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Poll

How are AnthroPCs regarded in the QC universe?

Pets
- 15 (10.2%)
Children
- 12 (8.2%)
Machines with complex behavior
- 19 (12.9%)
Sentient machines
- 51 (34.7%)
Stop over-analyzing the joke
- 38 (25.9%)
Toys
- 1 (0.7%)
Toxic waste
- 5 (3.4%)
Lawless lawrencium lolcat
- 6 (4.1%)

Total Members Voted: 131


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Author Topic: What is the social/ethical/legal status of AnthroPCs?  (Read 61735 times)

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Continued from weekly comic thread.

Marten treats Pintsize as a child but has also described him as a "friend", Hannelore seems to be friends with Winslow. Marigirl's relationship with Momo-tan seems to be more complex.

Hillary Clinton's AnthroPC uploads video of her wearing a towel and dancing to Daft Punk. This fits the conspiracy theory that they are surveillance devices installed by the dark powers that secretly control the QC universe.

If you don't see an option to your liking, feel free to suggest additional ones. This time I double-checked that the "Allow user to change vote" option is turned on. If that doesn't work then there's a bug in the forum software.
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Re: What is the social/ethical/legal status of AnthroPCs?
« Reply #1 on: 19 Mar 2010, 09:38 »

I voted for "Sentient machines" although "Machines with complex behavior" is probably pretty close too.
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Re: What is the social/ethical/legal status of AnthroPCs?
« Reply #2 on: 19 Mar 2010, 10:36 »

I voted sentient, then changed to complex machines, so yes, the change vote option works - you have to remove the old vote first, though.  i may have missed that on the previous poll by "Is is cold in here?"

OK, who thinks pintsize would actually pass the Turing test?  You know, lock him in a room with Alan Turing's zombie and see who survives...

No, wait, wrong test...

Of course the Turing test is only the first step - the winning machine seems to be intelligent.  There are machines that do pretty well at this, but that's a high degree of clever programming showing its face.  So it's more like intelligent design than actual machine intelligence...

Of course, sentience involves a certan level of self-awareness, too, and the AnthroPC's seem to have that in spades.  I think that's another arifice of some really advanced programming, myself. 

Of course, if it walks like a duck man and quacks talks like a duck man...


... and now Frankie Valli's in my head.  Dammit! 
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Re: What is the social/ethical/legal status of AnthroPCs?
« Reply #3 on: 19 Mar 2010, 11:22 »

Put it this way; Anthro-PCs are self aware, and are sentient.  It's what differentiates anthro-pc's from more basic computers.  As far as the QC world goes, this is a matter of fact.  Remember what Hannelore said, a simple serendipidous combination of hardware and software created something which could not accurately be described as either, the mechanics of which are easily reproducable.  I would say this indicates, beyond the technology, that anthro-machines are a sort of life-form.  However, what this means in terms of societal rights is questionable.  Human beings as a whole are not quick to grant rights to anyone, let alone things which aren't human.  We know that humans in QC can own anthro-machines.  We know that they can modify them as they wish without the anthro-pc's consent.  Marigold was, at one point, worried about the welfare of Pintsize, so I suspect there's basic rules governing some semblance of humane treatment.  But it's obvious that they don't have the same rights a human does.  
« Last Edit: 19 Mar 2010, 11:30 by Tuitsuro »
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Re: What is the social/ethical/legal status of AnthroPCs?
« Reply #4 on: 19 Mar 2010, 12:38 »

That treatment issue is one reason I think "machines with complex behavior" is the answer, or at least I hope it is. And for all we know, Marigold is some sort of fringe activist, or associated with such a group. (There used to be (and may still be) people who claimed that everything down to toasters had self-awareness, so why not?) Too, since at the time Momo seems to be her only companion, I can see Marigold having the need to believe anthropcs are sentient.

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Re: What is the social/ethical/legal status of AnthroPCs?
« Reply #5 on: 19 Mar 2010, 12:51 »

Could be.  I assume there's multiple sides of the issue.  I'm sure it'll be resolved about the time QC has a 'B1-66ER' incident, though.  If it hasn't already had one.
« Last Edit: 19 Mar 2010, 13:01 by Tuitsuro »
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Re: What is the social/ethical/legal status of AnthroPCs?
« Reply #6 on: 19 Mar 2010, 13:28 »

Machines with complex behaviour. Although they give the impression of being self aware, we don't actually have the ability to differentiate that from just having a very good conversation engine that grows with contact with other AnthroPCs and humans.

This would also explain why the AnthroPC takes on some of the attributes of the person they have most contact with (eg Pintsize and Marten, Smif's AnthroPCs and lazy students and so on) during their early development at least. We've not seen anyone buy a brand new AnthroPC so we don't know how they appear before they have had a chance to 'learn' their owner's conversation style.

I remember one episode of Numb3rs where a machine managed to pass the Turing test as it was designed to be the best natural conversation computer ever. It was useless for anything except for having a conversation with.
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Re: What is the social/ethical/legal status of AnthroPCs?
« Reply #7 on: 19 Mar 2010, 13:42 »

I went for machines with complex behaviour.  However, if they do have rights, or get them- they have responsibilities.  Not sure if Pintsize would really want to be accountable for his behaiour.
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Re: What is the social/ethical/legal status of AnthroPCs?
« Reply #8 on: 19 Mar 2010, 14:31 »

I remember one episode of Numb3rs where a machine managed to pass the Turing test as it was designed to be the best natural conversation computer ever. It was useless for anything except for having a conversation with.

Oh yeah, the one where they thought the 'AI' computer had become a sociopath and was trying to kill everyone?  (Granted, it only actually killed one person...)
« Last Edit: 19 Mar 2010, 14:42 by Tuitsuro »
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Re: What is the social/ethical/legal status of AnthroPCs?
« Reply #9 on: 19 Mar 2010, 15:08 »

Dependents?
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Re: What is the social/ethical/legal status of AnthroPCs?
« Reply #10 on: 19 Mar 2010, 15:35 »

However, if they do have rights, or get them- they have responsibilities.  Not sure if Pintsize would really want to be accountable for his behaiour.
I had forgotten the strip about organizing for robot rights.

EDIT: also potentially relevant, strip 382, in which Pintsize says it's illegal to sell AnthroPCs online. Now, trusting Pintsize is a stretch even for the most devoted player of the Take It Too Literally game, but what if AnthroPCs can only be sold by licensed retailers or only to customers who've had a background check? Maybe getting an AnthroPC is like adopting a baby.
« Last Edit: 19 Mar 2010, 16:32 by Is it cold in here? »
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Re: What is the social/ethical/legal status of AnthroPCs?
« Reply #11 on: 19 Mar 2010, 19:55 »

Possibly more like a rare pet, or a firearm. I can see where one might have to have a permit to own an anthropc, because, as I pointed out in the WTC, they are potentially dangerous.
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Re: What is the social/ethical/legal status of AnthroPCs?
« Reply #12 on: 19 Mar 2010, 21:40 »

I voted for Sentient Machines






But you forgot the other option
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Re: What is the social/ethical/legal status of AnthroPCs?
« Reply #13 on: 20 Mar 2010, 06:09 »

Pancakes?
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Re: What is the social/ethical/legal status of AnthroPCs?
« Reply #14 on: 20 Mar 2010, 06:24 »

A murrain on thy cakes formed in pans!

He speaks of clever alien agents meant to infiltrate Earth, gather intelligence, and then transform the planet into the wild, wild world of uninhibited, witless Miley Cyrus clones. The last report: so far, so good!
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Re: What is the social/ethical/legal status of AnthroPCs?
« Reply #15 on: 20 Mar 2010, 06:49 »

Aren'tsentient machines also machines with complex behaviour?
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Re: What is the social/ethical/legal status of AnthroPCs?
« Reply #16 on: 20 Mar 2010, 07:54 »

Yes, but often when people say "machines" they mean "just machines".
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Re: What is the social/ethical/legal status of AnthroPCs?
« Reply #17 on: 20 Mar 2010, 13:52 »

Also Sentient machines fall into the category of machines with complex behaviour in the an analogous way to how humans fall into the category of animals. In a poll like this, typically one assumes that if one option is a broad category and another is a narrower sub-category of the first, then the first broad category is being treated as excluding the narrower sub-category.
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Re: What is the social/ethical/legal status of AnthroPCs?
« Reply #18 on: 20 Mar 2010, 15:06 »

Sentience has never been well defined.  One basic definition of sentience is whether the lifeform in question is 'self aware', but a true definition of sentience itself is rather subjective.  If you've ever read Chobits, the plot there was that these personal computers called 'persocoms', which were human in appearance and could do everything a personal computer would do, but were not actually sentient but instead had very complex software and hardware.  The idea that was bandied about in the series was that these special computers called 'chobits' existed, which could extend themselves beyond their programming; effectively, they could feel and act in ways which were not simply by design, effectively sentient.  The main persocom in the series, Chi, was thought to be one, and throughout the series the main human protagonist, Hideki, is conflicted about how he feels for her, knowing that she's only a computer, despite the fact that her 'programming' closely mimics real human interactions.  Effectively, whether actually 'loving' something like that, or treating it as equal to a human being, would be wrong.  It was a rather nifty series, actually...
« Last Edit: 20 Mar 2010, 15:10 by Tuitsuro »
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Re: What is the social/ethical/legal status of AnthroPCs?
« Reply #19 on: 20 Mar 2010, 17:44 »

A murrain on thy cakes formed in pans!

He speaks of clever alien agents meant to infiltrate Earth, gather intelligence, and then transform the planet into the wild, wild world of uninhibited, witless Miley Cyrus clones. The last report: so far, so good!

If you mean the planet of wild, uninhibited Grace Park, Lucy Lawless and Tricia Helfer clones then I'm in.
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Re: What is the social/ethical/legal status of AnthroPCs?
« Reply #20 on: 20 Mar 2010, 18:08 »

That would be the Pipe Dreams Aliens, not our future off-planetary masters. And I didn't say it was good for us. Success would be a Kurtz moment if ever there was one.
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Re: What is the social/ethical/legal status of AnthroPCs?
« Reply #21 on: 20 Mar 2010, 22:25 »

No, I meant that AnthroPC's are the extension of the HAL9000 that actually runs the planet.


They also keep The Borg at bay.
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Re: What is the social/ethical/legal status of AnthroPCs?
« Reply #22 on: 22 Mar 2010, 04:08 »

No, we need balding Shakespeare quoting Englishmen with French names to do that.
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Re: What is the social/ethical/legal status of AnthroPCs?
« Reply #23 on: 22 Mar 2010, 04:40 »

But we'd have less problems if we used overly-dramatic Canadians who pause for no reason when they speak. Or, even better, dudes who used to be bad-ass associates of Spenser, but are now trying to act all 'touchy-feely.' Man's got to take that aggression out on someone.
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Re: What is the social/ethical/legal status of AnthroPCs?
« Reply #24 on: 22 Mar 2010, 05:44 »

We'll need the ex-Cdn Army pilot (James Doohan flew as an airborne Artillery Observer in WWII, met him at a reunion dinner in the late 80s) to be the engineer then, although the new guy's OK....
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Re: What is the social/ethical/legal status of AnthroPCs?
« Reply #25 on: 22 Mar 2010, 06:21 »

But we'd have less problems if we used overly-dramatic Canadians who pause for no reason when they speak. Or, even better, dudes who used to be bad-ass associates of Spenser, but are now trying to act all 'touchy-feely.' Man's got to take that aggression out on someone.

Surely we need a female Army Major who got mixed up with a covert assassin (and his Chinese mentor who can run over water), but is now trying to act all bad-ass.

Actually, scrub that. She's dreadful. Genevičve Bujold, why did you forsake us?!


Hooray! I'm not the only one who remembers Sisko in Spenser!
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Re: What is the social/ethical/legal status of AnthroPCs?
« Reply #26 on: 22 Mar 2010, 06:34 »

Because she had a horrible first day of filming.

(Some of the footage is included on the Season 1 DVD set. It actually is pretty horrible.)
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Re: What is the social/ethical/legal status of AnthroPCs?
« Reply #27 on: 22 Mar 2010, 07:05 »

Pipe down or we'll force a Midwestern physicist who's forced to timeshift from body to body without knowing how long or where he will go next to be your next captain.
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Re: What is the social/ethical/legal status of AnthroPCs?
« Reply #28 on: 22 Mar 2010, 08:10 »

Hey, I enjoyed Quantum Leap...

Wait, did I say that out loud? 
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Re: What is the social/ethical/legal status of AnthroPCs?
« Reply #29 on: 22 Mar 2010, 09:57 »

The worst part about Quantum Leap is that it is directly responsible for the current use of 'quantum' occasionally combined with 'leap' to mean "major" when the word quantum actually means tiny. The show on the other hand was named such because the method of time travel employed was designed to massively reduce the distances you had to 'leap' (and hence the energy cost) by screwing the subject's time-line up into a ball.
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Re: What is the social/ethical/legal status of AnthroPCs?
« Reply #30 on: 22 Mar 2010, 10:02 »

Why so few votes for "children"?

Marten has imposed a curfew on Pintsize and threatened to ground him, and Pintsize himself has compared himself to an adolescent. Winslow has abandonment fears. Momo-tan is the only grownup of the bunch.
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Re: What is the social/ethical/legal status of AnthroPCs?
« Reply #31 on: 22 Mar 2010, 10:48 »

Because they're more like talking pets? Momo is like a dog (such as the Great Pyrenees Jeph was tweeting about) that will 'take over' if its master doesn't assume the dominant role. And the rest, well, watch Dog Whisperer enough, and you'll see all those things go down.

Hey, I enjoyed Quantum Leap...

Wait, did I say that out loud?  

Sadly, yes. My god, I hated that show. But my SO loved it.

Hooray! I'm not the only one who remembers Sisko in Spenser!
Yes. I rejoiced when Avery Brooks went back to the shaved head and beard look. Then I realized why. Hawk in Space! (not to be confused with the character 'Hawk' in the second season of Buck Rogers in the 25th Century, who could have been cool, but, sadly, he was a character on Buck Rogers in the 25th Century and so had no real chance to be so). He still didn't get to do many of the cool one-liners, though.
« Last Edit: 22 Mar 2010, 10:52 by raoullefere »
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Re: What is the social/ethical/legal status of AnthroPCs?
« Reply #32 on: 22 Mar 2010, 12:56 »

Because she had a horrible first day of filming.

(Some of the footage is included on the Season 1 DVD set. It actually is pretty horrible.)

Interesting. That's not the official line on IMDB.

"Originally, Genevičve Bujold was cast as Captain Elizabeth Janeway, but she dropped the role after the first day of shooting because she claimed to not be able to handle the week-by-week shooting schedule of a show such as Star Trek."
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Re: What is the social/ethical/legal status of AnthroPCs?
« Reply #33 on: 22 Mar 2010, 13:32 »

Saw some of Genevieve on YouTube

I haven's seen that much wooden acting since Treebeard.



What we really need is a boyishly faced Russian who is secretly a P12 teep
« Last Edit: 22 Mar 2010, 13:33 by Kugai »
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Re: What is the social/ethical/legal status of AnthroPCs?
« Reply #34 on: 22 Mar 2010, 16:20 »

How did we get from possibly sentient, but no one's really sure robots and their legal status to Star Trek?

Not that I'm complaining mind - we need ot get some of the other threads to do this more often.
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Re: What is the social/ethical/legal status of AnthroPCs?
« Reply #35 on: 22 Mar 2010, 16:27 »

You just need scatterbrains like Carl and me—can't keep our attention on any one thing for too long. But it's really Border Reiver's fault, like always.

What we really need is a boyishly faced Russian who is secretly a P12 teep
Him? He couldn't keep us safe—he's too busy dealing with his constipation issues (or so it looked every time I saw Keonig on B5).

That 'schedule' line is what I've always heard, too, Binary, from the moment Bujold was dropped. Mulgrew wasn't that bad—she simply doesn't compare to Brooks and Stewart; understandable, since she's not the same caliber of actor. I've always wondered what it would have been like had an actress like Judy Dench had had the role, or, if they had to have a woman in Mulgrew's age range, Bebe Neuwirth. Very talented actress, excellent at playing 'hard,' and Cheers had ended in '93, so she was available.
« Last Edit: 22 Mar 2010, 16:28 by raoullefere »
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Re: What is the social/ethical/legal status of AnthroPCs?
« Reply #36 on: 22 Mar 2010, 18:04 »

It's always interesting to speculate on who might have been good where.


I wonder how Denise Crosby would have done if she'd stayed on, got promoted and gotten Captaincy of Voyager



Hell, can't be any worse than what would have happened if one of the two other actors shortlisted for Kirk had got the roll instead of Shatner.


Lloyd Bridges
Jack Lord
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Re: What is the social/ethical/legal status of AnthroPCs?
« Reply #37 on: 23 Mar 2010, 01:43 »

The worst part about Quantum Leap is that it is directly responsible for the current use of 'quantum' occasionally combined with 'leap' to mean "major" when the word quantum actually means tiny.
Not to be an asshole (haha), but quantum leap doesn't mean it's tiny, it means there's no state inbetween. So if you work with natural numbers and go from 1 to 2, it's also a quantum leap.
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Re: What is the social/ethical/legal status of AnthroPCs?
« Reply #38 on: 23 Mar 2010, 03:52 »

Raoul, it's good to know - so in the spirit of my marriage - "I accept all blame and/or reponsibility."  There, I feel much better now, it's almost liberating.
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Re: What is the social/ethical/legal status of AnthroPCs?
« Reply #39 on: 23 Mar 2010, 06:23 »

Just so long as it's understood that nothing is ever my fault.

Kugai, to me, Bridges and Lord are about the same as Shatner, except Shatner does seem more personable in his early TV 'guest' roles (Twilight Zone, Man from U.N.C.L.E. [guesting with Leonard Nimoy, as I recall] etc.) than either of those two.  Don't know if that's a reason for his getting picked or not. It surely wasn't for his scintillating performance in Comanche Blanco.

Thinking about it, though, I have a hard time seeing Jack Lord doing any of the 'impassioned' pleas, speeches, what have you, that Shatner did manage to pull off.
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Re: What is the social/ethical/legal status of AnthroPCs?
« Reply #40 on: 23 Mar 2010, 09:35 »

It's kind of hard to imagine anyone else from that era having done those roles.

Although it would have been a humourous to have had Shatner and Lorne Greene switch their Kirk/Adama roles.
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Re: What is the social/ethical/legal status of AnthroPCs?
« Reply #41 on: 23 Mar 2010, 13:27 »

What happens to AnthroPCs when they become obsolete? Do people toss their friends in the recycle bin, or give them away to luckless charities, or what?
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Re: What is the social/ethical/legal status of AnthroPCs?
« Reply #42 on: 23 Mar 2010, 13:30 »

Maybe they can just buy a new chassis and transfer their personality data? That worked for Winslow in the "Hannelore's Robo-Trainer-Boyfriend" arc.

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Re: What is the social/ethical/legal status of AnthroPCs?
« Reply #43 on: 23 Mar 2010, 13:31 »

What happens to AnthroPCs when they become obsolete? Do people toss their friends in the recycle bin, or give them away to luckless charities, or what?

They return to the Mother Computer.


raoullefere, I suddenly had this image of Jack Lord, after they've captured the Klingons, saying "Book 'em Spocko."

 :-D

« Last Edit: 23 Mar 2010, 13:35 by Kugai »
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Re: What is the social/ethical/legal status of AnthroPCs?
« Reply #44 on: 23 Mar 2010, 14:33 »

I think I remember Shatner saying 'Spocko' in 'A Piece of the Action.'

As for anthropcs, my guess is that owners who treasure their plastic pals (who are fun to be with) go through chassis, while those who don't do a security wipe before properly disposing of the obsolete unit. If they're actually silly enough to want another one.

I'm assuming it's not possible to be the 'old lady with cats,' only with dozens of anthropcs instead.
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Re: What is the social/ethical/legal status of AnthroPCs?
« Reply #45 on: 23 Mar 2010, 15:43 »

Pintsize has upgraded himself a few times that we know of, both hardware and software.  AnthroPCs are more "life like" than most machines because of their potential to grow and evolve, and maybe eventually die of "old age", as opposed to becoming obsolete and cast aside.  Or at least it's kinda cool to think so.  In that sense, an anthroPC is much more like a beloved pet than a mere machine.
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Re: What is the social/ethical/legal status of AnthroPCs?
« Reply #46 on: 23 Mar 2010, 15:47 »

I'm assuming it's not possible to be the 'old lady with cats,' only with dozens of anthropcs instead.

Why not?  At least, two or three around the house might be fun for those folks who don't have kids, or are allergic to pets.  The shennanigans are roughly equivalent (I think pintsize is an extreme case), and if you train 'em right, like Momo (who does light housekeeping as I recall) they can be downright nice to have around!  

Of course, the constant partying and havoc-wreaking of a dozen or so would be a bit extreme.  But the same is true of the cats...
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Re: What is the social/ethical/legal status of AnthroPCs?
« Reply #47 on: 23 Mar 2010, 16:15 »

Well, for the mobile home versions perhaps; but Anthro-PC technology is used in other applications as well, particularly military application.  There's confirmation of Anthro-PC satellites as well as assault mechs; and Pintsize's original chassis was military hardware as well, so it's obvious that they can be fairly easily weaponized.  Something you can't do with a pet, well, unless you have easy access to Goliath Serum. 
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Re: What is the social/ethical/legal status of AnthroPCs?
« Reply #48 on: 23 Mar 2010, 16:38 »

OK, yes, personality transfer. Another example is when Pintsize was backed up to the desktop.

Momo-tan's light housework capabilities were mentioned in 1298, and later during the discovery of Marigirl's messy apartment (1415).
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Re: What is the social/ethical/legal status of AnthroPCs?
« Reply #49 on: 23 Mar 2010, 19:53 »

[...] it's obvious that they can be fairly easily weaponized.  Something you can't do with a pet

Not so.

« Last Edit: 23 Mar 2010, 19:54 by bicostp »
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