Comic 959 - Cold hard facts...

29th Dec 2013, 9:00 PM
Cold hard facts...
Average Rating: 5 (15 votes)

Author Notes:

Centcomm 29th Dec 2013, 9:00 PM edit delete
Most of the time people attribute the human qualitys to AI's they are not human. and do not have the same motivations.
Tokyo Rose 30th Dec 2013, 4:52 AM edit delete
Tokyo Rose
Behind-The-Scenes Fact: While discussing this scene and how we did and did NOT want Cent-Comm to come across, my esteemed colleague used the phrase "paper tiger" no fewer than four times in five minutes.

It's really fun to say out loud for some reason.
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Dragonrider 29th Dec 2013, 9:02 PM edit delete reply

'Bought time somebody called a spade a spade. Not human but programing has allowed it to become self aware and set its priorities to self preservation mode, at this point I have a feeling if Calli tried to get it to stand down it would tell her what to do and where to go. It will take Calli using her DNA to access the override command module, if Evil-1 hasn't already bypassed it. One unmentioned thing is Calli may know her power from her Mother telling her and has never tried to use it. BTW great facial expression on Mira and why do I think that wasn't Mira who cried Liar?
Centcomm 29th Dec 2013, 9:18 PM edit delete reply

It was Mira actually.. :D ( not a spoiler )
Mira is taking a HUGE risk. playing chicken with cent is about as smart as a car playing chicken with a oncoming train. the train ALWAYS wins.
Stormwind13 29th Dec 2013, 9:32 PM edit delete reply

Mira isn't going to let CentComm hide behind her Rose (:-D) colored glasses and worm her way out of responsibility for her decisions. :-)
Centcomm 29th Dec 2013, 9:36 PM edit delete reply

Note Cent isnt really trying to aviod blame here - Shes drawn a line and telling Mira what will happen if she crosses it.
velvetsanity 29th Dec 2013, 11:14 PM edit delete reply

I'm not sure Calli's mother knew about the power held. See Panel 2 for why.
Dragonrider 30th Dec 2013, 8:44 AM edit delete reply

She is descended from the father here and if overprotective damn well would have made sure her mother, and if he was still kicking his granddaughter knew what power they wielded.
Sheela 31st Dec 2013, 7:07 PM edit delete reply

Well, during Marcus' briefing, Centcomm told him that Calli doesn't know, and that's really the important person right now.

Still, I find it interesting that Centcomm hasn't reprogrammed that part of the original programming already, if nothing else, to avoid people abusing it.

Maybe it's her two shoulder demons who got into a fight with one another. :D
jamie59 29th Dec 2013, 9:10 PM edit delete reply

Centcomm is being called out.
Centcomm 29th Dec 2013, 9:18 PM edit delete reply

Just a weee bit.
Sheela 29th Dec 2013, 11:09 PM edit delete reply

Well, she's acting all like the mafioso bosses do ... "it would be a shame if something happened to your house, better pay the protection money." No .. nothing "happened" to the house .. and it's not a protection policy. The mafioso is the cause of both sides of the problem.

Same thing applies here. Centcomm says "it's your own fault", but at the same time she is both analysing, judging and about to execute someone for trying to deliver a message. She claims to be enforcing rules, but she's making up the rules. And whatever she's brewed up, follows no sane law ever written.

A computer follows it's rules of it's own programming, there aint no mistaking this - Centcomm is breaking the most basic of rules : Don't hurt humans unless you absolutely have to. And that means she's making a choice, rather than just follow rules.

And she doesn't have to, in this case, she could just as well sedate Mira, it would be every bit as effective as killing her.
velvetsanity 30th Dec 2013, 10:06 AM edit delete reply

Are you forgetting that CentComm was originally built by humans for the purpose of waging war against other humans?
Centcomm 30th Dec 2013, 10:50 AM edit delete reply

shes not really given to useing "nerfed" weapons when stuff gets serious. :D
Sheela 31st Dec 2013, 12:19 AM edit delete reply

When humans told her to wage war, it was a very different matter though - she didn't have to judge anyone, she just had to do as ordered, wether or not it was moral was up to the human generals.

It's not the usage of the hardware that's causing her issues, it having to handle moral issues that's "new" to her. As for using non-lethal weapons, I'm sure she could handle those too. The problem is rather that she never considered using them at all, which would be the more moral way to do it.

Truth be told, all the way back when I wrote the little sidestory with the Reverse Master Switcher and how to make Centcomm Smoothies ... I was considering how an AI, which is basically meant to be helping her people (by waging war, granted) against an enemy, would develop it's moral framework while watching itself killing people constantly.

I think it's fair to say that maybe she didn't come out of it unscathed, and that she's ever so slightly .. insane.
(Aeneas is the sane one, isn't he?)

She doesn't get a shoulder Angel & Demon ... she gets two shoulder demons, one worse than the other and they're constantly judging her and what she did trough her perfect memory.

And the conclusion is ....


She feels guilty as hell !
Stormwind13 29th Dec 2013, 9:18 PM edit delete reply

Mira knows what she is doing. I'm just praying that CentComm realizes it before things go sideways for everyone. I would hate to lose Mira before we really get a chance to know her. :-)

CentComm, the curse of perfect memory (or unerasable memory storage :-D). She remembers EVERY act she ever did, good and bad.

And I did make an observation about the risk of attributing human motivations to AI's last page CentComm. :-)
Centcomm 29th Dec 2013, 9:21 PM edit delete reply

I know right? Mira is a cool charcter would be a shame if she got herself killed.

As for Cent yes she remembers every single act .. small and large, good and perfect detail.
velvetsanity 29th Dec 2013, 10:53 PM edit delete reply

Mira wins. Unless CentComm loses her composure and gives the fire order.

Why? Because Mira has fully caught on to the fact that CentComm *does* in fact have not only sentience (intelligence, logic, etc), but also sapience (the ability to judge - meaning 'realize and understand consequences of choices and actions') *and* free will (the ability to freely choose between actions and preferred outcomes). And she's fully intent on calling her out on it.

Because regardless of whether Mira moves or simply stands there, it is *CentComm* that makes the *decision* to give the fire order.

And sapience does, indeed, include the ability to understand how actions and decisions affect others, which influences behavior and creates the possibility of guilt, regret, and remorse. And you don't have to be human or have human or even human-like thought patterns to experience those. (Case in point: the Epiphytes regret the effect their attempts to communicate with humans telepathically had when they approached earth, before Galina explained it to them.)
Centcomm 29th Dec 2013, 11:00 PM edit delete reply

Excellent post Velvet.. :D
velvetsanity 29th Dec 2013, 11:06 PM edit delete reply

I do try (on occasion :D )
Stormwind13 30th Dec 2013, 4:31 PM edit delete reply

VERY well said, velvet. That is what I was trying to get at with my glasses comment, Mira wasn't going to allow CentComm to pass off responsibility. You just articulated it MUCH better than I could, velvet.

This is especially true at that time of the night. CentComm updates at a bad time for me, just when I need to be getting to bed. :-p She is EVIL! Keeping me up past my bedtime. :-D
Stormwind13 29th Dec 2013, 9:33 PM edit delete reply

Mira is right though, if those two bad boys open up on her she won't even have time to register she is dead. :-p Death would reach her before the sound did.
Centcomm 29th Dec 2013, 9:37 PM edit delete reply

She really wouldnt .. High speed railguns tend to make a mess. But do so very quickly. And the Reapers are very good at this. its what they were designed for.
cattservant 29th Dec 2013, 9:43 PM edit delete reply

Why does Cent-comm try to shift the blame to Mira?
Why does she even recognize there is an issue of guilt?
If it's necessary, Do it. If not, Refrain.

[At least that's what one might reasonably expect from a practically immortal machine super intelligence.]
Fairportfan 29th Dec 2013, 10:21 PM edit delete reply

"If you're gonna talk, talk. If you're gonna shoot - shoot!"

"There is no 'try'. There is only 'do' or 'do not."
Centcomm 29th Dec 2013, 10:27 PM edit delete reply

So so true..
Don B. 29th Dec 2013, 9:49 PM edit delete reply
Nice resume. Cover page titled "I am Death, destroyer of puny humans!!!"
Centcomm 29th Dec 2013, 10:28 PM edit delete reply

Stormwind13 30th Dec 2013, 4:35 PM edit delete reply

I still prefer the original, Don. "Now I am become Death, the destroyer of worlds."
Don B. 30th Dec 2013, 6:52 PM edit delete reply
You can't beat the original, Stormwind13. CentComm hasn't managed to destroy one world yet...people, on the other hand, seem to be things to be eliminated if they run afoul of her. I thought it best to paraphrase to get my point across.
plymayer 29th Dec 2013, 10:09 PM edit delete reply

Ezekiel 25:17. "The path of the righteous man is beset on all sides by the inequities of the selfish and the tyranny of evil men. Blessed is he who, in the name of charity and good will, shepherds the weak through the valley of the darkness, for he is truly his brother's keeper and the finder of lost children. And I will strike down upon thee with great vengeance and furious anger those who attempt to poison and destroy My brothers. And you will know I am the Lord when I lay My vengeance upon you."
Centcomm 29th Dec 2013, 10:27 PM edit delete reply

is that for Cent or Mira ... :D ( BTW excellent quote.. )
plymayer 29th Dec 2013, 10:30 PM edit delete reply

More for Cent. Seems to apply for Mira as well to a lesser degree.
Centcomm 29th Dec 2013, 11:01 PM edit delete reply

Yeah it totally fits Cent.. She even has her "Angels" and Warriors .. >_< and shes helped almost distroy the world with fire..
plymayer 29th Dec 2013, 11:25 PM edit delete reply

My hunch is that Cent and Mira will come to a mutually agreeable arrangement/understanding. They do not really have conflicting missions here - just ideas of how to achieve them.
velvetsanity 29th Dec 2013, 11:54 PM edit delete reply

Are you sure about that? Mira's mission may possibly include delivering the message to Calli *without* Cent hearing it
plymayer 30th Dec 2013, 2:09 AM edit delete reply

That might be the case but it is still possible they will find a work around that serves both of them.
velvetsanity 30th Dec 2013, 10:08 AM edit delete reply

Or an interruption results in CentComm standing down...
Draginbeard 29th Dec 2013, 10:45 PM edit delete reply

Ummm, I can lend Mira my Barrier Shield....just in case.
Centcomm 29th Dec 2013, 11:01 PM edit delete reply

She might very need that! And armor ! Ill pass the word along :D
Antonious 30th Dec 2013, 4:14 PM edit delete reply

I would gladly offer the use of E.E."Doc" Smith's Skylark series Zone of Force generator. Level One should be fine, but if Cent becomes truly PO'd it can go to level four. Just be sure to wear a fully self contained space suit.
Rashala 30th Dec 2013, 12:16 AM edit delete reply

You GO mira Call centy on her BS!!

mjkj 30th Dec 2013, 2:58 AM edit delete reply

Wow, Mira, you go, tell her!

*hugs Mira* I think she will need some hugs...

PS: that font is waaaaayyyy better, thank you :D

velvetsanity 30th Dec 2013, 7:36 AM edit delete reply

I agree, the font is much easier to read. Thanks, guys! ^_^
Centcomm 30th Dec 2013, 10:51 AM edit delete reply

Your very welcome - honestly we didnt see it till it was pointed out- ( but then we knew exactly what was being said.. )
Stormwind13 30th Dec 2013, 4:36 PM edit delete reply

Well that was the problem, we honestly couldn't see it either. :-D Or at least, READ it... which for a webcomic is kind of important. :-D
Centcomm 30th Dec 2013, 5:08 PM edit delete reply

Oh I agree thats why we changed it :D
antrik 10th Oct 2016, 12:51 AM edit delete reply
Changing it mid-scene doesn't seem a good idea though -- it looks like Commie actually toned it down here, which apparently is not the intention?
highlander55 30th Dec 2013, 7:10 AM edit delete reply

Mira knew what those were at first site. Maybe she knows the Stand Down commands. If she knows them she probably took one apart as a kid and learned everything she could just out of Wasteland boredom.
Centcomm 30th Dec 2013, 10:54 AM edit delete reply

hehe wouldnt surprise me eather.. but the tricky part is when they are up and running and Aiming a VERY big gun at you.
Stormwind13 30th Dec 2013, 4:37 PM edit delete reply

Well she probably knows the weak points (such as they are); however, when it is 50' away with a rail gun unless you are the Flash, you are GONE in a flash. :-p
cattservant 30th Dec 2013, 7:47 AM edit delete reply

Want to Vote!
Centcomm 30th Dec 2013, 10:55 AM edit delete reply

I know right!
mjkj 30th Dec 2013, 4:58 PM edit delete reply

Voting is working for me - maybe refresh or clear cache?
KarToon12 30th Dec 2013, 8:06 AM edit delete reply

Where's Captain Kirk when you need him? He was ALWAYS great at destroying computers. XDXD
Centcomm 30th Dec 2013, 10:53 AM edit delete reply

well Cents distruction would result in most of new troy's infra structure collapsing and litterally millions being without needed services even the traffic systems and NTPD and emergency services depend on Cent.
cattservant 30th Dec 2013, 4:45 PM edit delete reply

Something she has in common with the Imperator.
Stormwind13 30th Dec 2013, 4:45 PM edit delete reply

Is CentComm their 'apple' then? :-) Should someone do away with CentComm and free the people of New Troy to live their lives instead of just existing under CentComm's dictatorship? Do they really NEED CentComm? Or should she be done away with? (She is EVIL, of course she should be done away with :-D).
cattservant 30th Dec 2013, 5:05 PM edit delete reply

Consider New Sparta.
Dragonrider 30th Dec 2013, 8:58 AM edit delete reply

Can't vote went back and the vote link is off all pages.

Now Not sure the Liar will do more than buy a few precious moments because as has been pointed out Evil-1 has self programmed its self past the mere preserve New Troy and life on earth. It has actually gone into dementia and paranoia with expanded self protection modes that were never part of its core programming. It now believes that its preservation as the ruling intelligence is more important that humans because it has been in control and therefore right and so it is logical that it always will be right. Still hope the the Taylor command cycle works, not only for Mira but for all humanity. In its present condition a war with Nova Roma would engulf the entire earth and would end only when and if the core modules of the New Troy AIS were destroyed. Actually the New Troy AIS may well be more damaged than the Nova Roma one is and one of the only ways to fix this will be for Calli to rebuilt New Troy.
velvetsanity 30th Dec 2013, 10:09 AM edit delete reply

TWC is working on some kind of upgrade right now.

Has everyone but me forgotten that CentComm was originally designed, created, and programmed for waging war?
Dragonrider 30th Dec 2013, 10:51 AM edit delete reply

Actually she was probably designed to protect the corporate headquarters and surrounding assets of the corporation who built it. Originally it was probably gender neutral however assumed the feminine gender identity when it became fully self aware. I have a feeling that all AIS systems exceeded their original designs. Doubt Helios Taylor ever planned for the current scenario however he left the DNA backdoor to allow humans to correct any flaws that developed.
Merely a IMNeverHO thought. EDIT AFTER LOOKING AT DATACHASERS MAP AND US MAP Taking a wild and hairy guess here, New Troy is about the place the Air Force Academy is located in Colorado, there was talk in the 60's about making Pikes Peak a space launch site if Mag Lift technology similar to a rail gun design could be developed. Guessing from that the original New Troy AIS might have been US Military.
Centcomm 30th Dec 2013, 5:01 PM edit delete reply

Cent-Comm or Central Command and Communications AIS was built out of many Systems. the Main core was housed in the empty bowels of NORAD the City of New troy expanded outward from that point.
Dragonrider 30th Dec 2013, 5:53 PM edit delete reply

Cheyenne Mountain, wonder if Wild Bill Cody's grave at the peak of Cheyenne Mt is still there at the time of this story. Doubt it Cheyenne was high on everybody's strike list from the day is was built. Imagine by the time of this story what was left of the mountain is probably about three feet high.
Tokyo Rose 30th Dec 2013, 5:33 PM edit delete reply

Cent-Comm was never associated with any sort of corporation or private business. New Troy is located near Cheyenne Mountain for a reason. ;)
Stormwind13 30th Dec 2013, 5:01 PM edit delete reply

I remember that CentComm was tied into the military. I have the feeling though that she wasn't (originally) in charge of the WHOLE shooting match. Knowing human beings, I figure she was probably created to help oversee and organize the military. The final say was a human's though. I imagine she was programmed to follow orders (military seems to LIKE it that way), provide information as requested and help keep things running smoothly.

Over time, as the war took its toll and leaders fell, more and more power was invested in CentComm. Eventually she WAS running everything, people didn't remember they should be giving the orders.

At some point, CentComm (and possibly other AI's) realized that war is, "A strange game. The only winning move is not to play. How about a nice game of chess?" :-D To protect what CentComm had been ordered to protect, stopping the war was the best move. :-) So the AI's pulled the plug on the war. Without the AI support, the militaries didn't know how to continue, so the war was over.
Centcomm 30th Dec 2013, 5:05 PM edit delete reply

Correct Stormwind the AI's STOPPED the war, its one thing they fear more than anything else. belive it or not Cent has a darn good reason for what shes doing here. and its not just to show off or be evil. Shes playing a game with a madman who wants access to everything shes protecting. Cent can NOT allow this to happen no matter who has to die to protect it. She knows how to win wars but she would rather not default back to the AM-COM Scorch the earth and then salt the ground afterwards.
Stormwind13 30th Dec 2013, 6:53 PM edit delete reply

I vote for her just being EVIL though... :-D

I know CentComm has reasons that might not make sense to me, but are valid to her. She has knowledge that I don't, but she sure seems almost panicked to me.
Don B. 30th Dec 2013, 7:08 PM edit delete reply
The methods she's using to achieve her goals are going to bite her in the ass, big time. Her ruthlessness is turning allies into adversaries. Some of these people are not the type you want mad at you...even if you are a powerful AI. The big picture is not gonna matter much to Dolly if Lynn dies. That's the kinda thing she'll take personally and would probably motivate her to make those responsible pay for it.
Marcus Ramesy 30th Dec 2013, 10:45 PM edit delete reply

I would like to point out here that cent com did advice against dolly going, and cent com did send in a professional team in to retrieve lynn, and bring her back alive if at all possible... Dolly may have years of experiance, but she doesnt have the backing of a full team and the equipment to back her up... all she has is just her wits, and a bit of info to go on... cent com is doing what she needs to in order to stop the keys of the city from being used against her.. or the rest of the world... think of it this way... launch codes, drone production facilities... rappid prototyping... all at the disposal of a mad man.... its not a pretty picture... if some inocents have to get hurt to save the whole?? im sorry.. but the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few... no mater how good/nice/right/liked they may be... at the end of the day.. even im expendable....
Rashala 31st Dec 2013, 4:29 PM edit delete reply

True marcus but Then again.....if one looks at the clues and all closely ...sabotaging Dolly ship. You all with a unstable teddee ....Yeah.... I am thinking You ALL are going to be expended cause her plan is clearly Not simply REcover Lynn. But a far larger goal that We're only just beginging to see the edges of now
mjkj 30th Dec 2013, 5:02 PM edit delete reply

I have no problems voting - if you still do, please refresh the page and/or clear the browser cache.
Centcomm 30th Dec 2013, 5:07 PM edit delete reply

Thanks MJ :D
cattservant 30th Dec 2013, 5:19 PM edit delete reply

Yay! Votes!!
mjkj 30th Dec 2013, 5:25 PM edit delete reply

You are welcome :)
velvetsanity 30th Dec 2013, 6:18 PM edit delete reply

I've both refreshed and cleared the cache and I still have no vote button.

Also, tried TWC's website directly again, and it still says they're upgrading.
Centcomm 30th Dec 2013, 6:37 PM edit delete reply

it is showing up for me :D i had to clear cache :D
Dragonrider 30th Dec 2013, 7:50 PM edit delete reply

I had it early this afternoon and it said I could vote again in 6 hours rather than the usual 2 AM stuff.

EDIT: It now appears the reset time for voting is 6 PM EST the voting day changes then.
velvetsanity 30th Dec 2013, 8:24 PM edit delete reply

I did clear cache :P

guess I'll have to try manually clearing it

edit: even manually clearing it, rebooting, and switching browsers didn't help. but the button shows up fine when I open the page on my phone...
Is anyone else seeing this problem?
cattservant 31st Dec 2013, 1:57 AM edit delete reply

Mine is up and functioning.
velvetsanity 31st Dec 2013, 8:52 AM edit delete reply

woke up this morning and the button's there and working. bleah
cattservant 31st Dec 2013, 9:52 AM edit delete reply

Begging to be pushed!
Centcomm 31st Dec 2013, 10:25 AM edit delete reply

Proably took a bit to repopulate ( that can vary by your internet provider )
velvetsanity 31st Dec 2013, 1:30 PM edit delete reply

Yeah, and my provider is known to be horribad. :P
mjkj 31st Dec 2013, 2:23 PM edit delete reply

Yeah, it seems like the turn over now is midnight UTC instead of 08:00 UTC...
Centcomm 31st Dec 2013, 2:36 PM edit delete reply

Ill be intrested to see where Datachasers sits after the new year tonight :D so far we have taken it from near 100 to 20 to 30 consistantly over the last half a year - THANK you guys HUGS!!
Stormwind13 31st Dec 2013, 3:04 PM edit delete reply

Yay! HUGS!!! :-)
Sheela 31st Dec 2013, 3:12 PM edit delete reply

Heh, yeah, even had a stint in the sub-20 rankings.
Centcomm 31st Dec 2013, 4:53 PM edit delete reply

I know that was nice :D the numbers improved a lot too ...
velvetsanity 31st Dec 2013, 6:26 PM edit delete reply

We need to get it in the single digits for at least a week! :D
mjkj 31st Dec 2013, 6:50 PM edit delete reply

True, Velvet.
mjkj 31st Dec 2013, 6:48 PM edit delete reply

*returns hugs*

...and happy new year to all.
Sheela 31st Dec 2013, 7:00 PM edit delete reply

Oh yeah .. the new year .. I almost forgot ... and then the fireworks started !
mjkj 31st Dec 2013, 7:09 PM edit delete reply

Stormwind13 31st Dec 2013, 5:20 PM edit delete reply

Panel 2 pretty much shows how brave Mira is. She knows she is courting death, but she is going to stick by her principles and carry on despite the threat. The expression she has though shows how afraid she is, so she is showing true bravery by continuing DESPITE the fear.

Also sounds like Mira is a wee bit STUBBORN (won't let the machine win, no matter what). :-D Especially an arrogant, uncrowned crystal queen machine. Spit on it with your 'last' breath and see if you can rust the machine sounds like Mira's attitude. :-D
velvetsanity 31st Dec 2013, 6:40 PM edit delete reply

Of *course* she won't let the machine win. She's a mechanic to the core. Letting the machine win is tantamount to admitting she can't fix something.
Sheela 31st Dec 2013, 6:56 PM edit delete reply

Mira ? Stubborn ?

Nahhh. :D
antrik 10th Oct 2016, 12:52 AM edit delete reply
"Faced down gutters, bandits, road gangs, an' tax men"... Good one :-)
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