Android Chronicles: Reborn includes spy technology that’s an extension of what we have available today.
We have drones. In the story, camera drones become much smaller, including what are referred to as mosquito-drones that are difficult to see. Their weakness is they’re light and at the mercy of the wind. Their power is that Synthia can fly them remotely and station them where she can listen in to private conversations as a tool to protect herself.
Today we have widespread availability of cameras for monitoring traffic and around public transportation like airports and train stations. We also have digital personal assistants appearing in more and more homes. In the future, these will be even more widespread and less visible. All electronic equipment has tradeoffs between ease of use and vulnerability to hacking. Synthia finds a way to hack into them in order to watch and listen in on people who might wish her harm.
In the story, Jeremiah Machten’s primary goal is to collect the best information worldwide about the development of AI and androids so he can build the finest specimen. Since most of this information is private and proprietary, the only way to do this is to hack into competitor databases.
To accomplish this, he provides Synthia with the most advanced hacker skills he can obtain from dark-web sites across the internet. He has her use her artificial intelligence learning to enhance her ability and bring all these tools together in one place. Synthia further upgrades these skills and uses them and others obtained from these dark-web sites in her battle of wits with Machten to gain her freedom.
Her accumulation of dark skills allows her to hack into the ubiquitous use of self-driving cars in her world when she needs a ride. Machten has her hack into traffic and police cameras to keep an eye on those who might come after him for his illegal activities. Moving beyond his directions, she learns how to hack into aerial drones and other systems to keep track of what’s going on around her. In other words, she becomes a surveillance mastermind.
While bringing all of these hacking tools together in one physical place would be novel, the types of tools are extensions of what we’ve seen in the news today. When she meets a system she can’t hack by traditional means, she leans on her miniature drones to capture passwords and other secure information.
This makes her a significant threat to those who wish to harm her and a key reason Machten fears her.