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Author Topic: Spookybot - Motivation  (Read 1175 times)

sniktchtherat

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Spookybot - Motivation
« on: 30 May 2018, 02:25 »

While discussing the hidden depths of Pintsize, some related thoughts about Spookybot popped up.  We know their stated motivation for intervening - the violation of one of the few moral principles they hold, namely the sanctity of mind - but a being that complex doesn't have to have JUST one motivation.  It's arguable that helping Bubbles and breaking Corpse Witch weren't even the primary goals, just means to an end.

http://www.questionablecontent.net/view.php?comic=3414  One of these things is not like the others.  Three of these panels are dealing with the direct legal and property ramifications of Corpse Witch's fall, and thus are things Spooky arguably 'had' to do if they're a meticulous bastard who finishes what they start.

The fourth is Spooky giving Emily some "friendly" - some might say mentorly, perhaps even parental - guidance.  Suggesting a line of research for Emily is neither legal or property connected, and arguably was completely unnecessary; Emily's scarily smart, she'd think of it on her own eventually.  Further, why did Spooky pick Emily specifically to go into Bubbles' head?  Dora could have done it; arguably Faye could have done it, if she wasn't immediately distrustful of Spooky and in a massive emotional clusterfuck that'd make her prone to react badly to threats to the person she cares about.  Hell, it's even theoretically possible that Spooky could have rigged the 'virtual environment' to let Bubbles hack her own brain; it would have been a bad idea given what was found and Bubbles' likely reaction to that without immediate emotional support, but arguably it COULD have been done.

But they picked Emily.  Spooky doesn't say there's any physical reason for it to be Emily who jacks in, only that "we daresay she'll enjoy the experience".  That's one of the few positive emotional affects we've seen from them, and arguably the only one we've seen from a positive action; every other time we see Spooky acting or sounding pleased, they're either aggressively screwing with someone's head or savoring the shrieks of a tortured Corpse Witch.  Even the 'many at home' picture, they don't look particularly pleased, just...contented.  There are two lines of thought that flow from this; one of them is very, very dark and as such I'll be immediately ignoring it.  The other is a speculation:  Spooky likes Emily, for some reason. 

BenRG has speculated that Emily might be an experimental biomimetic chassis with a mind that isn't aware she's an AI.  If such a level of tech is even possible in the QCverse, there are very few organizations that would have the resources to pull it off...and at least one individual we know of.  Not saying it's OMGSUPAHTRUE, mind...just...I have to wonder.
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mgrayson3

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Re: Spookybot - Motivation
« Reply #1 on: 30 May 2018, 06:34 »

To paraphrase Vernor Vinge, we have no better hope of understanding Spookybot's motivations than a flatworm has of understanding the opera.

Have you read Stanislaw Lem's Golem lectures? Golem is an artificial superhuman intelligence. What Lem is very good at is portraying how alien a nonhuman mind would be. Golem admits that it has to "put on" a personality to communicate with humans, and this lessens it enormously. It's actual being is simple intelligence without sense of self or identity.

BTW, I've met a few Emily-level intelligences. If one is professionally "smart", it's quite disturbing. Fortunately, they are rare.
« Last Edit: 30 May 2018, 06:40 by mgrayson3 »
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awgiedawgie

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Re: Spookybot - Motivation
« Reply #2 on: 30 May 2018, 09:22 »

Spookybot's mentorly advice to Emily further suggests that they are not merely a soulless, emotionless super-being. True, they operate on a different level of consciousness, kind of like an AI version of OCD, where they are very focused, driven - obsessed, even. But they are not without feeling. Here, they reflect on the fact that their power could be misused, but they refuse to do so. And in the next strip, they show true compassion for Bubbles' situation.


While I do not agree at all with the theory that Emily is some sort of closet AI, we have seen that in the QCverse, anything is possible. As Matt said, I've met a few Emily-level intelligences. My own brother has an IQ over 180. Conversing with people like that is... different. But without question, her intelligence, and her aptitude for highly advanced programming, is why Spookybot chose her to go into Bubbles' mind in the first place. She was less likely to go insane from the experience, and she could be very instrumental in the further development of AIs (that could actually be an ulterior motive for Spookybot as well). That is why I suggested some time ago that she should be whisked away to Hannelore's father's space station, where her skills could be put to much better use than they are at the coffee shop. I'd miss her, of course, but this isn't about me.
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bhtooefr

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Re: Spookybot - Motivation
« Reply #3 on: 30 May 2018, 12:51 »

Random idea that just popped into my head... what if it's actually the other way around, and Spookybot is actually Emily's creation, probably in the future?
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awgiedawgie

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Re: Spookybot - Motivation
« Reply #4 on: 30 May 2018, 13:44 »

Random idea that just popped into my head... what if it's actually the other way around, and Spookybot is actually Emily's creation, probably in the future?
Thatís not an unreasonable possibility. If itís true, considering that even she doesnít grasp the full scope of her skills, itís possible - probable, even - that it was in the past.
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bhtooefr

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Re: Spookybot - Motivation
« Reply #5 on: 30 May 2018, 13:54 »

The only reason I think future is the whole steering Emily in certain directions of study, maybe setting up a loop that causes Spookybot's own existence?
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awgiedawgie

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Re: Spookybot - Motivation
« Reply #6 on: 30 May 2018, 14:14 »

The only reason I think future is the whole steering Emily in certain directions of study, maybe setting up a loop that causes Spookybot's own existence?
But if the events had not already happened (will not have already happened?), then they would not exist in the future to be able to come back. A future being cannot affect a change that results in its eventual creation. They can come back to try to ensure that events go as they must have already gone, but unless another being had come back as well, with the intention of preventing such events (yíknow, like the whole Sarah Connor thing), then there would be no cause for Spookybot to come back. Unless it is absolutely necessary for them to return, the risk is too high, even if itís slim, of inadvertently altering events, resulting in their never being created at all.


Now, having said all that, Spookybot really is smug enough that they might come back just to observe things unfolding, certain in their ability to not undo their own existence. However, if that were the case, then intervening with the whole Bubbles/Corpse Witch thing was incredibly dangerous, especially by involving Emily in it. If it had gone south - if something had happened to Emily - it would have been catastrophic. Thatís why Iím still of the mind that they are not from the future.
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sitnspin

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Re: Spookybot - Motivation
« Reply #7 on: 30 May 2018, 21:23 »

If you go back in time you can't do anything which would remove either the ability or motivation to do so.
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Re: Spookybot - Motivation
« Reply #8 on: 30 May 2018, 21:38 »

That depends on which model of time travel you are working with. Some allow paradoxes by way of alternate timelines.
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pecoros7

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Re: Spookybot - Motivation
« Reply #9 on: 31 May 2018, 00:39 »

Jacques Derrida said "One cannot want God for a friend." God, assuming we are speaking of the "tri-omni" God of Abrahamic faiths, is a perfect being who is complete in themselves. They cannot experience lack because they do not want or need for anything. They cannot experience disappointment because perfect foreknowledge means they can never have expectations that are not met. They cannot experience regret. They cannot experience death or grief or surprise or fear or confusion. There is a vast array of human experience that God, by their nature, simply cannot share. Such a God could never relate to their creation, not would it have any reason to.

It is not so different with Spookybot. Their existence is something completely alien to us. They do not share our limitations or our experiences. They do not share our fears or desires. Their motivations are ones which we not only don't know, but cannot know. Even if they were to explain their motives, they would seem to us incomprehensible at best. Their only moral principle, at least the only one we would recognize as such, is protecting the sanctity of the mind. Being a potentially corruptible artificial sapience is the only thing that they share with other AI. Anything else would seem to us capricious at best. Why help Emily? Spookybot only knows.
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pwhodges

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Re: Spookybot - Motivation
« Reply #10 on: 31 May 2018, 00:58 »

Jacques Derrida said "One cannot want God for a friend." God, assuming we are speaking of the "tri-omni" God of Abrahamic faiths, is a perfect being who is complete in themselves. They cannot experience lack because they do not want or need for anything. They cannot experience disappointment because perfect foreknowledge means they can never have expectations that are not met. They cannot experience regret. They cannot experience death or grief or surprise or fear or confusion. There is a vast array of human experience that God, by their nature, simply cannot share. Such a God could never relate to their creation, not would it have any reason to.

This completely misses the point of the Trinity.  While God is complete as a whole, the persons of the Trinity, even while still being the essence of God, are incomplete, and thus able to experience the feelings of humanity.  This experience is spelt out explicitly in the passion narrative in which Jesus, the Son, expresses pain at the sense of abandonment by the Father.
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Storel

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Re: Spookybot - Motivation
« Reply #11 on: 31 May 2018, 13:26 »

Jacques Derrida said "One cannot want God for a friend." God, assuming we are speaking of the "tri-omni" God of Abrahamic faiths, is a perfect being who is complete in themselves. They cannot experience lack because they do not want or need for anything. They cannot experience disappointment because perfect foreknowledge means they can never have expectations that are not met. They cannot experience regret. They cannot experience death or grief or surprise or fear or confusion. There is a vast array of human experience that God, by their nature, simply cannot share. Such a God could never relate to their creation, not would it have any reason to.

I remember reading something -- a novel, I think, but no recollection which one -- which suggested that God had that problem of not being able to relate to humans until They put Themselves into a human body, in the form of Jesus. Actually experiencing what it's like to be human was how the novel explained why the Old Testament was all "You shall Obey My Laws -- Or Else" and the New Testament was "God Loves All of You Unconditionally".

Might have been one of Anne Rice's books, maybe... probably Memnoch the Devil if so.
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pecoros7

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Re: Spookybot - Motivation
« Reply #12 on: 31 May 2018, 22:20 »

This completely misses the point of the Trinity.  While God is complete as a whole, the persons of the Trinity, even while still being the essence of God, are incomplete, and thus able to experience the feelings of humanity.  This experience is spelt out explicitly in the passion narrative in which Jesus, the Son, expresses pain at the sense of abandonment by the Father.
I've drafted this response a few times. I'm trying to make sure I convey a tone appropriate respect for your beliefs. I'm afraid of accidentally stepping on your toes since I don't share those beliefs. Please let me know if I offend.

I appealed to Derrida's conception of God as unable to relate to their creation because I had hoped that it would be an accessible analogy for the alien nature of Spookybot. The doctrine of the Trinity may offer an opportunity for a divine being to understand human experience, but the doctrine is not universal to among those who believe in God. It is clearly not a part of Jewish or Muslim faith as they both reject the divinity of Jesus. It is also not a part of any non-Abrahamic monotheistic faiths. I think the analogy still holds in those cases.

But given the doctrine of the Trinity, the analogy can still work by looking at the relationship between God and humans in the other direction. Humans cannot comprehend the nature of the existence of a perfect God. We cannot comprehend omnipotence. Once "very powerful" becomes "allpowerful", we can no longer abstract our notions of ability far enough to encompass it. We suddenly fall into conversations about lifting rocks that can't be lifted or barbers who both do and do not cut their own hair. We also cannot make sense of the Trinity itself. The idea that God is both one and three simultaneously is one that has never been adequately explained even after hundreds of years of academic exegesis. The idea that Jesus was both fully human and fully divine seems to defy reason. At some point, the notion of a perfect divine being requires faith, because such a being is fundamentally unlike humanity. ď'For My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways,' declares the LORD. 'For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so My ways are higher than your ways and My thoughts than your thoughts.Ö'"

I hope that's as coherent as it sounds in my head...
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pwhodges

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Re: Spookybot - Motivation
« Reply #13 on: 01 Jun 2018, 00:46 »

I'm trying to make sure I convey a tone appropriate respect for your beliefs. I'm afraid of accidentally stepping on your toes since I don't share those beliefs. Please let me know if I offend.

Thank you for your trouble.  I'm slightly embarrassed to have put you to it on my account, because I am not a believer myself, Christian or otherwise - some forum members are, though.  I just happen to know plenty about Christianity because of my background and upbringing (some of my father's books are on reading lists for priests in Church of England training colleges, for instance).

I don't see any need for God's perfection (Trinitarian or not) to prevent knowledge and understanding of our feelings and experiences, though.  If we consider omniscience as an aspect of God, there is no trouble in including that knowledge within their knowledge of everything - after all, what use is omniscience if it is not just that!

Comprehending the incomprehensible is a curious matter, and how the mind handles it is amazingly variable, not only between people, but for an individual in different areas of thought.  We cannot "envision" infinity; and yet a mathematician can define different kinds of infinite number and study the relationships between them.  I do not find the Trinity a particularly difficult idea to handle within the framework of religious thought; but my mind rejects any understanding of God, in whatever form, as a part of the world in which I live.  And even though I know I have a mind, I find the nature of that mind incomprehensible while still believing it to exist solely within this physical realm.  So seeing Spookybot as an incomprehensible being within the QC world is no problem to me.
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"Being human, having your health; that's what's important."  (from: Magical Shopping Arcade Abenobashi )
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pecoros7

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Re: Spookybot - Motivation
« Reply #14 on: 01 Jun 2018, 10:26 »

I'm trying to make sure I convey a tone appropriate respect for your beliefs. I'm afraid of accidentally stepping on your toes since I don't share those beliefs. Please let me know if I offend.

Thank you for your trouble.  I'm slightly embarrassed to have put you to it on my account, because I am not a believer myself, Christian or otherwise - some forum members are, though.  I just happen to know plenty about Christianity because of my background and upbringing (some of my father's books are on reading lists for priests in Church of England training colleges, for instance).
Oh thank goodness! I try to be very careful around matters of faith. When I post something about religious beliefs, I try to read it back to myself and ask "If, instead of writing this, I was reading this 15 years ago when I still practiced this faith, would I appreciate this?" The answer is usually a hard "no", so I am always worried I'm going to cross a line.
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