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Do we have free will?

Yes
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Yes, but since God is omniscient the outcome of our free choices is already known
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No, but we should act as though we did
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Author Topic: WCDT 4171-4175 (6 to 10 Jan 2020)  (Read 4780 times)

BenRG

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Re: WCDT 4171-4175 (6 to 10 Jan 2020)
« Reply #50 on: 08 Jan 2020, 05:05 »

I'm guessing that what follows is this:
  • Roko shrugs and leaves (no point carrying on a conversation with someone who isn't mentally or emotionally present);
  • Upon leaving, Roko contacts a pro bono attorney with political ambitions and starts a civil rights action;
  • Mr Bureaucrat invites Roko back for a second meeting in which he is far less aggressively apathetic but is mostly just making implicit threats about unspecified retribution against the advocacy group, Roko personally and, most importantly, against May ("Her next parole hearing is coming up, isn't it?");
  • When that doesn't work, he will threaten the advocacy group directly ("Did you know that the IRS is currently cracking down on non-profits that go outside their remit?"); this is where Roko will come under the most sustained pressure to back down, probably from Nelson and maybe Beepatrice although she may surprise us by standing firm too;
  • If this last bit of strong-arm backfires, Mr Bureaucrat will ask for May's file ("All copies please... It's a... er... regulation.") and will promise that he'll get back to her "at some point" with a "full and final formal decision. In writing.";
  • If Roko keeps up pressure, May will receive an unsigned letter from the Department of Corrections with a computer-generated generous cheque with a note that "payment of this one-off and non-prejudicial payment represents full and final withdrawal of any and all legal and civil actions in this matter without any admission of liability, acknowledgement of claim and/or acceptance of any alleged failures in duty of care." Roko will advise her to take the money and run;
  • At some point, Roko will run into Mr Bureaucrat in a bar; he's bitter because he's been fired, not for failing May but for failing to make the whole matter to go away.
Total in-universe elapsed time from beginning to end will be 1-5 years:-(
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Re: WCDT 4171-4175 (6 to 10 Jan 2020)
« Reply #51 on: 08 Jan 2020, 05:19 »

Okay, here's the thing and I might get lynched for this, but he's right.

Most AI requiring a chassis are either going to have one purchased for them by a human (Companion AI) or through their employer (Jeremy). Other AI are not embodied because their work doesn't require it.

May was an AI working in accounting, she didn't need a body. The fact that she was arrested and ended up in robot jail is irrelevant. She got issued a crappy body the same way that long time prisoners get issued with a cheap suit when they get released. Like he said, that department has an incredibly small budget and they can't afford to give AI showroom quality chassis. I mean, the deluxe chassis Momo was looking at cost $30,000. That's as much as a new car. Of course they can't afford to give everyone a brand new chassis. He even admits they're forced to buy lemons, May's chassis is proof of that.

May may need a new chassis but she doesn't need one. That's a major difference between the two.
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Re: WCDT 4171-4175 (6 to 10 Jan 2020)
« Reply #52 on: 08 Jan 2020, 05:49 »

My theory is there's potential here for a discrimination allegory here.  The "Cheap Suit" comparison is apt, but insensitive.  In practice, the two aren't comparable (you can't cheaply acquire a new AI frame the way you can cheaply acquire at least casual clothing), but bureaucracies are happiest when everybody has exactly the same needs; if someone in charge is of the opinion that a chassis is equivalent (functionally or symbolically) to a new suit, then they may consider the cost of a proper chassis similar to buying an Armani suit for an ex-con.

What will likely come up is how easy it is for non-embodied AI to move about (my guess is that those who don't return to a body typically have a sponsor or host lined up who will facilitate this, which makes May's situation like having no one to pick her up from jail) and the potential fix may be to take a medical angle.  I can't help but feel like this is a set-up for a discussion on "should prisoners be allowed to transition gender while in custody, and does the state have to pay for the medical costs while they are in custody?
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Re: WCDT 4171-4175 (6 to 10 Jan 2020)
« Reply #53 on: 08 Jan 2020, 06:53 »

All of that said, my first reaction to this was "Listen here, you little shit..."
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Re: WCDT 4171-4175 (6 to 10 Jan 2020)
« Reply #54 on: 08 Jan 2020, 09:13 »

Maybe it has been said before, but if there was the choice between having a shoddy human sized chassis which is identifiable or a decent pintsize, first momo, toaster chassis,... but she doesn't really identify with it, which would be better?
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Re: WCDT 4171-4175 (6 to 10 Jan 2020)
« Reply #55 on: 08 Jan 2020, 09:46 »

Maybe it has been said before, but if there was the choice between having a shoddy human sized chassis which is identifiable or a decent pintsize, first momo, toaster chassis,... but she doesn't really identify with it, which would be better?

She wouldn't be caught dead in an anime style chassis like Momo's first body, and she's said that she'd be okay with her current body, if it had a larger chest ("If I can't have a bomb rack I should have a bomb rack, know what I'm sayin'?").
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Re: WCDT 4171-4175 (6 to 10 Jan 2020)
« Reply #56 on: 08 Jan 2020, 10:22 »

Another possible outcome (assuming Roko doesn't take the bad cop route here, or after she's tried that and failed) is to see if Union Robotics can stretch whatever budget there is a little further...
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Re: WCDT 4171-4175 (6 to 10 Jan 2020)
« Reply #57 on: 08 Jan 2020, 10:31 »

May's right to what?

Right to make a living. Her body is an impediment to supporting herself.

If I were a civil rights lawyer in the QC world, I'd argue that it's an 8th Amendment violation under the deliberate indifference standard to issue someone still under correctional control a defective body. I might even appeal to emotion by asking the jury how they'd feel if their arm fell off because of deliberate neglect.

There must be low-spec refurbished bodies out there which fit into a tight budget but that would meet minimal standards of decency.
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Re: WCDT 4171-4175 (6 to 10 Jan 2020)
« Reply #58 on: 08 Jan 2020, 11:05 »

That would raise some other, more serious issues, though.  If I remember correctly, she's not allowed to rent out processor time, and is basically limited to the kind of menial jobs she has now. Presumably, that limitation has some relationship to what she was convicted for. Quaere: what happens with non-embodied AI in the same case?
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Re: WCDT 4171-4175 (6 to 10 Jan 2020)
« Reply #59 on: 08 Jan 2020, 11:41 »

I am reminded of this quote - "Be polite, be professional, but have a plan to kill everybody you meet."

That was from U.S. Marine General James Mattis (if you did not know). :)

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Re: WCDT 4171-4175 (6 to 10 Jan 2020)
« Reply #60 on: 08 Jan 2020, 13:16 »

He is well organized! His limited time is a resource that is allocated for maximum effectiveness!
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Re: WCDT 4171-4175 (6 to 10 Jan 2020)
« Reply #61 on: 08 Jan 2020, 17:29 »

I have been puzzling in a good way over this situation since reading this morning; now i am realizing, there is definitely a potential outcome that might be in the next or Friday's strip that could be most wonderful!! It would not be unprecedented plotwise! 
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Re: WCDT 4171-4175 (6 to 10 Jan 2020)
« Reply #62 on: 08 Jan 2020, 19:08 »

Dude has an eminently punchable face.  I do not like him.  I am not advocating for punching, but if Roko did, I could easily understand why.

And so, some time later, we find Roko in Robot prison, being visited by May, with her "plan" for getting Roko out of there...    :wink:
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Re: WCDT 4171-4175 (6 to 10 Jan 2020)
« Reply #63 on: 08 Jan 2020, 20:14 »

For comic #4174...

1. And the Bureaucracy-wearing-human-skin continues.  Have to give it to Jeph in continuing to accurately depicting it per panel...
 - panel 2 ~ knuckles on chin = I'm bored of you, why are you still here?
 - panel 3 ~ rolling one's eyes = Your subject, if not your very presence, is an annoyance.
 - panel 4 ~ "Have a nice day, Ms. Basilisk." = Translation: "You, my social inferior, are dismissed."

2. As I have previously posted, I do NOT miss having to deal with The Bureaucracy in the Public / Governmental Sector.  (Not that Private Sector Bureaucracy is really any better either, unfortunately.)

3. Besides the obvious 'Spiteful Resolve' that Roko now has, I would be very surprised if Roko actually receives guidance in how to better navigate The Bureaucracy from either Beepatrice &/or Nelson (the smaller Anthro PC at the 'Robo'-Social Services office).
« Last Edit: 08 Jan 2020, 21:42 by pendrake »
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Re: WCDT 4171-4175 (6 to 10 Jan 2020)
« Reply #64 on: 08 Jan 2020, 20:18 »

Getting a very strong Star Trek (2009) Quinto-Spock "Live long and prosper" vibe off that last panel.
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Re: WCDT 4171-4175 (6 to 10 Jan 2020)
« Reply #65 on: 08 Jan 2020, 20:31 »

I'm wondering if Roko DOES see the budget folks, and finds out that Spookybot's money has hit the system, and they're literally confounded on what to DO with it....

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Re: WCDT 4171-4175 (6 to 10 Jan 2020)
« Reply #66 on: 08 Jan 2020, 21:01 »

Point is, I'm not saying the bureaucrat in QC is not in a no-win situation. What I *am* saying is maybe he should be trying to figure out where to get some bows and arrows. And it doesn't even seem to occur to him.

Or it might be that she's already got the bows and arrows.
In todaycs strip (4174) he metaphorically put a loaded crossbow in her hands and metaphorically pointed it right at his own head.

So... his department rarely assigns bodies.  Given that, his budget is so low that he can afford only the cheapest of bodies.

Why is this actually a freaking department, then?
Barest minimal effort so some career politician(s) can claim they addressed some public concern and keep getting re-elected.

If that's the case, I hope Roko calls them out for it publicly.
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Re: WCDT 4171-4175 (6 to 10 Jan 2020)
« Reply #67 on: 08 Jan 2020, 22:28 »

I am not betting against Roko here.
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Re: WCDT 4171-4175 (6 to 10 Jan 2020)
« Reply #68 on: 08 Jan 2020, 23:08 »

I just realized, that out of four platonic companion robots (three others being Pintsize, Winslow, and Momo) — May is probably the only one without an AI companionship contract.
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Re: WCDT 4171-4175 (6 to 10 Jan 2020)
« Reply #69 on: 08 Jan 2020, 23:18 »

Yeah, like I said yesterday, there's no point talking with someone who isn't mentally or emotionally present. The level of contempt the bureaucrat has for Roko is so clear from the fact that he started reading something that didn't look even slightly like a work-related document. So, yeah, he not only wasn't listening, he wasn't even interested.

One obvious question is: Why did he even agree to a meeting? When Roko thinks about this, she'll realise that his position probably isn't all that strong the minute she starts looking at the department's legal and statutory duty of care. It's just that there is no way to make them acknowledge that without a civil rights lawsuit coming their way and when they can't intimidate her to back down.

It's sort of a shame that the biggest barrier to having good public services is the people who are actually in charge of running said public services.
« Last Edit: 09 Jan 2020, 03:23 by BenRG »
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Re: WCDT 4171-4175 (6 to 10 Jan 2020)
« Reply #70 on: 08 Jan 2020, 23:40 »

They pissed off the wrong person.

She's a former cop, who knows how to investigate and find what she needs to prove something. These asshats are so sure of themselves that they do the least amount possible and are done with it while neglecting their jobs. She's likely to not only find the money for better bodies, she's likely to cause someone to end up getting exposed for manipulating the system and neglecting their jobs...

But hey- what do I know. It's not like I've been before state police officers who know the system inside and out better than the people manipulating it to do the least for the most...
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Re: WCDT 4171-4175 (6 to 10 Jan 2020)
« Reply #71 on: 09 Jan 2020, 00:00 »

The problem is that he doesn't realize the connections Roko has. He is literally blowing off someone who is friends with something (https://www.questionablecontent.net/view.php?comic=3412) who could destroy his life, the life of his family, his friends, and even their families as an example.

I'm just surprised that Roko hasn't involved them prior to this point, although I assume she wanted to try the normal channels first.
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Re: WCDT 4171-4175 (6 to 10 Jan 2020)
« Reply #72 on: 09 Jan 2020, 00:07 »

1. @BenRG...
One obvious question is: Why did he even agree to a meeting?

[Bureaucrat Guy]: I didn't "make" time.  I have a schedule.  It tells me when I have time available. That's what it's for.

Roko (probably) made her appointment through other channels/people, and she got Bureaucrat Guy as a result.  He (likely) had no choice in the matter of having the meeting, which in-turn probably contributed to his utter disdain for the matter and dismissing Roko as quickly & efficiently as he could.

2. On a separate but parallel track... Another hindering factor to May's case is that, from my understanding of the QC-verse, is that humanoid chassis are generally considered LUXURY items, in addition to being prohibitively expensive.  The exceptions being those whose chassis are specifcally required for work/purpose; otherwise Anthro PCs technically do not "need" a physical body for their digital intelligences.  So that would also reinforce why the Correctional System is even less inclined to provide for released convicts like May.
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Re: WCDT 4171-4175 (6 to 10 Jan 2020)
« Reply #73 on: 09 Jan 2020, 00:37 »

The problem is that he doesn't realize the connections Roko has. He is literally blowing off someone who is friends with something (https://www.questionablecontent.net/view.php?comic=3412) who could destroy his life, the life of his family, his friends, and even their families as an example.

I'm just surprised that Roko hasn't involved them prior to this point, although I assume she wanted to try the normal channels first.

Siccing Spooky on someone who is just doing his job (badly, perhaps, but still doing it) is absolutely loathsome.
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Re: WCDT 4171-4175 (6 to 10 Jan 2020)
« Reply #74 on: 09 Jan 2020, 01:16 »

Quote
Ms. Basilisk, I have nothing particular against you or your client, but...
What a delightful way of sounding like a halfway reasonable person when what you're actually saying is 'I treat everyone with disdain'.

The guy might be right that he doesn't have the power to help but it's clear that even if he did he wouldn't bother unless he wasn't given much of a choice.

I hope Roko finds a more successful approach but it's probably better to just leave this guy alone. As a rule I don't believe people should be rewarded for poor behaviour (and this guy sounds like being left alone is exactly what he wants) but it doesn't seem like forcing him to take his job more seriously is going to be beneficial for anyone.

EDIT: Also Roko has made it clear that she doesn't want to rely on Yay Newfriend to solve everything. She wants to believe that with effort and will the average person can get results even if it doesn't have to be easy. Which is an admirable mindset although a pragmatist would argue that once it becomes apparent that the game is either broken or rigged you don't have to play by the rules any more.
« Last Edit: 09 Jan 2020, 01:28 by Potato Farmer »
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Re: WCDT 4171-4175 (6 to 10 Jan 2020)
« Reply #75 on: 09 Jan 2020, 02:19 »

I'm wondering if Roko DOES see the budget folks, and finds out that Spookybot's money has hit the system, and they're literally confounded on what to DO with it....

THIS ^^^^^  right here...
What exactly was the point of Spookybot's untold wealth being sent into the ether - if NOT to go to places like this?

As regards the 'person' Roko#s speaking to, the next words out of her mouth should have been "And now I'd like to talk to your immediate superior..."

IS what the guy is saying correct?
Maybe - but does he physically handle the budget? From what we have heard, no.
He is trotting out his standard lines. "Things are crap. There's nothing we can do about it."
Except, he isn't the person who makes those decisions.
And, as shanejayell rightly said above, (and with a bit of supposition) what DOES he know about the budget?

This person is the Front Line face of the department, and he is being (to put it very mildly), dismissive and flat out rude.
In a public sector job (which this seems to be) that is easily grounds for corrective action. (Maybe not sacking, unless he has previous.)

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Re: WCDT 4171-4175 (6 to 10 Jan 2020)
« Reply #76 on: 09 Jan 2020, 02:45 »

Roko is pissed.  Her expression in the last panel (4174) says to me, "game on."
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Re: WCDT 4171-4175 (6 to 10 Jan 2020)
« Reply #77 on: 09 Jan 2020, 04:21 »

May's right to what?

Right to make a living. Her body is an impediment to supporting herself.

If I were a civil rights lawyer in the QC world, I'd argue that it's an 8th Amendment violation under the deliberate indifference standard to issue someone still under correctional control a defective body. I might even appeal to emotion by asking the jury how they'd feel if their arm fell off because of deliberate neglect.

There must be low-spec refurbished bodies out there which fit into a tight budget but that would meet minimal standards of decency.

I had to register to poke in on this. This is absolutely where I think this is going. AnthroPCs aren't required to have humanoid chassis, but to me it seems like with the fact they're sentients and the like, there should be at the very least a minimum expectation. May is considered "enough of a person" to be imprisoned, given a parole officer, and all that jazz-- therefore, there is some onus on the state to prove that May, a humanoid that has been considered enough of a person to be convicted and parolled, does not require a new body to function as a member of society.

There is now a litany of documented evidence that the body given to her by the state is subpar and forms a burden on her. Her debt to society has been paid-- they're actively inhibiting her at this point which is a big no-no. This is also why I think that banning AI from renting out processor time (which is the literal equivalent of banning a human from ever working 90% of available jobs probably) is probably an unconstitutional punishment that the Supreme Court hasn't waded into yet. But they're gonna have to eventually....

This is the sort of thing that starts a civil rights movement, TBH.
« Last Edit: 09 Jan 2020, 04:32 by Asami »
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Re: WCDT 4171-4175 (6 to 10 Jan 2020)
« Reply #78 on: 09 Jan 2020, 04:48 »

Roko is pissed.  Her expression in the last panel (4174) says to me, "game on."
That, or she's thought of another angle at which to start prying.  Either way, I expect his seat is about to get hotter than he'd like.

Especially when he's opened up his crossword book in her presence...
« Last Edit: 09 Jan 2020, 04:55 by Wingy »
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Re: WCDT 4171-4175 (6 to 10 Jan 2020)
« Reply #79 on: 09 Jan 2020, 04:58 »

So, in effect, May is required to have a physical body as a term of her parole because she is not allowed direct access to a network due to the nature of her crime(s).

Giving her a substandard body, therefore, is equivalent to setting a man adrift in the ocean with a boat containing neither oars nor fishing gear.
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Re: WCDT 4171-4175 (6 to 10 Jan 2020)
« Reply #80 on: 09 Jan 2020, 05:16 »

To me, the galling thing isn't the minimum-spec body. That's typical government welfare procurement in action. What makes me angry is the the Department of Correction knowingly sourcing a barely-adequate chassis and then refusing to assist in maintaining it in any way. That's basically morally similar to deliberately infecting someone with a disease and then saying that it isn't your problem to provide treatment. It's this that will be the damning aspect of any lawsuit on the matter.
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Re: WCDT 4171-4175 (6 to 10 Jan 2020)
« Reply #81 on: 09 Jan 2020, 05:27 »

Hence my comparison to a suit given to a long term prisoner when they are released.

In the mind of the Department of Corrections bureaucrat, its not their fault that the suit is falling apart, its the convict's for wearing it to meetings, interviews and other mandatory release conditions. Likewise, its not their fault that May's chassis is failing apart; its May's for constantly using it for work and trying to integrate back into society.
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Re: WCDT 4171-4175 (6 to 10 Jan 2020)
« Reply #82 on: 09 Jan 2020, 05:50 »

There is a minimum regulatory requirement, set by some other agency or legislature; they have met that minimum requirement; job done.
Any further action, or consideration of action, is not their responsibility.
(Isn't bureaucracy grand?)
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Re: WCDT 4171-4175 (6 to 10 Jan 2020)
« Reply #83 on: 09 Jan 2020, 05:57 »

Hence my comparison to a suit given to a long term prisoner when they are released.

In the mind of the Department of Corrections bureaucrat, its not their fault that the suit is falling apart, its the convict's for wearing it to meetings, interviews and other mandatory release conditions. Likewise, its not their fault that May's chassis is failing apart; its May's for constantly using it for work and trying to integrate back into society.

Nah, see my above post.  Assigning blame would require caring about anything but following the (minimum) rules, which the department (or its representative) clearly does not.
People of this sort and level maintain that their sole duty is to implement policy set by others; that is their focus and their shield.
"Fault" only enters the picture as a question of liability ... which I suspect it soon might.
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Re: WCDT 4171-4175 (6 to 10 Jan 2020)
« Reply #84 on: 09 Jan 2020, 07:59 »

So, in effect, May is required to have a physical body as a term of her parole because she is not allowed direct access to a network due to the nature of her crime(s).

So after rooting through the archives for an hour, I wasn't able to find a direct reference to this restriction but I do half remember it being mentioned. It's entirely possible I was looking in the wrong years (coincidentally, the SS MartenClaire has been happily sailing for over 5 years now, where does the time go?). Does anybody know where such a restriction is explicitly mentioned?
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Re: WCDT 4171-4175 (6 to 10 Jan 2020)
« Reply #85 on: 09 Jan 2020, 09:08 »

So, in effect, May is required to have a physical body as a term of her parole because she is not allowed direct access to a network due to the nature of her crime(s).

So after rooting through the archives for an hour, I wasn't able to find a direct reference to this restriction but I do half remember it being mentioned. It's entirely possible I was looking in the wrong years (coincidentally, the SS MartenClaire has been happily sailing for over 5 years now, where does the time go?). Does anybody know where such a restriction is explicitly mentioned?

It is not. I extrapolated this from the facts that she was imprisoned for digital theft (funds for buying an aircraft) and prohibition from selling clock cycles.  I could be entirely wrong, but the theory fits the circumstances.  We have not seen anything saying whether or not she has a direct connection to the internet, but on the one hand, she can DM Momo, and on the other we have seen her using Dale's laptop to watch scat porn.
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Re: WCDT 4171-4175 (6 to 10 Jan 2020)
« Reply #86 on: 09 Jan 2020, 09:20 »

People of this sort and level maintain that their sole duty is to implement policy set by others; that is their focus and their shield.

I know it's not the popular thing to do, but I do find I have some issues with this kind of statement.

I may have mentioned before, that I find that people in public services usually enter for one of the following reasons: either they're there for the benefits, or for some (perceived sense of) power, or because they want to make a difference.
Over time, it's hard to know which you are dealing with, especially in understaffed and underfunded departments. That's because the people who care either leave, or burn themselves out, trying to do their job as best they can, despite the people or structures who are above them.
Sometimes, this kind of indifference only comes about by having tried too often, to no avail, by the utter helplessness they find themselves in, to actually help the person across the desk, who, by now, disappointed, sad, and/or angry, is blaming them personally for not having tried enough.

Granted, that doesn't mean this person is one of those. His puzzle book does count against him. Or perhaps he's too far gone.
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Re: WCDT 4171-4175 (6 to 10 Jan 2020)
« Reply #87 on: 09 Jan 2020, 10:12 »

As far as I and the magnifier can tell, the book is "100 Easy Crossword Puzzles".

Evidently he doesn't like challenges.
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Re: WCDT 4171-4175 (6 to 10 Jan 2020)
« Reply #88 on: 09 Jan 2020, 10:44 »

You know, video is just a string of 1's and 0's anymore.  I wonder if AIs can record what they see and play it back for others to view somehow?  A meeting with his supervisor and a view of the crossword puzzles out at the end certainly wouldn't help his employment status any...
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Re: WCDT 4171-4175 (6 to 10 Jan 2020)
« Reply #89 on: 09 Jan 2020, 12:27 »

Amused that after reading this long, it took this story and reaction to make me register to post.

I realize I'm probably more moderate/conservative in my beliefs that the majority of readers, but I found myself siding with the official here.   There literally is no reason that an AI 'needs' a body, and I don't see any reason why May would need a physical form in order to earn money (other than that's how Jeph chooses to build the narrative, and hey, it's his story), so I don't see any obligation that the government would have to provide her with one at all.     That they do, and it's a substandard piece of crap, is like complaining if somebody gave you food when you don't have any, but it's something you don't like to eat.   

As for his attitude, sure it's cold and unfeeling, but then again, he's undoubtedly approached daily by people thinking they're the exception to the rule.   May has (more than) what she needs to survive and build up her lot in life.   Being mad at this dude for not helping her out is weird considering the number of other people she knows that have funds/ability to provide her with with better and nobody is upset with them for not doing it.  I mean, I may be wrong, but isn't Winston's old body sitting around unused?

Life's hard and there's no such thing as a free lunch.   Or to paraphrase another bumper sticker, Saying 'I Exist' to the Universe doesn't obligate the universe in any way.
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Re: WCDT 4171-4175 (6 to 10 Jan 2020)
« Reply #90 on: 09 Jan 2020, 12:47 »

No, it would be like someone giving you food that literally makes you ill.
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Re: WCDT 4171-4175 (6 to 10 Jan 2020)
« Reply #91 on: 09 Jan 2020, 12:57 »

I realize I'm probably more moderate/conservative in my beliefs that the majority of readers, but I found myself siding with the official here.   There literally is no reason that an AI 'needs' a body, and I don't see any reason why May would need a physical form in order to earn money (other than that's how Jeph chooses to build the narrative, and hey, it's his story), so I don't see any obligation that the government would have to provide her with one at all.     That they do, and it's a substandard piece of crap, is like complaining if somebody gave you food when you don't have any, but it's something you don't like to eat.   

Except that the nature of May's crime means that she cannot work in a disembodied manner, she isn't allowed to network to any financial or commercial systems. Its like when a medical professional commits a crime and after completing their sentence, they can't work in the medical profession.

So in May's case, she isn't allowed to network anymore which pretty much cuts her from an entire plane of existence. And to meet the terms of her parole, May needs to work, even if its in a crappy convenience mart. May needs a chassis to meet the terms of her parole.
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Re: WCDT 4171-4175 (6 to 10 Jan 2020)
« Reply #92 on: 09 Jan 2020, 13:18 »

Amused that after reading this long, it took this story and reaction to make me register to post.

I realize I'm probably more moderate/conservative in my beliefs that the majority of readers, but I found myself siding with the official here.   There literally is no reason that an AI 'needs' a body, and I don't see any reason why May would need a physical form in order to earn money (other than that's how Jeph chooses to build the narrative, and hey, it's his story), so I don't see any obligation that the government would have to provide her with one at all.     That they do, and it's a substandard piece of crap, is like complaining if somebody gave you food when you don't have any, but it's something you don't like to eat.   

As for his attitude, sure it's cold and unfeeling, but then again, he's undoubtedly approached daily by people thinking they're the exception to the rule.   May has (more than) what she needs to survive and build up her lot in life.   Being mad at this dude for not helping her out is weird considering the number of other people she knows that have funds/ability to provide her with with better and nobody is upset with them for not doing it.  I mean, I may be wrong, but isn't Winston's old body sitting around unused?

Life's hard and there's no such thing as a free lunch.   Or to paraphrase another bumper sticker, Saying 'I Exist' to the Universe doesn't obligate the universe in any way.

Personally, I find the notion of "the universe doesn't care about you so why should I be obligated to?" childish and simply a method of excusing selfishness, but there's some other elements at play in this story, and it's a real (if flawed) philosophy at work in many bureaucracies, so I'm not surprised to see it here.

The key here is what a body really means to an AI.  Is it like a car?  We have lemon laws that would easily cover things like this.  Is it like a fancy suit?  Then clearly there should be less expensive options available than busted/failing chassis.  If there are enough AI that need bodies after getting out of jail that the amount of money available requires they be given complete junkers, then clearly that number is not based on actual need, but perhaps bias somewhere else.  Is it a manifestation of their identity, similar to our own?  Then we get into things like medical care and elective procedures.  Clearly, there are psychological ramifications to intentionally housing an already at-risk person in a failing body (at the very least, depression).  All of these angles indicate that something else beyond "we just can't afford it so there's nothing we can do" and "the universe just isn't fair" at play here.

Something to consider, unless Marten is secretly loaded (which we know he really isn't), he was able to afford a decent chassis for Pintsize without breaking the bank.  Compare that to the costs of minor repairs to May's chassis.  If this is really just a matter of money, why don't they have several of the classic mini-me chassis in stock as a cheap option?  Heck, even those used have to be cheaper than May's would have been.  Knowing what I know about how bureaucracy works, it's most likely someone found a loophole where they could acquire the off-warranty cast-off chassis like a totaled car for next to nothing from a scrapper, give the appearance of purchasing a reasonably affordable used chassis, and pocketing the difference (or using it elsewhere in the budget on something else they wanted).

I'm a sucker for a Checkov's Gun moment, and we've seen Roko research how robot jail sources bodies for ex-cons, being told that the money is the issue, and being told to waste the financial deparment's time instead.  Given that Roko is an ex-cop, I wouldn't be surprised if she sniffs out some white-collar crime here.  Plus Beeps suggesting Roko suppress her cop instincts, it would be fitting for those instincts to turn out to be right.
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Re: WCDT 4171-4175 (6 to 10 Jan 2020)
« Reply #93 on: 09 Jan 2020, 13:28 »

I realize I'm probably more moderate/conservative in my beliefs that the majority of readers, but I found myself siding with the official here.   There literally is no reason that an AI 'needs' a body, and I don't see any reason why May would need a physical form in order to earn money (other than that's how Jeph chooses to build the narrative, and hey, it's his story), so I don't see any obligation that the government would have to provide her with one at all.     That they do, and it's a substandard piece of crap, is like complaining if somebody gave you food when you don't have any, but it's something you don't like to eat.   

Except that the nature of May's crime means that she cannot work in a disembodied manner, she isn't allowed to network to any financial or commercial systems. Its like when a medical professional commits a crime and after completing their sentence, they can't work in the medical profession.

So in May's case, she isn't allowed to network anymore which pretty much cuts her from an entire plane of existence. And to meet the terms of her parole, May needs to work, even if its in a crappy convenience mart. May needs a chassis to meet the terms of her parole.

On the other hand, there is nothing requiring to give her humanoid body. An assembly arm still can work, without interfacing to financial or commercial systems.

Quote from: 4137, panel 3
A disembodied AI requesting a body is an uncommon occurrence, ...

This does seem to suggest that she specifically requested it - possibly with her experience as a disembodied AI, and robot jail making her wish for more mobility. And considering she wanted to be a fighter jet, I think that is very likely how things went down. There's also the fact that she can't, exactly, connect to financial or commercial systems, which means she can't go back in the system where she came from.

Then again, where does that leave us with the position that AI are inherently owners of the hardware they run on?

I will admit, though, that what disembodied AI can do, in parole is not exactly clearly addressed. Either all AI, with the same type of crime, have the same limitations, and it is not a rare occurrence, or there must be some other way in which they can earn their keep. Or it is a very rare occurrence, which suggests that either AI are more law-abiding, or cover their tracks more efficiently - or that there is a very small population of AI - which doesn't seem to correspond exactly to what we see in the comic.
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Re: WCDT 4171-4175 (6 to 10 Jan 2020)
« Reply #94 on: 09 Jan 2020, 14:39 »

No, it would be like someone giving you food that literally makes you ill.

Illness is preferable to starvation.
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Re: WCDT 4171-4175 (6 to 10 Jan 2020)
« Reply #95 on: 09 Jan 2020, 14:51 »

There's something that confuses me.

If a disembodied AI requesting a body is a rare occurrence, then I would have thought that a commensurately small budget allotment would nonetheless have been sufficient to obtain for that very small number of AIs a fully functioning chassis? If it isn't, then that doesn't sound commensurate to me. What am I missing?
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Re: WCDT 4171-4175 (6 to 10 Jan 2020)
« Reply #96 on: 09 Jan 2020, 16:01 »

The problem is that he doesn't realize the connections Roko has. He is literally blowing off someone who is friends with something (https://www.questionablecontent.net/view.php?comic=3412) who could destroy his life, the life of his family, his friends, and even their families as an example.

I'm just surprised that Roko hasn't involved them prior to this point, although I assume she wanted to try the normal channels first.

Siccing Spooky on someone who is just doing his job (badly, perhaps, but still doing it) is absolutely loathsome.

And lazy.  My biggest problem with Spookybot and for that matter Hannelore is they have the potential to be deus ex machinas when there’s a problem beyond the other characters’ abilities to fix.  An easy fix for the sake of a happy ending doesn’t happen all that often in real life.  Even though this is a webcomic I prefer it follow certain storytelling rules.

And while the bureaucrat could’ve been nicer it’s possible he’s heard it all before and has to be cold and indifferent just to get through the day.
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Re: WCDT 4171-4175 (6 to 10 Jan 2020)
« Reply #97 on: 09 Jan 2020, 17:39 »

I'm not really comfortable with the idea of "having a body is a luxury, not a right." Granted, for at least most AI there are plenty of job opportunities and chances to interact with other people online. (I'm not sure what jobs or communities May is limited to, legally speaking. Hmm, did Holo-May ever discuss her career prospects?).

Even if you compare it to changing cars, Roko suffered from disassociation when she lost her body. It may just be a platform for interacting with the material world, but psychologically and kinesthetically she considers herself anthropomorphic, not a silicon box piloting a mini Gundam. It's a necessary tool for both her mental health and her ability to interact with the outside world on a level familiar to most humans. May may not have any particular attachment to her body on account of all the flaws, but she sounds the same.

To put it another way: If humans were capable of plugging in to the net and hanging out with AI, and there was a paraplegic woman who used that to find a job to pay her bills, and it was entirely within modern medicine and the government's means to give her the ability to move and walk (with basically no additional physical therapy required, even), would she be entitled to that? Does it make a difference if she's an ex-convict or not?

What if they helped her get some bargain bin medical deal that let her walk again, but it came with all sorts of errors and flaws and mistakes, such that it impeded her quality of life and was a not insignificant financial burden? Such that she could go back to lying in a bed, plugging in to Wikipedia, and never moving again if she were fine with that? Should she be grateful for the opportunity to move at all?

I don't know. I get that medical rights are sort of a touchy subject right now in America.
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Re: WCDT 4171-4175 (6 to 10 Jan 2020)
« Reply #98 on: 09 Jan 2020, 18:01 »

Yet, a chassis is a luxury item. Most AI don't need a chassis to do their jobs, the ones who do are in a very small minority from what we've seen. A chassis is going to be an expensive item to buy because it is an expensive item to create. Even if the materials aren't that expensive, you're still looking at design, labour, transport costs. A deluxe chassis might cost $30,000 and maybe have $2000 worth of material in it.

Chassis are luxury items, if they weren't they'd be ubiquitous and every AI would be walking around in one. The same way that yes, everyone would like a car but you still need to pay several thousand for a partway decent one.

May's chassis is still a luxury item, even if it is a lemon. Lemons are cheap, ridiculously so. Like barely a couple of hundred dollars. Think about how miserly that department's budget must be where they consider a $300 chassis is too much for them to replace.

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Re: WCDT 4171-4175 (6 to 10 Jan 2020)
« Reply #99 on: 09 Jan 2020, 18:36 »

Comic's up.

I guess Roko didn't read the entire user's manual...
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