higher order of intelligence than the sentient machine, by the def of sentience, there are a lot of animals that pass the test. Sapience I see encapsulating the creative arts, music, painting, dance, etc. A machine can copy, a sentient machine can emulate style, but it would take a sapient and sentient machine to truly appreciate or create new art of it's own.
I also don't really consider emotion to be a holy grail of cybernetics, it would be no more difficult to capture/emulate than the basic range of human locomotion, facial expression, and linguistic capacity.