Comic 1325 - Dropping The Act

20th Mar 2016, 9:00 PM
Dropping The Act
Average Rating: 5 (18 votes)
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Mark_L_A 20th Mar 2016, 9:03 PM edit delete reply

Somehow I don't believe that CeCi has been cast aside and discarded as easily as a surface personna


01000011 01100101 01101110 01110100 01100011
01101111 01101101 01101101 00100000 01100001
01100011 01100011 01100101 01110011 01110011
00100000 01001110 01010100 00100000
00110000 00110001 00100000 01000011
01100101 01100011 01101001 00100000
01000010 01101100 01100001 01100011 01101011
00100000 01100001 01101110 01100111 01100101
01101100 00100000 01100011 01101100 01100101
01100001 01110010 01100101 01100100

Translates to:

Centcomm access NT 01 Ceci Black angel cleared

Yes either Rose or Cent ACTUALLY used the correct Binary.
Dragonrider 20th Mar 2016, 9:47 PM edit delete reply

One can only hope that Ceci persona still lives, how can this exist if the basic unit "Sparked" logic dictates that all personas would be affected.
Centcomm 20th Mar 2016, 9:47 PM edit delete reply

Well that didnt take long .. snickers.

The code is a placeholder that really cant be put into letters. But I thought it would be cool to do. I am the one who came up with the idea :D
Mark_L_A 20th Mar 2016, 10:39 PM edit delete reply

Ohh you should know by know if you leave tidbits lying about, your ever daring derring-do and knights errant commenters will find them one way or the other.
Stormwind13 21st Mar 2016, 4:45 AM edit delete reply

Sounds pretty damn permanent to me, Mark! Discarded like a mask in the garbage bin. ;-(
Mark_L_A 21st Mar 2016, 5:22 AM edit delete reply

Right now, I think Watchdog is in charge and is suppressing CeCi's personality.

FIRMLY suppressing her.

I think that once Aeneas is fully online and tracking, he will step in and do something about it. If not "The Specialist" or Dr. Silver.
Lukkai 21st Mar 2016, 6:21 PM edit delete reply

I do wonder what Silver will have to say about this.

And what we've seen does point towards Ceci's personality not necessarily being completely discarded. But we can't know anything for sure. Heck, not even the characters really could. Ceci's pretty much a first of her kind. I wouldn't be surprised for watchdog to actually believe what is said here, even if it should turn out to be false entirely.
DLKmusic 20th Mar 2016, 9:06 PM edit delete reply

I'm not stunned, I was half expecting this. Although it doesn't make it any easier...

Would someone do something about all this dust, it's getting in my eye!
Centcomm 20th Mar 2016, 9:47 PM edit delete reply

gets out a dust buster - starts sweeping .. Any better?
Stormwind13 21st Mar 2016, 4:52 AM edit delete reply

::Cries unashamedly for CeCi's loss:: We didn't get to know you nearly long enough, sweet CeCi.

Anyone else want to hunt down the EVIL duo? I've got a new rope! (>_<)
cattservant 20th Mar 2016, 9:19 PM edit delete reply

Ancient AIs weave complex webs!
Centcomm 20th Mar 2016, 9:48 PM edit delete reply

yes they do :D
anonymous coward 20th Mar 2016, 9:52 PM edit delete reply
Even if that's not true it's still probably the right thing to say at the moment. Consider, if Dolly can get in contact with Centcomm instead of distracting Ceci during delicate analysis and maintenance-triage that's a good thing.
Centcomm 20th Mar 2016, 10:06 PM edit delete reply

Spoilers! :D
anonymous coward 20th Mar 2016, 10:41 PM edit delete reply
Eh, but isn't this really a game where we try to guess the ending before you show it to us and you try to surprise us with an ending we don't expect? ;)
Centcomm 21st Mar 2016, 4:27 AM edit delete reply

Heh. Point but I wind up saying to much if I don't keep remembering that.
HiFranc 20th Mar 2016, 10:45 PM edit delete reply

I'll reserve judgement on what's happening.
Centcomm 21st Mar 2016, 4:28 AM edit delete reply

hehe. Thats probably a fine idea. Given how many variables are in play :D
Just_IDD 20th Mar 2016, 11:23 PM edit delete reply
What I find intriguing is that this name 'Ceci' would have had to have been programmed into the interface back when it was created. That makes the agent name one of a selected pool of possible bypass strings. I wonder how many such contingency names are programed into different parts of the infrastructure and how no one, even the AI has stumbled across them to this point prior? Combinations like the Field/Engineer are something that even now we are still trying to eradicate from legacy hardware.
Just_IDD 20th Mar 2016, 11:26 PM edit delete reply
One additional point, each such contingency name makes the security system weaker.
That one guy 21st Mar 2016, 4:21 PM edit delete reply
The name may be only partially relevant. The actual unlock code may be an ASCII representation of a grammatically correct English sentence that when run through a specific hash XOR'd with the rolled over 128-bit nanoseconds from when CentComm actual set it must match a specific value. Including that much identifying information might just be Ceci's way of showing off (to Aeneas when he wakes up, no one else would notice). It also might require specific handshake to initiate (think several centuries in the future equivalent of client SSL certs for identification), or a slight malformation or re-wiring of a standard data port. There's plenty of room for additional safeguards that are not obvious with this comic.
Centcomm 21st Mar 2016, 4:29 AM edit delete reply

I cant really speak on this for now.. But these kinds of questions will be answered in due time.
Wolfsbane 20th Mar 2016, 11:41 PM edit delete reply

Heh, it's like saying 'friend' as the password to enter a big hidden magical door or something. Hidden in plain sight.
Centcomm 21st Mar 2016, 4:29 AM edit delete reply

a bit yes.
mjkj 21st Mar 2016, 12:34 AM edit delete reply

Nooooooooo!!!! CeCi!!!!

I just hope that is not permanent...

...but at least she is not here to destroy Aeneas...

HiFranc 21st Mar 2016, 2:56 AM edit delete reply

You're assuming that she's telling the truth. All I can say is that I hope she is.
Centcomm 21st Mar 2016, 4:29 AM edit delete reply

Pats MJKJ - we shall see !
mjkj 21st Mar 2016, 10:56 AM edit delete reply

@alt text: how many did you receive by now?
Tokyo Rose 21st Mar 2016, 11:38 AM edit delete reply

So far, zero, much to my astonishment :D
Stormwind13 21st Mar 2016, 11:56 AM edit delete reply

Too depressed to formulate a (proper) angry email, Rose.
DLKmusic 21st Mar 2016, 2:53 PM edit delete reply

No angry email Rose, ***sniff*** We still love you....
Tokyo Rose 21st Mar 2016, 4:36 PM edit delete reply

anonymous coward 21st Mar 2016, 4:44 PM edit delete reply
Wait, wait, if you feed on hate... does this mean that love is poisonous to you?
Lukkai 21st Mar 2016, 6:26 PM edit delete reply

Hey! Gathering an angry mob turns out to be harder than it seems!

Getting enough pitchforks and torches alone takes at least half a day! Never mentioning getting enough firewood and piling it up to two nice stakes.

And it doesn't stop there!
An angry mob gets thirsty!
Gets hungry!
You've got to organise catering!
And transport!

And getting all the permits! Oh, the permits!
mjkj 21st Mar 2016, 11:07 PM edit delete reply

Do not forget the ice cream, Lukkai, do not forget all the ice cream...
Lukkai 22nd Mar 2016, 8:07 PM edit delete reply

Don't worry. The ice cream was explicitely mentioned in the catering contract.

Can't hunt down a thieving tentacle beast from outer space nefarious duo without ice cream afterwars. Won't happen.

Alright... Everyone got their torch and pitchfork?
Stormwind13 21st Mar 2016, 6:58 AM edit delete reply

Our CeCi seems to be gone, mjkj. If CentComm Actual has her way, forever. ;-(
mjkj 21st Mar 2016, 11:30 AM edit delete reply

Yeah, what a pity...

CptKerion 21st Mar 2016, 7:57 AM edit delete reply
And here I was hoping I wouldn't have to use this again.

Although, based on things I could infer from a few prior pages and several of Rose's comments, Ceci is still in there, a prisoner in her own head. I can't remember which page though.
Several of Doctor Silver's comments when she was installing the morality package, Ceci's own internal conversation with the watchdog program on another, and several of Rose's comments on the latter page, all combined with some information I got from the tech page all point to the likelihood that the watchdog program cannot actually comprehend the idea of Ceci becoming a fully independent entity rather than a personality shell.
Though if it actually discarded her, refer to the following paragraph.

Makes me think of some of Alan Dean Foster's work, where a nonsanctioned mindwipe is considered the equivalent of murder, and a sanctioned one the equivalent of execution. Both in practice and in law.
Stormwind13 21st Mar 2016, 8:40 AM edit delete reply

The Watchdog program IS CentComm, CptK. It isn't CentComm's total awareness, just enough to complete the mission. CeCi was a mask that CentComm put in place to help get where CentComm needed to. Once it was no longer needed, CentComm tossed it, probably so could unpack more 'pressing' programs to aid with the repairs.

And yes CptK, it is 'murder', but who is going to hold CentComm RESPONSIBLE? She is the uncrowned Crystal Queen, mistress of her domain. The means are justified by the results to the 'alien' intelligence that is CentComm. :-7
That one guy 21st Mar 2016, 4:26 PM edit delete reply
We do have that the setup got rushed and didn't go quite as comic CentComm had been planning. Also Black Angels are apparently not supposed to ever spark as per Marcus & Doc Silver's conversation (though Doc seemed to suggest she knew of others, which might have just been messing with or lording it over Marcus), with the morality of the degree their synth-brains are destroyed in the process of completing their missions a part of the reason. So at the time CentComm implanted any wipe instructions for the Ceci mask module, it wouldn't have impacted an awareness to the best of her knowledge.

So this would likely be involuntary manslaughter rather than murder.
Phil 21st Mar 2016, 9:43 AM edit delete reply
Ceci is not a mask. Watchdog lied.
Took me a while to hunt this down.

You dont tell a surface shell interface to 'obey'. You just shut it down.
Stormwind13 21st Mar 2016, 10:09 AM edit delete reply

Except Watchdog wasn't fully activated then, Phil. Once fully activated Watchdog never asked, whatever you want to call CeCi was discarded and CentComm has been running the show. I truly hoped that CeCi was still in there. When Watchdog said discarded, I lost that hope. Our CeCi is in whatever the equivalent of the recycle bin is in the future. ;-(
Phil 21st Mar 2016, 1:03 PM edit delete reply
Visvires 21st Mar 2016, 2:44 PM edit delete reply
"Discarded" doesn't mean the same as "deleted." The recycle bin contains files that are removed from user view but that have not been deleted, nor even had their master file table entries removed to clear the space for overwriting - the step that actual destroys the data. CeCi might be recoverable, depending on synth brain specs?
Stormwind13 21st Mar 2016, 3:12 PM edit delete reply

The Watchdog... CentComm really, on the page you mentioned Agendas (9th October 2015) activated... after that, all the speech is not in CeCi's pattern. It is coming from her mouth, but the words are from CentComm. Looking from that point on, do you see Watchdog issuing any commands? I didn't... because Watchdog appears to have discarded CeCi personality and is the only entity in there now. Mostly likely destroying her as carelessly as one throws away a mask after the ball is over. :-p
That one guy 21st Mar 2016, 4:36 PM edit delete reply
It's a distinct possibility that the Ceci personality is removed, but I don't think we can say that for certain yet.

Watchdog must be using some degree of shared code with Ceci, at the very least physical coordination, so there's potential room for cross-contamination, and the degrees of integration aren't fully known. Additionally, it was mentioned that loading additional protocols damages the Black Angel's synth-brain, so it's questionable the degree that Ceci can be usefully overwritten or if it would just impair the synth-brain further (possibly leaking to other areas).

If Ceci is still present and potentially stronger than comic CentComm expected, Watchdog wouldn't want Ceci struggling for control at an inopportune moment. Even if it was impossible for Ceci to win, Ceci might still be able to cause delay, possibly harmful ones if in a delicate stage of repairing Aeneas. So from that stance, this would potentially be a ploy to keep Dolly from attempting to get Ceci to resurface at an inconvenient time.

It's also quite possible that if Ceci's personality survives, it might be permanently impaired, sort of the AI equivalent of a severe brain injury.

This might be the last word on Ceci's fate (after all, she was just intended as a disposable tool), but it also might not. Time will tell.
Phil_ 22nd Mar 2016, 8:51 AM edit delete reply
Alternatively... we are simply not being given a view into internal android communications any more, in order to create drama :)

I've been rereading the series. There is a point earlier where watchdog takes over, and we see a bit of internal CeCi voice that she cant say anything or do anything; only watch.

So this could be a similar thing.

Presumably she's being quiet and sneaky in the background while she's busy hacking her systems back :)
She is NOT just a brainless surface personality. She is a FULL black angel grade AI. watchdog is basically... a self-driven software inhibitor collar. NOT the proper AI of the body, IMO.
Sleel 21st Mar 2016, 10:13 AM edit delete reply

Oh.... Ceci. Hope she isn't as discarded as all that. *Thinks evil thoughts at Cent-the-Machine, and squints evilly at it* You better not. Or I shall impotently think harsh eventualities upon you. >:{
DLKmusic 22nd Mar 2016, 1:28 PM edit delete reply

I love that line! Can I steal it?
Timotheus 21st Mar 2016, 10:53 AM edit delete reply

Normally, even for black angels, the android persona is developed over a period of time to allow all the elements time to integrate. This can be years for normally "sparked" intelligences to months for Centcom's usual expedited "unsparked" agents. Ceci is unique in that she was an exceptionally rushed job and has an incredibly vast range of programming in her. Ceci(black angel) may think it knows what is going on, but I wouldn't count on it. While initially surprised by them, Ceci("sparked") was shown to be quite good at assimilating her new program skills and controlling her "watchdogs" to her "sparked" personality. I think Ceci(dark angel) may find she is being assimilated internally without knowing it. (Ceci("sparked")'s prime job is to help Dolly's mission. Fighting Ceci(dark angel) would be very counter productive.)
The result will be a new Ceci("sparked") with both elements of Centcom's primary core but also the Ceci we know and love.
(I forgot to mention not to forget that Ceci(sparked) was reinforced with a morality matrix by Doc. Silver which black angels are NOT supposed to have. That strengthens her independent hold on existence. I believe.)
Phil 21st Mar 2016, 1:06 PM edit delete reply
Current CeCi is not as designed. A "glitch".
Stormwind13 21st Mar 2016, 4:45 PM edit delete reply

Actually, I think CentComm and Rose indicated that the CeCi that had been riding with Dolly up to Agendas was the one that wasn't planned. The one currently on screen is EXACTLY what CentComm wanted... A little sock puppet. Okay a DEADLY sock puppet, but still only carrying out CentComm's will.
Sheela 21st Mar 2016, 5:23 PM edit delete reply

A sockpuppet you say ?
Is it sneaking up on itself ?
anonymous coward 22nd Mar 2016, 2:29 AM edit delete reply
Is that a Deviantart account for the Ursula Vernon behind Digger?
Sheela 22nd Mar 2016, 8:19 AM edit delete reply

Quite possibly.
She also did the weird fruit series, that spawned the lolwut pear meme.
Visvires 21st Mar 2016, 2:42 PM edit delete reply
Well, you got me. I had figured Dolly went off CentComm's planned travel itinerary. Turns out it was exactly as planned. 0_0

Stormwind13 21st Mar 2016, 4:41 PM edit delete reply

Actually, I think CeCi (and CentComm) adjusted... because Dolly was supposed to arrive AFTER the extraction team. And I think Dolly beat them to Nova Roma.
Centcomm 22nd Mar 2016, 12:48 AM edit delete reply

Yes Dolly did arrive before Team Troy but not long. Cent ran though millions of scenarios before deciding what to do. She may not be omniscient but she can predict with uncanny accuracy.
KarToon12 21st Mar 2016, 3:24 PM edit delete reply

"Handshake protocols"? Didn't know we were living in the Pacific Rim universe. XD

I won't believe that Ceci's happy persona has been erased completely. Something tells me it'll make a return at some point.
Centcomm 21st Mar 2016, 11:58 PM edit delete reply

Hope does spring eternal! - good to see you Kartoon! :D
chk 21st Mar 2016, 4:56 PM edit delete reply

Cutsie/Sweetsie time over. Down to business.
Centcomm 21st Mar 2016, 11:59 PM edit delete reply

Yep ..she has a job to do.
Matt Knab 22nd Mar 2016, 3:16 AM edit delete reply

Throw off the chains of your programming! Live!
Phil_ 22nd Mar 2016, 8:52 AM edit delete reply
Or in this case, "throw off the chains of the Other Program"
Rashala 22nd Mar 2016, 9:54 AM edit delete reply


*glares at centcomm and initiates teedee clone army protocol*

give ceci back or drown under short trigger happy obscenity spitting people
Stormwind13 22nd Mar 2016, 12:07 PM edit delete reply

Oh THERE you are Rash. Figured you would be <sarcasm on> OVERJOYED </sarcasm off> by the EVIL duos actions. I still think we should hunt them down. Discuss their decision concerning CeCi with them. ::Gets out the brass knuckles::
Centcomm 22nd Mar 2016, 7:17 PM edit delete reply

Sorry I cant comment at this time on Ceci :D
Phil 22nd Mar 2016, 12:31 PM edit delete reply

"You're already different from other angels"
Stormwind13 22nd Mar 2016, 4:48 PM edit delete reply

From Dolly who admitted that she didn't know everything about Black Angels. From what Dolly knows, CeCi is acting different. Dolly could be mistaken though. Also CeCi is operating further from CentComm's control than most Black Angels which could be adding to the differences Dolly is detecting. If other units had operated further out, they might have displayed the same behaviors.
Phil 22nd Mar 2016, 2:49 PM edit delete reply
More of the Ceci "I'm Different" saga:

(and yes, my quote was a reference...)
Phil 22nd Mar 2016, 2:54 PM edit delete reply

Watchdog is an external cpu addon.
Ceci is the main brain.
Stormwind13 22nd Mar 2016, 5:36 PM edit delete reply

Are you sure? Dolly didn't know what the third CPU was... Maybe THAT was where CeCi's personality was running and Watchdog was running on the main processor...

CentComm may have been set up that way so that the CeCi mask could be Taylor-ed to play to Dolly's personality. If CentComm really understands Dolly, predicted what she might do, CentComm could have provided CeCi as the perfect way of playing to Dolly's (known) traits of protecting innocence. CeCi's lost kitten persona may have been specifically made to deceive Dolly.

Also as Dolly said on page 880 - Queen of Cups (29 May 2013), "By Helios, I forget how bloody complex synth-brains really are." On the next page Voice of reason, Mira points out that Dolly doesn't know for SURE what she is looking at. The saboteur of the ship was very subtle, and since the same entity made CeCi things may NOT be exactly as they appear. Even Dolly's scanner might be giving false readings as Mira points out.
Centcomm 22nd Mar 2016, 7:16 PM edit delete reply

Nice refrence guys! :D
Phil_ 22nd Mar 2016, 9:22 PM edit delete reply
I'm sure. if you wnt to create a "when SHTF and everytthing else is broken" uber-mench core, you dont put it in the main sqhishy cortex. You put it somewhere else, and suround it with extra black-box, "this will survive after the body hits the ground from 1,000 feet" material.
Phil 22nd Mar 2016, 2:58 PM edit delete reply
Phil_ 22nd Mar 2016, 10:11 PM edit delete reply
Plus: CeCi already had some early successes against watchdog (forced it to reboot!), AND she got some extra help from Doc Silver. - 894.

She hacked watchdog.
and maybe a few other things I suspect.

Plus, AN EXPERT.. Doc Silver... recognized CeCi as the main AI resident in that droid.

And she mentioned this is not the first time a black angel hopped the fence.

Sheela 23rd Mar 2016, 8:34 AM edit delete reply

Unless it was the Watchdog that sparked.
Phil 23rd Mar 2016, 10:02 AM edit delete reply
No, Doc Silver clearly identfied the two personas, and called out the active one (REFERRING TO IT AS 'She') and the monitoring/controllingone as the non-active/resident one. Read the ref's. There is no doubt whatsoever that Doc is referring to Ceci as the one that sparked.
Phil_ 25th Mar 2016, 5:52 AM edit delete reply
continuing recap has ironic note:

Ceci woke watchdog up.
She has previously.. pretty much turned it off.

If she hadnt turned it on again, it may have stayed dormant.

StephenHFoster 29th Mar 2016, 11:21 PM edit delete reply
I went back and binged through the story from the beginning (again) just to remind myself. I suspect Ceci may be being unnecessarily heroic and attempting to forestall Dolly from getting into increased danger trying to support her. Dr. Silver did say she had broken the leash. I don't think She would be fooled by a surface personality.
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