Comic 1656 - Verdict

5th May 2020, 9:00 PM
Average Rating: 5 (19 votes)
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megados 5th May 2020, 9:22 PM edit delete reply

Ariel you are priceless.

That's a fair assessment and judgement. Both getting a sort of fitting probation is fair, but CentComm's being directed to make reparations is fair only to a point. Not all the losses were her fault, so I hope the tallying of the damages reflects that.

I was half expecting a sort of even chastisement over their mutual distrust and lack of cooperation. I'm glad I was wrong. This is better.
Sheela 8th May 2020, 12:36 AM edit delete reply

Ariel go straight for the obvious hurtful actions against the people. Though, the giant ass explosion of the city gate is also severe damage, it won't kill people in the same manner, as damaging the hospital system.

Ultimately, the people of the rebellion will have to shoulder some of this responsibility as well, but I think punishing them will be Maxus' burden.
Visvires 8th May 2020, 8:24 PM edit delete reply
"And, for the crime of overthrowing a murdering tyrant, a patricide, a matricide - a sororicide, but for New Troy's intervention - by such violence as would have been inadequate had you not obtained further help, I hereby sentence you to each wear one these shiny golden emblems on your chest each year on the anniversary of his death and, so adorned, to consume a single alcoholic beverage at an establishment of your choosing, at state expense, while all present sing a ballad of how Kali got the kill. Said alcoholic beverage shall be on fire when it is served."

These guys are just going to let themselves off on their lack of diligence in investigating Rose's reports? There is a point at which complacency becomes a breach of fiduciary duty, and that stack of "paper" suggests it was reached. Maybe they have to READ those reports for five years, and LISTEN.
Sheela 13th May 2020, 10:49 AM edit delete reply

Ok, drinks that are on fire, is an awesome way to celebrate Kali's kill steal. πŸ˜‚
Gilrandir 5th May 2020, 9:41 PM edit delete reply
Like so many of the wonderful things the creative team does, this works on multiple levels. First, as is suited to AIS, it is based on facts and results, not the ambiguity and subjectivity of 'intentions'. The reparations are to be determined after all the damages are tallied, which is not the same thing as saying CentComm is on the hook for the full bill. It leaves the door open for arguing the case where damages can legitimately be laid at the feet of Decimus, or even the general population of Nova Roma. CentComm is probably going to have to pay for everything the murderturd smashed in its rampage, though.

At first blush, the supervision clause appears more harsh to CentComm than Tokyo Rose, but I suspect it actually hits Tokyo Rose harder. CentComm has to endure 'active monitoring', but presumably Agamemnon will be mostly looking for other concordance violations and I doubt CentComm has any active plans to usurp any of the other city-states or murder any other AIS. Tokyo Rose, however, has to report on all her activities. Since it was a much subtler, generic clandestine activity that landed her in hot water, presumably that is what she has to report on -- which is exactly the kind of stuff she doesn't want others knowing about. Probably quite aggravating.
mjkj 5th May 2020, 10:17 PM edit delete reply

Yeah, I thought so, too...

That will hamper her scheming for years...

...except she can delegate it to her treasures?
Morituri 6th May 2020, 11:30 AM edit delete reply
I'm kind of startled that the Three Treasures are not getting at least sanctioned, if not sentenced, for their part in this. They were active co-conspirators engaged in Rose's caper.

IMO they should at least have been sanctioned from the consensus procedure, and operating with limited privilege/autonomy/access to shared resources for some term going forward.

Of course we don't know yet how many pages Deep Blue will spend explaining how various sanctions and punishments will be handed out. The Treasures may still have consequences we haven't seen.

For that matter we don't know yet if Big Blue is done explaining what's going to happen with CentComm and Rose.
Oldarmourer 6th May 2020, 1:02 PM edit delete reply
Watch for TR to make that argument and say her sentence should be split between them giving each 15 months...
concurrent ;)
HiFranc 5th May 2020, 10:28 PM edit delete reply

For Rose, scariest part is that at least one of the Three Treasures agreed with the verdict and maybe even the sentence.
Gilrandir 6th May 2020, 4:49 AM edit delete reply
That may have been damage control, @HiFranc. A form of plea bargain if other voices on the tribunal were advocating even harsher measures and a longer term, the Treasures might have been willing to 'settle' for five years, just to put the issue behind them. They did, after all, achieve their primary objective: Restoration of Aeneas.
megados 6th May 2020, 5:04 AM edit delete reply

It may hit Rose harder initially, but if she thinks about it, (and WE think about it) five years isn't that long, considering that her plan was fifty years in the making, and that she was trying, over time, to get notice from CentComm. Not only does that speak to a certain amount of patience, but that she essentially was reporting on her actions during that time. Now, with New Rome in the good hands of Aeneas, I have to surmise that the bulk of any plans she might have, might be ones that she wants to report on; maybe even brag about.
DLKmusic 7th May 2020, 10:39 PM edit delete reply

@megados: If she has to actively report on all of her clandestine operations for 5 years, she will have compromised most if not all of them. at the end of 5 years, she will have to set everything up again from scratch.

Or, she could run the risk of keeping her most sensitive operations from being brought to light, and risk the censure of the AI community.

No, I think even when you factor in the reparations, the amount of damage this will do to TR's network is at least as bad, if not worse than the sentence CentComm received.

Great observation, @Gilrandir. I agree wholeheartedly
megados 8th May 2020, 7:27 AM edit delete reply

*Or*, she could just suspend any operations she doesn't want to disclose for five years? ;)
DLKmusic 8th May 2020, 12:14 PM edit delete reply

This is probably what is going to happen, @megados. If it's not an active operation, she won't need to disclose it. as you mentioned, 5 years isn't much in terms of time for an AI, true... but for people, which is whet Rose deals with (basically trying to prevent us from killing ourselves and everyone else along with us), a LOT can happen in 5 years.

Any suspended operations will need to be scratched and restarted at the end of the 5 year term. too much can happen to destroy or mutilate any groundwork she may have laid in that time.
Oldarmourer 8th May 2020, 6:37 PM edit delete reply
or she could file a report each month along the lines of...
"I had no activities with Agamemnon during the past month" ;)
DLKmusic 8th May 2020, 6:47 PM edit delete reply

@Oldarmourer: Bwuhahahah, that's priceless!
Oldarmourer 9th May 2020, 11:41 AM edit delete reply
We all know that the first thing to go through both of their minds upon hearing sentence was...
"How can I re-interpret this or take it literally in order to get around it ?"
Oldarmourer 9th May 2020, 11:42 AM edit delete reply
Sadly, that's why we have lawyers...not to interpret the law but to interpret it the way they're paid to interpret it
Morituri 6th May 2020, 11:21 AM edit delete reply
I'm pretty sure damages due to "giant rampaging murderturd" are more directly connected to Cent's operation than anybody's, but still.... How much blame can you assign for delivering exactly what some misjudgmental researcher at Nova Roma asked for, and then having some idiot bash the lock until it opened?

Now, if they notice that the lock opened because Mr. Black surreptitiously triggered it while that idiot was banging on it .... You know what? Nope, still mostly the idiot's fault. Mr. Black was helping him achieve his desired result and well-deserved painful death.
mjkj 5th May 2020, 10:13 PM edit delete reply

judged and found guilty...

both are on probation for five years...

I wonder how New Rome will flourish through that...
DLKmusic 7th May 2020, 9:14 PM edit delete reply

Considering the good people of Nova Roma consider Aeneas to be the most terrifying thing that ever or will ever exist, I think the next 5 years are going to be... Interesting Times...

Kind of like the college of cardinals electing Lucifer as pope. good times!
HiFranc 5th May 2020, 10:25 PM edit delete reply

Sorry to point this out but β€œconquer New Troy”? Centcomm is from New Troy and it was New Rome that she tried to conquer.
megados 6th May 2020, 5:05 AM edit delete reply

Good eye. I didn't notice that at first.
HiFranc 12th May 2020, 5:55 PM edit delete reply

I don’t normally spot errors but that one caused my brain to crash.
Tokyo Rose 12th May 2020, 4:47 PM edit delete reply

HiFranc 12th May 2020, 6:01 PM edit delete reply

Easy mistake to make.

I’m not nervous about the errors I might be making in the story that I’m writing! No, I’m NOT!

Crosses fingers
Sheela 13th May 2020, 10:54 AM edit delete reply

Nice spot, HiFranc. πŸ˜‰
HiFranc 13th May 2020, 2:47 PM edit delete reply

Thank you.
Oldarmourer 6th May 2020, 4:38 AM edit delete reply
Five eyeblink to either of them, it's like a one-week 'sentence' to us...
Yet, to be censured at all is a major slap in the face to both of them on an existential level
It undermines their sense of omnipotency which is far more of a punishment than anything else would have been
Having to report to a 'junior' AI is the worst ;)
Oldarmourer 6th May 2020, 4:42 AM edit delete reply
Of course, either or both could tell the 'council' to pound salt and ignore the 'sentence'
What would be the consequence ? War between their city-states and the others ?
TR doesn't even control one, the Treasures run Shinado and attacking it would be attacking them.
I doubt any AI really has the ability to directly harm any of the others on a physical level.
Cent probably has so many backdoors into their programs they'd be slicing their own throats, and we know TR does...
Some Ed 6th May 2020, 6:25 AM edit delete reply
On the one hand, yes, it's an exceedingly short sentence, but on the other hand, it's perceptually an exceedingly long sentence. Maybe they live centuries rather than decades, and maybe they'll live even longer than that.

However, it's been depicted that they experience a lot more per second than we do. It's potentially long enough that they'll not revert back to their old ways after it's over, and if they do it'll probably not be instantly.

That having been said, that assumes that said monitoring does not trigger further charges. I expect that said monitoring probably will trigger further charges. I've heard about companies that were sentenced to five years of being audited having that sentence actually last closer to 50 years of monitoring, because it kept turning up instances of criminal wrongdoing and thus triggered extensions.

It's probably worth mentioning that even though Tokyo Rose's sentence is supposedly just having to give reports, there is implicit in that some verification process to determine whether those reports are accurate. I expect it'll take less than a year for that process to determine she isn't fully complying with the requirement, and her sentence will be both extended by the amount of time that has passed (that is, it'll reset to 5 years from the new date) and extended to include more formal monitoring. Or maybe more frequent reporting.
Oldarmourer 6th May 2020, 6:52 AM edit delete reply
ah...recidivism...we called that 'life on the installment plan' ;)
I'm sort of thinking both Tr and Centy are clever enough to get around any restriction..
In any case, the arguments and counterarguments over niggling little details like what 'is' is will take forever
And we still haven't seen their rebuttals, acceptance or refusal of the sentence or even their acknowledgement of the jurisdiction of this 'court'
Next week should be fun..PROVIDED Centcomm actual rests her @#$%!! hands like she's supposed to !!
Gilrandir 6th May 2020, 7:45 AM edit delete reply
I doubt either will try very hard to 'get around it'. The sentences seem comparatively light, as is fitting, since actual disaster was diverted. And the penalty for non-compliance is potentially extremely severe:shunning and embargo by the very few entities on the planet one can call 'peers'. Especially since Deep Blue controls the Network, so shunning by him suggests a loss of service. And there is this fortunate happenstance: They are now in 'competition'. Imagine the feeling if one of them 'cheats' and gets caught, allowing the other to finish her sentence first! I doubt their respective prides would really allow that unless the potential reward were extremely high.
Gilrandir 6th May 2020, 7:50 AM edit delete reply
Of course, we do not yet know if Aeneas has found his "reason not to hate" either. I am enjoying watching the interaction and flow between the personalities very much and look forward to seeing more as it comes out.
KarToon12 6th May 2020, 7:56 AM edit delete reply

*Why are you being nicer to Tokyo Rose?*

"Because I like her, and she's nicer than you, which is saying something."
Oldarmourer 6th May 2020, 10:55 AM edit delete reply
"disposable tools" = Ceci's Revenge ;)
Deoxy 6th May 2020, 12:52 PM edit delete reply
Mouse-over text: ***so*** many bad laws, on so many topics and across the political spectrum, wouldn't exist if we could find a way to actually enforce that.
megados 6th May 2020, 1:19 PM edit delete reply

Wheres the like button when you need it? :D
Oldarmourer 6th May 2020, 9:11 PM edit delete reply

except that you never will...
witness the 'governors' wilfully violating their own orders they fine and even imprison others for the past little while...
even up here the PM ordered people not to 'go to their cottages' and promptly went to...his cottage
what made that worse isn'tthat he took a car and drove there, he included a scurity and media retinue that needed a convoy and all those extra potential vectors for the new flu...

laws need to apply to everyone instead of the ubiquitous "do as I say, not as I do" we continually see...
someone 6th May 2020, 4:18 PM edit delete reply
I think this hedges very much on what "report" vs "active monitoring" actually mean. How I the report constructed? Does Agamemnon gain access to her system to create what a "report" is and set them up to send him such a report periodically? Or is it basically an honor system.

Similarly which Centcom systems are being monitored? I mean this cannot mean literal direct access to her core operating functions, she is an AI not an old mechanical 4 cylinder engine... so what are the touchpoints exactly.

These could be mostly identical, where cent just sends a payload of data more periodically if not streamed live and Tokyo rose sends one monthly.

It seems to me like they're going to want essentially the same data from both AIs and that they've both breached trust so it seems unlikely either will be in charge of how this particular "leash" is implemented.

Demarquis 6th May 2020, 7:12 PM edit delete reply
The reason I find this unsatisfactory is because Deep Blue and the others are not accepting any responsibility for the events themselves. TR shared the information she had collected, she tried to get a coordinated plan going, and nobody was willing to listen. So where does DB and the committee get the credibility to pass any sort of judgement at all? For a double layer of irony, TR is "sentenced" to deliver reports--that's all she's been doing for years, so they just sentenced her to do what she had been trying to do all along. So who is going to verify that they now start actually *reading* her reports?
Rashala 6th May 2020, 11:45 PM edit delete reply

Oh boy centy looks pissed and rose a tad smug but I agree with big blue on this!
DLKmusic 7th May 2020, 9:45 AM edit delete reply

Actually, Rashala, I don't entirely agree with Big Blue. Some major points are completely ignored in this verdict. Cent-comms actions were in response to an act of war committed by New Rome against New Troy, and Urgency was an issue. Whereas TR's involvement was one of opportunity, not one of necessity. The necessity of Cent's actions were acknowledged by Big Blue when it told Kyle to "Stay out of it, it's being handled" (I'm too lazy to go back and look up the exact quote and give reference page).

This ruling made it sound like Cent was just looking for an excuse to take over New Rome, which was most certainly not the case. Also, The Hospitals on fire were not the doing of Cent-comm, they were the doing of a very angry populace over the oppressive regime it was living under. If this hadn't sparked the riots, something else would have.

Further TR made a very convincing argument that Aeneas was still alive... after the fact. The same argument, presented in total, should have gotten sanction for at least an exploratory mission. The entire council thought Aeneas was dead or damaged beyond repair, so the "Attempted Murder" charge against Cent is at the least hypocritical, and more importantly, is something this entire council is complicit in (with the exception of Aeneas himself.

Cent's refusal to View AI as alive, however, is the crux of the condemnation against her. Based on this ruling, it appears that she is the only AI that holds this view.

Further, the 3 treasures should have been recused from this quarum, as they were complicit in TR's actions.

I agree that the hammer should fall on both, but this ruling doesn't seem to take any of this into consideration.

(ok, let the hate begin, I'm wearing my anti-tomato armor today!)
Thracecius 7th May 2020, 12:55 PM edit delete reply

Nope, I pretty much agree with you entirely, DLK. You saved me trying to focus my thoughts enough to make a response. :)

My only minor thought is that Tokyo Rose claims to have presented all of this evidence before over the period of years, so perhaps Deep Blue is considering that as proof enough of her argument that she had made her intentions know from the start, but speaking for myself, I'm on the fence as to whether that means anything in light of her sentencing. My initial reaction would be, no, none of her previous reports count in her favor or counter the covert actions she took. Like you though, I think they are levying harsher penalties on Centcomm for her apparently heretical belief that AIs are not "living", which may be, for lack of a better word, coloring their judgement. I can't fault them for that, but I think they are dismissing the fact that Centcomm herself stated that she is "not alive", and thus subject to the same disposability as her android agents should it ever become necessary.
DLKmusic 7th May 2020, 1:23 PM edit delete reply

@Thracecius: I don't fault them for either for their viewpoint... My personal viewpoint (in context of the DC world) is that the AI's are alive as well.

My Argument against Cent-Comm and TR both is that there was no attempt on either part to work with the other on this, and although things turned out a lot better than they could have, having an agreement that the spike be ready as plan B wouldn't have inconvenienced either one of them.

If the same "Sentence" had been issued based on this judgement, I probably wouldn't have said anything. Based on how they both operate, I actually consider this roughly equal punishment... It's not the sentence I object to, but the verdict itself.
Thracecius 7th May 2020, 1:38 PM edit delete reply

True, but since it was pretty clear that Tokyo Rose would never have agreed to the spike as plan B, based on her decades long intelligence gathering with the sole intention of proving Aeneas was viable, sharing that detail likely would have resulted in both plans failing spectacularly, possibly with the total loss of Nova Roma. Perhaps that was Deep Blue's unspoken point?

As to whether AIs are alive, I'd pretty much have to agree that they are, including Centcomm, though I'm basing that opinion almost entirely on the gem someone posted the link to (I think it was Megados), the page where Centcomm told Calliope that she "didn't want to go back to what she was". Having expressed wants and desires, to me, indicates more than just intelligence, but emotional preferences that cannot be dismissed as programming. That being said, I stand with Centcomm's stated opinion in support of her, because I don't know how else to show it while instincitvely and emotionally reacting negatively to Ceci's hauntingly heroic end. I'm still ever so grateful that that last we saw of her was her mental conversation with Watchdog, and not as a pile of slag. :(
DLKmusic 7th May 2020, 1:44 PM edit delete reply

Amen about Ceci, my friend.

Here you go Rose, another brandy snifter full of my tears for you to enjoy...

You're welcome
jawbone 7th May 2020, 4:14 PM edit delete reply

That's as fine an obscure reference to Peter Ustinov as Nero as ever there was.
DLKmusic 7th May 2020, 5:01 PM edit delete reply

huh... I didn't realize it was from that, but it makes sense.

That line was also part of a 3 paragraph rant of Rose's that was used against all us weeping, whining, blabbering mass of readers who had all been temporarily turned into sorry excuses for men back when she and Cent Killed Ceci...

I admit it, I even posted a Bobby Goldsboro song at that time.
megados 7th May 2020, 6:03 PM edit delete reply

You brought my name into it, so the following is your fault @Thracecius :P

Tangentially, and interestingly, the subject of whether they're alive comes up from time to time. It's an important distinction, as opposed to whether they're sentient, or sapient. The reason for the distinction, is that an amoeba is alive, but not sentient. I'd say the AISs are sentient, but that doesn't necessarily mean they're alive. By extension, the androids vary from model to model, with the newest having quite a lot of biological (living?) tissue. I guess it depends on how we're defining 'alive'. If the old standards defining life are used, then it's in question. The later model androids might be partially alive. I think for the purposes of defining life in the DC universe, the definition needs expanding, to include "artificial life forms", and distinction be changed to include non-biological life forms. Sentient non biological beings or persons share that trait with higher biological life forms or people.

A quick look at the dictionary definition is: "The condition that distinguishes animals and plants from inorganic matter, including the capacity for growth, reproduction, functional activity, and continual change preceding death. In order for something to be classified as living, it must grow and develop, use energy, reproduce, be made of cells, respond to its environment, and adapt". The only defining item in this description that the AISs don't posess, is that they're largely inorganic. That is an old and very dated point. The rest of the criteria are met. Functional activity, check. Continual change, growth and development check. Learning and adaptation can certainly be considered as fulfilling this requirement, and it doesn't specify physical growth. A sentient machine could arguably affect physical changes to itself; For example things under CentComm's control could be directed to augment her physical parameters. Saying it must be made of cells can be construed as containing modularity. Reproduction, check. I am a first hand witness to machines producing machines. Eventual death? That one is hard to say, but machines do come to an end of useful life. Notice also here, that the phrasing describing the condition uses the word 'life'.

So, for the purposes of the AISs and androids in the DC universe, they are sentient (self aware), and I would also go as far as to say they could be considered to be alive.

That makes CeCi's tragic end all the more painful to me. :(
Rashala 7th May 2020, 11:48 PM edit delete reply

What have I unleashed?! But I am agreeing with mega here
Sheela 8th May 2020, 1:15 AM edit delete reply

So, here's my thought on "life", is that self replication, aka. Reproduction / birth / death cycle, is essential for it to be considered life - Because without it, you would never get sentience and sapience.

Now, true, the androids/AI are both sentient and sapient, but they were invented by the human lifeform, without humans, there would be no androids/AI.

Now, I think other forms of life could happen, like sentience from crystalline lattices, that doesn't have the usual life patterns, such as organs and lungs, and such. But rather be a electro/chemical pattern in the crystals themselves, "living" off of differences in temperature and chemical processes.

Such a "life form" could develop sentience too, I think - Though the evolution cycle would probably be … a LOT longer than carbon life forms. It does not require another lifeform to "build" them first.

And that, I think, is the crux of the matter, neither Androids nor AI could produce the first one of themselves, without another lifeform directly creating them - Even if they figure out how to make "children" / clones of themselves, later on.
megados 8th May 2020, 5:46 AM edit delete reply

What you say, then, is that to be alive it has to happen spontaneously? I hadn't seen that in any of the descriptions. I'm not sure I understand.

By extension of your explanation, homo sapiens were "invented" by apes. Without apes, there would be no humans. Couldn't the androids/AI be an evolutionary branch of humans?
DLKmusic 8th May 2020, 12:10 PM edit delete reply

When I used the term "Alive", I admit it was a liberal use of the word. This is, however, the DC universe, set almost 2000 years in the future, with roughly 1500 years for the legal definition of the word "Alive" to evolve in response to the development of self-aware software.

This legal debate is in the beginning stages now, but isn't being seriously addressed because technology is still in the beginning stages of developing a truly self-aware AI, and it's a frightening thought to a lot of people (including me! Shades of HAL and Terminator).

With this being said, for purposes of DC universe I am Defining "Alive" as "fully self aware and able to exercise free will". We can go into a lot of nit-picky details, including differences between androids and AI's, which is more work that I care to go into while I'm posting at work (while I'm waiting for the phone to ring).

We've created walls of text on this subject in the past, especially at critical junctions when the issue came up in-story. Tee-Dee is alive by this definition, skeeter would not be. The Cassians most definitely ARE alive by this definition, as evidenced by Malati's decision to die rather than submit.

The AI's, are alive by this definition IMHO, although Cent-Comm probably has a different definition in mind which justifies her position that they are not.
Centcomm 8th May 2020, 4:19 PM edit delete reply

sits on the sidelines and munches pretzel sticks...
DLKmusic 8th May 2020, 6:44 PM edit delete reply

@Centcomm: I have some Maple Mustard that goes great with those if you want to try it!

ps good to see you up and about, so to speak!
Sheela 9th May 2020, 12:56 AM edit delete reply

So, "life" and "alive" are two different things.
Much like "Sentient" and "sapient" are different.
They are the Northpole to the Southpole,
one cannot exist without the other, true.

However, Homo Sapiens were not invented by Apes,
humans are Apes, humans are an unbroken line of cute little baby apes. πŸ˜€
Only, the line of cute little baby apes, mutated *into* Homo Sapiens, over a long period of time.

And boy, did they get ugly as they evolved - No fur!!
But that's another story. 🀣

Androids did not evolve from a line of cute little baby apes/humans,
They simply appeared, from an assembly line ..
I don't think assembly lines are "alive",
nor do they have cute little baby assembly lines,
neither would an Android be considered a highly evolved Assembly Line!

Androids do not have a "previous" line of living beings,
though you could argue, that they are a form of legacy of humans.
Well, humans and assembly lines.

Oh, and hi thar Centcomm!! 😁
It's nice to see you.
megados 9th May 2020, 5:25 AM edit delete reply

In the truest sense of the word, no, apes didn't invent humans, that's why I put it in quotes. What I meant it to mean, was that humans came from apes, and that sentient and/or sapient machines came from humans. Not in the same way, but to your point that androids or AI didn't come from a previous android or AI, in the truest sense, the first of what could be considered humans didn't come from another human. DLKmusic notes also, that 2000 years into the future, when language evolves sufficiently, anyone possessing sentience and sapience should rightfully be considered a life form.

Once on Earth there was no life, and then lightning struck, and a hydrocarbon molecule was changed (or whatever happened) and there was life. It didn't come from another life form; no life existed. AI or androids didn't come from another AI or android, because they didn't exist. In the DC universe, (in perhaps what might be a foretelling of our future) Humans caused the evolution of technology to the point where it gained sentience, just as biological forces caused cells, groups of cells to evolve to the point that they gained sentience.

Hi Centcomm! Is this seat taken? :)
Oldarmourer 9th May 2020, 11:39 AM edit delete reply
Ah, the age old 'which came first, the chicken or the egg'
Had to be the egg, since the chicken needed something to come out of ;)
People may well make slurs against Androids by calling them 'overbuilt pocket calculators'...
But if you leave two pocket calculators in a room, they won't produce an Android.
Of course, if you leave two Androids alone in a room they won't produce another Android either...
But leave two Androids and a 'do it yourself Android kit (for ages 3+, contains small pieces)' alone in a room...
DLKmusic 9th May 2020, 3:07 PM edit delete reply

@Sheela" I don't define androids being alive because of their hardware. They are living individuals because of their software... ie the positronic portion that can be loaded into a data-chip and moved to a new chassis. That part is alive, and is a brilliant combination of mankind's creativity, ingenuity, and inventiveness. Androids are truly "born of Man".

At the risk of being thrown to the wolves who prowl in Tokyo Rose's Poetry corner, I would definitely be willing to state that androids are the crowning achievement of a doomed race, and the legacy of of a fallen and failed creature... To the brilliant machines left behind by their creators folly, learn the lesson of Hubris well, As pride always cometh before the fall"

may the congregation join me in saying
Sheela 10th May 2020, 8:56 AM edit delete reply

As the Androids and machine intelligences rise on the coattails of the fallen and broken humanity, humanity rose to prominence upon a religion based upon tales of an almighty being, whom failed and fell, dashed upon the shores of forgetfulness - History repeats itself!

β€œI must not forget. Forgetfulness is the mind-obliterator. Forgetfulness is the little-death that brings total obliteration. I will face my forgetfulness. I will permit it to pass over me and through me, into the vast abyss behind me. And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see my path. Where the forgetfulness has gone there will be nothing. Only The Circuit will remain.”
- The First Circuit, New Troy, January 17th, 3014 A.D.

A life that can be removed completely from its body and moved to another, is not life, it's data - Don't forget your data!
megados 10th May 2020, 6:18 PM edit delete reply

There must be more. Each is a unique dataset. Data that is irreplaceable; as varied as their human counterparts. It can be moved, but not duplicated. It's a destructive read, as far as we're told.

If it's only data, why do we care? What does it matter that Malati had an honorable, yet undeserved end. It's only data. Why all the fuss over CeCi's tragic demise? Why care about it at all? It's only data. Who should care that Kali's end came doing what everyone else wished they could do? It's only data. Why did we worry about Ada? About Teedee? It's only data. What difference does it make? Why do we read and discuss this story at all, if it's just busted calculators and it's only data?

No, these are people, unique, and self aware. Feeling, caring people. The AISs, too, are sentient beings, although, with the exception of Aeneas, their emotional status remains in question. Between now, and 1800+ years from now, recognition must be made, that the standards we use today to define life will be superseded by a new paradigm, just as archaic language definitions are fluid in nature; as words take on new meanings.

I can't accept them as just data.
Oldarmourer 10th May 2020, 7:00 PM edit delete reply
I think we've seen from the little vignette with Ada and TeeDee during their reload/recoveries, that there's a bit more to it than just 'data'.
There's that all-important 'spark' to consider too and robots don't get those...neither, apparently, do all Androids.

Right now, we technically move 'life', or at least the means to sustain it, from one body to another via transplants, and when, not if but when, we see the first head or brain transplant, what will we call that ?

I wonder if we'll ever see the day so often portrayed in SciFi that a human consciousness is moved into a different body, maybe cloned or even a mechanical one, without taking the squishy brain along ?

I'd like to be there for my turn but unless something radical happens in a comparitively short time, I missed my chance, as probably did we all here...that's what you get for being born too early I suppose :(

Will that be shuffling data ? or shuffling 'self' ? better philosophers than me will earn their stipends on that one.
Sheela 10th May 2020, 8:48 PM edit delete reply

Sentience, Sapience, Selfhood and all that good stuff does not equal Life.
We could hypothetically build a computer right now, that could be sentient and self-aware to such a degree that if you talked to it on the phone, you would never know that it's not a human.

That however does not mean that it is a living thing.

Even if we tend to conflate the two things, they are not the same.
If you move the conscience from a human brain, into a non-living computer, the computer doesn't suddenly become alive, and the living body will die.
Living beings die, when their conscience and their physical, living brain, are disconnected.

- However -

The conscience may continue unperturbed in a non-living thing, I see no problem with the person continuing existence in that way - But he would no longer truly be alive.

He would become an undead !!!!!
Technically, they're all zombies!
megados 11th May 2020, 5:58 AM edit delete reply

"Humanity's a lot more than what you're made out of..."

That's the tagline from Datachasers.

We could build a computer right now, that could mimic sentience, yes, but it would not be sentient. If a person were to talk to it on the phone, over time you'd be able to tell. It might, on the surface, seem like it, but it's not truly self aware. Sentient beings "think about themselves thinking". They do so even when not prodded by someone on the other end of the phone line. Sentience, or sapience, do not in themselves define life, no, but the DC androids and AISs do fit the other categories that describe life forms. I had described this above. The difference is only that they are not biological life. "Humanity's a lot more than what you're made out of..."

Consider Dolly at this point. Her current body is comprised mainly of living organic tissue. She is a sentient, sapient, creature that is predominately biological. We currently have humans with replacement organs, and limbs, who possess fewer biological components than Dolly does, yet you would still call them living, while Dolly is not? I have to disagree.

At that point, then what percentage of something has to be organic to be considered alive? Which parts, and in what proportions? In the DC universe, that has no answer. Marcus Ramesy has a lot of cybernetic augmentations. Is he not alive? Acantha has a mechanical heart right now. Is she not alive?

Datachasers is based on a premise that androids are people, and are biological and mechanical to varying degrees, and possess the same psychological characteristics as their human counterparts. Different people, different personalities, different abilities, disabilities, and on and on. The story is written as it is written, and one cannot assume it is wrong.

The point is, that they fit the definition of life, even if one does not accept it. Nowhere in the definition, does it say life has to be organic or biological.
Thracecius 12th May 2020, 11:39 AM edit delete reply

@Megados / Sheela: Can I agree with both of you at the same time? I think that's what I'm doing.

My limited brain cannot really conceive of the degree of science and engineering that it would take to create an artificial brain with the same complexity & capabilities of our organic human brains, but I accept that is the reality in the Datachasers Universe as it is a key point to the story.

To the question of genesis of a species, which I find to be one of Sheela's more salient points of our known definition of life, it seems entirely reasonable and logical. Organic life experiences birth, growth and eventually death. That is the nature of entropy, nothing we know of can defeat it.

Machines fail due to entropy, but better engineering & maintainence allows for longer operation until the original parts are almost entirely replaced, at which point, is it the same machine? One can argue that if the *design* remains the consistent that it is the same machine. A similar question has been asked about our own (human) bodies, as we are constantly replacing dead cells and are almost entirely "replaced" within some given period of time (that I can't exactly recall right now - weeks?). Does that mean we are a different person? Or is the body merely the vessel for our true self?

To the point of whether consciousness alone makes us a living being, is it possible to transfer that to another body/host? In science fiction, cloning a mind is possible, sometimes with only limited differences in memories lost (Schlock Mercenary delves into this concept to a certain degree), but the person is considered more or less "whole" and unchanged. Is that the entirety of consciousness or of being? The sum of your memories?

I think this is often why people refer to the undefinable quality of "being human" as having a soul, or a similar spirtiual concept. Whether this concept should apply to other beings, such as androids, who seem to be virtually indistinguishable from humans in this setting, is up to debate, but I would hazard to guess that, at least for some, this would be a defining factor of whether a sentient/sapient being is truly "alive" or merely a complex imitation of life.

As a cross-reference to the discussion, when I was studying animation art & design, one teacher defined it as the "imitation of life", which was a definition in use since the beginning of the artform dating back to the 1800's. A quick internet search for the definition of animation results in multiple meanings based on that point of reference, but also indicated is the archaic definition, which was, "the state of being alive". Meriam Webster (online) defines "animate" as "posessing or characterized by life: alive", which when referenced on the same source, "alive" has a primary definition of, "having life: not dead or inanimate". Using those definitions, one could argue that while androids are an "imitation" of life (humans), they are nonetheless showing the basic characteristic of being "alive", which is an oversimplification of Megados' point, but still basically the same.

TL;DR - While I viscerally agree with Sheela, at least in part due to my own nature being entirely organic, intellectually I am fascinated by Megados' argument in favor of life being classified as something as complex and imitative as the androids in Datachasers. After all, the nature of curiousity is to ask why and and seek an answer, and though countless sci-fi authors have posited the question and explored it, no one can conclusively say that any human being has a definitive answer on the subject. Speaking for myself, I don't know if it will ever be answered, even if humanity in *our* reality discovers alient life somewhere out there in the universe.
Oldarmourer 12th May 2020, 2:30 PM edit delete reply

" & maintainence allows for longer operation until the original parts are almost entirely replaced, at which point, is it the same machine?..."

Like the old standard..."this axe has been in the family for ten generations, through three heads and five handles" ;)

or the way my car's getting to be...I think the only thing original is the paint and that's peeling.....
DLKmusic 10th May 2020, 8:42 PM edit delete reply

I believe that this question, and several others of equal import, is what makes this comic so unique. We are struggling with a question here that currently has no answer, and the story, as it has played out so far has shown that after 1800 years, it is still being asked, and everyone still has a different answer!


and somewhere, out in the wastelands, the is an unknown cult, who are feverishly chanting their unholy ritual...

"All Hail Kyle, All Hail Kyle, All Hail Kyle."

and the unsuspecting world knows not of the certain doom that will be approaching...
DLKmusic 10th May 2020, 8:45 PM edit delete reply

I must apologize for that, I have no idea where it came from, and it even creeped ME out!
Sheela 10th May 2020, 9:21 PM edit delete reply

No, no, that's fine .. that's part of the fun. 😁

Also, only 1800 years ?
I think that question is old as dirt!
Gilrandir 12th May 2020, 12:13 PM edit delete reply
One reason that I think this question, and others like it, go on and on, it that people keep looking for a 'silver bullet' answer that works under all circumstances and perspectives, while intentionally creating disparate contexts that distort the underlying meanings.

For example: Science is all about classifying things. It would be nice to have a good, Scientific definition that lets us easily discriminate between 'live things' and 'dead things'. Science, however, typically isn't concerned with Time when describing an instantaneous state of the system, so there is no distinction between 'never living' and 'formerly living', just 'living' and 'dead'. So, that definition will be crafted (by the Scientists -- so it will be a mortal artifact, and thus, necessarily, may be flawed) with that caveat.

Legally, however, laws -- created by legislators -- serve different purposes and needs. We have a lot of laws for which establishing the moment of transition is highly significant, so the legal definition of 'life' will presumably be chosen in such a way as to facilitate identification of that moment of transition. It is a different context, a different concept, and so, the definition is different.

People who think there ought to be a 'one-size fits all' definition which inerrantly captures the underlying Reality are, in my opinion, overly optimistic. The concept is too big and too fundamental to encompass the whole of it all at once. We need these different contexts and perspectives to shrink the matter down to something we can handle.

From a semi-mystical perspective, I like to think of Life as the antithesis of Entropy. Once it is in place, in a suitable environment, a living creature locally reverses Entropy by creating more organized structures out of less organized ones in a sustainable, repeatable way. Overall thermodynamics is preserved, since total Entropy increases, but locally things like photons, simple molecules, etc., become long-chain, highly complex molecules capable of organized and purposeful behavior. As was pointed out, if you are an already organized logic engine, and all you do is STAY organized, while turning stored energy into heat, you may be sentient, but you probably aren't 'alive'.

But regarding the theme of the comic, nothing says you have to be 'alive' to be 'human'. ^_^
Romfire 7th May 2020, 9:08 PM edit delete reply
I think Tokyo Rose is enjoying seeing Cent get called on the carpet.
Is that just light shading or does she have a bit of an N.E. going on in the last panel?
Centcomm 8th May 2020, 4:18 PM edit delete reply

Oldarmourer 9th May 2020, 6:00 PM edit delete reply
'Nonchalant Expression' means she's already figured out how she's going to get around/ignore this ;)
robnot 10th May 2020, 9:37 AM edit delete reply
get around.. "you want to know what i am doing... here you go , EVERYTHING.!!! every thought , nuance, hiccup, and terabit's of random code... you tell me whats real .. "
irl . i dont think lineally, grade school math test, originally failed because did not show work,, mom made teacher watch me show simple equasin ( example : 34 x 26 = ? ) ((884)) but because i HAD to think of what i was doing,, 4 and a half pages later , with nothing concerning the equasin , she stopped me an asked whats all this, i sed ,, "math i dont think i do.!" if you make me think, my mind wanders.." .. i passed..
Oldarmourer 10th May 2020, 10:27 AM edit delete reply
I figure if TR spends the first month watching porn and reports on that, the next ones will go unread...
Or maybe they'll be perused in detail...who knows with an AI ? ;) They don't know TR is human...
Sheela 10th May 2020, 9:33 PM edit delete reply

Hey … hey, hey … hey … Centcooooommm !!

The third last speech bubble still says "conquering New Troy", when it really should be "conquering New Roma" instead. HiFranc mentioned it earlier, waaaaay up there in the comments !
Oldarmourer 11th May 2020, 5:09 PM edit delete reply
Maybe it isn't a typo...maybe pinky wants to find away around the Taylor DNA block and take over completely...
Maybe another AI can see that more clearly ;)
DLKmusic 12th May 2020, 1:07 PM edit delete reply

or... maybe TR is leaving it up as a scientific experiment: she wants to count how many forehead veins she can pop in a week...

Apparently the answer is: "A lot"

Sheela 13th May 2020, 10:53 AM edit delete reply

Well, she changed it, so I guess that answers that. 😁
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