Almost Human pairs Karl Urban's John Kennex as an embittered injured cop with a robot partner. The current range of standard issue bots aren't to his tastes as the logic of one got his pal killed and he lost a leg in a shoot out with the criminal group The Syndicate. Since it's the law that all cops need a robo-buddy his boss contrives to give him one of the older models, Dorian, which has a supposedly faulty emotion chip and has the role of a mobile, physical search engine. It's all a bit Bladerunner, and might be really funny if John turned out to be a bot too. Despite a gleaming future run by robots people still get to drive their own cars.
Intelligence is set in the present day and has one of America's most highly decorated veterans, Gabriel Black, played by Lost's Josh Holloway, have a weird genetic anomaly that allows a chip to be put in his head that lets him wirelessly access all networks, hack into them and dig through databases while a side effect is he can intuitively walk through crime scenes recreated in his minds eye. Kind of like a holodeck only he can see. He's teamed up with a female Secret Service agent, Riley O'Neil, to act as his bodyguard in the field. She's so attractive looking she enters an uncanny valley of not looking real that many actors seem to be falling into these days.
I've only seen one episode of Almost Human so not sure how that pans out storywise. Intelligence has put all the show's money into the visualisations of Gabriel's data-searches and VR experiences as otherwise it's quite a cheap show. Iraq looks like the same Hollywood backlot they filmed Star Trek on. Both shows have the male lead pursuing/ pining for a mysterious female who they were in a relationship with but now seems to have been into something shifty.
What is interesting for me is the comparison of the two approaches to robotics and advancing technology. In Almost Human the technology is very much external, in the future we'll have fully humanoid artificial beings. In Intelligence we'll all be directly connected to information without Google goggles or smartphones using tiny computers inside use, hell lets call them nano-bots.
The more plausible is the world of Intelligence. If recent history has told us anything it's that we're getting better at user interfaces and in fact removing that interface where possible. Hence the move into touchscreens, voice activated assistants, spectacles projecting augmented reality into our eyes. Those devices will collapse further and disappear inside us.
An actual physical robot is a user interface for the whole world. It's going to the opposite end of the scale. We start with the machine and introduce the humanity. How soon before we replace ourselves entirely with an artificially body and remove that interface completely?
What do we need robots for anyway? To do hard work we don't want to, or can't do. In some cases they're even substitutes for emotional work, companions to the elderly and the young, no doubt the loveless too. They're a retreat from all dangers. They don't really make the problem go away, they mitigate it. If we go tiny with our robots we might not need to worry about the problems at all. Aging bodies replenished by tiny machines, our other needs that lead us into danger - food, resources, may not be so necessary. If we lose our emotions though we're probably not human anymore anyway.
But what about, dare we say it, our souls? If we replace ourselves with machines from the outside in (the macro model) do we lose our souls quicker than from the inside out (the nano model)? It seems either way the future is the same, one is just more blatant than the other.