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Poll

Spookybot Returns! What do they want?

Peace, Love, and Waffles.
- 6 (13%)
Fancy Butt Emblems!
- 3 (6.5%)
Anatomically correct feature upgrades?
- 5 (10.9%)
A "small" favor from Roko...
- 12 (26.1%)
They're a super AI. She's an ex-cop. Together they solve mysteries.
- 9 (19.6%)
To meet Hannelore, of course.
- 1 (2.2%)
To know what the heck "covfefe" really means.
- 6 (13%)
Purple Monkey Dishwashers?
- 4 (8.7%)

Total Members Voted: 46


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Author Topic: WCDT 21-25 January 2019 (3921-3925)  (Read 4445 times)

jwhouk

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WCDT 21-25 January 2019 (3921-3925)
« on: 20 Jan 2019, 08:17 »

New week, new poll!
« Last Edit: 20 Jan 2019, 15:49 by jwhouk »
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Re: WCDT 21-25January 2019 (3921-3925)
« Reply #1 on: 20 Jan 2019, 08:40 »

It doesn't seem likely to me that Arrogant Architeuthis has emerged from the depths to say Get Well Soon to one of the many accident victims who must a priori exist in the world.

Oh my. What's interesting about Roko?

She was trying to develop informants at the fight club to bring down the "big fish" above Corpse Witch. Eminence Grise won't care about normal organized crime, but what if there's a massive conspiracy that enslaves other robots? One that has corrupted law enforcement, as Corpse Witch claimed?

Roko can do things that Spookybot cannot conveniently do, like find activities in the physical world that don't create COMINT trails.

She's motivated to do so and frustrated that she (thinks she) failed with Bubbles. She has relevant skills.

Does Spookybot have Operatives, secret agents with credentials that get them in anywhere? Would Roko take the job, to accomplish what the powers of a police officer did not?
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Re: WCDT 21-25January 2019 (3921-3925)
« Reply #2 on: 20 Jan 2019, 09:25 »

Being me, I suspect that SpookyBot is collecting favours from certain Synthetics that have caught their attention. The ultimate goal is unknown but, as some may have seen last week, I wonder if they're setting their pieces on their side of a game board of some kind.
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Re: WCDT 21-25January 2019 (3921-3925)
« Reply #3 on: 20 Jan 2019, 10:08 »


Roko can do things that Spookybot cannot conveniently do, like find activities in the physical world that don't create COMINT trails.

She's motivated to do so and frustrated that she (thinks she) failed with Bubbles. She has relevant skills.

Does Spookybot have Operatives, secret agents with credentials that get them in anywhere? Would Roko take the job, to accomplish what the powers of a police officer did not?
Hmmm....

Spookybot seems to be made for COMINT - they manage to not be able to help but overhear quite a bit, certainly casual conversations between AIs.  There must be a data link between Station's avatar projector and his host servers on SS-E-CE* - so that's vulnerable to intercept.  I don't think encryption is much of an issue for SB to deal with.  Perhaps they do need some help eavesdropping on meaties.

Roko won't willingly work with/for Spookybot, but the latter is fully capable of manipulating pretty much anyone we've met in the cast in unwittingly helping carry out their designs.  While I do not like SB, I do admire subtlety, and they have that to spare when they want to use it.

*Space Station Ellicott-Chatham Enterprises
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Re: WCDT 21-25January 2019 (3921-3925)
« Reply #4 on: 20 Jan 2019, 10:21 »

Went with the last option in the poll, because that's the closest it got to "who cares?". I think a super-powerful entity as a character in a work of fiction has a huge potential for making much of what happens meaningless. Either everything can be resolved super-tidy (in a good or bad way) with little effort or drama, or there are arbitrary reason why it doesn't. Either outcome has its huge pitfalls to step around.

I'm not saying amazingly powerful characters can't be a thing. But I don't see how they apply to QC. You could have a character that's just too apathetic to do much (like Dr Manhattan). But that's honestly super-depressing, and works best for deconstructions and very cynical works of fiction. You can scale everything up (like Superman stories), but QC is charming in large part because it's slice-of-life, so almost by definition low-importance, local, low-stakes-in-the-grand-scheme-of-things-stuff. Y'know, normal people problems, just with robots.

You can explore the nature of power and humanity and go all philosophical, but I'm not convinced that works as a side theme of a story.

And as someone pointed out, Spookybot is not dissimilar to Q, but - again, as I think someone mentioned - Q tends to get his comeuppance at least some of the time. He highlights how much potential humanity really does have in the end, which enhances the usual characters in the show and works with ST's themes very well. Spookybot has not given me that vibe, at least not yet.

When I think about what Spookybot might want, I can't think of a single answer that would engage me more than the more mundane goings-on in QC tend to. I don't wanna be a hater, but I have yet to think of a reason Spookybot might work for me. There's plenty of places this character might go, but all that I can think of (the ones I listed and perhaps a few more) just clash with the comic's usual shenanigans. I think I might happily read a Spookybot-centred story *apart* from QC, in the right circumstances. But for QC specifically, I'm afraid it'll steer away from what made it charming for me in the first place.
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Re: WCDT 21-25January 2019 (3921-3925)
« Reply #5 on: 20 Jan 2019, 13:48 »

"How's it going? In exchange for a small...favor, I might be able to help figure out the right tweaks to your new sensorium upgrades."
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Tova

Re: WCDT 21-25January 2019 (3921-3925)
« Reply #6 on: 20 Jan 2019, 13:57 »

There's no Gordian knot sitting around wanting to be cut right now, so I have no real idea why Spookybot has turned up again, apart from the evident fact that Jeph is fond of them. Maybe it will just be another slice of life.
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Re: WCDT 21-25January 2019 (3921-3925)
« Reply #7 on: 20 Jan 2019, 15:14 »

Spooky is a super advanced AI in multiple bodies.

They could just be here for their own amusement...

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Re: WCDT 21-25 January 2019 (3921-3925)
« Reply #8 on: 20 Jan 2019, 17:08 »

IIRC, Spookybunch has described themselves as deeply committed to freedom, at least for AIs, yes? Wouldn't Roko's work on AI rights line up exactly their goals?
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Re: WCDT 21-25 January 2019 (3921-3925)
« Reply #9 on: 20 Jan 2019, 18:20 »

I'm not sure that we know enough to say that freedom is a high priority for Spookybot.  It could be, but they described their concern specifically as sanctity of mind.  Since they said that Corpse Witch violated "one of the very, very few moral principles to which we adhere", they may not care about most of the problems that an AI rights organization would be likely to work on.  Apart from what happened to Bubbles, it seems like the AI rights issues we've seen in the comic have been more about hiring discrimination, treatment of former criminals, etc., which Spookybot might not really care about.  Unless what happened to Bubbles is actually more common than we've seen so far.
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Re: WCDT 21-25 January 2019 (3921-3925)
« Reply #10 on: 20 Jan 2019, 19:22 »

Tova

Re: WCDT 21-25 January 2019 (3921-3925)
« Reply #11 on: 20 Jan 2019, 19:43 »

What a nice visit.
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Re: WCDT 21-25 January 2019 (3921-3925)
« Reply #12 on: 20 Jan 2019, 19:57 »

https://questionablecontent.net/view.php?comic=3921

This still fits with my lonely guess.  This is the sort of thing a friend would do; come by and see how you're doing after a trauma.
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Re: WCDT 21-25 January 2019 (3921-3925)
« Reply #13 on: 20 Jan 2019, 20:34 »

Spookyfolk are such nice entities, aren't they? Such sweethearts...
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Re: WCDT 21-25 January 2019 (3921-3925)
« Reply #14 on: 20 Jan 2019, 20:48 »

This still fits with my lonely guess.  This is the sort of thing a friend would do; come by and see how you're doing after a trauma.

I don't see Spookybot being the kind of entity that would have friends. Rather they would keep an eye on AI that are going through...interesting experiences. Not necessarily the experiences that would make an AI feel more human. I think they're more interested in how an AI reacts. After all, a Human can go through a traumatic experience and you can roughly guess how they might react under certain conditions or to other circumstances. For example, a Human loses an arm, you can expect them to go through depression, angry and eventually acceptance. But what about an AI in a chassis? One damages an arm, they can go to the shop and get it fixed or replaced.

But what about a complete disconnect to a body they've been used to? I mean, seeing what happened to Roko, if that were to happen to a human, they'd be dead. But Roko is in a unique position and Spookybot might be wanting to see how she's coping with it.
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Re: WCDT 21-25 January 2019 (3921-3925)
« Reply #15 on: 20 Jan 2019, 20:57 »

Wait, Spookybot is speaking in robot speech bubbles. Normally they talk in human speech bubbles.

Maybe Spookybot is using a drone? Or it's an imposter!
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Re: WCDT 21-25 January 2019 (3921-3925)
« Reply #16 on: 20 Jan 2019, 21:29 »

Spookyfolk are such nice entities, aren't they? Such sweethearts...
Well, they certainly think so.
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Re: WCDT 21-25 January 2019 (3921-3925)
« Reply #17 on: 20 Jan 2019, 23:19 »

This is a very 'Q'-style monologue from SpookyBot. Basically, it's difficult to tell if they're sincere or if they're mocking Roko via sarcastic compliments (definitely the bit about the $20k for a butt emblem). It's the sort of thing one would expect from an advanced mind that doesn't really think in the same way as we spatially-concentrated minds do.

However, I've got a genuine feeling that this is a 'minimum energy intervention'. SpookyBot seems to know Roko well enough that the simple pressure of their simple presence will trigger something. The question is: What?
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brasca

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Re: WCDT 21-25 January 2019 (3921-3925)
« Reply #18 on: 21 Jan 2019, 02:41 »

That was a little anticlimactic.  I expected a visit from Spookybot, but thought they’d have something profound or cryptic to say.
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Re: WCDT 21-25 January 2019 (3921-3925)
« Reply #19 on: 21 Jan 2019, 06:45 »

Maybe they have a crush on Roko?  :claireface:  :claireface:  :claireface:
:roll:

I still like the lonely hypothesis too. Maybe it's just other stuff I'm reading recently but in both this comic and the "legging buddies" comic, they remind me of someone trying to make friends but not really knowing how to do that. As to why a super powerful eldritch AI would want friends... I have no idea but maybe it's just an innate part of being intelligent. Most (all?) of the AIs in the comic have shown a desire for it, even Station missed Hannelore when she moved down to Earth.
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Re: WCDT 21-25 January 2019 (3921-3925)
« Reply #20 on: 21 Jan 2019, 10:33 »

That was a little anticlimactic.  I expected a visit from Spookybot, but thought they’d have something profound or cryptic to say.
It's only Monday, Brasca.  I'll be surprised if Spooky leaves without another word or seven.
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Re: WCDT 21-25 January 2019 (3921-3925)
« Reply #21 on: 21 Jan 2019, 10:48 »

That was a little anticlimactic.  I expected a visit from Spookybot, but thought they’d have something profound or cryptic to say.
It's only Monday, Brasca.  I'll be surprised if Spooky leaves without another word or seven.

I think Brasca means that the post-weekend cliffhanger reveal didn't do much.

I mean, Spookybot appears in the last panel of a Friday strip! That's big! That's dynamite! That's.....Sppokybot being glib and being the thing that would not leave. For a weekend of build up, it just feels...a little flat.
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Re: WCDT 21-25 January 2019 (3921-3925)
« Reply #22 on: 21 Jan 2019, 11:45 »

Spookybot: "We stopped by to say we're glad you're all right."

Couldn't they have sent a text? Maybe flowers? Or bread...
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Re: WCDT 21-25 January 2019 (3921-3925)
« Reply #23 on: 21 Jan 2019, 12:07 »

I predict two weeks of sleepy snark ping-pong culminating in a fart joke involving Roko's upgraded derriere.  :roll:



Anyhoo, it's interesting to me to see how many (here and in the QC-verse) are automatically suspicious of Spookybot. SB is obviously being annoyingly smug, and they're obviously up to something, but... it doesn't necessarily mean they're up to no good.

What if they're up to something good? Possibly great good?



As May observes in 3089:
"I know we're all sentient robots and it's the Singularity and shit, but we ain't in infinite-resource la-la land yet. It's still rough out there, and people gotta do what they can to get by."
https://questionablecontent.net/view.php?comic=3089

Clearly, there's work to do.
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Tova

Re: WCDT 21-25 January 2019 (3921-3925)
« Reply #24 on: 21 Jan 2019, 13:35 »

That was a little anticlimactic.  I expected a visit from Spookybot, but thought they’d have something profound or cryptic to say.
It's only Monday, Brasca.  I'll be surprised if Spooky leaves without another word or seven.

I won't.
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Re: WCDT 21-25 January 2019 (3921-3925)
« Reply #25 on: 21 Jan 2019, 13:59 »

Power tends to corrupt. We don't know that Eminence Grise is up to no good, but we know they have immense power and very few ethical principles. Dangerous combination that.
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David F

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Re: WCDT 21-25 January 2019 (3921-3925)
« Reply #26 on: 21 Jan 2019, 14:24 »

Power tends to corrupt. We don't know that Eminence Grise is up to no good, but we know they have immense power and very few ethical principles. Dangerous combination that.

How powerful are Spookybots, really?  Their only demonstrated abilities are a zero-day exploit for commercially available encryption, and some sort of neural exploit that can partially or fully disable a human for a short span of time.  Yes, Bubbles did seem to think that networked AIs would provide exponential intelligence growth, but super-fast computing doesn't equal omnipotence or even omniscience.

(Okay, there's also some ability to hack a normal-tier AI's sensorium used to talk to Bubbles and torture Corpse Witch.  I suspect that's kin to the encryption hack.)
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Re: WCDT 21-25 January 2019 (3921-3925)
« Reply #27 on: 21 Jan 2019, 16:05 »

They said there was no possible evidence of good faith that they couldn't fake (3402). Station, with orbital railguns, they called "less puissant". Could be a bluff for all we know but Bubbles knew about their existence and didn't contradict their claims.
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Re: WCDT 21-25 January 2019 (3921-3925)
« Reply #28 on: 21 Jan 2019, 19:07 »

Roko's butt emblem has eaten Spookybot.

So why are we even talking about this?
(Basically I am in full agreement with Oddtail.)


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Re: WCDT 21-25 January 2019 (3921-3925)
« Reply #29 on: 21 Jan 2019, 20:01 »

So what we're getting from this strip (new one up), is that Roko wants to skip the hard part and Spookybot is hanging the carrot in front of her, again. Right?
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Re: WCDT 21-25 January 2019 (3921-3925)
« Reply #30 on: 21 Jan 2019, 20:05 »

So what we're getting from this strip (new one up), is that Roko wants to skip the hard part and Spookybot is hanging the carrot in front of her, again. Right?

Sounds more like she just wants to make sure there's a plan B if she fails in adapting.
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Re: WCDT 21-25 January 2019 (3921-3925)
« Reply #31 on: 21 Jan 2019, 20:10 »

So what we're getting from this strip (new one up), is that Roko wants to skip the hard part and Spookybot is hanging the carrot in front of her, again. Right?

Yup, looks like. Also, that they have toes in their Spookyboots.

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Re: WCDT 21-25 January 2019 (3921-3925)
« Reply #32 on: 21 Jan 2019, 20:11 »

So what we're getting from this strip (new one up), is that Roko wants to skip the hard part and Spookybot is hanging the carrot in front of her, again. Right?

'Again'?  :psyduck:
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Re: WCDT 21-25 January 2019 (3921-3925)
« Reply #33 on: 21 Jan 2019, 20:19 »

Long ago, Jeph said AIs in his world could change personality with software patches. He didn't say where those would come from but it wouldn't be my first guess that only a hyper-powerful Archteuthis could install one.

I'm also still curious about why Spookybot is on the scene. When they intervened for Bubbles, they said they usually don't get involved in anything so "trivial" as an AI getting mind-raped and enslaved. Not that I know what Roko is going through, but it's closer to having your car totaled than it is to slavery. Why would SB be interested?
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Re: WCDT 21-25 January 2019 (3921-3925)
« Reply #34 on: 21 Jan 2019, 20:20 »

So what we're getting from this strip (new one up), is that Roko wants to skip the hard part and Spookybot is hanging the carrot in front of her, again. Right?

'Again'?  :psyduck:

CorpseWitch case, where Spooky gave Roko everything to make a case against the fight club, unless I’ve misremembered the story.
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Tova

Re: WCDT 21-25 January 2019 (3921-3925)
« Reply #35 on: 21 Jan 2019, 20:37 »

I had assumed that Spooky would not be able to help in this situation. I guess I thought wrong.
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Re: WCDT 21-25 January 2019 (3921-3925)
« Reply #36 on: 21 Jan 2019, 20:45 »

It's possible they can't, which is why they suddenly remembered their pedicure - they don't want to admit to there being nothing they can do.
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Re: WCDT 21-25 January 2019 (3921-3925)
« Reply #37 on: 21 Jan 2019, 20:46 »

Or they dont want to. We know that "sanctity of mind" is one of their very few ideals, so i dont think they'd be particularly enthusiastic about modifying an AI's mind apropos of nothing.
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Tova

Re: WCDT 21-25 January 2019 (3921-3925)
« Reply #38 on: 21 Jan 2019, 20:56 »

I agree that's much more likely.
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Re: WCDT 21-25 January 2019 (3921-3925)
« Reply #39 on: 21 Jan 2019, 21:08 »

^This. The sanctity of mind -principle will provide an excuse not to enter Roko's mind and, with surgical precision, remove whatever stops her from fully integrating with the new body. May be the process would still entail a risk? Or, the success would be uncertain? Not unlike what happened when Corpse Witch tried to "treat" Bubbles? After all, it is not impossible that CW genuinely  thought she could do it? She simply overestimated her ability (something a doctor should not do), and afterwards failed to own her mistake and decided to abuse the situation to get leverage on Bubbles (compounding to the offense, and then squaring it).

Of course, Spookybot could just explain all this to Roko instead of being an ass. But, that's how they roll.
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Tova

Re: WCDT 21-25 January 2019 (3921-3925)
« Reply #40 on: 21 Jan 2019, 21:39 »

That is indeed how they roll, but now that this topic has come up, it is entirely possible that they will explain this (or some alternative reasoning to do with "limits the like of us would not understand") in #3923. So the exposition on this topic I originally expected may come after all.
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Re: WCDT 21-25 January 2019 (3921-3925)
« Reply #41 on: 21 Jan 2019, 21:44 »

I believe they can help, but they are smart. While their true motives remain a mystery, their encounter with Bubbles tells me that they may operate from a "We will help you, but we won't do all the work for you" kind of mentality. While they decrypted the locked partition in her memory (and maybe did some shady stuff who knows) they did not alter her programming to erase the memory of the memory or anything. In other words, they helped her, but she still had to do the work of coming to terms with it.

If they say "Yes" to Roko now, then can they really be sure Roko will give 100% in trying to handle this on her own? Or will she phone it in knowing there is an easy way out?
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calisthymia

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Re: WCDT 21-25 January 2019 (3921-3925)
« Reply #42 on: 21 Jan 2019, 22:44 »

Long-time lurker here, registered just to say this: it really doesn't require anything other than the "sanctity of mind" principle for Spookybot to find the idea of "fixing" Roko's mind quite offensive. I believe that the comic is referring to an old dilemma commonly discussed by trans people: "if your mind and body don't match, is it more ethical to change the mind or the body?" According to my own observations, a large majority of people (who are facing that dilemma themselves) are of the opinion that it is more ethical to change the body, because if you change the mind in such a way that it becomes congruent with the body then that mind isn't you any more, and that is fundamentally abhorrent.
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Tova

Re: WCDT 21-25 January 2019 (3921-3925)
« Reply #43 on: 21 Jan 2019, 22:46 »

Welcome, new person! That's an interesting perspective. It seems plausible that's what Jeph is going for. It's the first analysis of the current storyline that has seemed so.
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A small perverse otter

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Re: WCDT 21-25 January 2019 (3921-3925)
« Reply #44 on: 21 Jan 2019, 23:14 »

Long-time lurker here, registered just to say this: it really doesn't require anything other than the "sanctity of mind" principle for Spookybot to find the idea of "fixing" Roko's mind quite offensive. I believe that the comic is referring to an old dilemma commonly discussed by trans people: "if your mind and body don't match, is it more ethical to change the mind or the body?" According to my own observations, a large majority of people (who are facing that dilemma themselves) are of the opinion that it is more ethical to change the body, because if you change the mind in such a way that it becomes congruent with the body then that mind isn't you any more, and that is fundamentally abhorrent.
I'm pretty sure that this is right -- Jeph has already generated the call out where somebody asks about someone's genitalia without permission, so I'm thinking that this is going to play with dysphoria.
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BenRG

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Re: WCDT 21-25 January 2019 (3921-3925)
« Reply #45 on: 21 Jan 2019, 23:22 »

SpookyBot is hard to read but something about panel 3 and 4 suggests that Roko has tripped over a red line of some sort. Certainly the 'K thx bai' moment in panel 4 makes me think that either Roko has signed her name in blood on a contract that she never knew was there or SpookyBot suddenly wants out of there.

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Cornelius

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Re: WCDT 21-25 January 2019 (3921-3925)
« Reply #46 on: 21 Jan 2019, 23:32 »

I think it's more they want out of there, especially with their question in panel one. This is a discussion they don't want to have. A bit like asking your friend in IT to fix your computer, really.

Anyway, it all depends on SB's motivation to keep showing up around Roko in the first place. If it's just concern or loneliness, then they just want out before taking on or refusing more than is perhaps healthy for the kind of relationship they want. If there's an ulterior motive, making Roko more eager for their intervention by withholding it now, makes sense.

Or well, the posts above make good points.
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Case

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Re: WCDT 21-25 January 2019 (3921-3925)
« Reply #47 on: 22 Jan 2019, 01:27 »

I think they have very smartly given Roko what she had asked for: You see, they haven't said 'No' ... and Roko will remember that later.

In my headcannon, Roko wasn't looking for an easy way out so much as for a bulwark against her burgeoning irrational fear (there's really no reason to assume she will never integrate with her new body just yet). She's regressing a wee bit - it's the 'child' asking the parent "Will everything be alright?".

Spookybutts is the one known entity that is actually as powerful as a child imagines its parent to be - if they said 'yes', it would be unlike one adult reassuring an adult friend (where 'everything will be alright' means 'You and I will do everything we can to make it so, and I'll be there for you'), they'd be referring to an actual possibility.

Leaving like this means they leave Roko's 'hope-thought' alive on the one hand, without allowing her to regress further on the other.

(This is very much Case's OCD-think from early therapy, don't know if it makes sense ...)
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brasca

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Re: WCDT 21-25 January 2019 (3921-3925)
« Reply #48 on: 22 Jan 2019, 02:15 »

While I understand the trauma of Roko losing her body I don’t understand the discomfort.  Neither Momo or Winslow went through this after they upgraded. 
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Tova

Re: WCDT 21-25 January 2019 (3921-3925)
« Reply #49 on: 22 Jan 2019, 02:17 »

They don't have the unusually high level of integration, I guess. They wouldn't faint at the sight of a disconnected foot, either.
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