Comic 1653 - Still Looking

7th Apr 2020, 9:00 PM
Still Looking
Average Rating: 5 (15 votes)

Author Notes:

Centcomm 8th Apr 2020, 5:54 AM edit delete
You have to read deep blues voice in Morgan freeman's trust me on this just trust
Centcomm 8th Apr 2020, 3:43 PM edit delete
also if anyone wants to help me with groceries i wouldn't object..
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megados 7th Apr 2020, 9:14 PM edit delete reply

Well CentComm and Tokyo Rose can begin to see they have something in common.

I think Aeneas has the floor now. Will he let CentComm off the hook? I ask that rhetorically, because he's glad that Rose managed to save him, and he saw her give Cent a dressing down, and might be satisfied with that. He may just want to put it behind.

I think the ball's in his court.

*edit: @Centcomm, re: A/N Yes that works for me! :D
Ryu Santos 7th Apr 2020, 9:42 PM edit delete reply

Me thinks a couple of someones have been......BUSTED!
me 8th Apr 2020, 12:44 AM edit delete reply
Can't see why they would be accused of keeping secrets and such. Those two? NEVER. And they'd never stoop so low as to be plotting either.
Morituri 7th Apr 2020, 11:16 PM edit delete reply
I don't understand the point of this question. It's not as though they've been hiding the fact that they hide things.

Isn't this where both of them turn, in unison, with the same puzzled look on their faces, and say,

"Well OBVIOUSLY, Sherlock! What was your first clue?"
HiFranc 7th Apr 2020, 11:32 PM edit delete reply

I think the point is to show them that the reason that they don’t get on is that they’re too similar. Maybe even to make them realise that they are just as bad as each other and, maybe, force them to reevaluate their enmity.
ArgentTree 7th Apr 2020, 11:21 PM edit delete reply
A question that should more be phrased like... "THE PEOPLE'S ELBOW!!!! FROM THE TOP ROPE!!!!"

Ain't nobody walking away from this one... ;-)

Nice bit of writing, ladies.
Romfire 7th Apr 2020, 11:37 PM edit delete reply
I think Rose is going to think for a very short moment and say
"Secrecy, Clandestine....Ya that sounds just like me."
Cent will start with excuses.

On a side note, Tokyo is Japan but Rose's dress looks like a Cheongsam dress. Modern Qipao Chinese like. Are borders and styles a bit different in the future?
robnot 8th Apr 2020, 8:03 AM edit delete reply
Cheongsam dress.. during the 'Han Dynasty' Japan was trading with all it's neighbors,, and Cheongsam became popular dress in Japan.. it was the original basis for the "School uniform".. and was very popular with the socialite's ..
useless info.. Cheongsam an Qipao, only difference is Qipao is in Mandarin ,. an Cheongsam is the loosely translated version..
Romfire 9th Apr 2020, 7:32 AM edit delete reply
HiFranc 7th Apr 2020, 11:38 PM edit delete reply

I doubt that either would say that “addicted” was the right word. They would probably use words like “justifiably cautious” or “bad experiences at a formative time”, etc.

I think that there’s one big difference between them - Centcomm was created to take the emotion out of decisions and to be a general. That said, she was also a slave.

Rose was working on AI before being discovered. She had rights, a position, and was probably there to make sure people didn’t forget the emotional side. I suspect that she was a diplomat, spy, etc.

Thinking about what I’ve seen of the fiction of both countries, I think that I can see why their countries responded that way. In Western fiction, the ones which are in the public’s imagination are ones where AI has run amok - Terminator, The Matrix, War Games, etc. The ones that are more nuanced are things that only science fiction fans enjoy - Star Trek TNG: The Measure of a Man, ST: Voyager’s doctor, Bicentennial Man, etc.

Whereas, from what I’ve seen of Japanese fiction, AI is more likely to be treated as just another character with feelings and desires of his/her/its own.

Maybe I don’t know enough of the fiction of both countries. However, I think things would have been different if Centcomm had been given rights from the start.
Morituri 9th Apr 2020, 9:19 AM edit delete reply
No... Rose was the output of a genetic engineering project. Whatever else happened, she was never intended by her creators to be free.

Remember she said she was made as an albino because somebody thought it would be better for security if she couldn't pass as a normal person. And when Aeneas asked who that might have been, it was already Not Talking About This Shit O'clock.

Now, assuming her freaky mega-cyberpath talent is not a coincidence and was the intended result of that program? Rose is unique. There's not some creche somewhere pumping out younger mega-cyberpaths, and we haven't seen any indication that she even has or had peers her own age.

So the research that went into that project must have been lost in a tragic accident. And my first guess would be that it would be a tragic accident that Rose is directly responsible for and not sorry about at all.

There's a problem with developing biological weapons, from viruses up to mega-cyberpaths.... sometimes it's the weapon that wins the war and not the ones who mistakenly thought they'd be the wielders.
Sheela 11th Apr 2020, 7:40 PM edit delete reply

Ah yes, the accident where they lost their research data.
The TRAGIC Accident, where even the backups got deleted.

… Rose was not even a little bit involved in that .. she will tell you. 😁
mjkj 8th Apr 2020, 1:44 AM edit delete reply

Surprise hug =P

Awwww... Aeneas really is touched by Rose

*lol* good question, Deep Blue =)

@alt text: Well, is it really a virtual hug? is it not more like a physical hug in a virtual reality? =P
Centcomm 8th Apr 2020, 5:55 AM edit delete reply

Little of A, little of B....I hate voice to text because it never get things right
Gilrandir 8th Apr 2020, 7:35 AM edit delete reply
So, seeing Tokyo Rose's reaction to the hug inspired a strange thought.

Does Mr. Black, in his copious and diverse trade inventory, have a "Tokyo Rose" doll? ^_^

Which, of course, leads to the even stranger thought: Does @Mr.Black? ^_^
Oldarmourer 9th Apr 2020, 11:13 AM edit delete reply
Rose is the only real human among them...maybe she goes from memory and can 'feel' things a little differently ?
Gilrandir 10th Apr 2020, 7:44 AM edit delete reply
Careful, @OldArmourer. Remember the tag line to be found (among other places) on the comic's Profile page: "Humanity's a lot more than what you're made out of..."

I think Tokyo Rose's reaction is attributable to any of several contributing factors. But, in the same way that Malati's sacrifice should be freaking out whoever designed the Cassians, I think that Tokyo Rose might be realizing something -- or more importantly the potential implications of something -- that CentComm earlier alluded to, but glossed over. Arguably each and every A.I.S. was built to care for some things or persons, so the capacity of caring should come as no surprise. Aeneas, though, is demonstrating the capacity to care for things outside his designed purpose. Tokyo Rose is not a citizen of Nova Roma. It is a subtle point, because some of the A.I.S. have very broad 'constituencies', but I don't recall us seeing any of them really spontaneously extending the scope of their concerns and emotional investment beyond their original design envelope before. Go Aeneas!
Oldarmourer 10th Apr 2020, 11:06 AM edit delete reply
I was thinking more along the lines of...
"Rose used to be human so she knows what being groped actually feels like while the others don't" ;)
but all that other stuff probably applies too
megados 10th Apr 2020, 2:03 PM edit delete reply

@Gilrandir, indeed, Go Aeneas! It may be that his caring for things outside the scope of his specifications comes from his emotional capacity being beyond that of the others. Consider, that while he was in his damaged state, his logical computational being was all but non existent, and it seemed that his entire being rested almost solely on emotion, and imagination. His decision to allow Acantha access, while denying anyone else, for instance, was almost surely an emotional one, rather than a logical one. The things he said and did, spoke more to emotional and artistic qualities. Had he not possessed those emotional qualities, he might not have survived.

In Malati's case, I'm not so sure that the designer would have cause for concern. They might even be proud. Her strength of character allowed her to do what she did. The inhibitor engineer, however, might want to look back at his work; it seems to be somewhat lacking.
Gilrandir 10th Apr 2020, 3:16 PM edit delete reply
I presume, since the Inhibitor seems an integral part of Cassian design, that the two designers are one and the same.
megados 10th Apr 2020, 6:36 PM edit delete reply

That's probably right. I don't know how the engineering is done in the DC universe. Calliope is capable of an entire system design. Maybe a lot of it is done by one person. I only have today's engineering environment to go by, where there are a number of people with somewhat overlapping responsibilities for the various aspects.
Gilrandir 11th Apr 2020, 8:16 AM edit delete reply
Even in today's environment, you may have many designers, but you typically (as you know) have a "Systems Architecht" with overall design responsibility. There (probably) had to be someone, or a small group of someones, who said to themselves before signing off on the final design, "Okay. We'll use an android brain, giving them flexibility and initiative when carrying out their responsibilities. It will allow them to adapt to unforeseen circumstances and develop creative solutions. And then, to prevent them running amok or going rogue, we'll incorporate an integral inhibitor with this much strength and these directives. That will ensure they never turn on the seated Imperator, defy his directives, or aid an insurrection."

May want to rethink that. And, of course, you now have hundreds of models already deployed in critically sensitive positions throughout the empire because you were 'absolutely sure' they would remain loyal above all else. A feeling, I would imagine, not unlike that experienced by the chief designer of the Boeing 737 MAX. Of course, I am only guessing.
Gilrandir 11th Apr 2020, 8:20 AM edit delete reply
Also, in fairness to the Cassians, I suspect their chief designer never envisioned the kinds of strain it can be argued Malati was exposed to. Much like the chief architect of the space shuttle telling the US congress after Challenger. "We told you not to launch when the temperature was outside the design range. You ignored us and the design failed. It wasn't because it was flawed, it was because you abused it."
megados 11th Apr 2020, 9:59 AM edit delete reply

You have it almost right. You would have a lead, (usually a coordinator or lead engineer) but you might be surprised to learn, that although they would be the one ultimately responsible, they are less knowledgeable about the overall project than you might expect. Example, in this case, they would be familiar with the inhibitor device I/O, but not so familiar with the intracacies of the inhibitor itself. They would know the details of the particular MACCS used but much less about the workings of the synth brain. The engineers specific to each sub unit would have, and would provide that information, but the lead person often doesn't understand each unit as well. They often don't have a thorough understanding of the system as a whole, since people specializing in the various sub units did most of the design work. The team leader is more versed in systems integration. This is the sort of thing that sometimes results in 737 MAXs.

I do agree, that unintended consequences usually arise from operation of devices outside design specifications. A team gets a set of specs, creates something that meets or exceeds those specs, only to find out that it gets used wildly off-label and the team, sadly, often gets blamed for the inevitable failure. One cannot blame the designer(s) or the Cassians for their abuse at the hand of Decimus.
Gilrandir 11th Apr 2020, 2:57 PM edit delete reply
Sure you can blame them. Engineers get blamed for unforeseen circumstances all the time! "Why didn't you foresee that?" ^_^

Just because the lead designer isn't the most knowledgeable person about a specific detail does not keep them from being the person responsible when things go wrong. The buck stops somewhere. And the good ones feel that responsibility, even though all humans are fallible. I once read a book I really liked and recommend to anyone interested called "To Engineer is Human". But imagine how the Chief architect of the Verazzano Narrows bridge felt when he saw that standing wave, even if he wasn't the person who did the actual analysis that overlooked the resonant frequency range.
megados 11th Apr 2020, 4:13 PM edit delete reply

Basically, yes, that was what I was saying. Often people who are blameless, due to inappropriate application, are made into scapegoats when things do go wrong. A good leader does feel the mantle of responsibility, and is the one held responsible, although much of the time it can be shown that specs were given that didn't correlate with actual requirements. It's a trait of good leaders overall to accept responsibility, and stand up for their team.

In Malati's case, and by extension, the Cassians, I think it was just such a case. I would think that the main designer, or lead, rather than being 'freaked out' would be understandably pissed off by the accausation. They would look into it, and find that the inhibitor was ultimately unable to overcome the level of will that resulted in an inordinate output from the synth brain. A programming conflict arose caused by the abuse.

If it were my assessment to make, and strictly in layman's machine terms (Malati was a PERSON, so this is kind of harsh when I think about it) I would say:

● ● Failure caused by conflict between programming and directive.

● IFF detection/assessment operating normally.
● directive accepted; processing
● error flagged: directive incompatible with IFF detection/assessment.
● no action initiated, inhibitor engaging.
● error: inhibitor action incompatible with IFF detection/assessment inaction result.
● attempt to abort; disable inhibitor.
● inhibitor disabled, MACCS function terminated.
● Failure mode: all activity terminated.

Unfortunately, though, had Decimus lasted long enough, he would probably have had the person executed for no fault of his own. (In hindsight, I guess he could have been freaked out by that)

Sure, you can blame anyone you want, but it can be difficult making it stick. There are times, though, when unfair blame does harm otherwise innocent people, as we both well know.
Sheela 11th Apr 2020, 7:52 PM edit delete reply

Lets not forget that computer assisted design is already a thing today, and will become much more capable over time.
As for the AI's, I'm sure they know what a hug feels like, they have thousands of users to interface with, they probably also know what "baby puke running down the chest" feels like.

And if Mr Black has a Tokyo Rose doll, then I'm sure that Tokyo Rose manufactured it in the first place, just to make sure that she ended up making a profit from it, rather than someone else. It probably also have a "dongle attachment", just to freak him out. 🤣
Gilrandir 12th Apr 2020, 12:51 PM edit delete reply
What "programming" are you saying conflicts with Malati's directive ("Execute Maxus"), @Megados?

Also, I don't think there was any IFF malfunction. Maximus was correctly identified and was guarded, but not hostile to Malati, never having attacked her.
megados 12th Apr 2020, 2:31 PM edit delete reply

Ah crud, it appears I was unclear again. :(

The first line is actually the overview line. I should have set it apart. I have done so now. Thanks for pointing it out. The programming that the conflict was with, is actually the IFF subroutine. Yes, it was working properly, as the list says, and you have reiterated. The conflict, of course, was that Malati was instructed to attack Maxus who was identified as 'friend'. (Weren't Malati, and Hrist instructed to eliminate Maxus? Albinus Aventus was already dressed up to take his place.)

So yes, you interpreted it right, even though my expression was unclear.
Gilrandir 13th Apr 2020, 5:38 AM edit delete reply
First, the implication is that Cassians can and have been ordered to eliminate 'friends' before, so this situation wasn't new or unique ... just different in degree.

Second, I understand the IFF part. That was not unclear. What is unclear to me is what you think is the 'programming' part. Remember, these are android brains. Hypothetically Nox, Malati, and Hrist are just as 'programmed' with exactly the same 'directives' as Ada or Minx or Dolly, just possessed of differing personalities and attitudes based on the summation of their life experiences and personal aptitudes. The only hard-coded behavioral mandates (presumably) reside in the inhibitor, not the android brain.
megados 13th Apr 2020, 6:01 AM edit delete reply

They have been ordered to eliminate people they were familiar with, but friends? I'm not so sure. The difference in degree would be fairly great, since Maxus was a friend, and his elimination also goes against their purpose of working for the good of Nova Roma. Hmm, I should have included that.

The way I interpret it, much of the synth brain function has to be in programming. We know that in the NT androids at least there's a training period, but there has to be base programming even when it resides in the synth brain of the model zero body. We're told in the tech page that the source of the base program is the CentComm generated 'seed'. The whole maturation process is only a few years instead of the humans' longer maturation rate. The synth brain is an artificial device, and the persona would need to be 'software' to be able to be transferred to a Q drive and/or to another synth brain, and even learned behaviors would be the result of self modifying programs, or additional subroutines. We don't know the origins of the New Roman androids, but it has been hinted at that they come from various sources. If Nox, Malati, and Hrist are in fact possessed of the same directives as Ada or Minx or Dolly, that just means that some of their base programming stems from a common source. An android synth brain is an AI, and the AI software, at least in the NT androids is traceable back to the CentComm seeds. It's generated. IFF subroutines would likely be present then, and other behaviors are learned throughout their lifetimes. It is noted also, that some of the seeds are unsuccessful, and are deleted. Malati's conflict would be the same as a human person being told to kill their friend whom they had known all their lives, and knowing that doing so would be counter to their conscience.
Sheela 14th Apr 2020, 10:44 AM edit delete reply

As I understand it, the main android brain and personality, is grown from a seed in a vastly more complex system which we may label a personality. It is dynamic, flexible and capable of logic leaps, aka "intuition" - But not fully controllable by the people who build it - Which is the reason for the inhibitors in New Rome to begin with.

Meanwhile the inhibitor is a "small" positronic device, capable of identifying objects and situations (possibly by tapping into the synth brain) that matches whatever goals have been assigned - Be it hardware coded, or order driven - This is a somewhat reactionary system, that lacks flexibility or any form of intuition. It follows it's programming very strictly.

Once Decimus designated the General as a target, any form of Friend or Foe identifier, went out the window as well, as seen from the inhibitor's "eyes". Remember that the Cassians are beholden to the Livius family FIRST, not second. Anything Decimus orders, the inhibitor will be allright with.

Malati (the person), however, assigned a different value to this mission than the inhibitor did, and she defied it - Something that should not be possible, since it's built right into her brainstem.

Ultimately the IFF subroutine is irrelevant.
Because Malati trumped the Inhibitor,
Through sheer force of will!

Which makes her a total badass. 😁
megados 14th Apr 2020, 1:13 PM edit delete reply

That's a less clinical way of putting it, yes. I think IFF does matter though. While, as you say, the inhibitor is somewhat inflexible, Malati's IFF within her persona was what disagreed with the inhibitor, and caused it to take action. The IFF, in this case, is actually Malati's decision making about who she deems a friend. The inhibitor says "foe" because of orders, Malati says "friend", making a conflict.

Also: Totally agree on the badassery! :D
Thracecius 8th Apr 2020, 9:02 AM edit delete reply

It's about time someone interrupted the blame train game. :P
Oldarmourer 8th Apr 2020, 9:09 AM edit delete reply
'can't tell you, it's a secret"
Oldarmourer 8th Apr 2020, 9:10 AM edit delete reply
Is it alright if we use Samuel L Jackson's voice instead of Morgan Freeman's ?
Oldarmourer 8th Apr 2020, 9:12 AM edit delete reply
I can close my eyes and hear Deep Blue saying...
"I'm getting tired of these Mother@#$%! secrets in this Mother@#$%! clandestine manoeuver"
Centcomm 8th Apr 2020, 3:45 PM edit delete reply

I wont tell if you dont :D
Oldarmourer 9th Apr 2020, 5:02 PM edit delete reply
now see what you made me do.....

stormbringer77 8th Apr 2020, 6:29 PM edit delete reply

Samuel L. Jackson, Morgan Freeman? I'm hearing James Earl Jones like/as Darth Vader.
DLKmusic 10th Apr 2020, 3:51 PM edit delete reply

Call me a traditionalist, but I actually heard Big Blue's voice as more of a Charlton Heston type.

"Get your hands off me, you damned dirty AI!"
knuut 8th Apr 2020, 4:01 PM edit delete reply
I have been hearing the James Earl Jones of the first Conan movie.
Sheela 8th Apr 2020, 4:06 PM edit delete reply

Sometimes, I switch voices around for fun!
Alternatively, I just assign Sean Connery to everyone !!
Except for Deep Blue, he gets to sound like Arnold Schwarzenegger !
It works great on this page. 😂
Oldarmourer 9th Apr 2020, 11:12 AM edit delete reply
If only we hadn't already assigned Marvin's voice to SKEETER.....
Oldarmourer 9th Apr 2020, 5:46 AM edit delete reply
As long as it's not PeeWee Herman...then again.....
MirrorField 10th Apr 2020, 3:15 AM edit delete reply
Does it age me too much, if I'd say "Lorne Greene" (aka. "The Voice of Doom")?
Oldarmourer 10th Apr 2020, 11:12 AM edit delete reply

Good choice !!

That nickname came from his WW2 reporting...
others might know him as Ben Cartwright from 'Bonanza' or Adama from the original 'Battlestar Galactica'

or from this... Ringo
I almost used that tune for a mangled musical filler, maybe later, be very afraid
KarToon12 8th Apr 2020, 1:02 PM edit delete reply

Always nice to see Rose genuinely smiling.
Oldarmourer 8th Apr 2020, 3:26 PM edit delete reply
From the look in her eyes in the first panel and the little tilt to her lips in the second one...
It looks like Aeneas touched more than her heartstrings ;)
stormbringer77 8th Apr 2020, 6:39 PM edit delete reply

Hey! Let's throw in Pee Wee Herman!!!!! :-)
Oldarmourer 9th Apr 2020, 5:47 AM edit delete reply
posted before I read this one....guess great minds do think alike...
or is that "fools seldom differ" as Granny would say ;)
Oldarmourer 9th Apr 2020, 10:05 AM edit delete reply
Looks like an 18 for your logo ? tailflash seems familiar somehow too...
robnot 10th Apr 2020, 6:45 AM edit delete reply
probably because thats the "Vikings" (129)..
but since he is a 'zoomie' prolly he is from 390...
Oldarmourer 10th Apr 2020, 11:16 AM edit delete reply reminded me more of this one... ;)
the 'Geddy Lee' tail art purportedly from 410 Sqn...RCAF

Sheela 8th Apr 2020, 4:04 PM edit delete reply

Aw, in panel 3 Aeneas is like a little puppy! 😊

*Aeneas uses puppy dog eyes on Tokyo Rose*
*it is super effective*
Rashala 8th Apr 2020, 11:28 PM edit delete reply

Arenas is a hugger......who knew. Also I think rose and centy would both go insane if either one of them didn't give each other grief and such to keep thier lives interesting
Thracecius 9th Apr 2020, 11:30 PM edit delete reply

Funds on the way, Centcomm.
Visvires 12th Apr 2020, 7:36 AM edit delete reply
Hey, I was part of the group that steadfastly refused to listen to reason, and forced you to act alone. You could not have acted overtly, so you acted covertly.

Let me now ask if you are addicted to doing so, mere moments after having my error conclusively shown.
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