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  1. - Top - End - #61
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    Default Re: Questionable Content XV: I HAVE MORE QUESTIONS! I Told You This Thread Was Weird

    On the other hand, go Roko! May's attitude that everything is just inherently about her problem no matter what gets old.
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    Default Re: Questionable Content XV: I HAVE MORE QUESTIONS! I Told You This Thread Was Weird

    Quote Originally Posted by Wraith View Post
    The yellow fembot that she was talking to in the shop said that she went through a couple of bodies before she found one that was comfortable, maybe the two of them could spot for each other and see who can be 'lucky' enough to try out more new bodies until they're both happy?
    TBH, I'm surprised Roko didn't try out multiple ones or try to arrange a "if I'm not happy with this one in a week or two I can return it" deal. I know she kinda was in shock at that point, but she was agreeing to buy the deluxe buttstamp version without ever having testdriven any of them. Maybe one of the less fancy ones would actually have been more to her liking.
    Last edited by Morquard; 2019-06-11 at 12:11 AM.

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    Default Re: Questionable Content XV: I HAVE MORE QUESTIONS! I Told You This Thread Was Weird

    Thank you Roko.

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    Default Re: Questionable Content XV: I HAVE MORE QUESTIONS! I Told You This Thread Was Weird

    Alas, if at least it were a Scottish accent, maybe it'd be worth paying for...
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    After reading the Dominic Deagen forum threads, can you really accuse me of bashing? Read it again. That is the kind of thing that is pure venom. They don't even take it seriously anymore. It's just done for fun.

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    Default Re: Questionable Content XV: I HAVE MORE QUESTIONS! I Told You This Thread Was Weird

    Quote Originally Posted by Morquard View Post
    TBH, I'm surprised Roko didn't try out multiple ones or try to arrange a "if I'm not happy with this one in a week or two I can return it" deal. I know she kinda was in shock at that point, but she was agreeing to buy the deluxe buttstamp version without ever having testdriven any of them. Maybe one of the less fancy ones would actually have been more to her liking.
    Its doubtful it would have mattered. It wasnt HER body. She wasnt having problems because it wasnt perfect, or it had screwy options she didnt like. It wasnt her body and she is very attached to it, so switching was always going to cause this issue.
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  6. - Top - End - #66
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    Default Re: Questionable Content XV: I HAVE MORE QUESTIONS! I Told You This Thread Was Weird

    Quote Originally Posted by Traab View Post
    Its doubtful it would have mattered. It wasnt HER body. She wasnt having problems because it wasnt perfect, or it had screwy options she didnt like. It wasnt her body and she is very attached to it, so switching was always going to cause this issue.
    This is pretty much what I was going to respond with. There isn't anything "wrong" with Roko's new body, the problem is entirely down to her psychological trauma of losing her old one and being forced to adjust to a new one.

    It's possible that she might try a new body and immediately slip comfortably into it without problems, but it could also be something that she has to adjust to over time. There's likely some period where she has to at least try to get used to it first, before it's deemed a writ-off and they try a new one.

    Or so one would imagine. Maybe used chassis' can't be returned, like underwear or swimming costumes due to the squick factor of wearing someone else's face? Especially ones with personalised, monogrammed butt-stamps...
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    Default Re: Questionable Content XV: I HAVE MORE QUESTIONS! I Told You This Thread Was Weird

    Quote Originally Posted by Wraith View Post
    Or so one would imagine. Maybe used chassis' can't be returned, like underwear or swimming costumes due to the squick factor of wearing someone else's face? Especially ones with personalised, monogrammed butt-stamps...
    I was pretty sure that the butt stamp was a poke at Apple, and thus not personalised at all, just a brand mark from a company that makes expensive products.
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    Default Re: Questionable Content XV: I HAVE MORE QUESTIONS! I Told You This Thread Was Weird

    We went from robotic sci fi to romantic sitcom drama to "Cycle of Poverty" socio economic criticism of the American system.

    Talk about whiplash.

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    Default Re: Questionable Content XV: I HAVE MORE QUESTIONS! I Told You This Thread Was Weird

    Ah, I missed the impact of an anvil falling on my head.
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    Default Re: Questionable Content XV: I HAVE MORE QUESTIONS! I Told You This Thread Was Weird

    Quote Originally Posted by Yana View Post
    Ah, I missed the impact of an anvil falling on my head.
    Rain drops anvils keep falling on my, keep falling on my head...
    It is one thing to suspend your disbelief. It is another thing entirely to hang it by the neck until dead.

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    Default Re: Questionable Content XV: I HAVE MORE QUESTIONS! I Told You This Thread Was Weird

    I don't know what you're talking about, this is clearly entirely robo specific and has no possible relation to real world situations...

    On another note, why does Roko turn away from May to talk to her? Why is she facing the audience instead of the person she's talking to? And this is not any desire to see ro-butts, but it just feels weird. Or is ir artistic laziness because drawing her front is easier?
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    Default Re: Questionable Content XV: I HAVE MORE QUESTIONS! I Told You This Thread Was Weird

    Quote Originally Posted by Kato View Post
    I don't know what you're talking about, this is clearly entirely robo specific and has no possible relation to real world situations...
    Well, considered seriously, it ought to be rather different for robots than for humans. May's situation is much more analogous to having a crummy old car that costs so much on maintenance that you can't afford to buy a new car that wouldn't have this problem than anything else. A modest one-time windfall (or possibly a low-interest loan) should be sufficient to break the cycle. An AI who's only required input demands are maintenance and charging power (especially when charging power has been shown to be an essentially negligible expense in this universe, maybe they have orbital solar plants) is operating in a much more simplified system compared to messy organics.

    I mean, technically May could be de-embodied entirely and exist within a server somewhere, that's how she existed before she engaged in her truly massive act of felony theft. She probably wouldn't be able to earn any money in that circumstance, because no one will trust her to do any data processing or any of the other digital jobs she's actually equipped to perform (I don't believe it has ever been established what May was initially designed to do), but that option opens up pathways not available to an organic organism.
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    Default Re: Questionable Content XV: I HAVE MORE QUESTIONS! I Told You This Thread Was Weird

    Quote Originally Posted by Mechalich View Post
    I mean, technically May could be de-embodied entirely and exist within a server somewhere, that's how she existed before she engaged in her truly massive act of felony theft. She probably wouldn't be able to earn any money in that circumstance, because no one will trust her to do any data processing or any of the other digital jobs she's actually equipped to perform (I don't believe it has ever been established what May was initially designed to do), but that option opens up pathways not available to an organic organism.
    Interesting point. May was a server-based entity, broke the law, sent to cloud-prison, did her time in a VR cell and was then decanted into a crappy IRL body.

    Why?
    The scene with Roko in the bodyshop shows us that AI's can exist within a fully realised virtual world, and do so indefinitely. Why go to the expense of issuing an ex-con with a new body, no matter how cheap and crap it is, when it'd surely be cheaper to NOT buy them a body and send them back to a server where they can still be monitored by other AIs?

    There's probably a handwave regarding the claustrophobia that May developed while in robo-prison; she's affected so acutely that she can't even stand to be 'inside' a server, which I can understand.
    That does, however, raise the question of why the prison service would be so interested in the opinion of an ex-con that they would feel compelled to "treat" that condition for free (albeit, badly). Or why, if May was so adversely affected by her incarceration, that she qualifies for a free body but not counselling, disability benefit or some kind of lawsuit due to being psychologically traumatised by the situation.

    I suppose the first two can be answered with the phrase "American healthcare providers", but as bad as prison is for anyone you're not supposed to come out with a life-altering psychological trauma and there be no retort. Ex-cons might not be respected, but they're still eligible to sue people/institutions who have wronged them.
    Last edited by Wraith; 2019-06-12 at 02:38 AM.
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    Default Re: Questionable Content XV: I HAVE MORE QUESTIONS! I Told You This Thread Was Weird

    Maybe the question is not whether or not May has an automatic right to a body in physical space, but whether she has a right to hang out on a server. After all, May committed her crime as a server-based intelligence, and since an AI is so well suited to be a master hacker, AI criminals could be considered a bigger threat in the digital realm than the physical one.

    May herself doesn't want to go back to a server, but perhaps her parole conditions wouldn't allow her back if she did. If the government insists that newly released AI ex-cons stay in meat-space for a time, then it makes sense that they have to give them a body, albeit a crappy one.
    Last edited by mucat; 2019-06-12 at 03:21 AM.

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    Default Re: Questionable Content XV: I HAVE MORE QUESTIONS! I Told You This Thread Was Weird

    Quote Originally Posted by Wraith View Post
    I suppose the first two can be answered with the phrase "American healthcare providers", but as bad as prison is for anyone you're not supposed to come out with a life-altering psychological trauma and there be no retort. Ex-cons might not be respected, but they're still eligible to sue people/institutions who have wronged them.
    I would answer this in more detail, but I think that would run full-on into politics. Suffice to say that this happens all the time in real-life America, with no recourse. And that's all I'm gonna say about it.

    Damnit Jeph, get back to the wacky antics.

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    Default Re: Questionable Content XV: I HAVE MORE QUESTIONS! I Told You This Thread Was Weird

    Quote Originally Posted by mucat View Post
    Maybe the question is not whether or not May has an automatic right to a body in physical space, but whether she has a right to hang out on a server..
    That's a really neat idea - May being forced to hang out with Dale as his VR buddy was part of her community service requirements, so maybe spending time in Meat World is part of her rehab?

    It makes sense. May being a server-based AI with a bad attitude is the definition of the Greater Internet F***-wad Theory, and she was born to literally be an "Internet Tough Guy". Nothing teaches you to curb impulsive behaviour like having to keep in mind the possibility of someone like Bubbles tearing your actual face off and squishing you into a small cube if you insult them in person.

    Does raise some ethical issues, though. AI's are "born" on a server and grow up in a cloud, kicking an AI out of that environment as punishment would be like punishing me by strapping me into a chair and forcing me to exist in a VR suite until I proved that I was able to behave myself.

    Quote Originally Posted by Rodin
    I would answer this in more detail, but I think that would run full-on into politics. Suffice to say that this happens all the time in real-life America, with no recourse. And that's all I'm gonna say about it.
    Heh, yeah, I saw that line rapidly approaching too. Let's leave it by recognising the yawning void between what "should" happen and what "does" happen, and then continue to hope that May mentions her recent sexcapades to Roko who turns out to be less judgemental/more enthusiastic than Momo.
    Last edited by Wraith; 2019-06-12 at 05:42 AM.
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    Default Re: Questionable Content XV: I HAVE MORE QUESTIONS! I Told You This Thread Was Weird

    Im going with her body is designed to not allow her to casually upload to the internet. Basically one of those restraining orders "Your programming must stay at least 500 feet away from cyberspace at all times." HAVE we ever seen her doing anything with the internet or otherwise looking like she has hooked herself into cyberspace in some way since she went corporeal?
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    Default Re: Questionable Content XV: I HAVE MORE QUESTIONS! I Told You This Thread Was Weird

    I don't think there's going to be any sort of revelation that the situation is other than as Roko just described it. No restraining orders, nothing more complicated than "the convict gets stuck in a cheap body."
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Giant View Post
    This, in a nutshell.
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    Default Re: Questionable Content XV: I HAVE MORE QUESTIONS! I Told You This Thread Was Weird

    Quote Originally Posted by Traab View Post
    Im going with her body is designed to not allow her to casually upload to the internet. Basically one of those restraining orders "Your programming must stay at least 500 feet away from cyberspace at all times." HAVE we ever seen her doing anything with the internet or otherwise looking like she has hooked herself into cyberspace in some way since she went corporeal?
    There was the one time where she had a conversation with Momo in their heads. It had something to do with Dale and Marigold of course, but can't find it right now.

    Edit: and 30 seconds later, I got it: Clicky me

    Edit 2: And the very comic before that she said "I googled it" so it seems reasonable she has at least access to the internet.
    Last edited by Morquard; 2019-06-12 at 07:31 AM.

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    Default Re: Questionable Content XV: I HAVE MORE QUESTIONS! I Told You This Thread Was Weird

    Quote Originally Posted by Morquard View Post
    There was the one time where she had a conversation with Momo in their heads. It had something to do with Dale and Marigold of course, but can't find it right now.

    Edit: and 30 seconds later, I got it: Clicky me

    Edit 2: And the very comic before that she said "I googled it" so it seems reasonable she has at least access to the internet.
    And afterwards they are IMing each other again so yeah, guess thats not it. Maybe its sort of like an address at a halfway home? The parole officer needs to keep tabs on her, so they provide her with a basic body they can keep track of sort of like how they need to know where we meatspace folks live.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nerd-o-rama View Post
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    Default Re: Questionable Content XV: I HAVE MORE QUESTIONS! I Told You This Thread Was Weird

    Quote Originally Posted by Traab View Post
    HAVE we ever seen her doing anything with the internet or otherwise looking like she has hooked herself into cyberspace in some way since she went corporeal?
    She has stated that using a laptop to watch horrible YouTube videos is "more real" than watching it on the browser inside her head. Possibly that is a cover story for what might actually be a heavily limited and monitored internal browser, because she's not allowed "full access" and only has the AI equivalent of AIM and Windows Explorer in her brain?

    The human equivalent might be something like if you have your driving license revoked, so to get about you have to a hire a taxi no matter how ramshackle and badly maintained it might be
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mechalich View Post
    Well, considered seriously, it ought to be rather different for robots than for humans. May's situation is much more analogous to having a crummy old car that costs so much on maintenance that you can't afford to buy a new car that wouldn't have this problem than anything else. A modest one-time windfall (or possibly a low-interest loan) should be sufficient to break the cycle. An AI who's only required input demands are maintenance and charging power (especially when charging power has been shown to be an essentially negligible expense in this universe, maybe they have orbital solar plants) is operating in a much more simplified system compared to messy organics.
    That was my line of thinking. The term "cycle of poverty" tends to revolve around issues that are much more interlocking and much more chronic than what May is facing. I'm not entirely sure why the author persists in using robots as an allegory for social issues when he is perfectly free to just talk about the social issues directly. It's not as though the robots, bizarrely anthropomorphic as they are, make his treatment of matters significantly more subtle, and where there are differences between robots and humans, they tend to get in the way of his point.

    Quote Originally Posted by Traab View Post
    Im going with her body is designed to not allow her to casually upload to the internet. Basically one of those restraining orders "Your programming must stay at least 500 feet away from cyberspace at all times." HAVE we ever seen her doing anything with the internet or otherwise looking like she has hooked herself into cyberspace in some way since she went corporeal?
    She apparently "does not" have access to a private streaming server on which illegal fights can be viewed.

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    Default Re: Questionable Content XV: I HAVE MORE QUESTIONS! I Told You This Thread Was Weird

    Quote Originally Posted by VoxRationis View Post
    I'm not entirely sure why the author persists in using robots as an allegory for social issues when he is perfectly free to just talk about the social issues directly. It's not as though the robots, bizarrely anthropomorphic as they are, make his treatment of matters significantly more subtle, and where there are differences between robots and humans, they tend to get in the way of his point.
    Though in this case, the only character he has that is an ex-felon happens to be a robot.
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    Quote Originally Posted by VoxRationis View Post
    That was my line of thinking. The term "cycle of poverty" tends to revolve around issues that are much more interlocking and much more chronic than what May is facing. I'm not entirely sure why the author persists in using robots as an allegory for social issues when he is perfectly free to just talk about the social issues directly. It's not as though the robots, bizarrely anthropomorphic as they are, make his treatment of matters significantly more subtle, and where there are differences between robots and humans, they tend to get in the way of his point.
    In this specific case, it almost doesn't. The character is an ex-con, and is having trouble getting along with the constraints we put on ex cons. That she is a robot ex-con is only minorly relevant.

    As to using allegories, it is a time-honored tradition. Barnyard animals instead of turn of the century Russia in Animal Farm, mutants instead of minorities in the X-Men, Space Hippies instead of, um, hippies in Star Trek (okay, this one was pretty stupid). I'm not sure why the allegories are the problem with this comic. Jeph, as a whole, is a lot better at slice-of-life sitcom/soap-opera shenanigans than he is at social commentary, and these 'very special episode' storylines definitely trend below the overall average for the strip, but I never thought it was the robots as allegory part that was the problem.

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    Default Re: Questionable Content XV: I HAVE MORE QUESTIONS! I Told You This Thread Was Weird

    The AIs in QC have already been used as an allegory for racism, and he's bordered on using transhumanism as a stand-in for transgenderism - that they're robots is irrelevant, they're just a fakey make-up social group that he can show being exploited without referring directly to real-world social or racial groups.

    As stand-up a guy as Jeph is, I sometimes wonder if he is bowing to pressure from critics in his forums and twitter feed. He clearly wants to do social commentary, but some people already complain about characters like Claire being in the comic, and though I don't blame him for not wanting to deal with the "fallout" of having an arc focused solely on her issues and tribulations it's pretty much unavoidable if social commentary is his goal.
    "Watering it down" by pretending its happening to a fictional species who don't really exist, or disguising it with metaphor or inadequately planned Very Special Episodes, saves him some headaches from trolls but means he's not really tackling the subject properly and I think that's having an effect on the quality of the comics.
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    Default Re: Questionable Content XV: I HAVE MORE QUESTIONS! I Told You This Thread Was Weird

    Quote Originally Posted by Willie the Duck View Post
    In this specific case, it almost doesn't. The character is an ex-con, and is having trouble getting along with the constraints we put on ex cons. That she is a robot ex-con is only minorly relevant.

    As to using allegories, it is a time-honored tradition. Barnyard animals instead of turn of the century Russia in Animal Farm, mutants instead of minorities in the X-Men, Space Hippies instead of, um, hippies in Star Trek (okay, this one was pretty stupid). I'm not sure why the allegories are the problem with this comic. Jeph, as a whole, is a lot better at slice-of-life sitcom/soap-opera shenanigans than he is at social commentary, and these 'very special episode' storylines definitely trend below the overall average for the strip, but I never thought it was the robots as allegory part that was the problem.
    The thing about allegories is that, unless the allegory is explicit - like in animal farm - the actual in-universe circumstances can massively undercut the allegory. X-men has long had this problem as well. Being gay doesn't give you the power to kill millions with your mind like Professor X can. If you don't set up your allegory correctly you get a (TVTropes warning) BrokenAesop or AnalogyBackfire

    Note that Jeph is at least somewhat aware of this, as he understood the differences between an illegal robot fighting ring - in which due to the technologies involved no one could actually suffer any long-term damage - and an illegal human fighting ring - in which people suffer and die. Unfortunately, because the comic has not considered its robot world-building circumstances in detail - which is fine on its own - and storyline where the world-building that surrounds the robots and AIs would come into play in depth tends to suffer for it.
    Last edited by Mechalich; 2019-06-12 at 06:46 PM.
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    Default Re: Questionable Content XV: I HAVE MORE QUESTIONS! I Told You This Thread Was Weird

    I think the goal is, by using a stand in it makes things 1 step removed and feel less like a personal attack or whatever. Using xmen as an allegory for minorities helps avoid said minorities complaining about how they are represented to an extent. "Hey, we (insert minority group here) arent like that!" Instead its mutants
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    Default Re: Questionable Content XV: I HAVE MORE QUESTIONS! I Told You This Thread Was Weird

    Quote Originally Posted by Mechalich View Post
    The thing about allegories is that, unless the allegory is explicit - like in animal farm - the actual in-universe circumstances can massively undercut the allegory. X-men has long had this problem as well. Being gay doesn't give you the power to kill millions with your mind like Professor X can. If you don't set up your allegory correctly you get a (TVTropes warning) BrokenAesop or AnalogyBcakfire

    Note that Jeph is at least somewhat aware of this, as he understood the differences between an illegal robot fighting ring - in which due to the technologies involved no one could actually suffer any long-term damage - and an illegal human fighting ring - in which people suffer and die. Unfortunately, because the comic has not considered its robot world-building circumstances in detail - which is fine on its own - and storyline where the world-building that surrounds the robots and AIs would come into play in depth tends to suffer for it.
    I wonder if the Analogy Backfire picture will be Marched on by Technology if someone discovers biological immortality or we hit actuarial escape velocity. Although, I suppose at that point it would just be an Analogy?
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    Default Re: Questionable Content XV: I HAVE MORE QUESTIONS! I Told You This Thread Was Weird

    Quote Originally Posted by Lamech View Post
    I wonder if the Analogy Backfire picture will be Marched on by Technology if someone discovers biological immortality or we hit actuarial escape velocity. Although, I suppose at that point it would just be an Analogy?
    There already is speculative fiction that goes into these issues - Schlock Mercenary is actually all over this space lately - and it's been a major region of speculative science fiction for the past couple of decades in the works of many authors, but that sort of speculation is usually, if it knows what its doing, careful to recognize the relevant changes in context and not to make one-to-one comparisons to the present day. QC has, unfortunately, regularly stumbled in this regard because Jeph seems to be intent on presenting a world that is just like ours except for various weirdness.

    The thing is, at the start of the comic the weirdness was limited almost entirely to AnthroPCs, which were themselves relegated to wacky comic relief and the characters were recognizably twenty-somethings living in a world that was essentially our own except that computers sometimes make snarky comments. However, over time the comic accreted more and more elements from speculative fiction while at the same time refusing to adjust the lives of characters in any significant way to adapt to said technological changes - though notably the world did change to acknowledge real world tech changes like advances in cell phone technology or the existence of 'internet hookups' - and at some point it stopped being just a matter of quirky window dressing and became a source of major incoherencies.

    This sort of thing is not uncommon with long-running works at all, and it's actually a sign of the comic's overall quality that it's able to still have good plot arcs amid all the weirdness, and even that sometime arcs centered on said weirdness - like the time Martin and Marigold went to space(!) - are fun and funny, but when it comes to centering arcs on the robotic characters Jeph's forced to try and build atop a faulty foundation and it doesn't really work.

    In all honesty, I think there's an argument for an overall reboot. It's hard enough to sustain a story set in the 'modern world' over an almost twenty-year period without bringing in futuristic elements, at some point the temporal mismatches between in-universe time and real world events open up cracks in the plot - QC is essentially a sitcom, and plenty of sitcoms have this problem. Obviously there are very legitimate economic reasons why Jeph would not do this, so I get why things continue, but without some sort of drastic in-universe event to re-align things (like that time Marvel killed off all the mutants), the problem is only going to grow worse.
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    Default Re: Questionable Content XV: I HAVE MORE QUESTIONS! I Told You This Thread Was Weird

    Quote Originally Posted by Mechalich View Post
    There already is speculative fiction that goes into these issues - Schlock Mercenary is actually all over this space lately - and it's been a major region of speculative science fiction for the past couple of decades in the works of many authors, but that sort of speculation is usually, if it knows what its doing, careful to recognize the relevant changes in context and not to make one-to-one comparisons to the present day. QC has, unfortunately, regularly stumbled in this regard because Jeph seems to be intent on presenting a world that is just like ours except for various weirdness.

    The thing is, at the start of the comic the weirdness was limited almost entirely to AnthroPCs, which were themselves relegated to wacky comic relief and the characters were recognizably twenty-somethings living in a world that was essentially our own except that computers sometimes make snarky comments. However, over time the comic accreted more and more elements from speculative fiction while at the same time refusing to adjust the lives of characters in any significant way to adapt to said technological changes - though notably the world did change to acknowledge real world tech changes like advances in cell phone technology or the existence of 'internet hookups' - and at some point it stopped being just a matter of quirky window dressing and became a source of major incoherencies.

    This sort of thing is not uncommon with long-running works at all, and it's actually a sign of the comic's overall quality that it's able to still have good plot arcs amid all the weirdness, and even that sometime arcs centered on said weirdness - like the time Martin and Marigold went to space(!) - are fun and funny, but when it comes to centering arcs on the robotic characters Jeph's forced to try and build atop a faulty foundation and it doesn't really work.

    In all honesty, I think there's an argument for an overall reboot. It's hard enough to sustain a story set in the 'modern world' over an almost twenty-year period without bringing in futuristic elements, at some point the temporal mismatches between in-universe time and real world events open up cracks in the plot - QC is essentially a sitcom, and plenty of sitcoms have this problem. Obviously there are very legitimate economic reasons why Jeph would not do this, so I get why things continue, but without some sort of drastic in-universe event to re-align things (like that time Marvel killed off all the mutants), the problem is only going to grow worse.

    Given my own view of the "singularity" as the rapture for nerds, I actually have to appreciate that in QC-verse, "the singularity happened", and it amounted to a wet squib, the cultural equivalent of a sad trombone noise, and nothing much has changed.
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