Racism, sexism and bigotry are sadly commonplace in society. One need not look far to find it. Some of it is so ingrained into us that we fail to notice ourselves taking part in it each day like when we call someone a ‘faggot’ or a ‘nigga’. But what does this have to do with Psycho-Pass a series not concerned with such issues. No, the society here seems to have transcended such boundaries, where people are judged by what’s on the inside rather than their appearances.
But looking deeper there seems to be something inherently wrong with such a system. People aren’t exactly judged for their actions, but rather the expectations of the actions they will take based on a hue and a criminal coefficient. Wait, this sounds oddly familiar…
Stereotypes are the foundation for any sort of discrimination. They serve as negative archetypes that we place people into, based on cultural, physical or social trends amongst a certain group of people. But what does this have to do with expectation of actions?
Let’s take a very popular example. Say you are introduced to an Indian immigrant who just happened to arrive in the US. An initial conclusion you might jump to is that he drives a taxi or works at a Seven Eleven. If you went to his house, you believe that you would be served curry. These are all actions you expect him to take considering certain socioeconomic variables.
In Psycho-Pass the variables themselves are different. The sibyl system only takes into consideration a persons psycholigical state and makes a judgement based on that information alone. But the fundamental mechanics of stereotypes and how they function are present. Instead of saying someone has a penchant for working in a convenience store because of his skin color and accent drenched English, you do so based on a quick scan of the brain.
This is a whole lot more scarier. Having science back up discrimination brings up shadows of Nazi Germany, where having blue eyes and blonde hair were enough to belong to a superior race. The similarities don’t just end there though.
The judgments that Sibyl makes coerce similar actions. People’s whose hues are too cloudy either get executed or subjected to second class citizenship. Such is the grim reality of the world of Psycho-Pass. Could you imagine being thrown in jail for losing the result you received on a personality test?
The problem I have with all sorts of psycho social examinations that determine the type of person you are is that they can’t account for everything. Humans aren’t perfect machines like Sibyl, we can make mistakes. Because we are prone to such errors is what makes us beautiful, it’s what makes us human. There is always a chance for us to take a detour from the path probability has drawn out for us. There is no perfect GPS for the soul.
So let’s cross our fingers and hope a frustrated psychiatrist and a mad computer engineer don’t get together and create a future free of choice and full of subtle stereotypes.