Psycho-Pass is probably the best sci-fi anime ever made after Steins; Gate and Ghost in the Shell. It delves into deep philosophical, moral, and ethical questions in a utopian universe that can get anyone hooked from the start to the end. The world of Psycho-Pass is run by a complicated and efficient system known as Sibyl that stops criminals even before they commit a crime. Not just that, the Sibyl system is built to make career and other life choices for people based on their aptitude and other factors. It might appear that the world of Psycho-Pass is perfect since no one with bad intentions will ever be able to ever disrupt social order and harm others, but nothing could be further from the truth.
In reality, the Sibyl system itself is deeply corrupted, and most of its analysis is far from accurate. Although it does make life easier in several aspects, certain serious flaws are kept a secret. Law and order are one of Psycho-Pass’s central issues since it is a dystopian sci-fi cop drama. The social order is maintained by a team of Inspectors and Enforcers who use an advanced weapon called Dominators. They are sleek and futuristic-looking devices that are capable of causing severe damage or even killing someone if the situation demands.
The Dominators can calculate the crime coefficient of people, which varies depending on their intentions. If a criminal has a too high crime coefficient then they can be justifiably killed using the Dominators. The problem with such an arrangement lies in the fact that the crime coefficient is not always the right predictor of the threat that a person poses. In some cases, several criminals do not even have crime coefficients which makes it impossible to take action against them. There are several other issues with the Sibyl system that has been put in place to run the dystopian world of Psycho-Pass. However, the Dominators have a very important place as they are the tool that runs the Sibyl justice system. Today we look at Dominators to understand them and figure out what makes them special.
Dominators are very easy to operate and require little training. All one needs to practice is point and shoot, and the device takes care of the rest. The Sibyl system runs the Dominators, and they can only be used by the Inspectors and Enforcers of the Public Safety Bureau. The Enforcers were also once Inspectors, but they were later demoted because of their high crime coefficients. Once the coefficients are calculated, the data is sent back to the Sibyl system which gives its judgment. The Dominators act accordingly and within seconds Sibyl’s judgment is carried out.
All of this happens in mere seconds, and the accused has no chance of appealing against the decision. It’s quick and therefore often flawed. The criminals with a good understanding of the system are able to use the loopholes to exploit it. They easily used the perfect method to work against themselves and harm the people that it is supposed to protect.
The Crime Coefficients are calculated by taking the stress levels and other biological readings of the accused into account. The problem with such a system and methodology for calculating coefficients is the fact that even innocent people might have high coefficients because of the psychological stress and trauma that they are subjected to. Since the Dominators are automatic, the Inspectors and Enforcers have only one way of intervening with Sibyl’s judgment: to appeal to the criminals to lower their Crime Coefficients by themselves. Asymptomatic Criminals can manage their Crime Coefficients in a manner that never gets higher than 100 points. It makes the Dominators ineffective against them since low coefficients indicate that they have done nothing wrong.
Dominators are useful in several ways and they do have a ton of positives. They are meant to create a just world that is safe for law-abiding citizens. But because of its limitations, they sometimes do exactly the opposite of what is expected from them. The Sibyl System that runs these Dominators is itself run by a conglomeration of criminally asymptomatic brains. Strangely, the system that is designed to root out criminals is itself a sum total of hundreds of criminal brains. The Sibyl system consistently adds new brains to help with its judgments and most of the brains belong to criminals who are remorseless psychopaths. They are supposed to give judgments to maintain social order and ensure that law is upheld. The Sibyl system was made to take the Inspector’s biases out of the equation. But, since the system itself uses human brains to make the decision it is apparent that it is not as perfect as its creators might have claimed. Its infallibility is challenged by its failure to judge asymptomatic criminals. Moreover, innocent people also have to lose their lives because of the system’s inability to understand that psychological trauma can dramatically increase crime coefficients. So, despite being an efficient system in most cases, the Sibyl system does have its limitations, which are supposed to be criticized and improved. But a society that considers such systems as infallible will never have the courage to make any meaningful changes.