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Author Topic: AI wonderings and discussion  (Read 16989 times)

Gnabberwocky

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AI wonderings and discussion
« on: 23 Sep 2020, 21:38 »

How do AI chromatophores work?

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

This is an open thread for other obsessed nerds as well, if you have more questions about QC AIs.
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Re: AI wonderings and discussion
« Reply #1 on: 23 Sep 2020, 23:07 »

The hair is hollow and transparent and acts like a damaged optical fibre, absorbing and retransmitting light from basically the entire surface.
As for the colours, microscopic RGBY oLEDs in the dermis with the exterior surface itself acting as a diffuser.
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Re: AI wonderings and discussion
« Reply #2 on: 24 Sep 2020, 03:38 »

I thought that they worked essentially the same way as a Cuttlefish's colour-change abilities: Electro-reactive red, blue and green pigments whose size is controlled by changes in the current through a micro-weave electrical mesh just beneath the top layer of the derma.
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Re: AI wonderings and discussion
« Reply #3 on: 24 Sep 2020, 08:07 »

I thought that they worked essentially the same way as a Cuttlefish's colour-change abilities: Electro-reactive red, blue and green pigments whose size is controlled by changes in the current through a micro-weave electrical mesh just beneath the top layer of the derma.
I remember a while back an experimental material woven from conductive fibres and coated with a unique liquid crystal coating. The zones would switch from light to dark depending on current flow IIRC and show the core pigmentation when dark. Didn't require any power to maintain still images. It was supposed to be a low power low labour replacement of commercial printed banners but flat screens dropped in cost so quickly they killed this tech in it's infancy.
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Re: AI wonderings and discussion
« Reply #4 on: 24 Sep 2020, 10:14 »

I thought that they worked essentially the same way as a Cuttlefish's colour-change abilities: Electro-reactive red, blue and green pigments whose size is controlled by changes in the current through a micro-weave electrical mesh just beneath the top layer of the derma.
So why is newly grown robot hair affected?
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Re: AI wonderings and discussion
« Reply #5 on: 24 Sep 2020, 20:58 »

I'm imagining something similar to an E-Ink display.
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Re: AI wonderings and discussion
« Reply #6 on: 25 Sep 2020, 00:16 »

I thought that they worked essentially the same way as a Cuttlefish's colour-change abilities: Electro-reactive red, blue and green pigments whose size is controlled by changes in the current through a micro-weave electrical mesh just beneath the top layer of the derma.

So why is newly grown robot hair affected?

It's a different material but essentially it's the same trick - pigment cells in the fibres either expand or contract based on the electrical current/frequency around the roots.
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Re: AI wonderings and discussion
« Reply #7 on: 25 Sep 2020, 06:09 »

I'm imagining something similar to an E-Ink display.

I second that. Needs practically no energy to keep in its current state, and doesn't shine at night. And the kind of thing fancier chassis have, opposed to a cheaper and simpler single-color dermal cover.
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Re: AI wonderings and discussion
« Reply #8 on: 25 Sep 2020, 10:52 »

We've seen the process of AI hair growth. They submerge their head in a pool of liquid until the fibers attach. Does the liquid contain the color cells, or are those stored elsewhere in the AI's body and move to the hair once it attaches?

By the way, you guys have great answers. I just never run out of questions.
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Re: AI wonderings and discussion
« Reply #9 on: 26 Sep 2020, 12:49 »

I'd want to know why they call themselves robots. It's a fairly recent coinage that comes from the Slavic (I think) root for labor or slave, and (outside Questionable Content) more correctly refers to machinery that does some work, like an assembly arm or the mechanical quadrupeds, rather than sapient machines.
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Re: AI wonderings and discussion
« Reply #10 on: 26 Sep 2020, 20:57 »

Until you get to things like Robbie the Robot.
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Re: AI wonderings and discussion
« Reply #11 on: 27 Sep 2020, 02:57 »

Sure it's a recent coinage, but it is far less recent than their existence. And humans have been referring to human-shaped machines for decades. It makes sense that people would use the term, and by extension makes sense that the entities themselves would pick up that usage just by existing in a culture that uses it frequently.
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Re: AI wonderings and discussion
« Reply #12 on: 27 Sep 2020, 12:57 »

Would there be such that refer to themselves as automatons? Clientele of the Horrible Revelation, perhaps?
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Re: AI wonderings and discussion
« Reply #13 on: 27 Sep 2020, 13:05 »

I do wonder if they use 'robot' to reclaim the word for themselves. Destroy its negative connotations by making it theirs.
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Re: AI wonderings and discussion
« Reply #14 on: 27 Sep 2020, 23:45 »

Also it's important to note that, while yes the origins of the word are a reference to slavery, most people outside of etymology nerds don't know that or make that connection. The actual etymology of a word is less important than the mental connections and psychosocial associations it elicits.
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Re: AI wonderings and discussion
« Reply #15 on: 28 Sep 2020, 06:45 »

...mental connections and psychosexual associations it elicits.

FYP




OK, more like hijacked it. 
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Re: AI wonderings and discussion
« Reply #16 on: 29 Sep 2020, 08:28 »

I said what I said.

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Re: AI wonderings and discussion
« Reply #17 on: 29 Sep 2020, 09:26 »

I agree on the "etymology doesn't matter if no-one knows it" part.

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

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

If anything, "robotically" connoting unthinking repetition of mundane tasks would be more problematic than the word's etymological roots.
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Re: AI wonderings and discussion
« Reply #18 on: 29 Sep 2020, 09:45 »

If anything, "robotically" connoting unthinking repetition of mundane tasks would be more problematic than the word's etymological roots.
Oh yes, definitely. Also, I wonder who sued who first over discriminatory “are you a robot” checks on websites…?

That said, the origin of the word is commonly expounded upon in “history of robotics” books but that’s a tiny audience in the here and now, though I guess it may be bigger in the QC-verse?
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Re: AI wonderings and discussion
« Reply #19 on: 29 Sep 2020, 16:09 »

Robotically denotes unthinking repetition. Not repetition, but my impression had the unthinking part as more significant. It's unthinking work, which is repetitive stereotypically. This is not to doubt the significance of connotation (I know personally how much hate can hide in there) but denotation is always more significant.
Robot has nothing to do with the human shape, but everything to do with the mechanical structure designed for complex motion. This accurately describes some Questionable Content characters' chasses.
Another fact that I would like to mention is that robot was coined over a decade before the first robots was made.
The characters of Questionable Content are not robots, the same way that I am not a human. But we call ourselves human, because our human bodies are tangible, while our personalities, which are closer to who we are, are intangible. And idiots that we are, we often rely too much on such superficial aspects in our decisions.
The definition alone (especially with that root) as it's used in engineering would let us adopt it as a slur against the persons who happened to have been made in a way that makes them compatible only with robot bodies.
It's only a matter of time. Whether that means a couple years or decades, only god can know in advance.

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


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Re: AI wonderings and discussion
« Reply #20 on: 29 Sep 2020, 19:16 »


The characters of Questionable Content are not robots, the same way that I am not a human. But we call ourselves human, because our human bodies are tangible, while our personalities, which are closer to who we are, are intangible.
Except that these are inseparable from each other. Personality is just an amalgamation of the processes performed by all the various interacting bits of our bodies. In a very real sense, we are our bodies, although mostly the parts we can't see.
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Re: AI wonderings and discussion
« Reply #21 on: 29 Sep 2020, 20:54 »

Except that these are inseparable from each other. Personality is just an amalgamation of the processes performed by all the various interacting bits of our bodies. In a very real sense, we are our bodies, although mostly the parts we can't see.
Personality, the person's essential phenomenal pattern, may emerge from such processes, but is not merely an amalgam thereof. Certain instances of certain personalities may be inseparable from their embodiment, but excepting those defined enthralled, the personality is. Of course existence in this reality requires embodiment, but that does not prevent separation from a body. For example into another body. If your body fits you so well that none other can suffice, you have my envy, and my pity.
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Re: AI wonderings and discussion
« Reply #22 on: 29 Sep 2020, 21:21 »

Whether or not my body is acceptable to me is irrelevant. It is what it is. There is no personality separate from embodiment. We are bodies. Alter the body, you alter the personality.

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

The "self" is an illusion.
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Re: AI wonderings and discussion
« Reply #23 on: 29 Sep 2020, 21:28 »

Whether or not my body is acceptable to me is irrelevant. It is what it is. There is no personality separate from embodiment. We are bodies. Alter the body, you alter the personality.

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

The "self" is an illusion.
I agree and disagree. It is true that the body has a major and unalterable effect on the personality, but humans are brains. We're brains using complicated electrical signals and feedback loops to power a mech made of meat. The meat suit protects us and feeds the brain, and the chemicals it sends to our brains affect how we act, but it isn't itself a direct part of our personalities.
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Re: AI wonderings and discussion
« Reply #24 on: 29 Sep 2020, 21:37 »

Those chemical processes are part of the whole, and brain is part of the body.
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Re: AI wonderings and discussion
« Reply #25 on: 29 Sep 2020, 22:01 »

Those chemical processes are part of the whole, and brain is part of the body.
I think we're arguing about different points. Please correct me if I'm wrong on this, but it seems like you're saying that the brain isn't complete without the body. I agree with that; they're codependent. The body needs the brain's control to move and live, and the brain needs the body's supplies to work properly. I was only trying to get at the fact that the root of consciousness is in the brain.
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Re: AI wonderings and discussion
« Reply #26 on: 29 Sep 2020, 23:31 »

I wonder if any advanced hybrots will turn up.

I don't recall seeing any updates on that line of research since around 2012.
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Re: AI wonderings and discussion
« Reply #27 on: 30 Sep 2020, 04:27 »

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

I think a problem here is we're using crude language discussing subtle concepts.
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Re: AI wonderings and discussion
« Reply #28 on: 30 Sep 2020, 07:37 »

It wouldn't be the same personality. At most it would be one very much like it. The personality arises from the gestalt of all the physiological processes currently going on in the body. At most you could replicate those processes somehow in another body, but even if you somehow managed to transfer all of the data stored in the brain along with it, it still wouldn't be the same personality, just a copy. And an imperfect one at that as they would immediate begin to diverge from one another.
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Re: AI wonderings and discussion
« Reply #29 on: 30 Sep 2020, 08:28 »

I think a problem here is we're using crude language discussing subtle concepts.
“I think perhaps the most important problem is that we are trying to understand the fundamental workings of the universe via a language devised for telling one another where the best fruit is.” --Terry Pratchett
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Re: AI wonderings and discussion
« Reply #30 on: 30 Sep 2020, 08:36 »

Those chemical processes are part of the whole, and brain is part of the body.
"Mind is a function of brain," as I've heard it put.
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Re: AI wonderings and discussion
« Reply #31 on: 30 Sep 2020, 10:03 »

(click to show/hide)
The personality arises from the gestalt of all the physiological processes currently going on in the body. At most you could replicate those processes somehow in another body, but even if you somehow managed to transfer all of the data stored in the brain along with it, it still wouldn't be the same personality, just a copy.
I am interested in learning more about this conception of personality. I'm not convinced that it requires that inseparability quality. (I suspect that this thread is not the most appropriate place for a discussion of these topics. Perhaps somewhere in RELATE or DISCUSS?)
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Re: AI wonderings and discussion
« Reply #32 on: 30 Sep 2020, 14:38 »

I've set up a thread for it over in RELATE.

Back to the main point of this thread...

...how do AI feelings work? Is it a set programming of a response to given trigger phrases and actions, or is it more like humans, where physical chemicals are released based on your reaction?
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Re: AI wonderings and discussion
« Reply #33 on: 30 Sep 2020, 14:54 »

I'm pretty sure that, given the infodumps he has done in the past, Jeph follows the MST3K mantra.  The primary evidence for that point is when it was mentioned that the first AI was an emergent phenomenon.
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Re: AI wonderings and discussion
« Reply #34 on: 30 Sep 2020, 20:37 »

It wouldn't be the same personality. At most it would be one very much like it. The personality arises from the gestalt of all the physiological processes currently going on in the body. At most you could replicate those processes somehow in another body, but even if you somehow managed to transfer all of the data stored in the brain along with it, it still wouldn't be the same personality, just a copy. And an imperfect one at that as they would immediate begin to diverge from one another.
One's experiences and disposition also play rather major roles in the development of one's personality.
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Re: AI wonderings and discussion
« Reply #35 on: 23 Oct 2020, 07:22 »

I wonder if any of the artificial muscles in QC work like this?


EDIT: I mean more in the general sense of 'compressed gas contracts and expands the muscle fibers'. Probably something decidedly less flammable than pure hydrogen.
« Last Edit: 26 Oct 2020, 06:10 by Gyrre »
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Re: AI wonderings and discussion
« Reply #36 on: 25 Oct 2020, 22:16 »

Okay, next question: this comic.

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

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

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Re: AI wonderings and discussion
« Reply #37 on: 25 Oct 2020, 23:18 »

Okay, next question: this comic.

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

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

Simplest explanation is that Roko is entering the main office from the conference room, which is set up with all the fancy VC (in this case VR) gear, much like many real offices. Yes, she probably could have done a lower fidelity call from her own workstation, but apart from disturbing people around her, it probably makes a better impression on the person on the other end of the call if you use the fancy stuff. And when you're trying to make friends and influence people, those impressions count.
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Re: AI wonderings and discussion
« Reply #38 on: 28 Oct 2020, 08:35 »

I wonder if any of the artificial muscles in QC work like this?
EDIT: I mean more in the general sense of 'compressed gas contracts and expands the muscle fibres. Probably something decidedly less flammable than pure hydrogen.
Interesting but requires way too much support infrastructure.

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

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

Just think what you could do with the right software and sensor suite linked with servo motors on each of the circular seals of an atmospheric hardsuit.
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Exoskeleton?
« Reply #39 on: 28 Oct 2020, 17:19 »

Just think what you could do with the right software and sensor suite linked with servo motors on each of the circular seals of an atmospheric hardsuit.
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Gnabberwocky

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Re: AI wonderings and discussion
« Reply #40 on: 09 Dec 2020, 18:31 »

Today's comic got me wondering how Union Robotics and body repair shops in general repair dermal. Sam used a hot glue gun that one time, but that seemed like more of a temporary fix. Is it self-repairing once stitched together, like human skin, or is there some kind of dermal sealant that dissolves but leaves the tear healed, or do they have to replace the dermal entirely?
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Re: AI wonderings and discussion
« Reply #41 on: 09 Dec 2020, 18:47 »

AI Hair, and perhaps by extension their dermal coverings, could easily be self-assembled in a nanoparticle bath. 

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

For the dermal coverings, such might be required?  Consider the damage your own skin routinely takes and self-repairs.  Why shouldn't an AI body do the same.  I've been thinking about this since I noticed Bubbles doesn't wear shoes.  A dermal covering could be a multi-layer sheath over the chassis where one layer is the generative nano-particle solution sandwiched between the outer layer and the backing.  This layer need not be a low-viscosity liquid like water, though that might answer the question about the photophores if it was.  And it would mean that style covering could "bleed" when punctured/sliced.  Instead it could be a molten salt at room temperature or another "liquid" type material that flows at some low rate.  And maybe this is only available on high-end chassis; May's certainly wasn't self-repairing.
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Re: AI wonderings and discussion
« Reply #42 on: 09 Dec 2020, 19:23 »

AI Hair, and perhaps by extension their dermal coverings, could easily be self-assembled in a nanoparticle bath. 

A physical bath seems to be the order of the day for hair - see the Momo hair escapade.
Recall that May's (old body's) hair was however simply sewn on. So it's probably one of those things that varies widely by manufacturer and model.
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Re: AI wonderings and discussion
« Reply #43 on: 11 Dec 2020, 14:55 »

That was attaching the hair to the scalp area, not making it longer.
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Re: AI wonderings and discussion
« Reply #44 on: 14 Dec 2020, 05:03 »

I remember reading somewhere along the line after she got her new chassis that Faye was reading the care instructions where it mentioned that it was dishwasher safe.
This was just before the "after the shower" scene and someone going overboard on how squeaky clean she was. :roll:
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AI wonderings and discussion
« Reply #45 on: 14 Dec 2020, 08:20 »

That was Momo and Marigold, with Hannelore poking Momo’s skin post-shower in the subsequent comic.
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Re: AI wonderings and discussion
« Reply #46 on: 16 Dec 2020, 11:21 »

How does the QC universe deal with the system of ownership of sentient beings?  It was noted by May about AIs technically being citizens and obviously certain AI are free to their destiny of choice, like May, Bubs, Roko, Melon, and my favorite Yay Newfriend! Then there's some ambiguity with Winslow, Momo, and various institution AIs like Station, governmental office AIs, various AIs partnered with humans in various strips in the archives, and the body shop AIs. Are those AIs enterprise/franchise/laboratory owned laborers and assistants? Finally Pint Size is obviously "owned" by Marten, but the similarly modeled Nelson seems to be autonomous.  Momo and Winslow were once small anthro-PCs, had full sentience, completely owned by Marigold & Hannelore respectively, were gifted new bodies, and are now ambiguously "free citizens",  but choose to stay with their previous "owners".  Pint-Size was bought and paid for by Marten, fully and horribly sentient;  Marten even bought a new chassis for him with frickin' laser beams and magic thumbs, his freedom hasn't been expressly covered, but Pint-Size doesn't seem all too interested in embodiment and autonomy, (and is mostly used for the most satisfyingly crude comic relief and I'd hate to see that change) but AI ownership and autonomy has not been addressed to the level that QC has delved into personal identities and intersentient relationships.
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Re: AI wonderings and discussion
« Reply #47 on: 16 Dec 2020, 11:41 »

I can't find the comic--it's somewhere between 2200 and 2500--but Marten is having a conversation with Pintsize and Momo about how he got Pintsize. It's less of a "purchase" and more of a "companionship contract." Either one of them is free to break off the contract at any time and for any reason with no repercussions. Those are the AIs that elect specifically to be companions; some, like Millifeulle and Beepatrice, choose civilian life, while others, like Station or the sentient toaster from when Momo gets her body, choose to function as sentient machines.
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Re: AI wonderings and discussion
« Reply #48 on: 16 Dec 2020, 13:34 »

I would like to know about Station, were they to, for example, quit tomorrow. Or give 2 weeks notice. They're running a whole lot of stuff, and it's seen that their slacking off can cause---at least minor---problems. I'd imagine that'd been planned for, that there's procedures in place to quickly replace vital functions: non-sapient systems that can handle things well enough? or other sapient software are ready to take over some those roles? A human interface would be nice---were I commissioning the station, I'd plan it so that, worst case, each class (singletons inclusive) of person can provide for the needs of that class, without much urgent training---simple interfaces, or well-trained persons aboard.
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Re: AI wonderings and discussion
« Reply #49 on: 16 Dec 2020, 14:02 »

Short version; humans own the chassis of a given companion AI but that individual volunteers to be their companion, is matched to them via a service, and is free to leave at any time. Not sure if the contract requires paying back the cost of the original chassis if they choose to take it but that seems likely.

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

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


For cases like Station, I strongly suspect there’s a whole section of the human staff with “just in case” emergency maintenance responsibilities, should he ever be unavailable for some reason. Also he’s specifically capable of walling off the interactive part of his mind so he can be “drunk” without affecting his duties. As for ownership and independence, I wouldn’t be at all surprised if Daddy E-C basically treated him as a free individual from the start and had a substantial “salary” set aside into a trust fund so that the moment the AI Rights bill was passed he could hand it over to Station “here’s your pay for the last few years, would you like to continue your duties at the same rate but paid monthly?”
Though I’m not sure Station actually can leave, given his integration and enormously more complex instantiation. He probably has enough money to buy the relevant hardware but where would he put it and what would he do then? There’s basically no-one who could pay him appropriately for his capabilities, not least because a lot of those are dependent on being integrated into a structure. Maybe he could set himself up as a museum of some kind?
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