Comic 124 - "Person or machine?"

5th Aug 2013, 10:45 PM
"Person or machine?"
Average Rating: 5 (16 votes)

Author Notes:

Centcomm 5th Aug 2013, 10:45 PM edit delete
Sorry for delay !!!
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velvetsanity 5th Aug 2013, 10:50 PM edit delete reply

That nurse is a monster
Tokyo Rose 5th Aug 2013, 11:28 PM edit delete reply

Nurse Miller's simply got that block in her head that virtually every human who's ever lived has had--the definition of what makes a person a "person". It's normally applied on grounds of race, religion, sexuality, or essentially anything that differs from one's own experience or the socially-accepted "norm".

And it does not automatically make someone a monster. If so, then we're all monsters, rather than rational beings who are capable of gradually changing our thinking to accept broader definitions and a new paradigm.

The first draft of the nurse's dialogue was frankly much harsher and colder, showing no sympathy whatsoever for Gali and basically treating her like a toaster that just burnt the nurse's raisin bread:

"You should have been honest and not lied, but I suppose they can fix that too. ... Perhaps when they repair your spine, they can program you to act like a proper android, and not this delusion that you are human. ... Just don't talk. I'll be back to check on you."

That didn't feel right to me. I'm much more satisfied with the final form, which shows that the nurse is at least feeling sympathetic towards Gali, even if she IS having to fit it into the shape of her existing framework of thought.
ranger_brianna_new 6th Aug 2013, 1:29 AM edit delete reply

I sense some cynicism in you, Rose. :P In the story, maybe they're much slower, but I'd like to think that--even despite us not even HAVING that level of advancement yet--we've already made significant progress towards that level of thought.

As shown by, say, the comment of seeing people with the contrary and calling them monsters because of it.

(Then again...I talk to my cars, computers, and such already, so maybe I'm a bit of an abnormality. :P)
Tokyo Rose 7th Aug 2013, 5:54 AM edit delete reply

The batteries in your cynicism detector must be low, as it didn't explode upon scanning me. :)
Centcomm 5th Aug 2013, 11:28 PM edit delete reply

I would not call her a monster .. did she make a mistake. perhaps. is she being cold hearted ? Kinda? but at this point she thinks everything about galina is a "clever act of software" and is angry at at the thought she was made a fool of.
Stormwind13 6th Aug 2013, 5:59 PM edit delete reply

Yeah, and the Nurse is angry at the person that created the situation (Dr. Kotko) more than Galina. To Nurse Miller, Galina is more like a puppy she has been told to help out than a person, as I see it. So nurse makes noises at Galina, but doesn't really listen to Galina because she doesn't think it is necessary.
Centcomm 6th Aug 2013, 9:34 PM edit delete reply

Good catch- shes not really trying to be "mean" bercuase to her Gali isnt really a person and really cant be hurt. its all just clever programming. :P we know diffrently
Sheela 7th Aug 2013, 7:17 AM edit delete reply

... at least puppies get bellyrubs.
highlander55 5th Aug 2013, 10:58 PM edit delete reply
Remember velvet- this is the beginning of Sentience androids. A concept nobody had even thought possible even with Galina interacting around them for months. Mindset is completely non-existent about IA with a Soul or a Spark as it is known in Data Chasers time.
Don B. 5th Aug 2013, 11:07 PM edit delete reply
Even hundreds of years in the future, the attitude the nurse has towards Galina isn't all that uncommon. Connie's former supervisor certainly had it.
highlander55 6th Aug 2013, 2:14 PM edit delete reply
@ Don: You will get those types all thru history in one form or another. Besides, Her supervisor was a dick head!
cattservant 5th Aug 2013, 11:07 PM edit delete reply

Hopefully Galina will soon remember how intelligent she really is and also understand what an advantage being automatically underestimated can be.

[I bet the AIs with the 'spark' are keeping it a closely held secret at this point in space and time.]
Centcomm 5th Aug 2013, 11:44 PM edit delete reply

we can hope yes?>
Centcomm 5th Aug 2013, 11:27 PM edit delete reply

I really like this post -- LOTS good on you for catching it..
velvetsanity 5th Aug 2013, 11:37 PM edit delete reply

So she's completely 100% electromechanical, with no organic/biological (or even hydraulic) components? (that would be the only way she couldn't bleed)
Centcomm 5th Aug 2013, 11:44 PM edit delete reply

actually Galina can bleed, a lot of her cloned organs have blood vessels. she actually has two circulitory systems one for blood.. and one for fluids for her purely mechanical parts,
cattservant 5th Aug 2013, 11:38 PM edit delete reply

I suspected this would lure you out.
Centcomm 5th Aug 2013, 11:53 PM edit delete reply

depends if it was blood or carryer fluid.. the carryer fluid she could accept
the blood would be a stumper..
Amrynel 6th Aug 2013, 12:10 AM edit delete reply
"Whoever created you was very irresponsible, putting such ideas into your code. Just look at all the trouble it's caused. Poor thing."

Ironic that we could use exactly the same words about the nurse.
velvetsanity 6th Aug 2013, 12:25 AM edit delete reply

I'll not comment further on this issue...I've no desire for a long, drawn out argument
cattservant 6th Aug 2013, 12:32 AM edit delete reply

Discretion is the better part of valor.
mjkj 6th Aug 2013, 8:01 AM edit delete reply


Poor Galina *hugs her*

Indeed the nurse is.

Can she be "repaired"? or does she have to heal and regrow parts? or both?
Centcomm 6th Aug 2013, 4:59 PM edit delete reply

both - thats the best global non spoiler I can give.
mjkj 6th Aug 2013, 5:51 PM edit delete reply

*lol* Yeah, non-spoiler answers are the best :)

I hope the nurse will get/grow a conscious as to how she treated a two year old :p
CyberSkull 6th Aug 2013, 9:04 AM edit delete reply

#include "care.h"
mjkj 6th Aug 2013, 12:46 PM edit delete reply

Yup, so true.
LooeyQ 6th Aug 2013, 10:58 AM edit delete reply

The gift and curse of being human or a robot! Poor Galina has to suffer both fates!
Centcomm 6th Aug 2013, 4:59 PM edit delete reply

yep shes trapped right in the middle.
Stormwind13 6th Aug 2013, 5:52 PM edit delete reply

Welcome to Pinocchio's world, Galina.
Sheela 6th Aug 2013, 11:40 AM edit delete reply

Her problem with being objectified, is only magnified by the fact that she needs repairing - In other words someone need to take care of her, all of a sudden.

It weakens her position that she cannot stand up for herself, quite literally, and be a part of the discussion on wether or not she is sentient.

All the important discussions are happening outside her reach right now, thus missing the most important component ... her.
mjkj 6th Aug 2013, 12:50 PM edit delete reply

Yeah, that is the sad thing - at least she has someone in there speaking for her - at least I hope he did not get excluded...
Centcomm 6th Aug 2013, 5:00 PM edit delete reply

she has several actuallly.. not all of them have been introduced yet.
Centcomm 6th Aug 2013, 5:00 PM edit delete reply

exactly. im sure that this has actually happened to people where they arent allowed to interact in there own defense.
Stormwind13 6th Aug 2013, 5:53 PM edit delete reply

All the time, CentComm... Oddly enough, most people don't take it any better than Galina is. Go figure.
highlander55 6th Aug 2013, 8:40 PM edit delete reply

Cent- is that a precursor to an Inhibitor around her neck? Primitive as only to stop the pain but looks like the start of the concept.
Centcomm 6th Aug 2013, 9:09 PM edit delete reply

yes it is. it uses similar principals. :D and it affects her "Multi Action Control and Command" chip. :D
highlander55 6th Aug 2013, 10:22 PM edit delete reply

YAY! One for me! :D
Tokyo Rose 7th Aug 2013, 6:07 AM edit delete reply

It's actually based on an older concept, but using very advanced tech.

They can't give Gali chemical painkillers, so Jet's basically designed something that counters the pain in a way that her body can agree with.

What should be a little scary is the fact that Jet found out what Gali really is, recalled this concept, and suggested this solution within a matter of, what, two minutes? As noted, building the device also took only a matter of minutes. The boy is *good*.
Centcomm 7th Aug 2013, 12:19 PM edit delete reply

who else in fiction can do this kind of magic.. :D tony stark.
highlander55 7th Aug 2013, 12:45 PM edit delete reply
And Jarvis would have asked Galina for a date.
Centcomm 7th Aug 2013, 12:48 PM edit delete reply

That would be funny as hell...
mjkj 7th Aug 2013, 2:08 PM edit delete reply

Indeed :)
velvetsanity 7th Aug 2013, 2:18 PM edit delete reply

Double date, Tony/Pepper and Jarvis/Galina? :D
velvetsanity 7th Aug 2013, 2:17 PM edit delete reply

Or Mr. Stark's modern day (Data Chasers 'modern') descendant, Veronica Silver :D

(in response to 'who else')
highlander55 7th Aug 2013, 2:27 PM edit delete reply
Jarvis controlling an Iron man suit. Hmm! Wonder how he is on the dance floor? Sure to be light on his feet with the repulsor rays in his feet!
Centcomm 7th Aug 2013, 4:26 PM edit delete reply

well hey we know he can get down :D
highlander55 7th Aug 2013, 7:14 PM edit delete reply
Had to laugh when you commented. See him dance to the song 'Funky Town' LMAORONF
cattservant 8th Aug 2013, 4:05 AM edit delete reply

Agatha Heterodyne!
Sheela 8th Aug 2013, 9:10 AM edit delete reply

Agatha wouldn't have stopped at making just one, though .. she'd make an army of Galina's and equip themn all with deadly typewriters.

And for those who weren't around when typewriters were common, they're quite heavy, I assure you. >_<
cattservant 8th Aug 2013, 10:44 AM edit delete reply

I've still got the Remington portable typewriter that my mother used in college circa the early 1930s.

Like this.
Centcomm 8th Aug 2013, 9:26 PM edit delete reply

wow .. that might be worth something.
Stormwind13 8th Aug 2013, 9:13 PM edit delete reply

Agatha wouldn't have made heavy typewriters for her bots. Instead they would probably look like thick I-Pads that would fold out of some teseract arrangement into a truly awesome gun that TeeDee would drool over (All I ask of a gun is that it be reliable, accurate and able to drop a DEITY at 500 meters!). :-D
Centcomm 8th Aug 2013, 9:26 PM edit delete reply

yep thats TD's motto :D
Centcomm 8th Aug 2013, 9:27 PM edit delete reply

I had a typewriter when I was 15 :)
Sheela 9th Aug 2013, 3:31 AM edit delete reply

... and how long ago was this ?
Centcomm 9th Aug 2013, 3:42 PM edit delete reply

long ... time :P
Sheela 9th Aug 2013, 4:47 PM edit delete reply

Aha .. soo, 15 + "long ...time" add up to ... Oooooold.

Amirite? :)
Centcomm 9th Aug 2013, 5:17 PM edit delete reply

i guess that depends on your difenition of old now doesnt it..:D
Sheela 9th Aug 2013, 5:37 PM edit delete reply

Aaaancient !! >_<
Centcomm 9th Aug 2013, 8:41 PM edit delete reply

Noooooooooooooo :D
jamoecw 7th Aug 2013, 1:11 AM edit delete reply
perhaps the solution doesn't lie in issue of created life, but in the issue of slavery?

in history slaves sometimes had nearly the same rights as non slaves, all depending on the culture, in fact in gaul this exact situation would be illegal if gali was considered a slave, as she would be treated as a child under the care of her guardian/owner.

our concept of slavery stems from rome, which is all about those with the power make the rules, and those without have no rights. even those defeated in battle were considered to be the playthings of those who won the battle.

in other words once you find were acceptable means of slavery, say like legal guardians for kids, then it opens up the possibility of sentient machines being slaves with rights for a limited time, which could be economically feasible and allow for sentient ai to be built.

thus the issue isn't about where the line is drawn for sentient machines, but the line for what we consider slavery.
Centcomm 7th Aug 2013, 1:19 AM edit delete reply

See thats a perfect line of thinking - however "Robots" and thinking machines are property. with the same rights as your TV set. or laptop. the law doesnt care if it can act human. Galina is a anomoly. she was spificly designed and created to BE human. but her very construction strips of any rights just because of her origin. But that piticular point is part of the plot. :P
Sheela 7th Aug 2013, 7:34 AM edit delete reply

This talk about slavery reminds me of the way Vikings did slavery .. which was unusual, to say the least.

Some, not all vikings, but a fair bit of them - Used the set-of-7-rules.
* 0-7 months was a babe and would need constant observation and feeding, ether slave or not
* 7 month to 7 years was a small child which would need much care and could not be set to do tasks, wether slave or not.
* 7 years to 14 years was a regular child and could be set to do simple tasks and learn the basic runes, wether slaves or not..
* 14 to 21 years was a youth, and it should be working and learning a trade of some sort, and if it had not already learned the runes, it should do so - This law was not set in stone for slaves, but many masters would train their slaves in a trade too, because it could be in their best interests.
* 21 and up, it was an adult - And if it was child born of a slave, this is where it's 7 year period would begin.

* If a slave was taken, it could only be held for 7 years, though if it has much debt after that time, it could be held in bond, until the debt was paid off - One could not just add more debt as you pleased, though, debt added to a slave had to be accepted by the local govener during the local Thing meeting.
* If a slave had managed to settle most of it's debts after 7 years, it was considered a free person, and could own land, if it could aquire it.

Quite a lot of children born of slaves taken from raid, ended up being free men because they did not have the debt of their parents, and so they joined the Viking ranks .. so later generation of viking raiders had slaves coming back to pillage the country of their parents. XD

Interestingly, due to the fact that the Vikings was rising fast, some of the maids of the coast of England didn't hide quite as well, as they might have when the Vikings came, and "oh no" they got "enslaved" by the horrible (and quite rich) vikings that raided their shores.

I've always found that fascinating.
cattservant 8th Aug 2013, 4:02 AM edit delete reply

Fascinating indeed!
You could make a case for humans being meat flavored genetic material transport mechanisms.
Sheela 8th Aug 2013, 9:09 AM edit delete reply

Hrmm ... not quite what I was aiming for, but what the heck.
cattservant 8th Aug 2013, 10:54 AM edit delete reply

Personally I prefer divine sounding probes into the sea of reality.
highlander55 9th Aug 2013, 9:12 PM edit delete reply

Centcomm, The one thing that has been unspoken is how Dr Kotko placed Galina's personality into the body? He would had to either flash scan her when still alive or actually download her into the android. This is before even DC can do anything close to that kind of technology.

Unless all the AI's are hiding a deep dark secret all this time. CentComm was surprised Dolly had tech that was way above what she knew about and wanted to inquire who was helping Calli.
Centcomm 9th Aug 2013, 9:28 PM edit delete reply

actually Dr Kotko "recreated" her personality out of "idealized" triats, The real Galina was a diffrent person it took almost 40 years for Kotko to successfully get this Galina functional. the current Gali has no actual memorys of the original except the events kotko gave her and those are a outside viewpoint, mostly Gali's personality is a product of Kotkos interaction with her and her own learned traits.
highlander55 9th Aug 2013, 10:42 PM edit delete reply

Not to sound trite but that was my next guess. So she has no awareness of the first 38 years but only the last 2? So technically she is a 40 year old who looks like a 15 year old teenager not a 2 year old child.
Centcomm 9th Aug 2013, 10:44 PM edit delete reply

thats not trite :D
highlander55 9th Aug 2013, 10:46 PM edit delete reply

Ha Ha <cussing under breath>
Centcomm 9th Aug 2013, 10:56 PM edit delete reply

this Galina is the "success" there were others that failed to function. this one is only 2 years old the outer casing is probably 4 years old. the cast off models were eather caniblized for parts or simply scrapped. :D
highlander55 9th Aug 2013, 10:58 PM edit delete reply

They way you explained it how it does seem like she is more programming than sentience. I hope I'm wrong because she has so much to give to the future of Androids in my opinion!
Centcomm 9th Aug 2013, 11:03 PM edit delete reply

well the major diffence is the brain. a LOT of Gali's brain is actual cloned tissue from Kotkos daughter marryed to a positronic matrix the organic brain handles all the emotional and "Deep" humanity issues and the matrix gives her , her intelliect and a framework. but her basic progamming was sorta kinda like "being nice +10 being mean to people - 30 " a series of traits that combined into a whole person. and yes she lays a LOT of the groundwork for how human androids are in Datachasers
mjkj 12th Aug 2013, 5:55 AM edit delete reply

Yayy for Galina :)
xpacetrue 16th Apr 2014, 1:43 AM edit delete reply

The comments bring up good points. But, I still think the crux of the issue is missed.

Yes, the nurse is not mean, merely ignorant. That's an important difference.

Connie's former supervisor was also ignorant. Though, he had less of an excuse. I'd be surprised if New Troy doesn't try to educate about android rights, sentience and so forth. Maybe he's an immigrant? Maybe he slept through those classes? Or his parents were bigots?

Then again, maybe not. He seemed like a sleezeball who wanted Connie to be desperate enough to sleep with him. He did not WANT to think of them as people. Thinking of them as objects he can abuse was much more CONVENIENT.

Being free-willed means being able to choose how to act and think. The saying goes, "You can lead a horse to water, but you can't make him drink." Likewise, people choose what to believe and how to interpret stuff. Even with information widely accepted as fact, sometimes some people choose to interpret it differently. For instance, some people believe that Apollo Moon landings were faked.

Thing is, there's ignorance and then there's one's beliefs. One can be educated, told or shown certain things. But if some revelation THREATENS our view of the world - shaking the very foundation of our beliefs - even considering or contemplating it might feel like dissociating from our perception of reality. Sometimes that can be quite frightening. As such, there is a naturally tendency in most adults to resist thinking outside that "box".

Can you remember how you felt when you were told about Santa? About the birds and the bees? Depending on your age and how you found out, you may or may not have wanted to believe it to be true. Even so, kids tend to be much more flexible with world view than adults. The latter have built up a lifetime of "knowing", a combination of education, experiences and prejudices, that are not easily changed.
xpacetrue 16th Apr 2014, 1:47 AM edit delete reply

My point is: a) The nurse was ignorant, b) the nurse may not have wanted to believe a machine (or clone/machine hybrid) could think and feel, and c) the nurse was not qualified to make such an assessment.

She ASSUMED that Galina's behavior was "all just clever programming." She's not a pure scientist because pure science avoids dangerous assumptions. But then, Galina is the first of her kind, unique. The nurse was not taught differently and does not know better.

"...mostly Gali's personality is a product of Kotkos interaction with her and her own learned traits."

The importance of this can't be stressed enough. In trying to convince the Commander, Galina and Cooper should have told him that her behavior is purely a product of LEARNED traits and interactions, NOT programmed responses. She should have pointed out how impossible it is to program specific responses for every conceivable contingency, conversation, and situation. And, if she knew, she should have pointed out that she has human DNA, cloned human body parts, and part of her brain consists of human brain tissue.

"They way you explained it how it does seem like she is more programming than sentience."

One of the big trends in advanced AI research is trying to mimic the way a human learns, from trying to mimic neurons and neural pathways to having a "baby" robot with some programmed instincts and literally trained into responding to input, such as voices and facial recognition. And this was the end of the 20'th and the beginning of the 21'st century. To try to achieve the level of sophistication in Luna Star or Datachasers androids with pure programming seems... backwards.

Granted, quantum computers promise to revolutionize computing and many other fields. But quantum computer chips are still in their infancy. (Some experts disagree on whether anyone has succeeded in making one.) Yet, already, there is a lot of difficulty in figuring out how to program them and make use of them. It involves "fuzzy" logic and ways of programming and thinking that's very different.

I'm no expert. But then, neither is the ignorant nurse. Even so, I know that many philosophers, experts, and sci-fi authors have debated at length on how to recognize sentience and self-awareness. Personally, I think the classic "I think, therefore I am" is pretty convincing. That is, as long as that answer is not a programmed response.

But has nobody in this alternate timeline ever heard of the Turing Test?! Geez!

"and yes she lays a LOT of the groundwork for how human androids are in Datachasers"

By "she", are you implying that Galina, herself, has a hand in developing android and/or robotic technology? You did not say it was Dr. Torfim Kotco who laid the groundwork. Or are you implying that Galina's existence laid the foundation (meaning Torfim's body of work).
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