Demoridroids: A cyberpunk/sci-fi mook concept

The Demoridroids are a concept for an army of mooks/minions; they would be used as a cheap alternative to human guards. They are, in most ways, indistinguishable from other battle robots or droids; the only difference is that they have an added function that attempts to demoralize their human targets.

The Demoridroid project started with the idea of scanning the huge volumes of existing data produced by humans in an attempt to find the most stressful phrases that can be uttered; they found data relating to human reactions to certain phrases and found the ones that caused the most fear and anxiety; they also measured stress-based psychosomatic functions, like nausea. They assumed that the bots would then end up finding the best battle cries, but they actually ended up with a very different phrase list, leading to the creation of a group of droids that went into battle blasting phrases such as:

  • We need to talk.
  • Where do you see yourself in five years?
  • What is your greatest weakness?
  • So, what do you do?
  • Your rent is due.
  • The results were inconclusive.
  • Your card was declined.

The Demoridroid 1.0 would occasionally combine phrases if they were damaged, leading to dying robots crying out phrases like “We need to five years mother declined,” and though this was not a common bug, some viral videos of the Demoridroid 1.0 caused a dramatic decline in sales of new units and they were discontinued.

The Demoridroid 2.0 had far more advanced software to find information about its targets; it was able to use a scan of their appearance to get demographic data in order to find phrases that will affect people like them specifically, and they could be paired with in-house security systems that scanned any identification chips, RFID tags, and visible products, creating either a working model of the target or accessing public information about them; because of the sheer amount of information available on social networking sites, the Demoridroids were now able to narrow down their demoralizing phrases much more specifically.

This instantly led to many corporations buying the Demoridroids for security, but video of them soon leaked that found that the phrases that they indicated as stressful for many demographics tended to be overwhelmingly racist, sexist and homophobic: the most stressful phrases for members of marginalized groups often were a mix of casual microaggressions, explicit use of slurs, and other forms of harassment. A particular video of a droid yelling “Hey, (sexist slur), turn around, I’m talkin’ to you!” followed by a series of sexually explicit and threatening statements ended up with millions of views and was shown on several national news broadcasts.

This led to a call for the total cessation of the use of Demoridroids, and while some celebrities have attached themselves to this cause and a couple of corporations attempting to keep a “clean public image” have removed them, the anti-Demoridroid factions have so far had little success.

(The Demoridroids concept is free to use non commercially as long as you let me know if you decide to post any variations on them. If you’re a game master and you use them in a game, I’d be interested to see how you stat them, too!)

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