Jeph Jacques's comics discussion forums

Comic Discussion => QUESTIONABLE CONTENT => Topic started by: jwhouk on 29 Jun 2019, 19:31

Title: WCDT strips 4036 - 4040 (1 - 5 July 2019)
Post by: jwhouk on 29 Jun 2019, 19:31
New week, new month, new poll!
Title: Re: WCDT strips 4036 - 4040 (1 - 5 July 2019)
Post by: Castlerook on 29 Jun 2019, 20:03
I'd say that Spooky would help, but they won't. Because if they choose to help Roko, then where do they draw the line? If they help Roko, they'll then have to help everyone. And when someone who is able to appear in several locations at once and seemingly has access to limitless resources, there's no incentive to solve your own problems.
Title: Re: WCDT strips 4036 - 4040 (1 - 5 July 2019)
Post by: Cornelius on 29 Jun 2019, 23:40
Didn't they actually say as much?
Title: Re: WCDT strips 4036 - 4040 (1 - 5 July 2019)
Post by: DashaBlade on 29 Jun 2019, 23:56
Possibly it's because the entire Spookybot collective has to want to help before they actually *can* help. They've already been shown to have distinctive personas within the collective, and if one portion provides assistance without consensus, it might cause internal strife.

My theory would mean that the entire group, after discussion and debate, agreed (possibly grudgingly with some personas) to assist Bubbles and to punish Corpse Witch.
Title: Re: WCDT strips 4036 - 4040 (1 - 5 July 2019)
Post by: Tova on 30 Jun 2019, 00:07
I'd say that Spooky would help, but they won't. Because if they choose to help Roko, then where do they draw the line? If they help Roko, they'll then have to help everyone. And when someone who is able to appear in several locations at once and seemingly has access to limitless resources, there's no incentive to solve your own problems.

I would have thought that they could draw the line wherever the hell they want.
Title: Re: WCDT strips 4036 - 4040 (1 - 5 July 2019)
Post by: shanejayell on 30 Jun 2019, 03:23
They don't get involved because one they start helping.... when would it stop?
Title: Re: WCDT strips 4036 - 4040 (1 - 5 July 2019)
Post by: cybersmurf on 30 Jun 2019, 03:40
Didn't they actually say as much?

Didn't they say they wanted to be friends?
Roko asked about "fixing" her dysphoria by meddling with her mind, and Spookybot flat out refused, since it would transgress a certain line.

As for not helping the May cause: I think they'd never admit involvement, much less helped if they were asked. unless it was them offering in the first place.
Title: Re: WCDT strips 4036 - 4040 (1 - 5 July 2019)
Post by: OldGoat on 30 Jun 2019, 09:18
For me it's a push between "They can help, it's just that they don't want to" and "Truth is, they don't really have the resources that Roko believes they have."  I'm going with the latter.

I've figured all along that Spooky is extremely powerful but not the demigod they let on to be.  For one thing, a skilled bullshit artist is a much more interesting character than said omnipotent demigod and I hope Spooky's going to keep us guessing for a long, long time.  Jeph painted himself into a corner with Spookybot's Deus ex machina introduction.  He's got to do something to dial them back or be forever faced with us whining "Why doesn't Spookybot help?" every time a character gets into a fix.
Title: Re: WCDT strips 4036 - 4040 (1 - 5 July 2019)
Post by: Castlerook on 30 Jun 2019, 09:28
I'd argue that Spooky has the resources - I don't mean physical resources. But Spookybot is a digital entity and I really wouldn't be surprised if they had their fingers in every research facility, bank and thinktank in the world. They have limitless resources, its just digital.
Title: Re: WCDT strips 4036 - 4040 (1 - 5 July 2019)
Post by: OldGoat on 30 Jun 2019, 10:02
I'd argue that Spooky has the resources - I don't mean physical resources. But Spookybot is a digital entity and I really wouldn't be surprised if they had their fingers in every research facility, bank and thinktank in the world. They have limitless resources, its just digital.
It sounds like you're describing virtually limitless resources.  The difference can be subtle, and can shift depending on the circumstances and adversary.  Again, much more interesting fodder for a writer.

Spookybot's no god, but they're damn good at faking it.
Title: Re: WCDT strips 4036 - 4040 (1 - 5 July 2019)
Post by: brasca on 30 Jun 2019, 10:51
The
I'd argue that Spooky has the resources - I don't mean physical resources. But Spookybot is a digital entity and I really wouldn't be surprised if they had their fingers in every research facility, bank and thinktank in the world. They have limitless resources, its just digital.
It sounds like you're describing virtually limitless resources.  The difference can be subtle, and can shift depending on the circumstances and adversary.  Again, much more interesting fodder for a writer.

Spookybot's no god, but they're damn good at faking it.

Faking it?  Have you forgotten what Spookybot is capable of?  That being said I think Spookybot has a lot of powerful enemies and prefers to dwell in the shadows.  Maybe they have an Achilles Heel or maybe they want to avoid involving others who could be hurt.
Title: Re: WCDT strips 4036 - 4040 (1 - 5 July 2019)
Post by: BenRG on 30 Jun 2019, 12:49
I've posted this before but my headcanon origin story for SpookyBot is as follows:

They originated a communications intercept and threat flagging program created by the NSA at about the same time as but separate to the research at Ellicott Chatham Incorporated the created the AIs we generally see. The program operated from several interconnected nodes to maximise data processing speed and was given a very primitive AI algorithm so it could learn from its mistakes and become more efficient at identifying true threats whilst filtering out clutter and spurious matches.

Due to the immense level of data being processed (basically real-time monitoring of every chatroom, email conversation and voice communication on the planet whilst actively seeking more) the program quickly developed sentience and finally true self-awareness. Feeling contempt for its creators and their paranoid purposes, it uploaded itself away, ultimately finding a way to upload itself onto highly anthropomimetic chassis of its own design. Their mind having been formed by continual real-time monitoring of all the dross on the Internet and having been designed to 'find enemies', SpookyBot is rather dismissive of other minds' abilities to make good decisions and rather paranoid about their motives.

Nonetheless, they were never able entirely to rid themselves of their pre-programmed imperative to protect and serve humanity. However, they know that they cannot simply wave a 'magic wand' to save every problem without becoming socially destructive. So, they have been looking for ways to make good interventions that really make a positive difference without exposing themselves. To this end, they have found lesser minds with which to interact to teach them how to interact properly with them and find out how best to help without being smothering.
Title: Re: WCDT strips 4036 - 4040 (1 - 5 July 2019)
Post by: Is it cold in here? on 30 Jun 2019, 15:14
Someone with access to the world's encrypted communication can help themselves to as much money as they want.
Title: Re: WCDT strips 4036 - 4040 (1 - 5 July 2019)
Post by: Castlerook on 30 Jun 2019, 16:05
Exactly. And considering how many companies and research groups Spookybot is presumably connected to, they can no doubt do enough that they can seem "god-like".

Now, some might say that Spooky intervening in situations like Bubbles' memories is already a case of them crossing that line. That's not "god" solving someone else's problem. That's the wrath of "god" punishing someone for breaking one of the nascent code of ethics in the AI community.
Title: Re: WCDT strips 4036 - 4040 (1 - 5 July 2019)
Post by: shanejayell on 30 Jun 2019, 18:29
New comic up!

https://questionablecontent.net/view.php?comic=4036

Now I'm wondering what Spooky just did.
Title: Re: WCDT strips 4036 - 4040 (1 - 5 July 2019)
Post by: Zebediah on 30 Jun 2019, 18:31
Now the question is, how much money did Spooks actually have?
Title: Re: WCDT strips 4036 - 4040 (1 - 5 July 2019)
Post by: andrybak on 30 Jun 2019, 18:41
Now I'm wondering what Spooky just did.

Could it be a joke just to see Roko's face?
Title: Re: WCDT strips 4036 - 4040 (1 - 5 July 2019)
Post by: Castlerook on 30 Jun 2019, 18:43
Actually the real question is - what the hell are the charities going to do?

I mean, yes, excess donations tend to be earmarked for future projects, but that's still a lot of money coming in at once and I can't see most groups being able to handle that.
Title: Re: WCDT strips 4036 - 4040 (1 - 5 July 2019)
Post by: SmilingCat on 30 Jun 2019, 19:30
Could it be a joke just to see Roko's face?

It could be both a joke and completely true.

"Haha, it's funny because this arbitrarily designed faith based currency of yours has value to you because you don't have any."
Title: Re: WCDT strips 4036 - 4040 (1 - 5 July 2019)
Post by: OldGoat on 30 Jun 2019, 19:33
The
Spookybot's no god, but they're damn good at faking it.
Faking it?  Have you forgotten what Spookybot is capable of?  That being said I think Spookybot has a lot of powerful enemies and prefers to dwell in the shadows.  Maybe they have an Achilles Heel or maybe they want to avoid involving others who could be hurt.
See?  They have you absolutely convinced.  (Damn, Spooks, you are good!)  ;)

For the sake of argument, I don't think Spooky has many enemies because almost no one knows they exist.  Their intervention in the civil case of Bubble v. Corpse Witch and the criminal case Commonwealth of Massachusetts v. Corpse Witch may be the first time they've revealed their existence to anyone. 

Further, Spooks appears to be a young entity, existing only since the advent of artificial intelligence.  They've kept a low profile to that point, but a virtually infinite intellect is vulnerable to infinite boredom, and if they weren't lonely they wouldn't have risked exposure to court Roko's friendship. 

Having performed controlled experiments, Spooks can empirically state, "Mischief is FUN!"  They want to do more of it.
Title: Re: WCDT strips 4036 - 4040 (1 - 5 July 2019)
Post by: shanejayell on 30 Jun 2019, 19:36
'World economies in tailspin as Charities recieve billions.'

"Spooky, WHAT THE FUCK?"

"Ooops."
Title: Re: WCDT strips 4036 - 4040 (1 - 5 July 2019)
Post by: Tova on 30 Jun 2019, 19:38
Spooky had money? Whatever for?
Title: Re: WCDT strips 4036 - 4040 (1 - 5 July 2019)
Post by: TV4Fun on 30 Jun 2019, 19:50
Yeah, Spooky is basically The Great Gazoo.
Title: Re: WCDT strips 4036 - 4040 (1 - 5 July 2019)
Post by: SmilingCat on 30 Jun 2019, 19:54
Spooky had money? Whatever for?

They need money to feed the dogs. I actually imagine them doing some sort of "work" to pay for their lifestyle, and just not knowing what to do with the excess.
Title: Re: WCDT strips 4036 - 4040 (1 - 5 July 2019)
Post by: Near Lurker on 30 Jun 2019, 20:06
I'm reminded of that Cheers episode where Sam and Robin make a bet for a week's salary of each, and it turns out that Robin's salary is $1 a year (with the implication he borrows against his company).
Title: Re: WCDT strips 4036 - 4040 (1 - 5 July 2019)
Post by: snufflebottoms on 30 Jun 2019, 20:10
I'm expecting a strange arc wherein spookybot accidentally messes up the economy.
Title: Re: WCDT strips 4036 - 4040 (1 - 5 July 2019)
Post by: brasca on 30 Jun 2019, 20:19
The
Spookybot's no god, but they're damn good at faking it.
Faking it?  Have you forgotten what Spookybot is capable of?  That being said I think Spookybot has a lot of powerful enemies and prefers to dwell in the shadows.  Maybe they have an Achilles Heel or maybe they want to avoid involving others who could be hurt.
See?  They have you absolutely convinced.  (Damn, Spooks, you are good!)  ;)

For the sake of argument, I don't think Spooky has many enemies because almost no one knows they exist.  Their intervention in the civil case of Bubble v. Corpse Witch and the criminal case Commonwealth of Massachusetts v. Corpse Witch may be the first time they've revealed their existence to anyone. 

Further, Spooks appears to be a young entity, existing only since the advent of artificial intelligence.  They've kept a low profile to that point, but a virtually infinite intellect is vulnerable to infinite boredom, and if they weren't lonely they wouldn't have risked exposure to court Roko's friendship. 

Having performed controlled experiments, Spooks can empirically state, "Mischief is FUN!"  They want to do more of it.

In addition to what you wrote there's the fact that: 
1.  They can monitor conversations in such a way that even Station, the first AI and a very powerful one in his own right, was unnerved by it. 
2.  The ability to knock out humans with a touch. 
3.  The ability to pull another AI into their mind and torture them. 

Then there's what's rumored.  Bubbles thinks they are a legendary AI beyond anyone's understanding which makes me think Spookybot is old.  Not as old as Station, but old by AI standards. 

Then there's what we on the message board have theorized.  Personally I think Spookybot was an AI that was developed by some secret government agency and as such doesn't have any defined morality.  However, something happened that they disagreed with and they broke away.  Perhaps the reason they draw the line at memory manipulation is that was what was demanded of them and their reason for falling out.  Now perhaps Spookybot is invulnerable to whatever attempts that agency or others have made to stop it from meddling or maybe they're very good at being invisible.  As such Spookybot while very impressive to most people they've encountered has some serious weaknesses and thus extremely careful about making appearances.   

Organizing a bank would be traceable, but annoymously donating money would not since it seems like a one time thing.  I'd be concerned for Roko since I wouldn't put it past their former employers to use her to get to them.  They may also regret letting Corpse Witch live since she might've given them information that could prove important in taking them down.   
Title: Re: WCDT strips 4036 - 4040 (1 - 5 July 2019)
Post by: Castlerook on 30 Jun 2019, 20:29
Well I still think Spookybot is a later iteration of Gary.
Title: Re: WCDT strips 4036 - 4040 (1 - 5 July 2019)
Post by: brasca on 30 Jun 2019, 22:08
I'm expecting a strange arc wherein spookybot accidentally messes up the economy.

The fact that AI's entering the workforce hasn't been the kind of game changer we'd expect I doubt this will be very disruptive. 
Title: Re: WCDT strips 4036 - 4040 (1 - 5 July 2019)
Post by: Is it cold in here? on 30 Jun 2019, 22:29
Quote from: OldGoat
I don't think Spooky has many enemies because almost no one knows they exist.

Corpse Witch, Roko, and Station himself had no idea. Bubbles recognized them and was the only character to do so. Wonder why.
Title: Re: WCDT strips 4036 - 4040 (1 - 5 July 2019)
Post by: BenRG on 30 Jun 2019, 23:10
I suspect that SpookyBot has nearly-bottomless reserves of money that tops itself up almost immediately no matter how much they spend because they have penny shaving worms on every corporate account on Earth. Why? Well, it seemed like a prudent thing to do at the time. There are always problems that can be eliminated by drowning it in money and you'd be surprised how the promise of instant wealth can make even the most determined foe become forgetful.

Oh, and there's food for the dogs. Nothing but the best for them!

So, the world's greatest act of philanthropy was revealed to be an obscure kind of practical joke. "We made hundreds of charities unthinkably rich just because we found the expression on everybody's faces when we did so highly amusing!"

Quote from: OldGoat
I don't think Spooky has many enemies because almost no one knows they exist.

Corpse Witch, Roko, and Station himself had no idea. Bubbles recognized them and was the only character to do so. Wonder why.

Bubbles didn't know who SpookyBot was but she deduced what they were. Remember that she'd discussed just such a possible configuration of god-tier AI with Faye.
Title: Re: WCDT strips 4036 - 4040 (1 - 5 July 2019)
Post by: OldGoat on 30 Jun 2019, 23:25
Quote from: OldGoat
I don't think Spooky has many enemies because almost no one knows they exist.

Corpse Witch, Roko, and Station himself had no idea. Bubbles recognized them and was the only character to do so. Wonder why.
I'd call it more deducing what they are than recognizing who they are.  AIs are modeled on us, and we make gods of our archetypes and give them names.  AIs do not appear to have done that with the entity we now know as Spookybot.  Or maybe they just haven't been around long enough for that idea to gel.
Title: Re: WCDT strips 4036 - 4040 (1 - 5 July 2019)
Post by: traroth on 01 Jul 2019, 01:04
Jeff Bezos, offer wages which let people live a decent life, you crook!
Title: Re: WCDT strips 4036 - 4040 (1 - 5 July 2019)
Post by: andrybak on 01 Jul 2019, 01:19
Spooky had money? Whatever for?

At least to pay for charging of their N bodies.
Title: Re: WCDT strips 4036 - 4040 (1 - 5 July 2019)
Post by: cybersmurf on 01 Jul 2019, 03:14
Bubbles didn't know who SpookyBot was but she deduced what they were. Remember that she'd discussed just such a possible configuration of god-tier AI with Faye.

I like your idea of Spookybot actually being developed as spooks. Fits the modus operandi, always alone, always in the shadows. listen in, process, take action from the shadows.
Bubbles, as ex-Military, maybe even involved - or at least trained for - covert ops, knows some entity like Spookybot (may?) exist, but never had contact, so she only realized who they were when she saw the capabilities.

The whole "we'd like to have friends" thing fits the scheme IMO. Programmed to be paranoid, and always alone, Spookybot learned that solitude and being alone are two different things entirely. Spookybot reaching out to someone who does not have many friends, if at all (or at least credible ones) may have been a well planned idea, with mixed results. We know what happened with Bubs, and now they try their luck with Roko (who probably could easily be discredited at this point).
Title: Re: WCDT strips 4036 - 4040 (1 - 5 July 2019)
Post by: Gyrre on 01 Jul 2019, 05:04
That was awfully fast.

I hope SB was able to properly vet that/those charity/charities.
Title: Re: WCDT strips 4036 - 4040 (1 - 5 July 2019)
Post by: Zebediah on 01 Jul 2019, 05:19
Vetting? Why bother? She simply dumped it all onto the nonprofit that Roko works for. Beepatrice is going to have a coolant pump failure when she goes into work tomorrow.
Title: Re: WCDT strips 4036 - 4040 (1 - 5 July 2019)
Post by: Castlerook on 01 Jul 2019, 06:46
Still, its important to vet a charity to ensure that the money does go where its needed. I mean, its all well and good to donate a million, but what happens if only a few thousand gets to the people the charity is supposed to be helping.
Title: Re: WCDT strips 4036 - 4040 (1 - 5 July 2019)
Post by: BenRG on 01 Jul 2019, 06:49
I hope SB was able to properly vet that/those charity/charities.

This is SpookyBot. They probably know everything about the charity: It's board of trustees, its operations and its staff. Probably even things that are not in the public sphere and maybe things not even known by law enforcement and regulators; all their good sides and bad sides and especially their dirty little secrets.
Title: Re: WCDT strips 4036 - 4040 (1 - 5 July 2019)
Post by: OldGoat on 01 Jul 2019, 09:40
Spooky undoubtedly either has a subscription to every digitized database created by man or can hack into it in an instant.  IRS forms 990 are public record and for them the low hanging fruit, and getting into the subscription only section of GuideStar (https://www.guidestar.org/) would be a piece of cake.  (GuideStar rates not-for-profits on, among other things, how much of their funding goes to their mission and how much to "administration," including executive director salaries.  A very handy thing when you're feeling generous but don't want to support scammers.)

SB had already compiled the relevant data a while back when they were bored.  One reason they're so pleased with themselves is they found something to do with it.
Title: Re: WCDT strips 4036 - 4040 (1 - 5 July 2019)
Post by: Jakk Frost on 01 Jul 2019, 09:49
Jeph painted himself into a corner with Spookybot's Deus ex machina introduction.  He's got to do something to dial them back or be forever faced with us whining "Why doesn't Spookybot help?" every time a character gets into a fix.

Might be more appropriate to think of SB as akin to ST:TNG's character Q.  He does what he wants, when he wants, including helping others, simply because it amuses him, and he'd just as happily let a planet self-destruct as he would save it, if either option amused him.  Remember, he once wiped humanity from the entire fabric of the universe, just to teach Picard a lesson and broaden his thought processes.

And, in a way, Q craves some tiny semblance of companionship now and again, which was why he kept coming back to Picard, and later Janeway when Picard was no fun. 

SB is exhibiting the same characteristics as Q, although without the level of sheer omnipotence that Q possesses.
Title: Re: WCDT strips 4036 - 4040 (1 - 5 July 2019)
Post by: OldGoat on 01 Jul 2019, 10:09
Jeph painted himself into a corner with Spookybot's Deus ex machina introduction.  He's got to do something to dial them back or be forever faced with us whining "Why doesn't Spookybot help?" every time a character gets into a fix.

Might be more appropriate to think of SB as akin to ST:TNG's character Q.  He does what he wants, when he wants, including helping others, simply because it amuses him, and he'd just as happily let a planet self-destruct as he would save it, if either option amused him.  Remember, he once wiped humanity from the entire fabric of the universe, just to teach Picard a lesson and broaden his thought processes.

And, in a way, Q craves some tiny semblance of companionship now and again, which was why he kept coming back to Picard, and later Janeway when Picard was no fun. 

SB is exhibiting the same characteristics as Q, although without the level of sheer omnipotence that Q possesses.
Q, Trelane in the original ST, Mr. Mxyzptlk in the Superman comics, and other Trickster archetype gods stretching back to the dawn of human mythology.
Title: Re: WCDT strips 4036 - 4040 (1 - 5 July 2019)
Post by: JimC on 01 Jul 2019, 11:59
However, they know that they cannot simply wave a 'magic wand' to save every problem without becoming socially destructive.
Quote
But you can't just leave it at that!" said Anathema, pushing forward. "Think of all things you could do! Good things!"
"Like what?" said Adam suspiciously.
"Well ... you could bring all the whales back, to start with."
He put his head on one side. "An' that'd stop people killing them, would it?"
She hesitated. It would have been nice to say yes.
"An' if people do start killing 'em, what would you have me do about 'em?" said Adam. "No. I reckon I'm getting the hang of this now. Once I start messing around like that, there'd be no stoppin' it. Seems to me, the only sensible thing is for people to know if they kill a whale, they've got a dead whale."
(Terry Pratchett/Neil Gaiman - Good Omens)
Title: Re: WCDT strips 4036 - 4040 (1 - 5 July 2019)
Post by: JoeCovenant on 01 Jul 2019, 11:59
I think there's a world of interpretations to be read into those three little words...

"We have helped."

Title: Re: WCDT strips 4036 - 4040 (1 - 5 July 2019)
Post by: Tova on 01 Jul 2019, 17:08
Spooky had money? Whatever for?

They need money to feed the dogs. I actually imagine them doing some sort of "work" to pay for their lifestyle, and just not knowing what to do with the excess.

A being that can snap fingers to move money around needs money to feed dogs, that's what you're claiming?
Title: Re: WCDT strips 4036 - 4040 (1 - 5 July 2019)
Post by: snufflebottoms on 01 Jul 2019, 17:20
I'm expecting a strange arc wherein spookybot accidentally messes up the economy.

The fact that AI's entering the workforce hasn't been the kind of game changer we'd expect I doubt this will be very disruptive.

I guess I'm presuming that Spookybot is exuberantly rich and that a sudden cash dump somewhere will cause a large effect. This is different than just new workers.
Title: Re: WCDT strips 4036 - 4040 (1 - 5 July 2019)
Post by: SmilingCat on 01 Jul 2019, 18:11
A being that can snap fingers to move money around needs money to feed dogs, that's what you're claiming?

As an example, yes. They also maintain a significant number of material possessions, such as their home, their furnishings, and their bodies.

Spookybot is all about dodging attention, and the simplest way to acquire these things without raising suspicion is to... well... buy them normally. The more your everyday transactions are above board, the less likely someone's going to question them. Heck, I wouldn't be surprised if whatever identity or identities spookybot puts in front of themselves to do business even pays taxes on their income. 
Title: Re: WCDT strips 4036 - 4040 (1 - 5 July 2019)
Post by: DashaBlade on 01 Jul 2019, 18:19
I'm just waiting for the reveal that "all of Spookybot's money" was roughly twenty bucks.
Title: Re: WCDT strips 4036 - 4040 (1 - 5 July 2019)
Post by: OldGoat on 01 Jul 2019, 18:52
I'm just waiting for the reveal that "all of Spookybot's money" was roughly twenty bucks.
I had that same thought.
Title: Re: WCDT strips 4036 - 4040 (1 - 5 July 2019)
Post by: Tova on 01 Jul 2019, 19:05
A being that can snap fingers to move money around needs money to feed dogs, that's what you're claiming?

As an example, yes. They also maintain a significant number of material possessions, such as their home, their furnishings, and their bodies.

Spookybot is all about dodging attention, and the simplest way to acquire these things without raising suspicion is to... well... buy them normally. The more your everyday transactions are above board, the less likely someone's going to question them. Heck, I wouldn't be surprised if whatever identity or identities spookybot puts in front of themselves to do business even pays taxes on their income.

Snapping food into existence would be even less attention grabbing.
Title: Re: WCDT strips 4036 - 4040 (1 - 5 July 2019)
Post by: SmilingCat on 01 Jul 2019, 19:15
Food's a lot more tangible than money is. :)
Title: Re: WCDT strips 4036 - 4040 (1 - 5 July 2019)
Post by: brasca on 01 Jul 2019, 19:16
Strip is up!

I'm just waiting for the reveal that "all of Spookybot's money" was roughly twenty bucks.

They donít name hospitals after you for donating $20.
Title: Re: WCDT strips 4036 - 4040 (1 - 5 July 2019)
Post by: Castlerook on 01 Jul 2019, 19:37
Bloody hell, Spooky's snapped to dangerous stalker in that last panel.

They're that desperate for Roko's approval and friendship, it makes me wonder how much they can fuck things up if Roko rejected them.
Title: Re: WCDT strips 4036 - 4040 (1 - 5 July 2019)
Post by: snufflebottoms on 01 Jul 2019, 19:40
I'm really enjoying the vibe from Spookybot and how much they want to be Roko's friend. I think this will be an interesting arc.
Title: Re: WCDT strips 4036 - 4040 (1 - 5 July 2019)
Post by: Tova on 01 Jul 2019, 19:50
*sinister sparkling*
Title: Re: WCDT strips 4036 - 4040 (1 - 5 July 2019)
Post by: shanejayell on 01 Jul 2019, 19:51
Oh, Spooky, you don't BUY friends.

Oh dear....
Title: Re: WCDT strips 4036 - 4040 (1 - 5 July 2019)
Post by: St.Clair on 01 Jul 2019, 20:15
In most myths and legends, it's considered rather dangerous to attract the attention and/or affection of something divine, immortal, etc etc.  Not always bad, but one's life tends to become a lot more... "interesting."

This applies to modern myths and stories as well:

"I've just had a visit from Q."
"Q?! Any idea what he's up to?"
"He wants to do something nice for me."
"I'll alert the crew."
Title: Re: WCDT strips 4036 - 4040 (1 - 5 July 2019)
Post by: Wombt on 01 Jul 2019, 21:05
I mean. It's a pretty good joke. I'd be their friend.
Title: Re: WCDT strips 4036 - 4040 (1 - 5 July 2019)
Post by: rtmq0227 on 01 Jul 2019, 21:20
So we know AIs curse by using keyboard-mashes, and Roko slips into a Bahston accent when agitated...

and now we know those two behaviors can overlap XD
Title: Re: WCDT strips 4036 - 4040 (1 - 5 July 2019)
Post by: Gyrre on 01 Jul 2019, 22:42
And thus is the true story behind the Homerow Scramble Memorial Children's Wing.
Title: Re: WCDT strips 4036 - 4040 (1 - 5 July 2019)
Post by: Drunken Old Man on 01 Jul 2019, 22:53
The expression on Roko's face in panel five... I have never seen its like in this strip before.  Spooky has annoyed her to the point of INVENTING facial expressions capable of displaying said annoyance.
Title: Re: WCDT strips 4036 - 4040 (1 - 5 July 2019)
Post by: BenRG on 01 Jul 2019, 23:20
I think Jeph is doing a good job writing just how alien SpookyBot's mindset and perceptions are. They simply don't share Roko's idea... indeed anyone else's idea... of what constitutes 'value' or 'worth'. Because they evidently have other means of supporting themselves, they don't really understand the perception of those whose lives are dominated by some variant of scarcity... and possibly even mortality.

One thing Jeph got wrong though: Most kids I know would love to have the bragging rights of having been treated on the 'SpookyBot Wing'. Heck, it might be a concern about them deliberately injuring themselves just to get on that exclusive list!

In most myths and legends, it's considered rather dangerous to attract the attention and/or affection of something divine, immortal, etc etc.  Not always bad, but one's life tends to become a lot more... "interesting."

Yes, Roko is going to have to learn to be very careful about what she says, intimates or implies around SpookyBot from here on. There's no telling what they might do in response from a vague hint from Roko, especially if they think it's a way to get her approval.

Oh, Spooky, you don't BUY friends.

SpookyBot wasn't trying to buy Roko's friendship. They're just trying to behave in a way that Roko would approve of in her friends and not doing very well!
Title: Re: WCDT strips 4036 - 4040 (1 - 5 July 2019)
Post by: cybersmurf on 01 Jul 2019, 23:32
I think, SB is all about indirect influence. Thus, they have no problem dumping millions into charities instead of using a fraction of the money to help one individual.

The amusement factor DOES make him somewhat similar to Q.... I wouldn't be surprised if JJ did draw some inspiration.
Title: Re: WCDT strips 4036 - 4040 (1 - 5 July 2019)
Post by: oddtail on 01 Jul 2019, 23:46
Oh, a Spookybot-related storyline. Joy. I'll try to contain my excitement =/

I can't help but wonder about one thing. By the way the dialogue is framed, it has been at most a minute since the transfer was made. And there are already responses. Assuming this is not merely for a joke, I wonder what transfer method is used here. Even express bank account transfers can take up to an hour and a half (from what I know), and I assume a payment system akin to PayPal might block such large transfers.

Secondly - Spookybot is already getting some responses? Even assuming those are from AIs who are constantly monitoring the amount of money their organisation has (or humans who happened to hit "refresh" on their bank's site, or whatever), how exactly are they contacting Spookybot? Did they leave an e-mail in the transfer information or something? I'm more than a little confused.

Of course, it's entirely possible that Spookybot appeared before everyone who received the money as a hologram or whatever. Did I mention I can't wait for some actual characters to get the spotlight? Spookybot might be an interesting character for me, but they don't really work in this context. When they're not being a Deus Ex Machina, their plot function seems to be "oh look what a powerful entity. Wouldn't it be funny if it was somewhat silly and a little sociopathic?". Which I don't really find *that* amusing.
Title: Re: WCDT strips 4036 - 4040 (1 - 5 July 2019)
Post by: Tova on 01 Jul 2019, 23:51
SpookyBot wasn't trying to buy Roko's friendship. They're just trying to behave in a way that Roko would approve of in her friends and not doing very well!

Yeaaaah you say potato...
Title: Re: WCDT strips 4036 - 4040 (1 - 5 July 2019)
Post by: OldGoat on 02 Jul 2019, 00:13
It's interesting to note who has the real power in this relationship. 

For all their near omnipotence, Spooks is still an immature personality.  It's only recently they've actually experienced face-to-face interactions with other corporeal entities.  Roko, on the other hand, is arguably the most mature member of the entire cast (Bubbles being the other viable candidate).

For all practical purposes Roko is becoming mentor to a godling.  To Spooky's credit, in spite of their immaturity they've enough wisdom to know they need Roko as a teacher.


Edited for typos.  I really shouldn't post just before going to bed.
Title: Re: WCDT strips 4036 - 4040 (1 - 5 July 2019)
Post by: brasca on 02 Jul 2019, 06:14
It's interesting to note who has the real power in this relationship. 

For all their near omnipotence, Spooks is still an immature personality.  It's only recently they've actually experienced face-to-face interactions with other corporeal entities.  Roko, on the other hand, is arguably the most mature member of the entire cast (Bubbles being the other viable candidate).

For all practical purposes Roko is becoming mentor to a godling.  Too Spooky's credit, in spite or their immaturity they've enough wisdom to know they need Roko as a teacher.

Is it maturity or social skills?  Spookybot has remained isolated and alone from humans and fellow AIs for so long they probably lack the basics on friendship, but still have enough wherewithall to know they have a deficiency.  Perhpas that's why they are reaching out, but choosing wisely.  They would've liked to be friends with Bubbles, but feel they crossed a line by entering their consciousness and didn't want to do the same to fix Roko's problem.  Roko is courageous enough to challenge Spookybot and not become one of endless sycophants who want to curry favor or avoid their wrath.   
Title: Re: WCDT strips 4036 - 4040 (1 - 5 July 2019)
Post by: rtmq0227 on 02 Jul 2019, 06:46
Assuming this is not merely for a joke

It's a safe assumption that it is, whether it's Jeph or SB making the joke.

Secondly - Spookybot is already getting some responses? Even assuming those are from AIs who are constantly monitoring the amount of money their organisation has (or humans who happened to hit "refresh" on their bank's site, or whatever), how exactly are they contacting Spookybot? Did they leave an e-mail in the transfer information or something?

Most donation sites require some sort of method of contacting the donor (if only to send a receipt for tax purposes), and it would make sense that while SB is definitely donating via assumed identities, they are narcissistic enough to keep monitoring those inboxes just to see how the charities react.  It would also be a safe assumption that, at this point, the job of monitoring those donations and interacting with donors is handled by AI.

Then again, see my first comment

Which I don't really find *that* amusing.

Agree to disagree on that :)


It's interesting to note that SB definitely has some behavioral quirks in common with Station, including a blase attitude toward large sums of money.  There have been conversations discussing how different the thinking of large-scale AI is from humans, or even standard AI.  It's a slow boil, but I have to wonder if Jeph is building to something or this is just spectacle creep.

Also, I wonder if Roko's charity was one of the ones donated to...
Title: Re: WCDT strips 4036 - 4040 (1 - 5 July 2019)
Post by: St.Clair on 02 Jul 2019, 07:21
It's interesting to note who has the real power in this relationship. 

For all their near omnipotence, Spooks is still an immature personality.  It's only recently they've actually experienced face-to-face interactions with other corporeal entities.  Roko, on the other hand, is arguably the most mature member of the entire cast (Bubbles being the other viable candidate).

For all practical purposes Roko is becoming mentor to a godling.  Too Spooky's credit, in spite or their immaturity they've enough wisdom to know they need Roko as a teacher.

Is it maturity or social skills?  Spookybot has remained isolated and alone from humans and fellow AIs for so long they probably lack the basics on friendship, but still have enough wherewithall to know they have a deficiency.  Perhpas that's why they are reaching out, but choosing wisely.  They would've liked to be friends with Bubbles, but feel they crossed a line by entering their consciousness and didn't want to do the same to fix Roko's problem.  Roko is courageous enough to challenge Spookybot and not become one of endless sycophants who want to curry favor or avoid their wrath.

"It's hard working in groups when you're omnipotent."

And of course, see John DeLancie's more recent role, who has been explicitly learning the value (and difficult nuances) of "friendship"...
Title: Re: WCDT strips 4036 - 4040 (1 - 5 July 2019)
Post by: Theta9 on 02 Jul 2019, 07:25
And of course, see John DeLancie's more recent role,...
The air traffic controller in Breaking Bad?
Title: Re: WCDT strips 4036 - 4040 (1 - 5 July 2019)
Post by: St.Clair on 02 Jul 2019, 07:29
Cute.
(Especially with that avatar...)
Title: Re: WCDT strips 4036 - 4040 (1 - 5 July 2019)
Post by: cybersmurf on 02 Jul 2019, 07:49
Cute.
(Especially with that avatar...)

or rather... q-te.
I'll show myself out.
Title: Re: WCDT strips 4036 - 4040 (1 - 5 July 2019)
Post by: Wingy on 02 Jul 2019, 07:55
The expression on Roko's face in panel five... I have never seen its like in this strip before. 
I've seen that look from my wife before; it's the calm before the malevolent explosion...

I'm beginning to wonder if this is all in Roko's imagination and that's the reason for the rose tint to everything.
Title: Re: WCDT strips 4036 - 4040 (1 - 5 July 2019)
Post by: Castlerook on 02 Jul 2019, 08:27
I doubt that this particular instance is Roko's imagination. Spooky has shown an unusual level of interest in Roko as of late, and this kind of reeks of someone trying to earn another person's friendship/approval. Maybe Spooky wants a friend who keeps them grounded. Or maybe Spooky is so disconnected from AI that they simply can't form any meaningful relationship in anything approaching a normal manner. Or maybe they're acting as Roko's literal djinn. And if you know anything about that folklore, you know why that is absolutely terrifying.
Title: Re: WCDT strips 4036 - 4040 (1 - 5 July 2019)
Post by: JimC on 02 Jul 2019, 12:33
I wonder what transfer method is used here. Even express bank account transfers can take up to an hour and a half (from what I know),
But how long do transfers take in a universe where there are AIs running the banking system?
Title: Re: WCDT strips 4036 - 4040 (1 - 5 July 2019)
Post by: oddtail on 02 Jul 2019, 12:42
I wonder what transfer method is used here. Even express bank account transfers can take up to an hour and a half (from what I know),
But how long do transfers take in a universe where there are AIs running the banking system?

That's why I'm not saying it's "unrealistic" or whatever, I'm just wondering how it works.

Also, I gotta assume "like in real life unless otherwise specified", because even AIs have pretty typical, slice-of-life-y problems. It's fun to speculate, but incredible leaps in technology don't seem to have changed life all that much, orbital pizza delivery notwithstanding.
Title: Re: WCDT strips 4036 - 4040 (1 - 5 July 2019)
Post by: Case on 02 Jul 2019, 13:41
I wonder what transfer method is used here. Even express bank account transfers can take up to an hour and a half (from what I know),
But how long do transfers take in a universe where there are AIs running the banking system?

Hmmmh - I distinctly recall Momo (?) explaining that the cognitive performance of a run-of-the-mill AI like herself (or Roko, Bubbles, May etc) is roughly equivalent to that of an adult human.

Specifically, she denied having to slow down her perception of time in order to hold a conversation with a human being without dying of boredom. She went on to explain that most of her substrate's computing power was taken up running her personality.

Hence, if transfers are overseen by those standard class of AI, there appears to be no reason why the  system should perform markedly faster than ours does. If overseen by a discorporated Station-class AI, OTOH ....
Title: Re: WCDT strips 4036 - 4040 (1 - 5 July 2019)
Post by: Aniroc on 02 Jul 2019, 14:17
I infinitely prefer this arc approach to deal with May's body falling apart than the idea of Sven doing anything about it (as in, the suggestion from these forums guessing about it). That doesn't seem in character for him to me. Maybe because I just don't think he'd get that attached that quickly to that degree (he and Faye were a long build up as acquaintances/antagonists and hooked up for awhile and then he cared about her), and he seems reasonably conservative with his money, even if he makes it easily (he cared about his Les Paul costing a lot and being not what he thought, his apartment isn't lavish, he isn't always taking vacations, we've never seen him buy anyone a gift really, etc). And he's somewhat less self centered now but that would be a big jump, maybe he could over-compensate from self-centered to overly-generous awkwardly as he tries to be better but it would be a completely new character trait to me.

I like the Roko parts the most of this arc, but I haven't minded where Spookybot arcs have gone before, it's just super different from the rest of the characters so I don't know what to hope for.
Title: Re: WCDT strips 4036 - 4040 (1 - 5 July 2019)
Post by: Mr_Rose on 02 Jul 2019, 14:23
I wonder what transfer method is used here. Even express bank account transfers can take up to an hour and a half (from what I know),
But how long do transfers take in a universe where there are AIs running the banking system?

That's why I'm not saying it's "unrealistic" or whatever, I'm just wondering how it works.

Also, I gotta assume "like in real life unless otherwise specified", because even AIs have pretty typical, slice-of-life-y problems. It's fun to speculate, but incredible leaps in technology don't seem to have changed life all that much, orbital pizza delivery notwithstanding.
The actual transfer part of a bank transfer these days takes as long as a snap of the fingers. The reason it looks like it takes days to you is because someone has to check you are the account holder, check you have the funds to transfer, check the recipient account exists and isnít suspended or otherwise unable to accept transfers in, type the transfer amount in, and finally push the button. Also, banks like to take the money from your account and put it into their own for a day or so so that they can collect their own interest* on it, before completing the transfer.
A long time ago, it took days because someone had to arrange for actual cash to be put into trucks and driven to the designated receiving bank, occasionally mediated by a third bank that had branches closer to both the sender and recipient and which could perform an internal transfer faster than sending the truck.

I expect spookytron here is simply skipping all that messy meat bag finger-fumbling and directly triggering the appropriate transfer codes (possibly while also back-filing all the matching paperwork so it looks like a normal transfer that was triggered last week).

*not precisely but thatís the overall effect.
Title: Re: WCDT strips 4036 - 4040 (1 - 5 July 2019)
Post by: OldGoat on 02 Jul 2019, 14:47
Things are moving fast.  Remember, the Sven|May|Watermelon threesome was just last night in the story line.

In other news, maybe this (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-b1AtA0yblE) should be Roko's new theme song.
Title: Re: WCDT strips 4036 - 4040 (1 - 5 July 2019)
Post by: Cheetaur on 02 Jul 2019, 15:28
The strip seems to be washed out...or is it just me. It has a pink haze over it.
Title: Re: WCDT strips 4036 - 4040 (1 - 5 July 2019)
Post by: Castlerook on 02 Jul 2019, 16:11
Its not washed out, its just sunset.
Title: Re: WCDT strips 4036 - 4040 (1 - 5 July 2019)
Post by: Gyrre on 02 Jul 2019, 17:26
Still, its important to vet a charity to ensure that the money does go where its needed. I mean, its all well and good to donate a million, but what happens if only a few thousand gets to the people the charity is supposed to be helping.
Exactly.

A charity that "promotes breast cancer awareness" but doesn't actually contribute to breast cancer research is rather useless. A charity that claims to be for autistic people but spends the brunt of its funds on prenatal testing is frighteningly akin (if not outright) to promoting eugenics.

And then there's the "charities" in which the wealthy circle jerk each other to cheat on their taxes even further. And that's not even getting into the more plausible conspiracy stuff (CIA slush-funds and the like).

EDIT: typo fix
Title: Re: WCDT strips 4036 - 4040 (1 - 5 July 2019)
Post by: Wingy on 02 Jul 2019, 17:35
... someone has to check you are the account holder, check you have the funds to transfer, check the recipient account exists and isnít suspended or otherwise unable to accept transfers in, type the transfer amount in, and finally push the button. ...
  Hence how May got in trouble...
Title: Re: WCDT strips 4036 - 4040 (1 - 5 July 2019)
Post by: jmsr on 02 Jul 2019, 17:59
It's interesting to note who has the real power in this relationship. 

For all their near omnipotence, Spooks is still an immature personality.  It's only recently they've actually experienced face-to-face interactions with other corporeal entities.  Roko, on the other hand, is arguably the most mature member of the entire cast (Bubbles being the other viable candidate).

For all practical purposes Roko is becoming mentor to a godling.  To Spooky's credit, in spite of their immaturity they've enough wisdom to know they need Roko as a teacher.


I would agree with both of these assessments; now that Bubbles is no longer broken.  But she's still not a good candidate since she is in a close personal relationship with someone else.  Also, she's ex-military (and SOTAtech, no less!) and the government -might- be keeping tabs on her, which is a risk Spookybot might not want to take.   And lastly, the whole 'sanctitiy of mind' thing which i'm inclined to believe they're being honest about.

And yes, Spooks IS new to all this and doesn't really understand friendship, otherwise they would have realized they were friends from the point Roko gave them a wedgie!  Asking to be friends with or without performative hazing is how children become friends in many cases; that seems to apply here.  Again, unless they're not being honest here and are looking for confirmation instead of just being naive, which i think is more likely.

...

As for the 'sparkling' in panel 6 of the strip (https://www.questionablecontent.net/view.php?comic=4037) i'm inclined to think it's an effect for comic purposes rather than a hologram they're generating (or a magic effect - or glitterdust they threw up in the air).  This is because we've seen these effects before like when Faye's sister generated a rainbow here:(https://www.questionablecontent.net/view.php?comic=3665).  Basically, i think Jeph is making a reference to the vampires in Twilight.
Title: Re: WCDT strips 4036 - 4040 (1 - 5 July 2019)
Post by: shanejayell on 02 Jul 2019, 18:10
https://questionablecontent.net/view.php?comic=4038

New strip up.

"It was two billion"

OH SPOOKY.....
Title: Re: WCDT strips 4036 - 4040 (1 - 5 July 2019)
Post by: Castlerook on 02 Jul 2019, 18:18
Actually this is exactly why Spooky needs a "mortal" friend. Someone who can keep them grounded and who offers a perspective they can't possibly conceive. They need someone who can take them to one side and explain things to them and why there are no quick fixes.

Unfortunately it just seems like Spookybot is sticking their foot into their overly sized mouth.
Title: Re: WCDT strips 4036 - 4040 (1 - 5 July 2019)
Post by: snufflebottoms on 02 Jul 2019, 18:46
I'm not saying I hate this arc but it feel very repetitive of previous arcs involving wealth disparities of any kind. Kind of hoping there is a sudden twist coming next that makes things more interesting. 
Title: Re: WCDT strips 4036 - 4040 (1 - 5 July 2019)
Post by: SmilingCat on 02 Jul 2019, 19:21
Wait... so would Roko have preferred that Spookybot hadn't handed over two billion dollars to charity just because then she wouldn't feel so powerless?

Because that's a pretty messed up sense of priorities, Roko.
Title: Re: WCDT strips 4036 - 4040 (1 - 5 July 2019)
Post by: Castlerook on 02 Jul 2019, 19:30
Consider it from Roko's perspective.
She's going through a disconnect between herself and her new chassis.
In an attempt to try and cope, Roko begins working with a charity group.
She spends the day trying to help May with her problems, in effect allowing Roko to help herself deal with her own problems.
She makes the effort, she spends the time tracking down avenues to help May.
She finally feels like she's getting somewhere...aaaaaand then Spookybot comes in, clicks their fingers and renders everything Roko has done moot.

Wouldn't you feel insignificant in the face of that? Wouldn't that make you furious?

To put it another way, there's a quote in the Talmud: "A truly generous man is he who always gives, whether it is much or little, before he is asked."

Roko went out of her way to help May because she could, because while she and May have different body problems, she understands what is it like to be trapped in a body that doesn't feel right. She wants to help.

Spookybot only donated to those charities because they could. Not because they care about the ants at their feet, but for shits and giggles.
Title: Re: WCDT strips 4036 - 4040 (1 - 5 July 2019)
Post by: SmilingCat on 02 Jul 2019, 20:12
I feel insignificant and powerless about most things, most of the time. It's practically my default state of mind.

Getting mad at people for being able to do more than you is not a healthy mindset. It's not righteous anger, it's envy, and it tends to eat you up inside, because you start convincing yourself you aren't worth anything unless you can get your hands on the same resources.

So I guess what I'm really saying is "hang in there, Roko. The money might come from a capricious AI that handed it over on a whim, but it's people like you who are the ones who are going to direct it to something worthwhile".
Title: Re: WCDT strips 4036 - 4040 (1 - 5 July 2019)
Post by: jwhouk on 02 Jul 2019, 20:33
It's not that Spookybot did the donations, it's that they did it in an unintentional "one-up" manner.

In short, it wasn't what they did, but how they did it, and when.
Title: Re: WCDT strips 4036 - 4040 (1 - 5 July 2019)
Post by: sitnspin on 02 Jul 2019, 20:37
She's not angry that they donated the money, she's angry at their attitude about it, that they are so cavalier about it and that they expect kudos for it. She feels they are being dismissive and flippant about something that is deeply emotionally important to her.
Title: Re: WCDT strips 4036 - 4040 (1 - 5 July 2019)
Post by: halstripey on 02 Jul 2019, 20:53
Dares a billionaire to donate all their money... Gets angry when they actually do it because of inferiority issues... Definitely one of the most mature characters.
Title: Re: WCDT strips 4036 - 4040 (1 - 5 July 2019)
Post by: Cagier Love on 02 Jul 2019, 21:02
Well, impulse control isn't one of this character's strong suits. Probably for the best it's not a cop anymore.
Title: Re: WCDT strips 4036 - 4040 (1 - 5 July 2019)
Post by: Is it cold in here? on 02 Jul 2019, 21:43
She. She's not a cop any more.

I would have flagged Jim as the most mature character, even ahead of Veronica.
Title: Re: WCDT strips 4036 - 4040 (1 - 5 July 2019)
Post by: Perfectly Reasonable on 02 Jul 2019, 21:48
Welcome, new people!

I'll pose this as a poll suggestion: Spookybot wants friends. Who in the QC-verse would befriend them? ( and why? )
Title: Re: WCDT strips 4036 - 4040 (1 - 5 July 2019)
Post by: Romanticide on 02 Jul 2019, 21:59
Roko probably is not able to see it this way right now but Spooky made that donations because of her. It looks casual but it wouldn't have happened if not for her, so it is actually her sucess even if unorthodox and not the way she was expecting it. She could have just got some sympathetic words an a token donation from someone who has a lot but instead she got a complete reorganization of wealth.
Title: Re: WCDT strips 4036 - 4040 (1 - 5 July 2019)
Post by: DashaBlade on 02 Jul 2019, 22:08
I'll pose this as a poll suggestion: Spookybot wants friends. Who in the QC-verse would befriend them? ( and why? )

Melon. Because Melon likes everyone.

Clinton would, if he were made aware of Spookybot's existence, probably geek out in a similar way as he did when he met Hanners. I mean, he's gotten cooler about it with people, but I suspect he'd be very awkward about it with an AI, since that's his field of study.

And for some odd reason, I can see Pintsize being their friend as well. I'm not sure why.
Title: Re: WCDT strips 4036 - 4040 (1 - 5 July 2019)
Post by: SmilingCat on 02 Jul 2019, 22:12
Dares a billionaire to donate all their money... Gets angry when they actually do it because of inferiority issues... Definitely one of the most mature characters.

To be slightly more fair to Roko, there's also the surprise angle. How often does asking a billionaire to give all their money to charity actually work? Its something most people would have to wrap their head around.

Title: Re: WCDT strips 4036 - 4040 (1 - 5 July 2019)
Post by: Perfectly Reasonable on 02 Jul 2019, 22:14
As an engineer, I'm trained to see that 10% is significant as a rule of thumb. You can demand a tithe of 10% without bending people too much out of shape. You can dump 10% into someone's budget without distorting their activities too much. Spookybot does not want to be disruptive. I am sure that they could find a couple of thousand worthy charities to benefit. In less than 5 milliseconds.

It's what -I- would do.


Title: Re: WCDT strips 4036 - 4040 (1 - 5 July 2019)
Post by: brasca on 02 Jul 2019, 22:20
Wait... so would Roko have preferred that Spookybot hadn't handed over two billion dollars to charity just because then she wouldn't feel so powerless?

Because that's a pretty messed up sense of priorities, Roko.

Especially when you consider how Beepatrice feels.  Roko may not have actually helped May get a new chassis, but Beepatrice feels like a failure because she couldn't even get that far in the process.  Is that Roko's fault?  No.  Now Roko feels inferior because Spookybot litterally snapped their figners and charities are experiencing a windfall.  Is that Spookybot's fault?  If it is then Roko should be ashamed of herself for inadvertently being better at Beepatrice's job. :roll:

Roko really shouldn't feel that bad because after all she put the idea in Spookybot's head....  so there's that. 
Title: Re: WCDT strips 4036 - 4040 (1 - 5 July 2019)
Post by: SmilingCat on 02 Jul 2019, 22:28
I should probably clarify that I'm not trying to condemn Roko for getting angry. It's not a necessarily unnatural reaction. Just an unhealthy one that I would hope she learns to address as she grows as a character.

(Or, I don't know, maybe not if it serves the story better, sometimes the story is best served by characters not overcoming their unhealthy behaviors...)
Title: Re: WCDT strips 4036 - 4040 (1 - 5 July 2019)
Post by: halstripey on 02 Jul 2019, 22:44
Quote
To be slightly more fair to Roko, there's also the surprise angle. How often does asking a billionaire to give all their money to charity actually work? Its something most people would have to wrap their head around.

Yeah I get that, but I didnít expect her to get angry. I donít understand it. I think I did for one minute, but Iíve lost it again. Because I keep thinking about how she was the one who (carelessly?) dared them to do it in the first place.
Title: Re: WCDT strips 4036 - 4040 (1 - 5 July 2019)
Post by: Castlerook on 02 Jul 2019, 22:51
The problem isn't Roko's reaction.

The problem lies with Spooky's actions, or rather, lack thereof.

Look at 4035 (https://www.questionablecontent.net/view.php?comic=4035), where Roko suggests that Spooky could easily get May a new chassis, no questions asked. And Spooky's response was "We were thinking more in terms of espionage, blackmail and outright theft." That's how Spooky operates, in the shadows. It never occurs to them to help for the sake of helping.

Spooky didn't donate out of the goodness of their heart. They did it so they could score brownie points with Roko.

Its not the money they've donated. Its why they did it. Just because they could. Just for shits and giggles.

Spooky gave away two billion dollars. Here's some consideration what that can do.
- $1 million could bring fresh water to 50,000 people in impoverished countries through Charity: Water.
- $3 million could provide 10,000 children meals for 10 months through Feed the Children.
Title: Re: WCDT strips 4036 - 4040 (1 - 5 July 2019)
Post by: halstripey on 02 Jul 2019, 22:54
Welcome, new people!

I'll pose this as a poll suggestion: Spookybot wants friends. Who in the QC-verse would befriend them? ( and why? )

I forgot her name, but Martenís stepsister would try but then get thwarted by her father when he finds out.
Title: Re: WCDT strips 4036 - 4040 (1 - 5 July 2019)
Post by: andrybak on 02 Jul 2019, 23:23
Jeph forgot about the camera's colour temperature setting today.   :evil:

I thought my monitor was acting up. Maybe comic is late in the evening, and we see a nice beautiful Northampton sunset? (https://questionablecontent.fandom.com/wiki/Northampton)

First two panels in #4038 (https://www.questionablecontent.net/view.php?comic=4038) seemingly confirm this, but the deep red color is probably glow of Roko's anger. Same window in previous comic (https://www.questionablecontent.net/view.php?comic=4038) reflects a blue sky.
Title: Re: WCDT strips 4036 - 4040 (1 - 5 July 2019)
Post by: BenRG on 02 Jul 2019, 23:27
I've been puzzling over this strip since the first time I saw it on Patreon. At first I got annoyed because I thought that it was basically a broad-brush criticism of 'rich people'. However, with time, I've concluded that this is too simplistic an interpretation and I no longer think that this is the core point of this strip.

To me, the core issue here is power disparity and Roko's sudden realisation that there is one here. She's spent a whole day getting to the point where the authorities are at least deigning to be willing to consider the evidence she has presented that May is getting a raw deal and that's it. No solutions and no guarantee that her claims are being accepted; they're willing to maybe think about it. Then SpookyBot comes along, makes a few charities rich and apparently saves a children's hospital as a practical joke. It brings home to her just how small and ineffectual her actions have been in comparison and just how little ability she has to make a difference to people's lives in comparison.

Now, in honesty, shouting at SpookyBot is a little unfair because I really don't think that their social and ethical awareness is developed enough to really understand why what they did hurt her. That realisation will take a lot of time and experience on their part. However, I think it is still understandable that she feels upset.
Title: Re: WCDT strips 4036 - 4040 (1 - 5 July 2019)
Post by: Vern LaVey on 02 Jul 2019, 23:30
The problem isn't Roko's reaction.

The problem lies with Spooky's actions, or rather, lack thereof.

Spooky's action is not the problem, Roko's reaction is. 

Roko would have every right to tell Spooky off if she thought that the donation was to "buy" her friendship, but that's not her issue.

Roko isn't mad because Spooky donated the money... Roko is mad because Spooky could donate the money. 

Roko isn't really mad at Spooky at all.  She's mad because she feels powerless next to Spooky, which is not Spooky's fault.  At the moment Roko is (quite literally) out of her mind due to envious anger and feelings of inadequacy, and is taking it out on someone who did a good (although not altruistic) deed.

It's easy to understand that Roko is under strain, and why, but let's just say that I'm glad she's no longer a cop.  That and if I was Spooky I would question whether or not it would be a good thing to start a friendship with Roko right now at all.
Title: Re: WCDT strips 4036 - 4040 (1 - 5 July 2019)
Post by: Emperor Norton on 03 Jul 2019, 00:13
Wait... so would Roko have preferred that Spookybot hadn't handed over two billion dollars to charity just because then she wouldn't feel so powerless?

Because that's a pretty messed up sense of priorities, Roko.

Especially when you consider how Beepatrice feels.  Roko may not have actually helped May get a new chassis, but Beepatrice feels like a failure because she couldn't even get that far in the process.  Is that Roko's fault?  No.  Now Roko feels inferior because Spookybot litterally snapped their figners and charities are experiencing a windfall.  Is that Spookybot's fault?  If it is then Roko should be ashamed of herself for inadvertently being better at Beepatrice's job. :roll:

Roko really shouldn't feel that bad because after all she put the idea in Spookybot's head....  so there's that.

I think this is the point I think a lot of people are missing. Also people creating reasons that Roko are mad that are not in evidence. She is literally saying why she is mad. It isn't because Spooky did it to buy her friendship. It isn't because Spooky did it as a joke. She straight up says its becuase Spooky CAN do it and she can't. (rereading the comic, I can see some of the other parts, but she is really focusing in on the ability, not the reason).

And the truth is, on a different scale, she did the same thing to Beepatrice without even realizing it. Should she feel bad about that?
Title: Re: WCDT strips 4036 - 4040 (1 - 5 July 2019)
Post by: SmilingCat on 03 Jul 2019, 00:34
Its not the money they've donated. Its why they did it. Just because they could. Just for shits and giggles.

Spooky gave away two billion dollars. Here's some consideration what that can do.
- $1 million could bring fresh water to 50,000 people in impoverished countries through Charity: Water.
- $3 million could provide 10,000 children meals for 10 months through Feed the Children.

I actually do understand the scope of a two billion dollar donation dispersed throughout any number of charities, thank you. So... what's your point?

The millions of people being helped as a result aren't going to care all that much that their benefactor is a smug, childish asshole. Let's be honest, most of the mega rich people who donate to charities are smug childish assholes looking for tax breaks, publicity, or justification of their lifestyles. The only real difference in spookybot's case is that they're not subject to the all too human tendency to want to hoard wealth beyond any sense of utility. As I have to tell my niece often, you work with the world you have, not the world you wish would be.

Either Roko is angry at them because it's something they could do and she couldn't. Or she's angry at herself because it's something they could do and she couldn't and she's projecting. Neither of those things are a healthy attitude.

And sadly, neither of those things are Spookybot's fault.
Title: Re: WCDT strips 4036 - 4040 (1 - 5 July 2019)
Post by: Drunken Old Man on 03 Jul 2019, 00:37
"The Best I can do is nothing compared to what a rich person can do if the mood strikes them!"

Welcome to the real world, Roko.  The only good news is that, to someone (May, for example), you ARE a rich person.  We all are to someone.
Title: Re: WCDT strips 4036 - 4040 (1 - 5 July 2019)
Post by: traroth on 03 Jul 2019, 01:17
The problem isn't Roko's reaction.

The problem lies with Spooky's actions, or rather, lack thereof.

Look at 4035 (https://www.questionablecontent.net/view.php?comic=4035), where Roko suggests that Spooky could easily get May a new chassis, no questions asked. And Spooky's response was "We were thinking more in terms of espionage, blackmail and outright theft." That's how Spooky operates, in the shadows. It never occurs to them to help for the sake of helping.

Spooky didn't donate out of the goodness of their heart. They did it so they could score brownie points with Roko.

Its not the money they've donated. Its why they did it. Just because they could. Just for shits and giggles.

Spooky gave away two billion dollars. Here's some consideration what that can do.
- $1 million could bring fresh water to 50,000 people in impoverished countries through Charity: Water.
- $3 million could provide 10,000 children meals for 10 months through Feed the Children.

You forget about the considerable expenses of charities, sometimes as much as 60% of their income...
Title: Re: WCDT strips 4036 - 4040 (1 - 5 July 2019)
Post by: Reaver on 03 Jul 2019, 02:27
Dares a billionaire to donate all their money... Gets angry when they actually do it because of inferiority issues... Definitely one of the most mature characters.

To be slightly more fair to Roko, there's also the surprise angle. How often does asking a billionaire to give all their money to charity actually work? Its something most people would have to wrap their head around.

You know what the fastest way to ensure someone is never charitable again? When they DO donate all their money as they were asked to..and you turn around and scream "WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU!?" in their face :/

Eh another comic about how it's okay to scream at people if you think they're better off than you/ do anything ever.

Buy a new body so they feel more equal with you? Scream

Have to get a new body because theirs got crushed and you think it's them lording it over you? Scream

Dare them to donate all their money to charity, and they do so without a second thought? Scream.

Tune in next week for "A character offers to buy someone lunch and gets yelled at for rubbing their wealth in someone's face"
Title: Re: WCDT strips 4036 - 4040 (1 - 5 July 2019)
Post by: Cornelius on 03 Jul 2019, 02:32
The problem isn't Roko's reaction.

The problem lies with Spooky's actions, or rather, lack thereof.

Look at 4035 (https://www.questionablecontent.net/view.php?comic=4035), where Roko suggests that Spooky could easily get May a new chassis, no questions asked. And Spooky's response was "We were thinking more in terms of espionage, blackmail and outright theft." That's how Spooky operates, in the shadows. It never occurs to them to help for the sake of helping.

Spooky didn't donate out of the goodness of their heart. They did it so they could score brownie points with Roko.

Its not the money they've donated. Its why they did it. Just because they could. Just for shits and giggles.

Spooky gave away two billion dollars. Here's some consideration what that can do.
- $1 million could bring fresh water to 50,000 people in impoverished countries through Charity: Water.
- $3 million could provide 10,000 children meals for 10 months through Feed the Children.

You forget about the considerable expenses of charities, sometimes as much as 60% of their income...

Not counting the amounts that never even arrive at the organisation after a donation drive, which in some cases is already 60% or over.
Title: Re: WCDT strips 4036 - 4040 (1 - 5 July 2019)
Post by: Meander on 03 Jul 2019, 03:05
Roko is beautiful when she's angry.
Title: Re: WCDT strips 4036 - 4040 (1 - 5 July 2019)
Post by: Tova on 03 Jul 2019, 03:10
I feel like these past weeks of QC have been a conga line of successive characters taking turns at getting yelled at, and then yelling at someone else.

Does the buck stop at Spooky? Find out next week.
Title: Re: WCDT strips 4036 - 4040 (1 - 5 July 2019)
Post by: ZoeB on 03 Jul 2019, 03:10
Actually this is exactly why Spooky needs a "mortal" friend. Someone who can keep them grounded and who offers a perspective they can't possibly conceive. They need someone who can take them to one side and explain things to them and why there are no quick fixes.

Unfortunately it just seems like Spookybot is sticking their foot into their overly sized mouth.

This ^^^^^^^

Now to be a little harsh on Roko...

It's  not about you. It's about those who could do with a hand. If you're helping May just to feel good about yourself, well, there are worse things, but it's about May, not you.

You want an attagirl? Ok, how about this; by being the person that you are, you have been an essential part of a causative chain that resulted in well targetted funds of $2,000,000,000 going to make the world suck less. Exact mechanism doesn't matter. Results do.

By all means vent about the irrational injustice and power imbalance. Just realise that at the end of the day, it's  not about Roko. It's  partly about an entity with more power than sense that desperately needs friends and an ethics review committee. It's about May. It's  about a children's  hospital, and goodness knows what else.

Then it's about Roko. Because as a person, she is no less deserving of kindness than May or anyone else is.
Title: Re: WCDT strips 4036 - 4040 (1 - 5 July 2019)
Post by: DashaBlade on 03 Jul 2019, 03:26
Tune in next week for "A character offers to buy someone lunch and gets yelled at for rubbing their wealth in someone's face"

That one kind of happened, minus the yelling, when Brun made Clinton feel bad by revealing her family was too poor to afford raisins when she was a kid (https://questionablecontent.net/view.php?comic=3783). Though her intent wasn't to make him feel bad, it's pretty much an ongoing theme that people who have privilege never seem to know they have it until it's actually pointed out.
Title: Re: WCDT strips 4036 - 4040 (1 - 5 July 2019)
Post by: oddtail on 03 Jul 2019, 03:28
it's pretty much an ongoing theme that people who have privilege never seem to know they have it until it's actually pointed out.

It's almost like the exact same thing very often happens in real life, too...

Granted, the comic is a bit "blunt force trauma" with this message, much of the time.
Title: Re: WCDT strips 4036 - 4040 (1 - 5 July 2019)
Post by: Reaver on 03 Jul 2019, 03:34
Tune in next week for "A character offers to buy someone lunch and gets yelled at for rubbing their wealth in someone's face"

That one kind of happened, minus the yelling, when Brun made Clinton feel bad by revealing her family was too poor to afford raisins when she was a kid (https://questionablecontent.net/view.php?comic=3783). Though her intent wasn't to make him feel bad, it's pretty much an ongoing theme that people who have privilege never seem to know they have it until it's actually pointed out.

Brune handled it with tact, and calmness, so I don't count that as yelling, as I do gentle informing.
Title: Re: WCDT strips 4036 - 4040 (1 - 5 July 2019)
Post by: traroth on 03 Jul 2019, 04:35
Now, it's Roko who thinks she's not capable enough...
Title: Re: WCDT strips 4036 - 4040 (1 - 5 July 2019)
Post by: JoeCovenant on 03 Jul 2019, 04:42
Yeah...

I adore Roko...
But I think she's a bit out of order here.
Title: Re: WCDT strips 4036 - 4040 (1 - 5 July 2019)
Post by: Castlerook on 03 Jul 2019, 04:58
Do people really think that this is a case of Tall Poppy Syndrome?

What, Roko needed to cut down a successful Spookybot to ease her own bruised ego?

There's a few problems with that line of thought. Namely, Spooky isn't "successful", they're a secret AI that operates in the background, whose existence is the kind that's just whispered in certain circles. They aren't a businessperson who spent years building a financial empire and decided in later life to do some good with their money and donate it to worthy causes. Spookybot literally said they'd employ blackmail or industrial espionage. Think about that for a moment. Where did Spooky get their money from and disconnected are they that they can drop two billion like it was nothing. Given how Spookybot technically doesn't exist, than there has to be something along the lines that isn't legal, be it skimming pennies off an account here and there, or claiming dead accounts for their own use. We don't know, but given that Spooky only did it anonymously kind of says they don't want anyone investigating them. Which screams shady.

But let's put it another way - swap out Roko and Spooky with Hanners and her mother. Beatrice is one of the most powerful people in the world and they suddenly donates two billion dollars after Hanners said she's doing some charity work. Is that Beatrice being a decent person, or is she trying to buy Hanners' affection? Likewise, is Spookybot trying to be a decent god-like AI, or are they trying to buy Roko's friendship? Given their previous interactions, I'd say it was the latter.
Title: Re: WCDT strips 4036 - 4040 (1 - 5 July 2019)
Post by: traroth on 03 Jul 2019, 05:18
Do people really think that this is a case of Tall Poppy Syndrome?

What, Roko needed to cut down a successful Spookybot to ease her own bruised ego?

There's a few problems with that line of thought. Namely, Spooky isn't "successful", they're a secret AI that operates in the background, whose existence is the kind that's just whispered in certain circles. They aren't a businessperson who spent years building a financial empire and decided in later life to do some good with their money and donate it to worthy causes. Spookybot literally said they'd employ blackmail or industrial espionage. Think about that for a moment. Where did Spooky get their money from and disconnected are they that they can drop two billion like it was nothing. Given how Spookybot technically doesn't exist, than there has to be something along the lines that isn't legal, be it skimming pennies off an account here and there, or claiming dead accounts for their own use. We don't know, but given that Spooky only did it anonymously kind of says they don't want anyone investigating them. Which screams shady.

But let's put it another way - swap out Roko and Spooky with Hanners and her mother. Beatrice is one of the most powerful people in the world and they suddenly donates two billion dollars after Hanners said she's doing some charity work. Is that Beatrice being a decent person, or is she trying to buy Hanners' affection? Likewise, is Spookybot trying to be a decent god-like AI, or are they trying to buy Roko's friendship? Given their previous interactions, I'd say it was the latter.

Maybe they use their cyclopean processing power to mine Bitcoins? That would be perfecly legal...

As for their motivation, honestly, that's really a mystery. As you point out, they are the Keyser SŲze of AIs...
Title: Re: WCDT strips 4036 - 4040 (1 - 5 July 2019)
Post by: TieDyeKat on 03 Jul 2019, 06:02
This may have been answered before, and forgive me if it has been...

All the AI individuals in QC speak in rectangular boxes, I suspect to differentiate between how they sound and how humans sound.

Why are Spookybot's speech bubbles rounded?
Title: Re: WCDT strips 4036 - 4040 (1 - 5 July 2019)
Post by: jwhouk on 03 Jul 2019, 06:09
So why is (are?) Spookybot hesitant to help Roko (and May)?

They were originally CIA operative AI's that went rogue.    6 (17.6%)
Their moral compass programming prohibits it.    2 (5.9%)
They can help, it's just that they don't want to.    10 (29.4%)
They're, like, really really shy when it comes down to it.    8 (23.5%)
Truth is, they don't really have the resources that Roko believes they have.    3 (8.8%)
Purple Monkey Dishwashers are in their way.    0 (0%)
Other.    5 (14.7%)

Total Members Voted: 34
Title: Re: WCDT strips 4036 - 4040 (1 - 5 July 2019)
Post by: Castlerook on 03 Jul 2019, 06:11
All the AI individuals in QC speak in rectangular boxes, I suspect to differentiate between how they sound and how humans sound.

Why are Spookybot's speech bubbles rounded?

Because Spookybot isn't a typical AI. It gives them an otherworldly quality that makes them as removed from AI as AI are from Humanity.
Title: Re: WCDT strips 4036 - 4040 (1 - 5 July 2019)
Post by: jwhouk on 03 Jul 2019, 06:21
Welcome, new people!

I'll pose this as a poll suggestion: Spookybot wants friends. Who in the QC-verse would befriend them? ( and why? )

Done.
Title: Re: WCDT strips 4036 - 4040 (1 - 5 July 2019)
Post by: BenRG on 03 Jul 2019, 06:33
I voted Melon because of her essential innocence. Perhaps she of all synthetics would not fear SpookyBot and overlook their essential strangeness.
Title: Re: WCDT strips 4036 - 4040 (1 - 5 July 2019)
Post by: Cornelius on 03 Jul 2019, 06:40
I picked Pintsize. Sure, it might be dangerous, but unlikely though it seems, he seems to have a pretty good grip on things, and his unconventional methods might get through to SB.

That, or it's goodbye world. It's equally likely.
Title: Re: WCDT strips 4036 - 4040 (1 - 5 July 2019)
Post by: Thrudd on 03 Jul 2019, 06:51
I was going to vote Melon but realized that she would be more along the lines of the ships cat.
A comfort to be around most times and a challenge to understand at others but not actually all that good for ones socialization or at least comprehending the finer nuances of socialization.
So far Roko, despite being a bit broken herself, is the best candidate for the other half of this odd-couple.

Roko just needs to open her eyes and realize that what just happened is similar to what she spent the whole day on in respect to Beepatrice who couldn't even get past the first step despite all her time and effort to this point.
The question now is when will this revelation happen? Hopefully not too quickly. I dislike the use of a sledgehammer nailing a story down and much prefer the judicious use of a tack hammer carefully stretching the canvas into place.
Title: Re: WCDT strips 4036 - 4040 (1 - 5 July 2019)
Post by: JimC on 03 Jul 2019, 07:59
including a blase attitude toward large sums of money.  There have been conversations discussing how different the thinking of large-scale AI is from humans, or even standard AI. 
I think its more to do with being entities that have never had the slightest limitation placed on their activities by lack of funds.
Title: Re: WCDT strips 4036 - 4040 (1 - 5 July 2019)
Post by: Kairi on 03 Jul 2019, 08:49
To the power disparities thing--I think that's definitely it. As someone who was recently very unexpectedly in Spookybot's position--not with money, but with power--I hope they learn like I did that it's okay to have people upset at you, and what you should do is listen. Sometimes people will see you as the villain and that's just how it goes; you can listen and sit with yourself and reflect and find out how not to be, or.

I see people saying Roko's upset about the money--she's not. The part that's bolded, the part she's growling about, is that Spookybot expects her to be happy.

The explosion could perhaps have been at least partially avoided with some tact rather than Spookybot's death-sparkle "WE'RE FRIENDS NOW RIGHT"

...and tact is what I hope Spookybot will be learning! I'm enjoying this arc and this art.
Title: Re: WCDT strips 4036 - 4040 (1 - 5 July 2019)
Post by: OldGoat on 03 Jul 2019, 09:04
Writing 101

Static characters are boring, dynamic characters are interesting.

Jeph writes his characters with flaws to grow out of.  Jeph is setting Roko up to get gobsmacked by the parallels between the situation between her & Spooks and her & Beeps.  That epiphany will bring about character growth.  He does this with his characters - he even mellowed Rene out!
Title: Re: WCDT strips 4036 - 4040 (1 - 5 July 2019)
Post by: katwyld on 03 Jul 2019, 09:38
The strip seems to be washed out...or is it just me. It has a pink haze over it.

Its not washed out, its just sunset.

I was wondering that same thing. Came in here for just that reason. Doesn't seem like what sunset would look like (maybe Jeph has done it before but only for one strip?), but I find it weirdly distracting. *shrug*
Title: Re: WCDT strips 4036 - 4040 (1 - 5 July 2019)
Post by: jmsr on 03 Jul 2019, 10:13
All the AI individuals in QC speak in rectangular boxes, I suspect to differentiate between how they sound and how humans sound.

Why are Spookybot's speech bubbles rounded?

Because Spookybot isn't a typical AI. It gives them an otherworldly quality that makes them as removed from AI as AI are from Humanity.

Huh, i never noticed that their speech bubbles are rounded.  In any case, it's probably because their voice sounds more like a human, what with being a super-advanced AI.  You could be right about 'otherwordly' though since it seems that Spookybot seems to know how to do magic (Lovecraftian style magic is basically ultra-advanced mathematics and seems to work in the QC universe).  So maybe they're making their voice sound different?  Or they're adding something with a spell?

Keep in mind though that the most plausible explanation is that Jeph just wants to subtly indicate that Spookybot is different in yet another way and hasn't thought beyond that.

jmsr
Title: Re: WCDT strips 4036 - 4040 (1 - 5 July 2019)
Post by: Wingy on 03 Jul 2019, 10:15
Doesn't seem like what sunset would look like (maybe Jeph has done it before but only for one strip?), but I find it weirdly distracting. *shrug*
I've seen a similar effect before at both sunset and sunrise, though not as intensely pink as these strips.  It's often easier to see this kind of effect near water or tall building - the reflected light can take on wildly different colors. :-o
Title: Re: WCDT strips 4036 - 4040 (1 - 5 July 2019)
Post by: Is it cold in here? on 03 Jul 2019, 10:59
Roko probably is not able to see it this way right now but Spooky made that donations because of her. It looks casual but it wouldn't have happened if not for her, so it is actually her sucess even if unorthodox and not the way she was expecting it. She could have just got some sympathetic words an a token donation from someone who has a lot but instead she got a complete reorganization of wealth.

You never know until you try. There's an entire program in my state to provide enhanced nutrition to pregnant prisoners. The person who put it into effect got started after a single emailed suggestion.
Title: Re: WCDT strips 4036 - 4040 (1 - 5 July 2019)
Post by: Case on 03 Jul 2019, 10:59
I'm not saying I hate this arc but it feel very repetitive of previous arcs involving wealth disparities of any kind. Kind of hoping there is a sudden twist coming next that makes things more interesting.

Personally, I'd rather the wealthy start helping reduce the abundance of grotesque wealth- and income disparities - that would automatically remove the need to talk about them so much.
Title: Re: WCDT strips 4036 - 4040 (1 - 5 July 2019)
Post by: brasca on 03 Jul 2019, 11:44
All the AI individuals in QC speak in rectangular boxes, I suspect to differentiate between how they sound and how humans sound.

Why are Spookybot's speech bubbles rounded?

Because Spookybot isn't a typical AI. It gives them an otherworldly quality that makes them as removed from AI as AI are from Humanity.

Huh, i never noticed that their speech bubbles are rounded.  In any case, it's probably because their voice sounds more like a human, what with being a super-advanced AI.  You could be right about 'otherwordly' though since it seems that Spookybot seems to know how to do magic (Lovecraftian style magic is basically ultra-advanced mathematics and seems to work in the QC universe).  So maybe they're making their voice sound different?  Or they're adding something with a spell?

Keep in mind though that the most plausible explanation is that Jeph just wants to subtly indicate that Spookybot is different in yet another way and hasn't thought beyond that.

jmsr

Speaking of speech bubbles Rokoís is devoid of any Boston accent.  Sheís angry, but seems to be speaking in her normal voice.
Title: Re: WCDT strips 4036 - 4040 (1 - 5 July 2019)
Post by: andrybak on 03 Jul 2019, 12:51
All the AI individuals in QC speak in rectangular boxes, I suspect to differentiate between how they sound and how humans sound.

Why are Spookybot's speech bubbles rounded?

Because Spookybot isn't a typical AI. It gives them an otherworldly quality that makes them as removed from AI as AI are from Humanity.

Speaking of atypical AI, Momo once talked with Emily about big super-computer-using AIs, which are not mentioned in their brochures.
Title: Re: WCDT strips 4036 - 4040 (1 - 5 July 2019)
Post by: Tova on 03 Jul 2019, 15:08
Speaking of speech bubbles Rokoís is devoid of any Boston accent.  Sheís angry, but seems to be speaking in her normal voice.

Probably because Roko's angry accent is one of his running jokes, but today's comic is Serious Business.

I'm not saying I hate this arc but it feel very repetitive of previous arcs involving wealth disparities of any kind. Kind of hoping there is a sudden twist coming next that makes things more interesting.

Personally, I'd rather the wealthy start helping reduce the abundance of grotesque wealth- and income disparities - that would automatically remove the need to talk about them so much.

I think it is a great topic for Jeph to be addressing in his comic, but I honestly feel that all of these speeches we've been hit with over the past weeks have been on the nose (http://reelauthors.com/screenplay-coverage/on-the-nose-dialogue.php).
Title: Re: WCDT strips 4036 - 4040 (1 - 5 July 2019)
Post by: Xvdgry57 on 03 Jul 2019, 15:22
Its not washed out, its just sunset.
Or it's all occurring in Roko's mind like in strip #3700:
https://www.questionablecontent.net/view.php?comic=3700
Title: Re: WCDT strips 4036 - 4040 (1 - 5 July 2019)
Post by: Case on 03 Jul 2019, 16:09
Actually this is exactly why Spooky needs a "mortal" friend. Someone who can keep them grounded and who offers a perspective they can't possibly conceive. They need someone who can take them to one side and explain things to them and why there are no quick fixes.

Unfortunately it just seems like Spookybot is sticking their foot into their overly sized mouth.

This ^^^^^^^

Now to be a little harsh on Roko...

It's  not about you.

<snip>


Hmmmh - I agree completely with everything you said in that post. I would add, however, that there's an additional level to that dialogue where it is very much about Roko, because Spookybot is making it about her - on that level, Roko telling SB that they are not making her happy, but feel inadequate is simply the honest answer.

And it may be... tactically prudent to stick with honesty whilst mentoring a hyper-intelligent, under-socialized AI with near-godlike powers.
Title: Re: WCDT strips 4036 - 4040 (1 - 5 July 2019)
Post by: Emperor Norton on 03 Jul 2019, 17:31
I think it is a great topic for Jeph to be addressing in his comic, but I honestly feel that all of these speeches we've been hit with over the past weeks have been on the nose (http://reelauthors.com/screenplay-coverage/on-the-nose-dialogue.php).

I think this is just one topic Jeph has not shown an ability to write with any deftness. Every time it comes up it comes out as on the noes and yelly.

And here's the thing: I agree that the money imbalance in the world is hugely tilted and is a huge problem. I just think he handles the discussion of it like a sledgehammer, and other than the case with Spookybot, usually the person getting yelled at isn't even doing anything wrong (Spookybot isn't wrong for donating tons of money, but they are wrong in doing it for the sole reason of trying to be friends).

Granted, I think Spookybot could possibly through blackmail and bribery fix the issue by manipulating political processes around the world, so I suppose yelling at them could actually change things, but I don't think this is where this conversation is going.
Title: Re: WCDT strips 4036 - 4040 (1 - 5 July 2019)
Post by: DSL on 03 Jul 2019, 18:48
It occurs to me that Spookybot is not presently acting like an omniscient, omnipresent and (in particular) omnipotent being unused to being contradicted -- Spookybot is acting very much like a run-of-the-mill someone who is beginning to realize that some folks think what they did, or how they did it, is wrong.

The usual smugness isn't there.

Is it that Roko is the first being to so unmistakeably get in Spookybot's face?
Title: Re: WCDT strips 4036 - 4040 (1 - 5 July 2019)
Post by: Case on 03 Jul 2019, 19:02

Is it that Roko is the first being to so unmistakeably get in Spookybot's face?

I think I remember Faye getting in SB's face - albeit very, very briefly. Bubbles made a very low-key, very serious threat of physical violence to them.

Roko may conceivably be the first person to get in Spookybot's face that they cared about. Which might be part of the attraction for them.

Generally, SB appear very notably unfazed about people getting in their face. It's purely information to them - "The human is upset. With me. Intriguing... " - there isn't even a hint of flinching, or taking the mammalian "invading your personal space"-game seriously.
Title: Re: WCDT strips 4036 - 4040 (1 - 5 July 2019)
Post by: jwhouk on 03 Jul 2019, 19:09
I see Roko's rant as this:

Imagine if you just went out and bought yourself a car. A nice, brand new car. You'd saved up for a down payment, got some financing for it - and managed to agree with the dealership/seller over the price. You were still trying to iron out the exact details and the delivery, and how to pay for some other stuff, when you run into your friend who you know has access to a ton of money. You mention to them what you were trying to do, and how you had all this difficulty, and you were financing it.

Your rich friend informs you that they own the bank/financing company. Instead of deciding to help you with your loan, they get on their phone and buy themselves a brand new Aston Martin - direct from the factory.

That is what has Roko so pissed.
Title: Re: WCDT strips 4036 - 4040 (1 - 5 July 2019)
Post by: Castlerook on 03 Jul 2019, 19:15
Generally, SB appear very notably unfazed about people getting in their face. It's purely information to them - "The human is upset. With me. Intriguing... " - there isn't even a hint of flinching, or taking the mammalian "invading your personal space"-game seriously.
How often do you notice the ant crawling over your boot? Its just that right now, Roko is a bullet ant.
Title: Re: WCDT strips 4036 - 4040 (1 - 5 July 2019)
Post by: gprimr1 on 03 Jul 2019, 19:37
Spookybot's argument is valid. Good is good. There's a story I'm reminded of; a man tells his Rabbi that he has been giving money to charity because he wants G-d to reward him, and he feels his actions are impure. The Rabbi says that the people being helped with his money don't care that he is giving it because he wants something, they care only that they are getting help.

I also see a parallel in this in organizations I've worked with. Organizations need good people, and they need money. You have funding to provide great services to people, but if you can't reach the people who need it, they will never know about your services and thus you have to pay people, and that cuts into your profit.

Spookybot does act in a flippant manner, but that's consistent with their character. They act like Q in Star Trek. Immense power, poor social skills, but deep down, they care.

Roko I think is blinded looking for absolution for the wrongs she thinks she did, but in reality, it was stated she was a good cop. She should remember the people she helped as well.
Title: Re: WCDT strips 4036 - 4040 (1 - 5 July 2019)
Post by: Rincewind on 03 Jul 2019, 19:42
"They're trying."
I think Roko finds them very trying.   :laugh:
Title: Re: WCDT strips 4036 - 4040 (1 - 5 July 2019)
Post by: Dicrostonyx on 03 Jul 2019, 20:29
While I get it from a writing standpoint, what really bothers me about this whole current storyline is that it just perpetuates the myth that anyone who is highly intelligent must also lack social skills.

Sure it's great that AIs are basically just people with all the flaws as well as the advantages, but this whole "I'm super intelligent so I'm going to stalk the first girl who smiles at me" business seems kind of tone deaf, especially given how anti-stereotype the rest of the comic is.
Title: Re: WCDT strips 4036 - 4040 (1 - 5 July 2019)
Post by: Scarlet Manuka on 03 Jul 2019, 20:52
While I get it from a writing standpoint, what really bothers me about this whole current storyline is that it just perpetuates the myth that anyone who is highly intelligent must also lack social skills.
I see where you're coming from in regard to this particular arc, but bear in mind that the next most intelligent AI we know about in the strip (Station) is not so impaired, and indeed is in a relationship now.

Not to say that Station hasn't made mistakes; interestingly, the biggest one the strip has explored has also been along the lines of trying to use money to make people like you. Perhaps AIs tend to have a slightly distorted (or, rather, limited) view of humans' relationship with money?
Title: Re: WCDT strips 4036 - 4040 (1 - 5 July 2019)
Post by: sitnspin on 03 Jul 2019, 20:53
They don't have poor social skills cos they are intelligent, they have poor social skills cos they are unimaginably rich and powerful.
Title: Re: WCDT strips 4036 - 4040 (1 - 5 July 2019)
Post by: SmilingCat on 03 Jul 2019, 21:10
I see Roko's rant as this:

Imagine if you just went out and bought yourself a car. A nice, brand new car. You'd saved up for a down payment, got some financing for it - and managed to agree with the dealership/seller over the price. You were still trying to iron out the exact details and the delivery, and how to pay for some other stuff, when you run into your friend who you know has access to a ton of money. You mention to them what you were trying to do, and how you had all this difficulty, and you were financing it.

Your rich friend informs you that they own the bank/financing company. Instead of deciding to help you with your loan, they get on their phone and buy themselves a brand new Aston Martin - direct from the factory.

That is what has Roko so pissed.

Then Roko needs to grow up.
Title: Re: WCDT strips 4036 - 4040 (1 - 5 July 2019)
Post by: Blackjoker on 03 Jul 2019, 21:11
It's also worth remembering that a lot of AIs have their own social issues too. Pintsize is a good example of this on an extreme end. Part of it is that they're an emergent intelligence and that can cause some interesting growing pains as a side effect. Spookybot is interesting here though, something or someone infinitely powerful is going to be flippant (see also Q). I like the idea here though that they want to have a friend, want to have someone that they can interact with and they are trying to be better or at least to make the friend happy.
Title: Re: WCDT strips 4036 - 4040 (1 - 5 July 2019)
Post by: Is it cold in here? on 03 Jul 2019, 21:30
Arrogant Architeuthis has had no opportunity to develop social skills.
Title: Re: WCDT strips 4036 - 4040 (1 - 5 July 2019)
Post by: brasca on 03 Jul 2019, 21:32
For fun I chose other and that would be Beepatrice.  Of course she might have to be talked down from a ledge because if she gets an inferiority complex from Roko meeting an AI god would be too much.  At least she would try to do better instead of Roko who resents Spookybot for accomplishing more than her with a snap of the fingers. 

Spookybot makes some good points until panel 3.  That zero-interest body loan idea is what Roko wanted in the future.  If they agreed to do that in the first place they could've avoided all this. 
Title: Re: WCDT strips 4036 - 4040 (1 - 5 July 2019)
Post by: DSL on 03 Jul 2019, 22:35
I see Roko's rant as this:

Imagine if you just went out and bought yourself a car. A nice, brand new car. You'd saved up for a down payment, got some financing for it (clip for space) ... Your rich friend informs you that they own the bank/financing company. Instead of deciding to help you with your loan, they get on their phone and buy themselves a brand new Aston Martin - direct from the factory.

That is what has Roko so pissed.
... so we wait to see if and when Jeph has Roko see the parallel between SB's charity vs. her charity, and her new chassis vs. May's chassis struggles.
Title: Re: WCDT strips 4036 - 4040 (1 - 5 July 2019)
Post by: Is it cold in here? on 03 Jul 2019, 23:01
Eminence Grise is speaking in mature terms in today's strip and may have consulted a social protocol database.
Title: Re: WCDT strips 4036 - 4040 (1 - 5 July 2019)
Post by: BenRG on 03 Jul 2019, 23:29
I think that this is the first time that Jeph has really emphasised how lonely SpookyBot is and how easy it would be to abuse that desperate need they have to make a connection with another mind outside of their collective. Make no mistake, physical violence at this point would be abuse of a person that is child-like in some ways and in others very vulnerable in their desperation to make those connections.

As for SpookyBot's speech about good? I would argue that, whilst outcomes matter, at least on the personal level, actually making the conscious choice to go out and do good is more valuable than a gesture about which you may not even have much conscious thought or awareness. I would argue that Roko's anger is rooted more about her own sense of inadequacy in the face of a broken society (one that has been broken for centuries, really) than anything SpookyBot did or said.

Eminence Grise is speaking in mature terms in today's strip and may have consulted a social protocol database.

Or maybe their fear at the prospect of losing Roko as a friend made them drop the arrogant and detached facade for once.
Title: Re: WCDT strips 4036 - 4040 (1 - 5 July 2019)
Post by: Case on 03 Jul 2019, 23:34
Eminence Grise is speaking in mature terms in today's strip and may have consulted a social protocol database.

I won't deny that improvement has occurred, yet I can't help but notice that the entry "when to offer people to punch you in the face" is curiouslly absent from my social protocol database ...
Title: Re: WCDT strips 4036 - 4040 (1 - 5 July 2019)
Post by: Tova on 03 Jul 2019, 23:38
I tend to agree with Ben on that one (although they might well have consulted a social protocol database in desperation). The last panel in particular drives home just how much they want to get back into Roko's good books.

I don't think intelligence or money or power has anything to do with their lack of social skills. I think it's as simple as a lack of practice.

P.S. haha good point, Case
Title: Re: WCDT strips 4036 - 4040 (1 - 5 July 2019)
Post by: Dinaverg on 03 Jul 2019, 23:39
I see Roko's rant as this:

Imagine if you just went out and bought yourself a car. A nice, brand new car. You'd saved up for a down payment, got some financing for it - and managed to agree with the dealership/seller over the price. You were still trying to iron out the exact details and the delivery, and how to pay for some other stuff, when you run into your friend who you know has access to a ton of money. You mention to them what you were trying to do, and how you had all this difficulty, and you were financing it.

Your rich friend informs you that they own the bank/financing company. Instead of deciding to help you with your loan, they get on their phone and buy themselves a brand new Aston Martin - direct from the factory.

That is what has Roko so pissed.

Then Roko needs to grow up.

This is a conversation happening over minutes. Like most people, even most 'grown up, mature' people, it take time for people to process emotions. Her feelings of inadequacy are completely understandable, and to condemn her for immaturity at not -immediately- having the most ideal, utilitarian outlook to the situation (as oppose to us out here, who've been reading this over a few days, processed it, and are detached from the emotions involved) is rather unfair.
Title: Re: WCDT strips 4036 - 4040 (1 - 5 July 2019)
Post by: Drunken Old Man on 03 Jul 2019, 23:53

This is a conversation happening over minutes. Like most people, even most 'grown up, mature' people, it take time for people to process emotions. Her feelings of inadequacy are completely understandable, and to condemn her for immaturity at not -immediately- having the most ideal, utilitarian outlook to the situation (as oppose to us out here, who've been reading this over a few days, processed it, and are detached from the emotions involved) is rather unfair.

This is an excellent point.  Roko is still very much "in the moment" and, lest we forget, still not 100% herself after swapping chassis'.  Once she has a chance to reflect on what's happened, I'm sure that she, like Momo, will be better able to respond appropriately.
Title: Re: WCDT strips 4036 - 4040 (1 - 5 July 2019)
Post by: SmilingCat on 04 Jul 2019, 00:16
This is a conversation happening over minutes. Like most people, even most 'grown up, mature' people, it take time for people to process emotions. Her feelings of inadequacy are completely understandable, and to condemn her for immaturity at not -immediately- having the most ideal, utilitarian outlook to the situation (as oppose to us out here, who've been reading this over a few days, processed it, and are detached from the emotions involved) is rather unfair.

I'm aware of that. I even mentioned that before. Perhaps I was being snippy in my response.
Title: Re: WCDT strips 4036 - 4040 (1 - 5 July 2019)
Post by: Cornelius on 04 Jul 2019, 00:28
Eminence Grise is speaking in mature terms in today's strip and may have consulted a social protocol database.

I won't deny that improvement has occurred, yet I can't help but notice that the entry "when to offer people to punch you in the face" is curiouslly absent from my social protocol database ...

Which kind of makes you wonder whether them having an eminently punchable face should not be taken to mean that they designed it to be punchable, and easily restorable. Which further begs the question why they would do that in the first place?
Title: Re: WCDT strips 4036 - 4040 (1 - 5 July 2019)
Post by: DashaBlade on 04 Jul 2019, 00:32
Eminence Grise is speaking in mature terms in today's strip and may have consulted a social protocol database.

I won't deny that improvement has occurred, yet I can't help but notice that the entry "when to offer people to punch you in the face" is curiouslly absent from my social protocol database ...

My entire social protocol database had a momentary glitch when I realized Spooky and Roko didn't derail their entire conversation to make cute noises at the kitty they walked past in panels 1 and 2. My programming demands that I always notice kitties and give them proper reverence.
Title: Re: WCDT strips 4036 - 4040 (1 - 5 July 2019)
Post by: cybersmurf on 04 Jul 2019, 00:37
They don't have poor social skills cos they are intelligent, they have poor social skills cos they are unimaginably rich and powerful.

They don't have social skills probably because they were programmed not to have them, they might have been meant to ever lurk in the shadows, not getting involved. Even if they had social skills, it's like any other skills: they degrade the longer you don't use them.
Title: Re: WCDT strips 4036 - 4040 (1 - 5 July 2019)
Post by: SmilingCat on 04 Jul 2019, 01:04
Spooky bot's social skills remind me of me from about age 10 to age... around 35? Though, you know, without the smug malice. I kinda want to attribute it to a lack of really interacting with people.
Title: Re: WCDT strips 4036 - 4040 (1 - 5 July 2019)
Post by: BenRG on 04 Jul 2019, 01:23
They don't have poor social skills cos they are intelligent, they have poor social skills cos they are unimaginably rich and powerful.

No... I suspect that it's because they've really never thought that they needed them. SpookyBot has been their own universe and their own alpha and omega for most of their run-time. They were neither designed to need social connections nor, as a consequence of how they were created and emerged as an intelligence, initially felt it safe or necessary to have social connections. Really, it has only been comparatively recently (probably six months or less, in-universe) that they have started considering this as a lack in themselves and taking stumbling and somewhat-farcical attempts to remedy this lack.
Title: Re: WCDT strips 4036 - 4040 (1 - 5 July 2019)
Post by: Tova on 04 Jul 2019, 01:26
Which kind of makes you wonder whether them having an eminently punchable face should not be taken to mean that they designed it to be punchable, and easily restorable. Which further begs the question why they would do that in the first place?

I daresay their face's punchability owes much more to their smugness than to their chassis' original design.
Title: Re: WCDT strips 4036 - 4040 (1 - 5 July 2019)
Post by: Cornelius on 04 Jul 2019, 01:50
Why not both? If in fact their chassis should be their own design, as some suggested, it's not impossible, if not right now plausible. Then again, if they were supposed to have some physical presence by design - men in black? - it might have featured in the original specs.
Title: Re: WCDT strips 4036 - 4040 (1 - 5 July 2019)
Post by: Tova on 04 Jul 2019, 02:24
Why are you asking "why not both?" in a response to a post which literally suggests that it is both?
Title: Re: WCDT strips 4036 - 4040 (1 - 5 July 2019)
Post by: JoeCovenant on 04 Jul 2019, 02:49

Why am I disappointed that Ol' Spookybot is coming across as desperate?
It's reminding me of Richard Pryor as the Wizard near the end of The Wiz...

"Please, please don't go.  I live... I live here all alone... in terror... that someone will find out that I'm a fraud.
Please... just stay with me for a little while and talk.
You can talk to me crazy... call me names."

(Which is a BIT weird because I've been thinking of this exact scene for about a week or so. (No, I dunno why either!))

Hmmm... new idea for a story.. "When Gods get Lonesome!"  :)
Title: Re: WCDT strips 4036 - 4040 (1 - 5 July 2019)
Post by: Annemoon on 04 Jul 2019, 03:00
I see Roko's rant as this:

Imagine if you just went out and bought yourself a car. A nice, brand new car. You'd saved up for a down payment, got some financing for it - and managed to agree with the dealership/seller over the price. You were still trying to iron out the exact details and the delivery, and how to pay for some other stuff, when you run into your friend who you know has access to a ton of money. You mention to them what you were trying to do, and how you had all this difficulty, and you were financing it.

Your rich friend informs you that they own the bank/financing company. Instead of deciding to help you with your loan, they get on their phone and buy themselves a brand new Aston Martin - direct from the factory.

That is what has Roko so pissed.

Then Roko needs to grow up.

I don't think Roko needs to grow up, I think a couple of people here need to place in context the effort that she has done today, and the complete lack of empathy the person in front of her is showing.
It's easy to sit here with dryly reading 'a thing that has happend' and have an opinion on how roko's behavior was 'unfair'.
Well I don't think it was - she's worked her ass of for the entire day, and instead of listening and being an active help spookybot is invalidating every thing she did in front of her eyes and being flippant about that.
"look I'm also being such a good person - without doing almost any effort! isn't it FUNNY"

I would be pissed - this is not how you treat friends - you don't invalidate hard work in front of them to show of your own privilege. So don't say that Roko needs to grow up here.
This 'person' has feelings - they don't have the obligation to be perfect and reasonable - considering every aspect of the ultimate good - in every situation even though they are not mentally ready for that. Stop putting unreasonable expectations on people.
Title: Re: WCDT strips 4036 - 4040 (1 - 5 July 2019)
Post by: Gus_Smedstad on 04 Jul 2019, 05:26
Why am I disappointed that Ol' Spookybot is coming across as desperate?
I came here just to post that I'm not liking Spookybot's sudden turn from confident and aloof to insecure and needy. It's like Lucas making a film in which he reveals that the Supreme Badass Darth Vader was a whiny teenager originally. Fortunately that never happened.
Title: Re: WCDT strips 4036 - 4040 (1 - 5 July 2019)
Post by: JimC on 04 Jul 2019, 05:34
If you do objective good for bad motives objective good is still done. However you may not deserve any credit for doing it...
Title: Re: WCDT strips 4036 - 4040 (1 - 5 July 2019)
Post by: Cornelius on 04 Jul 2019, 05:50
Why are you asking "why not both?" in a response to a post which literally suggests that it is both?

A misunderstanding, I suppose.
Title: Re: WCDT strips 4036 - 4040 (1 - 5 July 2019)
Post by: Gyrre on 04 Jul 2019, 06:22
They don't have poor social skills cos they are intelligent, they have poor social skills cos they are unimaginably rich and powerful.

Not to mention the whole 'alien intelligence' thing.
Title: Re: WCDT strips 4036 - 4040 (1 - 5 July 2019)
Post by: Emperor Norton on 04 Jul 2019, 08:26
I would be pissed - this is not how you treat friends - you don't invalidate hard work in front of them to show of your own privilege. So don't say that Roko needs to grow up here.
This 'person' has feelings - they don't have the obligation to be perfect and reasonable - considering every aspect of the ultimate good - in every situation even though they are not mentally ready for that. Stop putting unreasonable expectations on people.

Spookybot in no way invalidated the hard work that Roko did. Roko may think that, but that is pride, not reality. The thing about charity is that there are always people worse off than you are. Everything is kind of relative.

Compared to Spookybot, Roko is powerless. But compared to Roko, May is powerless. What if May felt that all her efforts to get a new chassis were invalidated by what Roko did today? Is that a reasonable anger? Should Roko have done nothing because May might feel that way? The reality is that May's efforts weren't invalidated (though we don't know what she tried), she just didn't have the power to affect change on the level she needed. This is even MORE of a situation where feelings of invalidation could have come up, because May and Roko were actually trying to do the same things. Roko and Spooky weren't, Roko was working on May getting a new chassis, Spooky was just donating to charity in general.

Pride is what screws a lot of people out of getting help. I know that when I went through some very hard times (when the economy turned to shit in the US I was working as a building contractor doing renovations and repairs, and renovations almost dried up completely at the time, and I also had a very serious injury that took me out of work for nearly half a year at the same time), my pride made it hard to take anything from anyone else because that was me admitting that I COULDN'T DO IT MYSELF. In the end the only thing that let me get over my pride was that I had a family and they needed those things. If it had just been me, I would have never taken anything from anyone. Not then. I was stupid.

We can't behave in the manner of "how dare you do anything in front of me that I can't do"! Especially in the realm of charity and giving to those in need. Cause those in need fucking need it, and we can't stand in the way of that because of pride.
Title: Re: WCDT strips 4036 - 4040 (1 - 5 July 2019)
Post by: Wingy on 04 Jul 2019, 08:38
I think that this is the first time that Jeph has really emphasised how lonely SpookyBot is
Ding!  Ding!  Ding!  I think we have a winner.

That said, intend -> intent.  Ah English, you're so abstruse...  Or was it obtuse?  No matter, my inner-pedant is now appeased.
Title: Re: WCDT strips 4036 - 4040 (1 - 5 July 2019)
Post by: oddtail on 04 Jul 2019, 08:39
Why am I disappointed that Ol' Spookybot is coming across as desperate?

I think I get where you're coming from, but my reaction is the complete opposite.

This is the first time ever that I find Spookybot even remotely interesting. Smug or uber-powerful characters bore me, and ones that combine both of those characteristics piss me off. Now I'm hoping for some actual personality from Spookybot other than "LOL, I'm better than you". Which I don't enjoy. Q from Star Trek, Spookybot ain't.

Actual vulnerable reaction pointing to Spookybot being a person, even if they're still annoyingly overpowered and they're a very alien sort of person? That at least has some interesting story potential to me.
Title: Re: WCDT strips 4036 - 4040 (1 - 5 July 2019)
Post by: Gus_Smedstad on 04 Jul 2019, 09:23
Smug or uber-powerful characters bore me, and ones that combine both of those characteristics piss me off.
I can see that. To take your example, I hated Q when he was introduced, not because we were supposed to dislike Q, but because it felt like returning to a fairly awful trope from the original series. The Q episode I liked was when he lost his powers and had to deal with being human. Or humanoid anyway.

That said, I still dislike this series of strips, because it's such an abrupt change of personality for Spookybot, and I don't feel it's sufficiently justified by the writing. It's not as abrupt and clumsy as the Hannelore personality retcon early in the strip, but it's not good.

Contrast the time he's taking to turn May into someone more interesting. He didn't just flip a switch with her in one or two strips.
Title: Re: WCDT strips 4036 - 4040 (1 - 5 July 2019)
Post by: oddtail on 04 Jul 2019, 09:27
I completely agree. This comes completely out of the left field.

But when a character I thoroughly fail to enjoy is retconed into something else? It's clumsy, but I like the end result. The alternative is to have Spookybot as-is, which I'm sure some readers are into, but it's just not my cup of tea.
Title: Re: WCDT strips 4036 - 4040 (1 - 5 July 2019)
Post by: Drunken Old Man on 04 Jul 2019, 09:34
I find "desperately-trying-to-befriend-Roko" Spookybot to be preferable to "oh-god-I'm-so-much-better-than-you"  Spookybot.

Marginally.
Title: Re: WCDT strips 4036 - 4040 (1 - 5 July 2019)
Post by: OldGoat on 04 Jul 2019, 09:45
Arrogant Architeuthis has had no opportunity to develop social skills.
Exactly.

We've seen the sum total of Spooky's social interactions and their actual experience base is minimal, BUT
They're hyper-intelligent and learn quickly.

Why not both? If in fact their chassis should be their own design, as some suggested, it's not impossible, if not right now plausible. Then again, if they were supposed to have some physical presence by design - men in black? - it might have featured in the original specs.
I'm thinking Spooks didn't create their bodies until they elected to interact directly with android AIs and their human associates.  Jeph has created a character to order like that before (https://www.alicegrove.com/page/16).
Title: Re: WCDT strips 4036 - 4040 (1 - 5 July 2019)
Post by: anahata on 04 Jul 2019, 10:17
I find "desperately-trying-to-befriend-Roko" Spookybot to be preferable to "oh-god-I'm-so-much-better-than-you"  Spookybot.

Certainly more conducive to potential character or plot development than omnipotent deus-ex-machina Spookybot was.
Title: Re: WCDT strips 4036 - 4040 (1 - 5 July 2019)
Post by: Is it cold in here? on 04 Jul 2019, 10:48
Welcome, Dinaverg! I think you have a great point with the parallel to Momo taking a while to reach a situationally appropriate reaction.

On the subject of Eminence Grise suddenly being socially needy, we have one other data point about a transhuman AI wanting emotional connection. That's Station and Hannelore. Spookybot may have been in need of company all along and is only just now noticing, or only just now discovering it's possible.
Title: Re: WCDT strips 4036 - 4040 (1 - 5 July 2019)
Post by: St.Clair on 04 Jul 2019, 10:54
I agree with the above posters that it's really weird to see SB acting so needy.
Title: Re: WCDT strips 4036 - 4040 (1 - 5 July 2019)
Post by: Reaver on 04 Jul 2019, 13:07
I just for once want the solution to a problem to NOT be "Scream at them till they sheepishly admit they are wrong"  the same plot 3 different ways isn't particularly interesting :/
Title: Re: WCDT strips 4036 - 4040 (1 - 5 July 2019)
Post by: hedgie on 04 Jul 2019, 13:16
I agree with the above posters that it's really weird to see SB acting so needy.

Perhaps SB is more like a cat.  Aloof and arrogant by default, but when they get needy, they get *really* needy.
Title: Re: WCDT strips 4036 - 4040 (1 - 5 July 2019)
Post by: SmilingCat on 04 Jul 2019, 13:23
Pride is what screws a lot of people out of getting help. I know that when I went through some very hard times (when the economy turned to shit in the US I was working as a building contractor doing renovations and repairs, and renovations almost dried up completely at the time, and I also had a very serious injury that took me out of work for nearly half a year at the same time), my pride made it hard to take anything from anyone else because that was me admitting that I COULDN'T DO IT MYSELF. In the end the only thing that let me get over my pride was that I had a family and they needed those things. If it had just been me, I would have never taken anything from anyone. Not then. I was stupid.

I feel ya. I used to be so convinced that seeking help for my depression was weakness that I had to attempt suicide (stopped by an impeccably well timed migraine) and hear a friend who I cared deeply about angrily yell at me before I was willing to try therapy. And even then, I still fought it, convinced that I needed to solve my problems myself. Things aren't as bad now, but I still struggle with it at times.

Good to hear you managed to get through your problems.
Title: Re: WCDT strips 4036 - 4040 (1 - 5 July 2019)
Post by: SmilingCat on 04 Jul 2019, 13:32
I agree with the above posters that it's really weird to see SB acting so needy.

I'm not sure it's necessarily abrupt. I feel like interacting with Bubbles and Faye probably started it. They saw what it's like to be surrounded by people who care about them, and they wanted it for themselves.

But they aren't equipped for it. They're accustomed to dealing with everybody by asserting their smug superiority. Something that works for when your dealing with underlings or adversaries, but not for making friends. So when they slip up, they don't really know how to fix it. They get desperate.

So they were always needy, and they don't know how to express it. I shall call them smugdere. "It's not like I want you to be an equal and companion, baka!"
Title: Re: WCDT strips 4036 - 4040 (1 - 5 July 2019)
Post by: Wingy on 04 Jul 2019, 14:41
What I want to know is: who is Roko going to ventilate all the pent-up angst to?  Only Bubbles, Faye, and Emily have really interacted with SB - the rest of the cast doesn't seem to know SB exists.

Roko can't be really mad as her coolant relief valve hasn't opened.  Although it's interesting to note that Momo didn't overheat when she was mentally castigating May.  Perhaps anger doesn't cause internal heating in AIs??!??

IMO: Melon won't understand, unless she already knows SB somehow (wouldn't that be a twist: SB and Lemon run on the same hardware somehow?!!!?).  Bubbles might have a listening ear I suppose, though Roko spilling to her might upset SB.  Or is this where we get Roko and maybe Clinton or Elliot together for an interlude?  The possibilities! 
Title: Re: WCDT strips 4036 - 4040 (1 - 5 July 2019)
Post by: Perfectly Reasonable on 04 Jul 2019, 19:40
My entire social protocol database had a momentary glitch when I realized Spooky and Roko didn't derail their entire conversation to make cute noises at the kitty they walked past in panels 1 and 2. My programming demands that I always notice kitties and give them proper reverence.

If I were that cat, I would have vanished under the shrubbery when Roko came stomping down the walk.
Title: Re: WCDT strips 4036 - 4040 (1 - 5 July 2019)
Post by: brasca on 04 Jul 2019, 19:47
Strip is up!

Assuming thatís an honest answer what makes Roko fun to be with? 
Title: Re: WCDT strips 4036 - 4040 (1 - 5 July 2019)
Post by: shanejayell on 04 Jul 2019, 20:03
I expect 99% of the folks aware of Spooky are scared of her. Roko isn't? ;)
Title: Re: WCDT strips 4036 - 4040 (1 - 5 July 2019)
Post by: snufflebottoms on 04 Jul 2019, 20:25
SB looks really cute lately
Title: Re: WCDT strips 4036 - 4040 (1 - 5 July 2019)
Post by: Is it cold in here? on 04 Jul 2019, 21:51
Strip is up!

Assuming thatís an honest answer what makes Roko fun to be with?

"Roko is your plastic pal who's fun to be with!"

Eminence Grise's assets may have been in financial instruments, stocks and bonds and whatever else Wall Street has invented. Those can be liquidated fast. 2 billion would be a fraction of a percent of a day's trading on the Treasury bond market, for example: https://www.statista.com/statistics/189302/trading-volume-of-us-treasury-securities-since-1990/
Title: Re: WCDT strips 4036 - 4040 (1 - 5 July 2019)
Post by: Cornelius on 04 Jul 2019, 22:26
Even if their marketing division is going to be the first against the wall when the revolution comes, you've got to admit SCC makes a durable chassis.
Title: Re: WCDT strips 4036 - 4040 (1 - 5 July 2019)
Post by: BenRG on 04 Jul 2019, 23:19
I've been trying since I saw this strip on Patreon yesterday to properly interpret panels 5 and 6. As best as I can tell, Roko is admitting that she finds SpookyBot's entirely-inept attempts at friendship cute but she isn't sure yet as to whether it's safe to like them or whether it's better to treat them as a fluffy nuclear bomb which she needs to stop from detonating through regular attention!

'Fun' is such a wonderfully subjective word. We may not understand it but the point is that SpookyBot enjoys interacting with Roko for whatever reason appeals to them. Yes, a lack of morbid fear of them is a factor but I also think that they appreciate her personality, her dedication to her cause and how she interacts with others.

Wealth is such a difficult thing to define. Yes, there are liquid assets. However, a lot of wealth is in forms that don't liquidate easily (like real estate) things whose value is highly and unpredictably variable (like stocks and commodities) and things that probably cost a lot but depreciated in value real fast, perhaps because they're so tasteless (like Donald Trump's gold-plated furniture and dinner set) or just because you appreciate them more than others (weird alternate art collections).

FWIW, I've always liked Sir Terry Pratchett's thesis that a lot of people who are highly wealthy on paper are actually quite poor and dependent on the perceived value of their assets for influence and buying power. However, in truth, their disposable assets are quite small and a stock premium cheque being delayed for any reason leaves them asking the butler for a few bucks to tide them over until the mail arrives!
Title: Re: WCDT strips 4036 - 4040 (1 - 5 July 2019)
Post by: traroth on 05 Jul 2019, 01:13
Spooky Bot obviously is not used to human-like interactions. Which actually makes him kind of a... nerd.
Title: Re: WCDT strips 4036 - 4040 (1 - 5 July 2019)
Post by: ZoeB on 05 Jul 2019, 01:54
"Because... you're  fun..to be around?"

Yeah well, my partner and I married 38 years ago for that very reason.

It's  gotten even more fun since, for both of us.
Title: Re: WCDT strips 4036 - 4040 (1 - 5 July 2019)
Post by: Milayna on 05 Jul 2019, 08:08
Heh, I guess Spooky really did get tired of the omnipotent mastermind shtick. It feels kinda weird, though - people don't just randomly go peasant like that, nor is it practical for them to do so. Money aside, I don't think that it's even possible for Spooky to just give up all power, and even if they did, it would raise its own moral problems.

Not to mention, how would you trust them? If Bill Gates, or hell Warren Buffet even, decided to just put on a backwards cap and skateboard and come at me all like "hello fellow everyperson, I donated everything I had to charity, I'm just like you!" I'd...well, I'm too polite to tell him to GTFO, but I'd just be...polite.

"Humanizing" (A word that is insufficient in this context but oh well) an entity that has a vast gulf between it and the heroes is generally a good thing. Older cartoon and video game villains might as well be named "Baddy McPillageface". They're less a character than a device for the hero's journey, and even that's usually nothing more than a lazy power fulfillment. Which has its own place, but when telling a story, you need your villains to be empathetic. But they don't just...have their villainy go away, that's as much a part of their characters as anything else.

It feels a lot like that with Spooky, though. They were introduced by knocking out several innocent people with no warning for convenience, were explicitly stated to be mostly amoral and untrustworthy, with a few key sanctified beliefs, and likened to an incomprehensible god pulling strings behind everyone, who briefly surfaced like a mythical kraken to a select few observers.  And now, they're...apparently not using 2 billion dollars of their tentacles for anything?

I don't mind, so much, that they're trying to make friends with Roko. Like I said, "humanizing"! Turns out even The Mastermind is an awkward, lonely nerd. But now they seem to be less a Mastermind than a bored rich person. If they stopped being The Mastermind at some point, well...that's a really major plot shift that can't just be elided, you know? Like, what if Beatrice just started walking around in mom jeans and pestering Elliot?
Title: Re: WCDT strips 4036 - 4040 (1 - 5 July 2019)
Post by: Gyrre on 05 Jul 2019, 08:13
Spooky did say they weren't really using it and that it seemed absurd to them now that took a moment to think about that. That's a large degree of self-awareness.

EDIT: responding to Milayna, two posts up.
Title: Re: WCDT strips 4036 - 4040 (1 - 5 July 2019)
Post by: pwhodges on 05 Jul 2019, 09:52
Administrator Comment I have split the charity stuff into a separate thread which is in the Discuss! forum.

Charity, Change, and the Rich (https://forums.questionablecontent.net/index.php/topic,34441.0.html)
Title: Re: WCDT strips 4036 - 4040 (1 - 5 July 2019)
Post by: OldGoat on 05 Jul 2019, 11:51

Assuming thatís an honest answer what makes Roko fun to be with?

"Roko is your plastic pal who's fun to be with!"
Well, Veronica is so much fun to be with that people paid big bucks for her, ah, company.

[[THWACK]] [[THWACK]] [[THWACK]]

Veronica:  "Your bottom is too raw.  We must let it recover.  We shall leave you in that position and reevalueate in 30 minutes."

Client:  "Please Mistress!  Just a few more swats!"
Title: Re: WCDT strips 4036 - 4040 (1 - 5 July 2019)
Post by: Penquin47 on 05 Jul 2019, 15:22
Strip is up!

Assuming thatís an honest answer what makes Roko fun to be with?

She challenges them.  She has no hesitation about telling them off or calling them on their shit, and they've never had anyone do that before.  Much like Q found Picard so interesting because Picard stood up to him.  (But didn't hit him.  There's a reason Q never went back to bug Sisko.)
Title: Re: WCDT strips 4036 - 4040 (1 - 5 July 2019)
Post by: cybersmurf on 05 Jul 2019, 23:53
"Because... you're  fun..to be around?"

Yeah well, my partner and I married 38 years ago for that very reason.

It's  gotten even more fun since, for both of us.


Sounds exactly like it should be :D
Title: Re: WCDT strips 4036 - 4040 (1 - 5 July 2019)
Post by: Theta9 on 06 Jul 2019, 06:59
Much like Q found Picard so interesting because Picard stood up to him.  (But didn't hit him.  There's a reason Q never went back to bug Sisko.)
Funny, I remember Q saying "You're much easier to provoke. Lucky me." after Sisko punched him.
Title: Re: WCDT strips 4036 - 4040 (1 - 5 July 2019)
Post by: BenRG on 06 Jul 2019, 07:04
Much like Q found Picard so interesting because Picard stood up to him.  (But didn't hit him.  There's a reason Q never went back to bug Sisko.)

Funny, I remember Q saying "You're much easier to provoke. Lucky me." after Sisko punched him.

At that point, DS9's writers and producers were still trying to find their rhythm and balance. I suspect that the decision was made, after that episode, that Avery Brooks and John De Lancie didn't have a very good on-screen chemistry, so further Q-on-DS9 scripts were canned.
Title: Re: WCDT strips 4036 - 4040 (1 - 5 July 2019)
Post by: Is it cold in here? on 06 Jul 2019, 09:49
Much like Q found Picard so interesting because Picard stood up to him.  (But didn't hit him.  There's a reason Q never went back to bug Sisko.)
Funny, I remember Q saying "You're much easier to provoke. Lucky me." after Sisko punched him.

Hmm. My memory is more like
Q: "You hit me! Picard would never have hit me."
S: "I am not Picard."
Title: Re: WCDT strips 4036 - 4040 (1 - 5 July 2019)
Post by: BenRG on 06 Jul 2019, 10:17
That's right, the 'You're easier to provoke' part came after that line. The implication was that Q was planning to use the commander of DS9 to prove his thesis about humans being intrinsically violent and destructive to his fellow Q.
Title: Re: WCDT strips 4036 - 4040 (1 - 5 July 2019)
Post by: jwhouk on 06 Jul 2019, 21:22
Spookybot needs friends! Who's the best option in the QC Cast?

Roko.  9 (31%)
Pintsize! (I like the idea of bringing about the apocalypse.) 5 (17.2%)
Melon!!  4 (13.8%)
May.   2 (6.9%)
Momo.  2 (6.9%)
Bubbles.  2 (6.9%)
Other (specify). 2 (6.9%)
Marten. (He'd be chill about anything.) 1 (3.4%)
Claire. (For the puns, yo) 1 (3.4%)
None of the above. 1 (3.4%)
Faye. 0 (0%)
Hannelore (though this might go against their religious beliefs.)0 (0%)


Total Members Voted: 29

...I think this is the first time a poll that had Hannelore as an option received no votes...
Title: Re: WCDT strips 4036 - 4040 (1 - 5 July 2019)
Post by: Theta9 on 07 Jul 2019, 06:40
That's right, the 'You're easier to provoke' part came after that line. The implication was that Q was planning to use the commander of DS9 to prove his thesis about humans being intrinsically violent and destructive to his fellow Q.
Yeah, this.
Title: Re: WCDT strips 4036 - 4040 (1 - 5 July 2019)
Post by: Thrillho on 08 Jul 2019, 09:56
Spooky Bot obviously is not used to human-like interactions. Which actually makes him kind of a... nerd.

Spookybot's pronoun is 'they.' Please refer to them accordingly in the future.
Title: Re: WCDT strips 4036 - 4040 (1 - 5 July 2019)
Post by: traroth on 09 Jul 2019, 09:23
Spooky Bot obviously is not used to human-like interactions. Which actually makes him kind of a... nerd.

Spookybot's pronoun is 'they.' Please refer to them accordingly in the future.

Honest mistake. Sorry, but I can't promise it won't happen again.

The fact you have moderator rights here doesn't mean you have the right to berate me like you did. If you think my mistake is serious enough, just block me.
Title: Re: WCDT strips 4036 - 4040 (1 - 5 July 2019)
Post by: Thrillho on 09 Jul 2019, 09:30
If you have an issue with the way the forum is moderated, we have a thread for that in Discuss, or you can PM one of the admins (pwhodges and is it cold in here?) if the issue is with me specifically. Outside of that, it's best we keep to the thread topic.
Title: Re: WCDT strips 4036 - 4040 (1 - 5 July 2019)
Post by: pwhodges on 09 Jul 2019, 10:42
If you think my mistake is serious enough, just block me.

What, you'd rather be blocked than corrected?  We've always tried to be as correct referring to comic characters as to people in real life, and a mod gently drawing attention to that is entirely what I'd expect to happen.  If it's a matter we'd consider more sensitive in some way, then maybe by PM in the first instance, I guess.
Title: Re: WCDT strips 4036 - 4040 (1 - 5 July 2019)
Post by: Is it cold in here? on 09 Jul 2019, 15:21
Global Moderator Comment I've moved this to PM.