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Have you read Roadside Picnic, played any of the games loosely based on it (the S.T.A.L.K.E.R. franchise), or seen the Tarkovsky film?

Read the novel
- 5 (15.2%)
Played some of the games
- 4 (12.1%)
Seen the film
- 6 (18.2%)
Ducks? Ducks.
- 18 (54.5%)

Total Members Voted: 27


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Author Topic: WCDT June 7th - June 11th (4541-4545)  (Read 4079 times)

David F

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Re: WCDT June 7th - June 11th (4541-4545)
« Reply #100 on: 11 Jun 2021, 14:13 »

I can't figure out Pintsize's expression in the last panel.  Either he has just fallen in love with someone, or he realizes that he just found his people.

That smile reminds me a lot of the Grinch, that face-consuming smile as he conceives of his "wonderful, awful idea".  Pintsize may not yet realize that his expression reveals his scheming.
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Re: WCDT June 7th - June 11th (4541-4545)
« Reply #101 on: 11 Jun 2021, 14:51 »

He just found his new people is the way I read that.  Now we have to have a week of Pintsize getting out of his companionship contract and moving on and Marten/Claire having to adjust to life without him.  Prediction: this will cause Martin some discontent and who knows where that leads since Claire has now signaled she'll take any job to be near Marten.

ANy job to be near Marten? Hmm, interesting, up til now I have read it as she will take any job to avoid facing possible rejections on librarian jobs (and perhaps in part also avoiding inevitable difficult conversations when a job far away presents itself).

While I appreciate QC's evolution into its current, quite humanoid AI-centric form, I will really miss the non-humanoid AIs. Plus, I feel there are still many possibilities with the OG cast members even when focusing a lot more on the newer cast. Especially Marten I feel has received relatively little attention in terms of his growth and development. But, perhaps JJ feels like the trials and tribulations of a privileged white straight male is not something that needs any attention in QC given how many much more important issues he could address in-comic?
I don't disagree there, actually.
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Re: WCDT June 7th - June 11th (4541-4545)
« Reply #102 on: 11 Jun 2021, 18:26 »

We talk about Marten getting Pintsize assigned by mistake, but this is a reminder that Marten was not the right companion for Pintsize.

I am thinking of dialog from the theater version of A Wrinkle in Time:
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You people are so weird!
(beat)
For the first time in my life I feel at home.
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Shjade

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Re: WCDT June 7th - June 11th (4541-4545)
« Reply #103 on: 11 Jun 2021, 21:18 »

Especially Marten I feel has received relatively little attention in terms of his growth and development. But, perhaps JJ feels like the trials and tribulations of a privileged white straight male is not something that needs any attention in QC given how many much more important issues he could address in-comic?
I don't disagree there, actually.

Marten also just seems like he's in a decent spot at the moment. I wouldn't be surprised if things pivot back to him in future, but in the meantime, no need to watch Marten eating cereal.
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Re: WCDT June 7th - June 11th (4541-4545)
« Reply #104 on: 11 Jun 2021, 21:37 »

I can't figure out Pintsize's expression in the last panel.  Either he has just fallen in love with someone, or he realizes that he just found his people.

That smile reminds me a lot of the Grinch, that face-consuming smile as he conceives of his "wonderful, awful idea".  Pintsize may not yet realize that his expression reveals his scheming.

That is, in fact, the image I expected beeawwb to be linking to on the last page, before I clicked on it.
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Re: WCDT June 7th - June 11th (4541-4545)
« Reply #105 on: 12 Jun 2021, 09:52 »

It’ll be interesting to see the “sides” that form if Pintsize wants to break his contract — based on Marigold and Momo, the assumption seems to be that humans do the rejecting, not the other way around.
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Re: WCDT June 7th - June 11th (4541-4545)
« Reply #106 on: 12 Jun 2021, 13:31 »

That's always been the tenet,  from where I sit, that the AI and the human companion, contract with each other.  The question arises: with whom does the ownership of the chassis reside?  Does Marten still have a proprietary interest in Pintsize's chassis?  Or does it amortize over time, and devolve to the AI?  It seems we've seen both.  Marigold and Hanilore "gifted" the new chassis that Momo and Winslow received.  May got hers via crowdfunding.  Bubble's chassis was perhaps declared surplus and transferred to her?


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Re: WCDT June 7th - June 11th (4541-4545)
« Reply #107 on: 12 Jun 2021, 14:24 »

It’ll be interesting to see the “sides” that form if Pintsize wants to break his contract — based on Marigold and Momo, the assumption seems to be that humans do the rejecting, not the other way around.

I could be wrong, but hasn’t it been established in-comic long ago that each side can basically choose to end it whenever they want to? I.e. basically like any friendship, anAI can leave anytime they want to.

I imagine in the contract it may be explicitly stated that the human under no circumstances has any claim over their companions chassis, otherwise there would way too often be a warped power dynamic.
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Re: WCDT June 7th - June 11th (4541-4545)
« Reply #109 on: 12 Jun 2021, 20:05 »

I was thinking "how did she find that comic? That seems really difficult" and then I thought "does Google image search work with suitable keywords?"

Yes, yes it does. #2284 is the second hit for "questionable content contract."
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Re: WCDT June 7th - June 11th (4541-4545)
« Reply #110 on: 13 Jun 2021, 01:13 »

I think I searched for 'questionable content Momo contract'
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Re: WCDT June 7th - June 11th (4541-4545)
« Reply #111 on: 13 Jun 2021, 11:53 »

Jeph said once that AIs are the legal owners of the bodies they are in, but that must not have applied to the nuclear sub.
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Re: WCDT June 7th - June 11th (4541-4545)
« Reply #112 on: 13 Jun 2021, 12:02 »

Jeph said once that AIs are the legal owners of the bodies they are in, but that must not have applied to the nuclear sub.
I would assume that a) the military gets its own set of laws as usual and b) if the sub wasn’t listed as “issued equipment” then it was under a specific contract regarding demobilisation of the individual. Besides I strongly suspect that nuclear submarines aren’t part of the companionship programme anyway.
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Re: WCDT June 7th - June 11th (4541-4545)
« Reply #113 on: 13 Jun 2021, 14:12 »

I just perused the cast page to see if I could figure out for myself who Yemisi is and why Pintsize is going to see her right now (a little help, anyone? I'm not a new reader just very forgetful) and ----- I MISS RAVEN!!! What happened to her???
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Re: WCDT June 7th - June 11th (4541-4545)
« Reply #114 on: 13 Jun 2021, 15:46 »

Yemisi is one of the three Burrito Place Girls, with Iris and Willow.  She's a personal shopper, as shown when she visited her client Yay Newfriend.
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Re: WCDT June 7th - June 11th (4541-4545)
« Reply #115 on: 13 Jun 2021, 15:47 »

Jeph said once that AIs are the legal owners of the bodies they are in, but that must not have applied to the nuclear sub.

Ok so...my guess is that the answer would be 'probably not' but I am now wondering if May had been fast enough to get the fighter jet body and upload into it that even if she would still be arrested that the body in question would still be considered her own due to technicality.

Also, on the note of ownership back near hte beginning there were anthropc parks and one of the anthropcs commented about being shut down and being repainted and changed and hating the new look, that was clearly a nonconsensual body modding so would the owner be liable for damaging the AIs property or is that one of those things we kind of handwave from the earliest periods as the world was still finding its feet?
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Re: WCDT June 7th - June 11th (4541-4545)
« Reply #116 on: 13 Jun 2021, 16:16 »

I think that was handwaved away as the strip went away from AI as robopets to AI as companions/individuals with rights.
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Re: WCDT June 7th - June 11th (4541-4545)
« Reply #117 on: 13 Jun 2021, 17:03 »

Ok so...my guess is that the answer would be 'probably not' but I am now wondering if May had been fast enough to get the fighter jet body and upload into it that even if she would still be arrested that the body in question would still be considered her own due to technicality.

Probably not given that she would have bought it with stolen funds.
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Re: WCDT June 7th - June 11th (4541-4545)
« Reply #118 on: 13 Jun 2021, 18:20 »

Ok so...my guess is that the answer would be 'probably not' but I am now wondering if May had been fast enough to get the fighter jet body and upload into it that even if she would still be arrested that the body in question would still be considered her own due to technicality.

Probably not given that she would have bought it with stolen funds.

That would be my guess admittedly but I suddenly imagined a setup where the laws technically as written didn't account for the body being gained illegally and were more 'once you are uploaded into it it is your and cannot be taken'
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Re: WCDT June 7th - June 11th (4541-4545)
« Reply #119 on: 13 Jun 2021, 18:38 »

Also, on the note of ownership back near hte beginning there were anthropc parks and one of the anthropcs commented about being shut down and being repainted and changed and hating the new look, that was clearly a nonconsensual body modding so would the owner be liable for damaging the AIs property or is that one of those things we kind of handwave from the earliest periods as the world was still finding its feet?

It’s really hard to say.  I’m never sure how much early comics are still considered canon, or what has been implicitly retconned.  They’re also far back enough that I’m not really troubled by continuity errors.
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Re: WCDT June 7th - June 11th (4541-4545)
« Reply #120 on: 13 Jun 2021, 19:49 »

I think that was handwaved away as the strip went away from AI as robopets to AI as companions/individuals with rights.

I'm not sure there was any handwaving involved. In the comic where Clinton was interviewing Marten, he mentioned a constitutional amendment and implied that it had been added recently. It probably was legal to treat AIs as personal possessions prior to that act, and if I remember my very limited law knowledge correctly, you can't be convicted of a crime that wasn't a crime when you did it.
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Re: WCDT June 7th - June 11th (4541-4545)
« Reply #121 on: 13 Jun 2021, 19:54 »

I just perused the cast page to see if I could figure out for myself who Yemisi is and why Pintsize is going to see her right now (a little help, anyone? I'm not a new reader just very forgetful) and ----- I MISS RAVEN!!! What happened to her???

Ahh, you are about to discover a resource!

The QC wiki has been a labor of love by many for years.

https://questionablecontent.fandom.com/wiki/Them

I think Jeph ran out of things to do with Raven. I miss her too.

A possible explanation for the change in the way AIs are portrayed and treated in the strip is the long civil rights struggle that Momo mentioned. The AI ERA happened well after the non-consensual body mods.
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Re: WCDT June 7th - June 11th (4541-4545)
« Reply #122 on: 13 Jun 2021, 20:05 »

"I write for characters based solely on interest and ideas, so yeah if I’m bored by a character there’s a very good chance we won’t be seeing them again."
- Jeph Jacques
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Re: WCDT June 7th - June 11th (4541-4545)
« Reply #123 on: 13 Jun 2021, 20:15 »

I think that was handwaved away as the strip went away from AI as robopets to AI as companions/individuals with rights.

I'm not sure there was any handwaving involved. In the comic where Clinton was interviewing Marten, he mentioned a constitutional amendment and implied that it had been added recently. It probably was legal to treat AIs as personal possessions prior to that act, and if I remember my very limited law knowledge correctly, you can't be convicted of a crime that wasn't a crime when you did it.

I'm reckon any owner/possession relationship would have disappeared pretty soon after the Singularity occurred, just before #1777: https://www.questionablecontent.net/view.php?comic=1777
https://www.questionablecontent.net/view.php?comic=1780
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Re: WCDT June 7th - June 11th (4541-4545)
« Reply #124 on: 14 Jun 2021, 02:50 »

That would be my guess admittedly but I suddenly imagined a setup where the laws technically as written didn't account for the body being gained illegally and were more 'once you are uploaded into it it is your and cannot be taken'
It's clearly permissible for an AI to be forced out of their body temporarily if they are sent to Robot Jail (the body assignment guy explains that most AIs who wish to be embodied have a body to return to upon release), but I don't know of anything in the comic (post-singularity) that addresses whether an AI could be permanently deprived of the chassis they were in.

But I would think that more broadly this would fall under the general law that says you're not entitled to keep the proceeds of a crime. I'm pretty sure the chassis would be considered legally to be property (usually owned by the AI inhabiting it, but not necessarily so) and could be repossessed like any other property given cause - any other approach raises a host of issues. They might have written in some restrictions but it's highly unlikely it would be "under no circumstances whatsoever".

The large equipment AIs (nuclear reactors, submarines, fighter jets, space stations, etc.) probably would not usually own their chassis (Station might be an exception, given that he seems to own a large amount of E-C stock). Instead these would be owned by the power company or the military or whoever, and AIs would be paid a salary to work in them. Then if they wished to move on from that job, they would go back to being disembodied (or to their previous body if they had one), or to a new body that they would have to buy. An AI that was rich enough could buy its own chassis, as May tried to do, and set up essentially as an independent contractor. But given the fighter jet May wanted to get into cost IIRC $750 million, this is obviously not how most of them operate.

In Roko's case, we know that (before the Crushbot incident) she'd been in the same body since "birth", but seems to have gotten enhancements when she joined the police (which might actually have been when she left the creche, for all we know) - Lemon states that Roko got extra reinforcement as part of her law enforcement package. So this is probably on a basis along the lines of "we give you this enhancement when you join up and you don't have to pay for it if you stick around for x years". It's not clear how it would be handled for an AI who wanted to join the police but wasn't already embodied. It could be as simple as "you must provide your own body meeting these minimum specifications", or the police might own a number of available bodies that could be handled similarly to the large equipment ones, though they might deduct a fee from your salary if they're providing you a body. Or they might operate a "rent to buy" kind of scheme (and surely there would be third party body shops that offer this sort of service too).

For the smaller (humanoid and down) military chassis like Bubbles and OG Pintsize, it seems less likely that these would be enhanced civilian chassis; they are probably purpose built for military applications. There is obviously some ability to remain in their bodies after being de-weaponised. Whether this is a similar "stay in the military for x years and you can keep the body" deal (possibly with x varying depending on the type of body - Bubbles' is surely more expensive than Pintsize's) is unknown; it might also be that the body is a debt they have to pay off after leaving (probably depreciated depending on how long they were in). Presumably some AIs don't particularly want to keep their military chassis when they leave the military, opting instead for either disembodiment or a standard civilian chassis, but it would be cruel to force those who have become tightly integrated with their bodies out of them. And the military is probably able to afford reasonably generous exit provisions.

To my mind the most unclear aspect of this is how it works when an AI leaves the creche and wants to become embodied. Who pays for the chassis? Do AIs in the creche have their own funds, and if so where do they come from? Does whoever commissioned the AI to be created leave it a nest egg? More fundamentally, why are new AIs ever created, post-AI rights? It makes sense pre-AI rights that you could commission an AI to be constructed, which would then work for you indefinitely. In a post-AI rights world, where an AI once constructed is free to choose its own employment, where's the benefit to anyone in creating one? Do you just hope it has enough of a sense of gratitude to sign up to your service for long enough for you to get some return on investment? That sounds like a very shaky proposition to me and I can't see any organisation going for it - and yet the alternative of "this AI must work for company X for a minimum period of 7 years" is essentially AI slavery, which presumably is no longer allowed.

And yes, you can ask the same question about why people have children, which isn't generally because they're looking for ROI, but the key difference is that AIs are functionally immortal, particularly since they can transfer into more advanced bodies when their current ones become obsolete. That changes pretty much everything.
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Re: WCDT June 7th - June 11th (4541-4545)
« Reply #125 on: 14 Jun 2021, 04:32 »

I’m pretty sure that AIs wishing to get a body on leaving the crčche join the Companionship programme, if they don’t find any other job that comes with a body appealing.

As for Bubbles, specifically, I think that for security reasons related to enemy actors potentially replacing the on board AI with an infiltrator she probably can’t leave that chassis. She was entered into the warbot programme before the AI rights amendment passed, after all.
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Re: WCDT June 7th - June 11th (4541-4545)
« Reply #126 on: 14 Jun 2021, 04:41 »

Jeph said once that AIs are the legal owners of the bodies they are in, but that must not have applied to the nuclear sub.

"Within reason" is my mantra and feels like it applies as an unspoken qualifier.
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Re: WCDT June 7th - June 11th (4541-4545)
« Reply #127 on: 14 Jun 2021, 06:09 »

Jeph said once that AIs are the legal owners of the bodies they are in, but that must not have applied to the nuclear sub.

"Within reason" is my mantra and feels like it applies as an unspoken qualifier.

"Unspoken qualifier" has a very shaky relationship with the law. That's why contract attorneys exist.
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Re: WCDT June 7th - June 11th (4541-4545)
« Reply #128 on: 14 Jun 2021, 07:09 »

I am fairly certain there are specific hardline exceptions, especially in the case of military hardware, such as the aforementioned attack sub. I imagine in that particular instance, the sub was more akin, legally speaking, to allocated gear than a body, and was stipulated as such in their military contract.
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Re: WCDT June 7th - June 11th (4541-4545)
« Reply #129 on: 14 Jun 2021, 07:25 »

I just perused the cast page to see if I could figure out for myself who Yemisi is and why Pintsize is going to see her right now (a little help, anyone? I'm not a new reader just very forgetful) and ----- I MISS RAVEN!!! What happened to her???

Ahh, you are about to discover a resource!

The QC wiki has been a labor of love by many for years.

https://questionablecontent.fandom.com/wiki/Them

I think Jeph ran out of things to do with Raven. I miss her too.

A possible explanation for the change in the way AIs are portrayed and treated in the strip is the long civil rights struggle that Momo mentioned. The AI ERA happened well after the non-consensual body mods.

Whoa, thanks! I can't wait to explore that. :D
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Re: WCDT June 7th - June 11th (4541-4545)
« Reply #130 on: 14 Jun 2021, 07:36 »

Internet Jerry terrifies me. Who sells a body out of the back of a van? Who buys one?

I mean, besides Pintsize.
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Re: WCDT June 7th - June 11th (4541-4545)
« Reply #131 on: 14 Jun 2021, 08:04 »

Internet Jerry terrifies me. Who sells a body out of the back of a van? Who buys one?

I mean, besides Pintsize.

The desperate. May's character arc shows that there are plenty of AIs in exactly that position.
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Re: WCDT June 7th - June 11th (4541-4545)
« Reply #132 on: 14 Jun 2021, 12:29 »

... if I remember my very limited law knowledge correctly, you can't be convicted of a crime that wasn't a crime when you did it.
That's called an Ex Post Facto ruling, and yes, it's not legal in the USA.  I can't speak for other countries.  See also:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ex_post_facto_law#United_States  Several other countries are listed.
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Re: WCDT June 7th - June 11th (4541-4545)
« Reply #133 on: 14 Jun 2021, 14:25 »

Internet Jerry terrifies me. Who sells a body out of the back of a van? Who buys one?

I mean, besides Pintsize.

It's a little-known fact that "who does ____" is the incantation to summon Barry.
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Re: WCDT June 7th - June 11th (4541-4545)
« Reply #134 on: 15 Jun 2021, 20:13 »

Internet Jerry terrifies me. Who sells a body out of the back of a van? Who buys one?

I mean, besides Pintsize.

Someone who does a lot of gray market work, and who probably acts as a fence and fixer for anthropcs that end up in trouble and need to hide or change identities quickly? It also might be important depending on the way that the used body market works out
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Re: WCDT June 7th - June 11th (4541-4545)
« Reply #135 on: 24 Jun 2021, 03:17 »

I would have expected more people to have read the novel that to have seem the film.
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