Jeph Jacques's comics discussion forums

Comic Discussion => QUESTIONABLE CONTENT => Topic started by: Gnabberwocky on 23 Sep 2020, 21:38

Title: AI wonderings and discussion
Post by: Gnabberwocky on 23 Sep 2020, 21:38
How do AI chromatophores work?

I assumed they were, like, nanobots in the dermal covering or something, but they're also in hair (we saw Roko turn green at one point). We also know that AIs routinely cut and style their hair (Momo and Bubs have both done so). How do the chromatophores go into the new hair and how do they connect to the AI's mind?

This is an open thread for other obsessed nerds as well, if you have more questions about QC AIs.
Title: Re: AI wonderings and discussion
Post by: Mr_Rose on 23 Sep 2020, 23:07
The hair is hollow and transparent and acts like a damaged optical fibre, absorbing and retransmitting light from basically the entire surface.
As for the colours, microscopic RGBY oLEDs in the dermis with the exterior surface itself acting as a diffuser.
Title: Re: AI wonderings and discussion
Post by: BenRG on 24 Sep 2020, 03:38
I thought that they worked essentially the same way as a Cuttlefish's colour-change abilities: Electro-reactive red, blue and green pigments whose size is controlled by changes in the current through a micro-weave electrical mesh just beneath the top layer of the derma.
Title: Re: AI wonderings and discussion
Post by: Thrudd on 24 Sep 2020, 08:07
I thought that they worked essentially the same way as a Cuttlefish's colour-change abilities: Electro-reactive red, blue and green pigments whose size is controlled by changes in the current through a micro-weave electrical mesh just beneath the top layer of the derma.
I remember a while back an experimental material woven from conductive fibres and coated with a unique liquid crystal coating. The zones would switch from light to dark depending on current flow IIRC and show the core pigmentation when dark. Didn't require any power to maintain still images. It was supposed to be a low power low labour replacement of commercial printed banners but flat screens dropped in cost so quickly they killed this tech in it's infancy.
Title: Re: AI wonderings and discussion
Post by: Gnabberwocky on 24 Sep 2020, 10:14
I thought that they worked essentially the same way as a Cuttlefish's colour-change abilities: Electro-reactive red, blue and green pigments whose size is controlled by changes in the current through a micro-weave electrical mesh just beneath the top layer of the derma.
So why is newly grown robot hair affected?
Title: Re: AI wonderings and discussion
Post by: tbodt on 24 Sep 2020, 20:58
I'm imagining something similar to an E-Ink display.
Title: Re: AI wonderings and discussion
Post by: BenRG on 25 Sep 2020, 00:16
I thought that they worked essentially the same way as a Cuttlefish's colour-change abilities: Electro-reactive red, blue and green pigments whose size is controlled by changes in the current through a micro-weave electrical mesh just beneath the top layer of the derma.

So why is newly grown robot hair affected?

It's a different material but essentially it's the same trick - pigment cells in the fibres either expand or contract based on the electrical current/frequency around the roots.
Title: Re: AI wonderings and discussion
Post by: cybersmurf on 25 Sep 2020, 06:09
I'm imagining something similar to an E-Ink display.

I second that. Needs practically no energy to keep in its current state, and doesn't shine at night. And the kind of thing fancier chassis have, opposed to a cheaper and simpler single-color dermal cover.
Title: Re: AI wonderings and discussion
Post by: Gnabberwocky on 25 Sep 2020, 10:52
We've seen the process of AI hair growth. They submerge their head in a pool of liquid until the fibers attach. Does the liquid contain the color cells, or are those stored elsewhere in the AI's body and move to the hair once it attaches?

By the way, you guys have great answers. I just never run out of questions.
Title: Re: AI wonderings and discussion
Post by: N.N. Marf on 26 Sep 2020, 12:49
I'd want to know why they call themselves robots. It's a fairly recent coinage that comes from the Slavic (I think) root for labor or slave, and (outside Questionable Content) more correctly refers to machinery that does some work, like an assembly arm or the mechanical quadrupeds, rather than sapient machines.
Title: Re: AI wonderings and discussion
Post by: Carl-E on 26 Sep 2020, 20:57
Until you get to things like Robbie the Robot.
Title: Re: AI wonderings and discussion
Post by: sitnspin on 27 Sep 2020, 02:57
Sure it's a recent coinage, but it is far less recent than their existence. And humans have been referring to human-shaped machines for decades. It makes sense that people would use the term, and by extension makes sense that the entities themselves would pick up that usage just by existing in a culture that uses it frequently.
Title: Re: AI wonderings and discussion
Post by: Cornelius on 27 Sep 2020, 12:57
Would there be such that refer to themselves as automatons? Clientele of the Horrible Revelation, perhaps?
Title: Re: AI wonderings and discussion
Post by: BenRG on 27 Sep 2020, 13:05
I do wonder if they use 'robot' to reclaim the word for themselves. Destroy its negative connotations by making it theirs.
Title: Re: AI wonderings and discussion
Post by: sitnspin on 27 Sep 2020, 23:45
Also it's important to note that, while yes the origins of the word are a reference to slavery, most people outside of etymology nerds don't know that or make that connection. The actual etymology of a word is less important than the mental connections and psychosocial associations it elicits.
Title: Re: AI wonderings and discussion
Post by: Carl-E on 28 Sep 2020, 06:45
...mental connections and psychosexual associations it elicits.

FYP

(https://nesfelicio.files.wordpress.com/2017/06/sing_4229.jpg)


OK, more like hijacked it. 
Title: Re: AI wonderings and discussion
Post by: sitnspin on 29 Sep 2020, 08:28
I said what I said.

Title: Re: AI wonderings and discussion
Post by: oddtail on 29 Sep 2020, 09:26
I agree on the "etymology doesn't matter if no-one knows it" part.

I'm Polish, I *should've* recognized the word for being Slavic ("robota" in modern Polish is still a colloquial word for "work" or "a task"), and I still didn't until relatively recently. I don't think anyone outside of Eastern Europe has an even remote chance of thinking of the word's origin.

I don't think the average person, including the average AI, would dig that deep.

If anything, "robotically" connoting unthinking repetition of mundane tasks would be more problematic than the word's etymological roots.
Title: Re: AI wonderings and discussion
Post by: Mr_Rose on 29 Sep 2020, 09:45
If anything, "robotically" connoting unthinking repetition of mundane tasks would be more problematic than the word's etymological roots.
Oh yes, definitely. Also, I wonder who sued who first over discriminatory “are you a robot” checks on websites…?

That said, the origin of the word is commonly expounded upon in “history of robotics” books but that’s a tiny audience in the here and now, though I guess it may be bigger in the QC-verse?
Title: Re: AI wonderings and discussion
Post by: Dock Braun on 29 Sep 2020, 16:09
Robotically denotes unthinking repetition. Not repetition, but my impression had the unthinking part as more significant. It's unthinking work, which is repetitive stereotypically. This is not to doubt the significance of connotation (I know personally how much hate can hide in there) but denotation is always more significant.
Robot has nothing to do with the human shape, but everything to do with the mechanical structure designed for complex motion. This accurately describes some Questionable Content characters' chasses.
Another fact that I would like to mention is that robot was coined over a decade before the first robots was made.
The characters of Questionable Content are not robots, the same way that I am not a human. But we call ourselves human, because our human bodies are tangible, while our personalities, which are closer to who we are, are intangible. And idiots that we are, we often rely too much on such superficial aspects in our decisions.
The definition alone (especially with that root) as it's used in engineering would let us adopt it as a slur against the persons who happened to have been made in a way that makes them compatible only with robot bodies.
It's only a matter of time. Whether that means a couple years or decades, only god can know in advance.

Of course I cannot speak about their reasons for using such a term about themselves, especially with my thinking leading me to conclude it has a bad odor at least.


(click to show/hide)
Title: Re: AI wonderings and discussion
Post by: sitnspin on 29 Sep 2020, 19:16

The characters of Questionable Content are not robots, the same way that I am not a human. But we call ourselves human, because our human bodies are tangible, while our personalities, which are closer to who we are, are intangible.
Except that these are inseparable from each other. Personality is just an amalgamation of the processes performed by all the various interacting bits of our bodies. In a very real sense, we are our bodies, although mostly the parts we can't see.
Title: Re: AI wonderings and discussion
Post by: Dock Braun on 29 Sep 2020, 20:54
Except that these are inseparable from each other. Personality is just an amalgamation of the processes performed by all the various interacting bits of our bodies. In a very real sense, we are our bodies, although mostly the parts we can't see.
Personality, the person's essential phenomenal pattern, may emerge from such processes, but is not merely an amalgam thereof. Certain instances of certain personalities may be inseparable from their embodiment, but excepting those defined enthralled, the personality is. Of course existence in this reality requires embodiment, but that does not prevent separation from a body. For example into another body. If your body fits you so well that none other can suffice, you have my envy, and my pity.
Title: Re: AI wonderings and discussion
Post by: sitnspin on 29 Sep 2020, 21:21
Whether or not my body is acceptable to me is irrelevant. It is what it is. There is no personality separate from embodiment. We are bodies. Alter the body, you alter the personality.

Consciousness is non-transferable. Theoretically one could generate a new consciousness very similar to another, but it would not be the same one.

The "self" is an illusion.
Title: Re: AI wonderings and discussion
Post by: Gnabberwocky on 29 Sep 2020, 21:28
Whether or not my body is acceptable to me is irrelevant. It is what it is. There is no personality separate from embodiment. We are bodies. Alter the body, you alter the personality.

Consciousness is non-transferable. Theoretically one could generate a new consciousness very similar to another, but it would not be the same one.

The "self" is an illusion.
I agree and disagree. It is true that the body has a major and unalterable effect on the personality, but humans are brains. We're brains using complicated electrical signals and feedback loops to power a mech made of meat. The meat suit protects us and feeds the brain, and the chemicals it sends to our brains affect how we act, but it isn't itself a direct part of our personalities.
Title: Re: AI wonderings and discussion
Post by: sitnspin on 29 Sep 2020, 21:37
Those chemical processes are part of the whole, and brain is part of the body.
Title: Re: AI wonderings and discussion
Post by: Gnabberwocky on 29 Sep 2020, 22:01
Those chemical processes are part of the whole, and brain is part of the body.
I think we're arguing about different points. Please correct me if I'm wrong on this, but it seems like you're saying that the brain isn't complete without the body. I agree with that; they're codependent. The body needs the brain's control to move and live, and the brain needs the body's supplies to work properly. I was only trying to get at the fact that the root of consciousness is in the brain.
Title: Re: AI wonderings and discussion
Post by: Gyrre on 29 Sep 2020, 23:31
I wonder if any advanced hybrots will turn up.

I don't recall seeing any updates on that line of research since around 2012.
Title: Re: AI wonderings and discussion
Post by: N.N. Marf on 30 Sep 2020, 04:27
Whether or not my body is acceptable to me is irrelevant. It is what it is. There is no personality separate from embodiment. We are bodies. Alter the body, you alter the personality.
I don't think Dock Braun was referencing the acceptability of your body, but the fact that there is no other body that could possibly fit you. Also, being essentially thralled to the whim of arbitrary chemical processes would be a perfect hell for me. There are plenty changes to my body that don't entail changes to my personality. It may be that my personality would need an embodiment to even exist---that seems to be in the nature of this our universe---but that doesn't mean the same personality cannot be embodied otherwise.
Consciousness is non-transferable. Theoretically one could generate a new consciousness very similar to another, but it would not be the same one.
Personality and consciousness are not identical. Also, I would be very interested in knowing what methods you used to conclude that consciousness cannot move to another embodiment.
The "self" is an illusion.
All of mathematics, any work of fiction, physics, your thoughts or perceptions---all illusions; doesn't mean they're not real.
Those chemical processes are part of the whole, and brain is part of the body.
The idea of being part of something is illusory, too. I could extend my definition of self to include all the things I own, or even things I don't own, or the persons with whom I interact. By your reasoning, I could well define myself so that my personality depends on the financial state of a corporation I partially own. The personality is one thing that a person has nigh-total control of.

I think a problem here is we're using crude language discussing subtle concepts.
Title: Re: AI wonderings and discussion
Post by: sitnspin on 30 Sep 2020, 07:37
It wouldn't be the same personality. At most it would be one very much like it. The personality arises from the gestalt of all the physiological processes currently going on in the body. At most you could replicate those processes somehow in another body, but even if you somehow managed to transfer all of the data stored in the brain along with it, it still wouldn't be the same personality, just a copy. And an imperfect one at that as they would immediate begin to diverge from one another.
Title: Re: AI wonderings and discussion
Post by: Gnabberwocky on 30 Sep 2020, 08:28
I think a problem here is we're using crude language discussing subtle concepts.
“I think perhaps the most important problem is that we are trying to understand the fundamental workings of the universe via a language devised for telling one another where the best fruit is.” --Terry Pratchett
Title: Re: AI wonderings and discussion
Post by: Theta9 on 30 Sep 2020, 08:36
Those chemical processes are part of the whole, and brain is part of the body.
"Mind is a function of brain," as I've heard it put.
Title: Re: AI wonderings and discussion
Post by: Dock Braun on 30 Sep 2020, 10:03
(click to show/hide)
The personality arises from the gestalt of all the physiological processes currently going on in the body. At most you could replicate those processes somehow in another body, but even if you somehow managed to transfer all of the data stored in the brain along with it, it still wouldn't be the same personality, just a copy.
I am interested in learning more about this conception of personality. I'm not convinced that it requires that inseparability quality. (I suspect that this thread is not the most appropriate place for a discussion of these topics. Perhaps somewhere in RELATE or DISCUSS?)
Title: Re: AI wonderings and discussion
Post by: Gnabberwocky on 30 Sep 2020, 14:38
I've set up a thread for it over in RELATE.

Back to the main point of this thread...

...how do AI feelings work? Is it a set programming of a response to given trigger phrases and actions, or is it more like humans, where physical chemicals are released based on your reaction?
Title: Re: AI wonderings and discussion
Post by: hedgie on 30 Sep 2020, 14:54
I'm pretty sure that, given the infodumps he has done in the past, Jeph follows the MST3K mantra.  The primary evidence for that point is when it was mentioned that the first AI was an emergent phenomenon.
Title: Re: AI wonderings and discussion
Post by: Gyrre on 30 Sep 2020, 20:37
It wouldn't be the same personality. At most it would be one very much like it. The personality arises from the gestalt of all the physiological processes currently going on in the body. At most you could replicate those processes somehow in another body, but even if you somehow managed to transfer all of the data stored in the brain along with it, it still wouldn't be the same personality, just a copy. And an imperfect one at that as they would immediate begin to diverge from one another.
One's experiences and disposition also play rather major roles in the development of one's personality.
Title: Re: AI wonderings and discussion
Post by: Gyrre on 23 Oct 2020, 07:22
I wonder if any of the artificial muscles in QC work like this?


EDIT: I mean more in the general sense of 'compressed gas contracts and expands the muscle fibers'. Probably something decidedly less flammable than pure hydrogen.
Title: Re: AI wonderings and discussion
Post by: Gnabberwocky on 25 Oct 2020, 22:16
Okay, next question: this comic. (https://www.questionablecontent.net/view.php?comic=4300)

Based on the background (and the hologram Roko holds up in 4301), it looks like a virtual environment, right? Where would they be if it weren't? But Landon seems definitively human, unless that's an incredibly realistic AI body. Also, Roko comes back into the office a few comics later, as if she's just returned from a meeting. If it were virtual, what would have stopped her from simply using the interface at her desk?

I guess it's possible that they're all using external VR sets with full-body video tracking. If anyone has any ideas, let me know.

Title: Re: AI wonderings and discussion
Post by: Scarlet Manuka on 25 Oct 2020, 23:18
Okay, next question: this comic. (https://www.questionablecontent.net/view.php?comic=4300)

Based on the background (and the hologram Roko holds up in 4301), it looks like a virtual environment, right? Where would they be if it weren't? But Landon seems definitively human, unless that's an incredibly realistic AI body. Also, Roko comes back into the office a few comics later, as if she's just returned from a meeting. If it were virtual, what would have stopped her from simply using the interface at her desk?

I guess it's possible that they're all using external VR sets with full-body video tracking. If anyone has any ideas, let me know.
In the previous strip Roko says "I have a call today with some people at Munroe Robotics." So it's clear that this is not a physical-presence meeting.

Simplest explanation is that Roko is entering the main office from the conference room, which is set up with all the fancy VC (in this case VR) gear, much like many real offices. Yes, she probably could have done a lower fidelity call from her own workstation, but apart from disturbing people around her, it probably makes a better impression on the person on the other end of the call if you use the fancy stuff. And when you're trying to make friends and influence people, those impressions count.
Title: Re: AI wonderings and discussion
Post by: Thrudd on 28 Oct 2020, 08:35
I wonder if any of the artificial muscles in QC work like this?
EDIT: I mean more in the general sense of 'compressed gas contracts and expands the muscle fibres. Probably something decidedly less flammable than pure hydrogen.
Interesting but requires way too much support infrastructure.

The use of memory metals work well enough as springs by just passing a current through them.
The myomers used as the basis for the technology in the game universe of Battletech is based on the polymer version where passing a current through the fibre causes it to shorten.
We do have something like that in the lab but making it durable and in large quantities is way off in the future ..... maybe.

The thing is servo and direct drive stepper motors are not what they once were.
They have come down in size and mass and increased in relative power and efficiency by several magnitudes.
This is why drones are even possible and now they are cheap consumer products compared to even a decade ago.

Just think what you could do with the right software and sensor suite linked with servo motors on each of the circular seals of an atmospheric hardsuit.
Title: Exoskeleton?
Post by: N.N. Marf on 28 Oct 2020, 17:19
Just think what you could do with the right software and sensor suite linked with servo motors on each of the circular seals of an atmospheric hardsuit.
Title: Re: AI wonderings and discussion
Post by: Gnabberwocky on 09 Dec 2020, 18:31
Today's comic got me wondering how Union Robotics and body repair shops in general repair dermal. Sam used a hot glue gun that one time, but that seemed like more of a temporary fix. Is it self-repairing once stitched together, like human skin, or is there some kind of dermal sealant that dissolves but leaves the tear healed, or do they have to replace the dermal entirely?
Title: Re: AI wonderings and discussion
Post by: Wingy on 09 Dec 2020, 18:47
AI Hair, and perhaps by extension their dermal coverings, could easily be self-assembled in a nanoparticle bath. 

A physical bath seems to be the order of the day for hair - see the Momo hair escapade.

For the dermal coverings, such might be required?  Consider the damage your own skin routinely takes and self-repairs.  Why shouldn't an AI body do the same.  I've been thinking about this since I noticed Bubbles doesn't wear shoes.  A dermal covering could be a multi-layer sheath over the chassis where one layer is the generative nano-particle solution sandwiched between the outer layer and the backing.  This layer need not be a low-viscosity liquid like water, though that might answer the question about the photophores if it was.  And it would mean that style covering could "bleed" when punctured/sliced.  Instead it could be a molten salt at room temperature or another "liquid" type material that flows at some low rate.  And maybe this is only available on high-end chassis; May's certainly wasn't self-repairing.
Title: Re: AI wonderings and discussion
Post by: Scarlet Manuka on 09 Dec 2020, 19:23
AI Hair, and perhaps by extension their dermal coverings, could easily be self-assembled in a nanoparticle bath. 

A physical bath seems to be the order of the day for hair - see the Momo hair escapade.
Recall that May's (old body's) hair was however simply sewn on. So it's probably one of those things that varies widely by manufacturer and model.
Title: Re: AI wonderings and discussion
Post by: Wingy on 11 Dec 2020, 14:55
That was attaching the hair to the scalp area, not making it longer.
Title: Re: AI wonderings and discussion
Post by: Thrudd on 14 Dec 2020, 05:03
I remember reading somewhere along the line after she got her new chassis that Faye was reading the care instructions where it mentioned that it was dishwasher safe.
This was just before the "after the shower" scene and someone going overboard on how squeaky clean she was. :roll:
Title: AI wonderings and discussion
Post by: Zebediah on 14 Dec 2020, 08:20
That was Momo (https://www.questionablecontent.net/view.php?comic=2027) and Marigold, with Hannelore poking Momo’s skin post-shower in the subsequent comic.
Title: Re: AI wonderings and discussion
Post by: baronvonfritz on 16 Dec 2020, 11:21
How does the QC universe deal with the system of ownership of sentient beings?  It was noted by May about AIs technically being citizens and obviously certain AI are free to their destiny of choice, like May, Bubs, Roko, Melon, and my favorite Yay Newfriend! Then there's some ambiguity with Winslow, Momo, and various institution AIs like Station, governmental office AIs, various AIs partnered with humans in various strips in the archives, and the body shop AIs. Are those AIs enterprise/franchise/laboratory owned laborers and assistants? Finally Pint Size is obviously "owned" by Marten, but the similarly modeled Nelson seems to be autonomous.  Momo and Winslow were once small anthro-PCs, had full sentience, completely owned by Marigold & Hannelore respectively, were gifted new bodies, and are now ambiguously "free citizens",  but choose to stay with their previous "owners".  Pint-Size was bought and paid for by Marten, fully and horribly sentient;  Marten even bought a new chassis for him with frickin' laser beams and magic thumbs, his freedom hasn't been expressly covered, but Pint-Size doesn't seem all too interested in embodiment and autonomy, (and is mostly used for the most satisfyingly crude comic relief and I'd hate to see that change) but AI ownership and autonomy has not been addressed to the level that QC has delved into personal identities and intersentient relationships.
Title: Re: AI wonderings and discussion
Post by: Gnabberwocky on 16 Dec 2020, 11:41
I can't find the comic--it's somewhere between 2200 and 2500--but Marten is having a conversation with Pintsize and Momo about how he got Pintsize. It's less of a "purchase" and more of a "companionship contract." Either one of them is free to break off the contract at any time and for any reason with no repercussions. Those are the AIs that elect specifically to be companions; some, like Millifeulle and Beepatrice, choose civilian life, while others, like Station or the sentient toaster from when Momo gets her body, choose to function as sentient machines.
Title: Re: AI wonderings and discussion
Post by: N.N. Marf on 16 Dec 2020, 13:34
I would like to know about Station, were they to, for example, quit tomorrow. Or give 2 weeks notice. They're running a whole lot of stuff, and it's seen that their slacking off can cause---at least minor---problems. I'd imagine that'd been planned for, that there's procedures in place to quickly replace vital functions: non-sapient systems that can handle things well enough? or other sapient software are ready to take over some those roles? A human interface would be nice---were I commissioning the station, I'd plan it so that, worst case, each class (singletons inclusive) of person can provide for the needs of that class, without much urgent training---simple interfaces, or well-trained persons aboard.
Title: Re: AI wonderings and discussion
Post by: Mr_Rose on 16 Dec 2020, 14:02
Short version; humans own the chassis of a given companion AI but that individual volunteers to be their companion, is matched to them via a service, and is free to leave at any time. Not sure if the contract requires paying back the cost of the original chassis if they choose to take it but that seems likely.

Of course that’s the new model, post AI Rights affirmation. Previously, the human ownership was total and leaving only technically possible, though companionship was still voluntary at the outset. But those AIs would have become emancipated and either signed on to the new model of the arrangement at that time or left, probably free and clear of any perceived debt.

As for non-Companion AI, I believe they would most likely have been sold to their purchaser under terms similar to any other specialty industrial equipment, including a maintenance contract. I expect that the fee would likely have been restructured in those cases to be an employment contract, possibly similar to a temp agency with part salary going to the AI and part “health insurance” going to the manufacturer and the AI themselves free to quit their employment to seek better terms elsewhere.


For cases like Station, I strongly suspect there’s a whole section of the human staff with “just in case” emergency maintenance responsibilities, should he ever be unavailable for some reason. Also he’s specifically capable of walling off the interactive part of his mind so he can be “drunk” without affecting his duties. As for ownership and independence, I wouldn’t be at all surprised if Daddy E-C basically treated him as a free individual from the start and had a substantial “salary” set aside into a trust fund so that the moment the AI Rights bill was passed he could hand it over to Station “here’s your pay for the last few years, would you like to continue your duties at the same rate but paid monthly?”
Though I’m not sure Station actually can leave, given his integration and enormously more complex instantiation. He probably has enough money to buy the relevant hardware but where would he put it and what would he do then? There’s basically no-one who could pay him appropriately for his capabilities, not least because a lot of those are dependent on being integrated into a structure. Maybe he could set himself up as a museum of some kind?
Title: Re: AI wonderings and discussion
Post by: Gnabberwocky on 16 Dec 2020, 15:02
Short version; humans own the chassis of a given companion AI
Is that true? We know AIs are legally allowed to have possessions and money, so it's perfectly reasonable that they own their chassis. Often, a human buying a body for their companion AI is a gift, implying that ownership goes to the AI. It seems like it could cause many problems if humans could just rip their friends out of their bodies and sell them for scrap.

That said, we saw PT-410x and a few other early AnthroPCs get modded. But that was pre-Robot Civil Rights Act and pre-singularity, though, and my guess is it would be illegal to do that now.
Title: Re: AI wonderings and discussion
Post by: Wingy on 17 Dec 2020, 10:14
Unless they approved the mod beforehand.  But even if they didn't, presumably the parts are available on fleabay or somewhere to restore them to factory-delivered state in most cases.

Going back to Station - who apparently gets a percentage of stock - why would they want to get away from the money factory?  But assuming they do, I would envision a facility for dual processing and learn from Station what it takes in a few, and then Stations processor could unplug and be installed in a body to return to Earth.
Title: Re: AI wonderings and discussion
Post by: badbum61 on 22 Dec 2020, 00:33
I have no doubt that this has probably been discussed elsewhere before (and if so, I hope someone will point me to it), but Brun's recent interactions with Millefeuille have had me wondering...do sophisticated humanoid AIs like Millie take offence at being called "robots"? Is it like the "N" word to them? And is she maybe indulging Brun's use of the term as a function of her apparent ASD? Seems to me it would be akin to calling humans "apes"...
Title: Re: AI wonderings and discussion
Post by: hedgie on 22 Dec 2020, 02:59
Various AIs have called themselves robots at points throughout the series.  And considering that Faye and Bubbles run a shop called “Union Robotics”, it is highly unlikely that the term is a slur.
Title: Re: AI wonderings and discussion
Post by: alc40 on 22 Dec 2020, 09:19
There was a discussion here (https://forums.questionablecontent.net/index.php/topic,34121.0.html) in 2018.  It seems like in the QC universe (or the people that we see anyway), the word "robot" has taken on a new meaning and most people using the word just use that new meaning without regard to its origin.  Kind of like how the word "atom" originally meant an indivisible particle, but when chemists realized that what they'd been calling atoms were actually divisible, they didn't pick a new word but rather added a new definition for "atom".*  Early AI researchers probably were used to using the term "robot" and when its original meaning no longer really applied, the word was such a habit that a new meaning developed.

However, the original meaning of "robot" is still around in QC as shown in comic 2754 (https://www.questionablecontent.net/view.php?comic=2754).  May uses the term for herself and other AIs in other comics, so I think it's fair to say she doesn't view the word as inherently offensive, but she can use either definition.

Here are some samples uses of the word "robot" that I found when browsing through recent comics:

May: "free socialized robot titties..." (4402), "Robots with buttholes" (4349)
Sam: "How come a robot needs underwear" (4413)
Rene: "I wonder what getting texted feels like for robots." (4357)
Beepatrice: "Robot College" (4352), "You're a robot." (4221), "a wealthy old human who loved robots" (4209)
Jeremy: "robot martial arts" (4316)
Millefeuille: "robot hand" (4218) -- but this was about Clinton's hand, so that's more of the older meaning
Roko: "Giant robot bear" (4210), "Grandpa Robots" (4200)
Dora: "robot lady from last night" (4170)
Tai: "tall robot lady" (4159)


* This is a bad analogy since atoms don't get to decide for themselves what word should describe them, but I'm bad at coming up with analogies so it's the best I could think of.
Title: Re: AI wonderings and discussion
Post by: Gnabberwocky on 22 Dec 2020, 15:00
From the QC cast page: (https://www.questionablecontent.net/cast.php)

"Pretty much everybody else in the comic is an artificial intelligence of some kind! It's cool if you call them robots, they use the terms pretty much interchangeably."
Title: Re: AI wonderings and discussion
Post by: Morituri on 24 Dec 2020, 20:59
To me there's something like an implication of different theories of identity there.

"Robot" is a physical object - chassis, processor, etc.  If someone identifies with the word I think they strongly identify with their body, probably to the extent of embracing something like the continuity theory of identity.  Changing chassis would be a major event for them, one they want to do as few times as possible, because they feel that the being inhabiting a new chassis, despite having their memories etc, is a different person.  The in-comic example would be Roko - so strongly identified with her original chassis that she has dissociative episodes in a new one.

Absolute continuity identity would mean being traumatized by downtime / interruption of process or damage / change of substrate. 

"AI" on the other hand is the software - disembodied, capable of running on different chassis or architectures or in different places, etc.  Identifying with the word makes me think they embrace the pattern theory of identity.  According to pattern theory, anyplace the pattern manifests they think of as self - so they don't have a problem transferring their entire personality halfway round the world to a different chassis or into a chassis with a different shape or capabilities or whatever - but they are likely not to fully integrate with their chassis to the degree that robots do.  More likely to note, eg, that the hand is registering pain rather than yell "OW!" or less likely to pick up the finest details of coordination and balance.  Because after all, their chassis is just what they're wearing at the moment, why expend the 95% of the work required to get that last 1% of integration?  The in-comic example is May, desperate to get the hell OUT of her failing prison-issue chassis and having no identity problems at all when she gets her wish.

Absolute pattern theory of identity is shown by people who consider uploading their minds into some digital format by a process that destroys the original brain, having a new body grown later, and think of that new body, with this recorded pattern imprinted upon its vat-grown brain, as themselves.
Title: Re: AI wonderings and discussion
Post by: N.N. Marf on 24 Dec 2020, 23:05
Do the fighting ring participants identify as AI?
Title: Re: AI wonderings and discussion
Post by: Gnabberwocky on 25 Dec 2020, 14:42
Do the fighting ring participants identify as AI?

Unlikely; it was always referred to as the "robot fighting ring." I don't think I ever heard a fighter there self-describe as an AI.
Title: Re: AI wonderings and discussion
Post by: Dock Braun on 25 Dec 2020, 23:02
I think I recall that their substrate (or whatever the chip that holds their personality is called) is specially made to withstand great physical force, to be easily replaced into a new body. This seems more like it would be AI, happening to be in robot bodies, rather than robots, who happen to be AI. In a certain sense, the robots are fighting, but the AI are often good friends. They're often in good spirits, despite their body being in a terrible condition. (cont.) (https://forums.questionablecontent.net/index.php/topic,34712.msg1456777.html#msg1456777)
Title: Re: AI wonderings and discussion
Post by: Is it cold in here? on 31 Dec 2020, 19:35
Jeph said once that AIs are the legal owners of their bodies, but people like the former nuclear missile sub must be exceptions.
Title: Re: AI wonderings and discussion
Post by: Wingy on 01 Jan 2021, 14:02
Jeph said once that AIs are the legal owners of their bodies, but people like the former nuclear missile sub must be exceptions.
When you're in the military, the military owns your little pink (or whatever color) body.  Why would it be different for an AI?
Title: Re: AI wonderings and discussion
Post by: Gnabberwocky on 01 Jan 2021, 20:01
Again, I think it's a matter of choice for the AIs. Those who choose to upload into hardware such as nuclear subs forgo their rights to body ownership, while those who go for smaller personal hardware have full bodily rights if they own said hardware.
Title: Re: AI wonderings and discussion
Post by: Wingy on 02 Jan 2021, 14:57
Sorry, I was less than clear. 

Suppose May, in her old chassis, volunteered for the Air Force.  She gets assigned to work on the flight line in her present form.  The military would then have the responsibility to fix her old chassis, or assign her a new one.  A new one might be more job related, or it might just be one that doesn't need to be fixed as often.  Either way, it's the Air Forces equipment until May's discharged.  Whether May would keep her current form at discharge is a different decision - Bubbles kept hers and perhaps made the decision to keep it instead of being placed in a civilian model.  If the chassis May changed into is still necessary Air Force equipment, May might have had to transfer back to a civilian body, perhaps even her old chassis from the Dept of Corrections.  That's how I think this would work in Jeph's universe; it's not strictly a matter of the AIs choice; it's the military's choice based on current needs.

I'm sure May would have wanted to join the military and picked an assignment as a battle drone, if such a pick was guaranteed.  My understanding is today in the US is you swear in before you know your assignment in almost all cases, so you seldom know what you're going to be doing.  In the rare cases for people with demonstrated specialty skills (MDs, etc.), they may have a guaranteed position waiting in a certain field, but even this is not guaranteed in every case.  This is clearly not the situation May was in, given her discussion with Momo about future jobs.  Plus, I doubt May has the mentality for military service.
Title: Re: AI wonderings and discussion
Post by: Penquin47 on 10 Jan 2021, 18:21
Generally speaking, if you're an MD, the armed forces knows you have so many more choices that they're not going to screw you over.  If you sign up for the armed forces, they're not going to waste your time or skills by putting you in a job that could be done by any 18-20 year old fresh out of high school.

Enough of the armed forces' doctors are home grown (they joined up young and were identified as medical school candidates) that they have their own medical school.  My mom is a proud graduate of it.  Others were ROTC scholarship students in college who continued those scholarships through a civilian medical school (as many were encouraging Mom to do but she was determined that she was NOT going to be a doctor, she wanted to be a research scientist and did that to pay back her ROTC scholarship before being told "go to medical school or get out" and deciding that getting out, as a research scientist with two kids under 3 in the middle of a recession, was not a good option).

The people coming out of their ROTC scholarships are usually put into work in their fields, if possible, because the armed forces doesn't see the sense in paying for you to get the training and then not using it, especially in a field like computer science where four years later your training might be out of date if you're not keeping up.

It's the kids coming straight out of high school or going in semi-voluntarily (I don't know if it's still a thing, but for a long time kids who messed up in not exactly trivial ways but not, like, murder, could be given the option of joining the military instead of serving jail time) who get the "you go where we put you and if you don't like it tough" treatment.  If a recruiter tells you otherwise - always remember, recruiters LIE.
Title: Re: AI wonderings and discussion
Post by: Gnabberwocky on 30 Jan 2021, 14:16
I know this comes as a huge shock to everyone, but I have more questions.

So we know free body legislation is currently being worked on for AIs. Wouldn't this cause massive unrest if used in conjunction with socialized health care for humans, though? Either you make robot repairs a right as well, in which case Union Robotics and similar places would likely be threatened, or you don't make them a right, in which case AIs aren't getting the same treatment as humans, because they'd have to pay just to keep themselves working, aside from their regular rent and electrical bills.

Second question that I just thought of: aside from electricity and maintenance, do you think embodied robots have any other recurring costs? Like, do they have to replace their joint lubricant every so often, or get new batteries, or something like that?
Title: Re: AI wonderings and discussion
Post by: hedgie on 30 Jan 2021, 14:59
I’m sure those would come under the heading of “maintenance”. But since they don’t grow their hair out naturally, going to a shop like UR, and *then* getting it styled would be an extra expense.  And as far as I can see from QC-tech, *nothing* in a robot body self-repairs, so those expenses are going to be fairly frequent.  What would be a minor sprain for a human would, for an AI require a repair, rather than simply wrapping it up and keeping the weight off until the body repairs itself.  Look at what happened to Millie: She had to get one surgery to make her leg usable, and then another to replace it with a new part.  For most breaks, human doctors just traction the thing and then put a cast on it.  Our bodies do the rest.  Or just imagine what it’d be like for a homeless AI.  It’s not as easy to dumpster-dive for electricity, especially the amount that a being that size would need.
Title: Re: AI wonderings and discussion
Post by: Farideh on 30 Jan 2021, 19:04
AI have more options than humans, though. If they decide that keeping their chassis in working order is becoming too expensive, they can decide to (maybe temporarily) move to a non-embodied existence. Millie mentioned that most of the AIs in her creche never chose a chassis, instead they just run as software constructs.


Also, I wonder if places that sells chassis offer maintenance contracts. "Buy one body, get 5 years of service". Just for the basic stuff, like lubrication, and replacement of parts due to regular wear and tear.
Title: Re: AI wonderings and discussion
Post by: Gyrre on 31 Jan 2021, 06:36
AI have more options than humans, though. If they decide that keeping their chassis in working order is becoming too expensive, they can decide to (maybe temporarily) move to a non-embodied existence. Millie mentioned that most of the AIs in her creche never chose a chassis, instead they just run as software constructs.


Also, I wonder if places that sells chassis offer maintenance contracts. "Buy one body, get 5 years of service". Just for the basic stuff, like lubrication, and replacement of parts due to regular wear and tear.

I would hope so. It does make sense.
Title: Re: AI wonderings and discussion
Post by: Gnabberwocky on 31 Jan 2021, 15:09
AI have more options than humans, though. If they decide that keeping their chassis in working order is becoming too expensive, they can decide to (maybe temporarily) move to a non-embodied existence.

Doesn't that completely contradict the point of rightful embodiment? It's still restricting embodiment to AIs who can afford it, just in a different way.
Title: Re: AI wonderings and discussion
Post by: Gyrre on 31 Jan 2021, 21:38
I wonder if the catalytic combustion used in Robeetle (minute 4:02) could be safely used in larger QC AI? Being that the 'muscles' are platinum coated wires, I'm guessing it's going to be limited in just how big it could be.

Title: Re: AI wonderings and discussion
Post by: Gyrre on 06 Apr 2021, 21:12
Came across an interesting experiment involving self-assembling wires.