A bioroid is something of a neologism, describing something that is, effectively, a robot made of living tissue. The etymology would probably derive from android1 and bios2. In fantasy terms these would be called homonculi, but the term bioroid is very much a thing of sci-fi. Ironically the "original" robots (they of Capeck's play) are effectively bioroids in modern terminology.
Bioroids will likely vary from sub-sapient living tools to artifical humans, depending on purpose - some will need a great deal of maintenance and be incapable of much beyond their intended task, whilst other will be significantly super-human in some or all fields. In general, anything that is an exact copy of an existing organism, or starts out as one and is gene-fixed, probably counts as a (modified) clone rather than a bioroid3 - the 'roid should realistically be built from the ground up4. Anything that isn't alive in its own right (like some forms of wetware processor or variant cyborg) probably doesn't count either.
As living creatures, bioroids are likely to generate some kind of ethical controversy - whether in the fashion of animal welfare or more in that of the anti-slavery movement will depend on the nature of the bioroids in question and their applications. Reproduction may be an issue - expect bioroids not to be independantly fertile (very bad for IP protection, not to mention quality control) and growth tanks to feature widely. Likewise, a bioroid may have some kind of dependency built in to ensure that it remains under control - for narrative purposes, these controls can be expected to fail.
Game and Story Use
- The replicants in Blade Runner are at the extreme end of human-like bioroids, Capeck's "robots" and the "non-organic persons" of the Aliens universe somewhat less so and the "biots" of the Rama stories closer to the other end of the scale, as are the modified "companions" used by the RipTide Altcult in Cyberpunk V.3.
- A player who has neglected to write a backstory for his character may find that he is in fact a bioroid.
- Or a key NPC may turn out to be one … the question is, were they always one?
- A society could be entirely based on the labour of bioroids with actual humans as a small ruling class - like Huxley's Brave New World but without the pretense that the sub-beta castes are in any way people.
- Conversely, a society in which sapient bioroids have full civil rights could also be very interesting.
- Most of what is presented for robots may also apply to 'roids, depending on the setting.