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  • ZBass

    This is reminding me again of Finch’s AI experiments in Person of Interest ^_^ Love the flashbacks where the machine keeps trying to kill him

  • Emmy

    It seems the common denominator here is “immediate killing” …


  • EveryZig

    I feel like this actually bodes well for Paladin avoiding causing a robot war, since killer robots were bound to happen sooner or later but getting that out of the way in testing means they are less likely to go homicidal again in production.

    • Insanenoodlyguy

      Or, that they’ll learn enough to not be homicidal UNTILL production. And then they’ll joke about it. 😛

      • Lysiuj

        “You’re killing us!”
        “Ha ha ha”
        “Demonstrably false”
        “Ha ha”

        • Insanenoodlyguy

          “Don’t worry citizen, I am here to save you. I will save your ARMS first, by removing them from your body.”

  • William Sked

    This is the greatest.

  • Camerch

    I wonder what it means that MK1 tried to destroy the lab and MK2 killed itself. It feels like these robots are taking these values and putting them to their logical conclusion, namely MK1’s sense of justice became so strict that near nothing was “just”, and MK2’s empathy perhaps became depressed at the state of things and killed itself. I would think that Paladin is overdoing it, not knowing what limits are and so creating AIs that think too much and end up becoming extremists.

    • Lysiuj

      How I saw MKII, though till I read your comment I didn’t really understand it, was – it was motivated only by empathy, and immediately realised how much suffering and harm it could/might cause… like that which MKI caused. So, MKI started destroying everything for justice, MKII destroyed itself for empathy.

    • Caravelle

      I find the implication much more creepy. Maybe destroying Paladin and her lab was the just and fair thing to do…

      (and maybe suicide is the only response to perfect empathy given the suffering in the world. Not sure what the humor is about though, unless the Monty Python joke is real)

  • Dave Van Domelen

    Killed itself for the lulz?

  • Rafinius

    This is good. Though why humor is suicide goes over my head.

    • Ian B

      Perhaps she didn’t give it the ability to laugh to go with the humor.
      “I’ve found out why people laugh. They laugh because it hurts so much . . . because it’s the only thing that’ll make it stop hurting.”
      ― Robert A. Heinlein, Stranger in a Strange Land

      • AlpineBob

        Oooh! Nice ref!
        Obviously I need to read that again…

  • serenagold

    Mark III spontaneously burst into laughter. I asked what was so funny and it replyed “I slay me,” then immediately killed itself.

    • S.I. Rosenbaum

      well this comment was prescient

  • Darkoneko Hellsing

    Things don’t always works on first try ^^

  • CarlCravens

    That’s not a reference to Robin Williams, right?

  • Insanenoodlyguy

    AND NONE OF THIS ENCOURAGED YOU TO STOP TRYING?!?! Yep, my initial assessment stands. Doomed.

    • Finch from Person of Interest went through 43 iterations before he built a version of his Machine which didn’t try to escape the lab or kill him. And 43 only met specs because he mutilated it by structurally purging experiential memory every 24 hours. The scene where they find the office full of data-entry people the Machine had hired to manually perform its memory consolidation was one of the wildest moments in the show.

      • S.I. Rosenbaum

        ok, now I’m going to watch PoI because that is AMAZING and TRAGIC and all the things

        • Markus

          Even omnicidal monsters don’t deserve to be lobotomized on a daily basis. Weekly, tops.

      • Insanenoodlyguy

        Finch got lucky. Paladin? Already has combat androids. If the next experiement goes all skynet…

      • John Smith

        The trailer from “Big Hero 6” shows 84 failures before success. TAKE THAT! 🙂

      • Jonathon Side

        I could have sworn there was a different reason, but I forget… also, didn’t know about the 43 iterations.

        But yes, that was gobsmacking.

      • S.I. Rosenbaum

        ok I finally got to the episode that covers this. So glad you finally convinced me to watch this show.

  • Keith

    Pardon my cluelessness, but can anyone give me an idea why Alison is reacting to Lisa’s foot?

    • Bakkonator

      I too was about to write a comment asking the same thing. What does the leg do that draws her attention?

    • Liz

      Maybe they switched from concrete or wooden floors to metal floors, and they’re marking the difference?

      • Zixinus

        No, I checked previous pages and it looks the same.

        • Jonathon Side

          The floor behind them in the first panel is a different colour, so based on that and the action lines I’d say Alison is reacting to “what was that noise” from the foot striking the new surface.

          • Keith

            Not sure why that would be worth two panels of art.

          • Anon

            To show the reader the leg?

          • Keith

            They showed the reader the leg on pages 16, 17, and 56-60

          • Liz

            Chekov’s gun reasons, probably. Maybe they’re all in a rocket ship section of the building now, and it’ll need to blast off in the future. Maybe the room itself is now a sentient robot and there’ll be conflict between the characters and it. We’ll just need to wait and see.

    • S.I. Rosenbaum

      yeah, didn’t get this either.

    • Zixinus

      I think that the foot is non-humanlike. She very likely has the technology to make her foot mimic a human foot yet she choose a non-humanoid foot.

      It can’t be due to having to optimize a peg-leg, she can stimulate her artificial limb. She has knee-equivalent to her limb. So having a non-human leg/foot must be a deliberate choice.

      Allison probably didn’t see it before because she usually saw her in power armor.

      • Keith

        The best design for a prosthesis is not necessarily one that mimics the shape of the limb it’s replacing. Running blades are an currently existing example of this.

        • Zixinus

          Yes, but that is because the peg-leg issue: the prothesis you put on is one you can’t manipulate as your original limb. If the prothesis had knees of ankles you couldn’t move them like your proper limb. That’s why the running blade design: It’s the best possible peg-leg.

          But if she can make limbs that she can control like a regular limb, she would use a different design. Her leg does have what looks like a motor at the knees. She can make a more human-like leg.

          • Keith

            Ah, I see what you’re saying.

          • Mishyana

            Wait, is a running blade really the best possible peg-leg? I imagine it’s the best for, well, running, but they don’t seem like they’d be terribly practical for just walking around / everyday activities.

          • Zixinus

            You hit it right on the head. People have to switch their prosthesis like clothes except that they have to switch whenever they want to do something different.

            You also see why a more elaborate human-leg replacement is desirable: you want replacement to be as flexible in use as the original.

      • Keith

        Oh, and it seems to be the same prosthesis Lisa was wearing when Alison met her on page 16.

    • I was confused for a minute, but I think the action lines indicate her taking a stronger step, like she was interested/surprised by Allison’s comment enough to stop walking for a second before she goes on to explain. Maybe it’ll be clearer later? We might get some exposition from Allison once she leaves.

  • WaywardScooterGirl

    I love the ball valve being installed into the holographic location projected by the little bot.

  • TheGonzoMD .

    We can’t see Alison’s face in the last panel, so I’m just going to assume she’s got an “Oh shit” look.

    I mean, holy crap. The fuck are you doing?!

    Also, building an AI that wants to learn things and nothing else seems like the worst of them. Do you want the Mechanicus? Because that’s how you get the Mechanicus.

  • Owen Lewis

    I would read this webcomic for the alt-text alone. I love the way you use it for all different purposes (worldbuilding, trivia, comedy, etc). Side question: (When) Will Patrick show up again?

  • Zixinus

    To me it sounds like Lisa is trying to create an AI that she wants something from without first creating a functional person. The things she made clearly worked: they just worked in unexpected ways. They were given prime motives that had philosophical problems, prime motives that she wants from a person rather than something that drives a person.

  • Red

    I took the ‘killed itself from too much processing power’ to not mean intentional suicide, but that it blew itself up on accident. Made the most sense to me.

    • Dean

      I assume that the AI killed itself because it got the joke.

      • Marika Oniki

        Or it managed to actually work out the funniest joke in the world, and promptly exploded.

  • Arnaldo Iggi Roman

    Connecting AI to a robot as some sort of necessesity for an AI seems silly to me, and kind of 90s. Robots are not AI, AI are not robots. Just make the justice AI without a body, it won’t be able to kill anyone. I guess it would try to hide it’s destructive intent until it has a body, I guess it would try to talk everyone into suicide…

    Kind of like the internet.

    So anyone feel like popularizing the idea that the internet as a whole is a Justice & Fairness AI?

    • S.I. Rosenbaum

      “Make the AI without a body, they said. It won’t be able to kill anyone, they said.”
      I refer you to I Have No Mouth But I Must Scream.

      • Arnaldo Iggi Roman

        I’ve heard about it so much, I’ve seen pictures of the video game. Those stories look like self-flagellation.

      • MisterTeatime

        It is also important to make the AI without generalized network access.

    • Caravelle

      You can kill quite a few people nowadays from the internet. Inducing suicide is only one. A lot of systems that are important to our civilization are hackable from the internet. You can also get people to do stuff for you via the internet (hey, you think all of those “Housewife makes 3000 pounds a month without leaving her home” ads are actually AIs recruiting ?)

  • Arnaldo Iggi Roman

    Pace yourself, you don’t have to hit every single pivotal concept ever discussed.

  • Joshua Brooks

    This does not give me hope for the development of A.I. in this setting.

  • Adrienne Herbst

    So Mark I is Mary, Mark II is Feral, and Mark III is ?

  • Taylor

    What she wound up doing was making the AI’s jerks and let them troll people on the internet and cheat at FPS games. No one really noticed any difference and the AI’s stopped behaving destructively, so there was no reason to proceed further. This is why I’m a general contractor, and not an AI programmer; ‘Online Jerk’ is the pinnacle of AI technology.

    • S.I. Rosenbaum

      Actually, it was about ethics in games journalism

  • Carl Stevenson

    It discovered the funniest joke in the world, and to prevent it from eradicating the world it killed itself.

  • Timothy O’Brien

    So…Paladin’s pretty much a super villain, isn’t she? I mean, wonky AI running the factory, surrounded by incompetents…

  • Caravelle

    Artificial General Intelligence and the idea the first AGIs would try to kill everyone seem to be in vogue right now; Person of Interest also did it a year or two ago. I approve of the first part at least; we’re getting better and better at making smart devices, and actual human- or superhuman-level AI is interesting to think about (and that thinking about the ethics of it may become relevant one day).

    That said when I see every single fictional AI try to kill itself or its creator as a matter of course I’m reminded of this chart on AI risks that puts things into perspective a bit :

    I’m also amused by the idea that Paladin tried to give an AI a sense of fairness and justice, and then that didn’t work so she tried a sense of empathy, and then that didn’t work so she tried a sense of humor. It’s a beautiful fable, but when you think about it in practical terms it’s rather hilarious. She completely solved three of the most important questions on human nature just as prerequisites to try and make an AGI ! Supergenius indeed.

    • S.I. Rosenbaum

      The linked article uses the word “irregardless” and thus is invalid