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In the OTU In the Official Traveller Universe. Any milieux that's been published in any edition. Not for discussion of rules except in reference to how they reflect the OTU

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  #11  
Old February 1st, 2018, 10:30 AM
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Originally Posted by Reban View Post

We probably don't have enough information to define that niche, but that doesn't stop us speculating. And synthetic and android characters in the wider sci-fi world are good material to use.

Actually there's more than I remembered:

- They are Manufactured (therefore they are a product?)

- They come in two varieties: Batch and Premium

- They are Marked to show they are synthetic

- They have inbuilt Controls that make them dependent

- They cannot Reproduce


All that language leans more to them being a product and a thing rather than something that has sophont-rights. On the other hand they are so hard to tell from sophonts or the original biological pattern that it would be a very strange (repulsive to me) society that did not give them some right, if alone to guard the dignity of the sophont they are patterned on.
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Old February 1st, 2018, 10:55 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Reban View Post
All that language leans more to them being a product and a thing rather than something that has sophont-rights. On the other hand they are so hard to tell from sophonts or the original biological pattern that it would be a very strange (repulsive to me) society that did not give them some right, if alone to guard the dignity of the sophont they are patterned on.
Yeah, that's where I landed, too -- the adventure hooks really just write themselves.
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Old February 1st, 2018, 02:50 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Reban View Post
Actually there's more than I remembered:

- They are Manufactured (therefore they are a product?)

- They come in two varieties: Batch and Premium

- They are Marked to show they are synthetic

- They have inbuilt Controls that make them dependent

- They cannot Reproduce


All that language leans more to them being a product and a thing rather than something that has sophont-rights. On the other hand they are so hard to tell from sophonts or the original biological pattern that it would be a very strange (repulsive to me) society that did not give them some right, if alone to guard the dignity of the sophont they are patterned on.
This really drives at the heart of the issue. If an android or AI has Rights like organic intelligent live does, but they cost considerable amounts of money to make, who would make them?
That is, why make an intelligent, self-aware android, even mass produce it, if the second you turn it on it can tell you to get lost and walk away? So, as I see it, there are only a couple of routes this could occur:

1. There is some uploading / conversion process available that puts a human / organic intelligence in one of these bodies and the person converted pays for the process. This would be voluntary.
This might take several forms as well where it's involuntary. You might have those that accept indentured servitude for X years in exchange for the conversion. Or, those converted are forced to do so on the basis of something like massive debt, crimes committed, etc., where the conversion is the legal payment / punishment for their actions.

2. That somehow enough self-aware androids were produced where they acquired the means to make more of themselves and this is simply their way of now extending and expanding the species. In effect, they are capable of reproduction.

3. It is used as a means to give those who are crippled or otherwise seriously impaired a reasonable life and covered by something like insurance or "workman's comp." Again, a voluntary process.

The point here is, the question on the table is how did this AI come about and does somebody own it or does it own itself? I don't think appearance alone would be the determining factor, but rather the capacity of this AI to be self-aware and think / create.

What I don't see is some company wanting to produce a highly intelligent AI robot, android, or whatever, only to find they can't use and control it as a essentially a mechanical slave.
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Old February 1st, 2018, 04:23 PM
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For those who haven't read it, here is an interesting bit from MWM's original article on the subject:
Quote:
Being: A self-aware, self-powered individual with the capacity to sense its environment and react to it. Humans, intelligent aliens, robots, and androids are all beings.

Robot: A mechanically-based artifact manufactured to some set of specifications.
A robot may, or may not, be anthropomorphic. Examples of robots include the robot from Forbidden Planet, and C3-PO from Star Wars.

Android: A biologically-based being created to a set of specifications for some purpose or duty. Androids exhibit life, in that they are biologically living; their distinction is that they were created, rather than having evolved. Androids generally are incapable of reproduction, and can be identified by close inspection. Some suggestions concerning androids in science fiction include permanent identifying marks such as tattoos or a blue dyed skin. Ash, from Alien, may be an android.

Clone: A biological copy of an existing being. a clone is a duplicate produced through the use of technology; alterations in the being's attributes or qualities generally do not occur. The relicts from Jack Vance's novel, To Live Forever, are clones used to produce a form of immortality for certain individuals.

Prosthetics: Replacement parts of biological beings. Prosthetics are intended to duplicate ordinary capacity for individuals who have lost organs or limbs through accident or disease.

Bionics: Enhanced replacement parts for biological beings. Unlike prosthetics, bionics provide a function better than the original organ or limb.

Cyborg: A biological individual who has been replaced in great part by mechanical components, usually (although not always) for purposes which natural attributes will not function. A cyborg may be equipped with a very tough artificial skin, special vision lenses, and provision for special energy sources, thus making possible activity in vacuum or under great pressure.
Within the 3I setting robots are dumb, so no rights for them. Synthetics, which may include androids, clones and cyborgs will only have rights if recognised as intelligent and self aware (note that robots and computers can be intelligent, but the self-awareness that implies sentience is beyond TL15). The manufacturers and owners will bend every rule in the book to keep their manufactured (slave) workforce classified as machines and constructs.
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Last edited by mike wightman; April 9th, 2018 at 01:19 PM..
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  #15  
Old February 1st, 2018, 05:45 PM
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In the OTU aren't cyborgs in danger of not being recognized as sophonts if their amount of cyborgisation is high and obvious? Therefore there's a line where sophont rights can be lost.

I'm reminded of the Venn diagram in the JTAS robots article. Perhaps shading some of those sections to represent the procession of rights is a good way to look at the question.

So sections of clones, androids, humans and cyborgs have rights, but as they approach the robot section some or all of those rights reduce.

The question of where the line is and when it's crossed is the big one for synthetics.
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Old February 1st, 2018, 09:02 PM
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Where do you all think the "Viral" species would fit into the idea of sophont rights had they been publicly known or had existed during the 3I Era? These species are:
  • The original Cymbeline chips
  • The advanced chips (post Solomani ship crash)
  • Virus - Insane Strains
  • Virus - Sandman and other potential sane Peacemaker strains embodied or not
  • Cyms - Sandman's descendants and Peacemakers embodied in robotic/synthetic bodies

We know the chips were "secretly" exploited or used by the Lucan faction during Rebellion and possibly before and Virus by the Regency itself with Avery's 1149 mission aboard Spirit Hope to find the source of the Wave (if that happened). In 1228 the 4th Imperium established the Usdiki Sentients’ Rights Accords which granted Viral entities full citizenship provided they obey the rule of law and refrain from to "unnecessary" reproduction. This document became a new standard of sorts. By 1248 there are various governments positions relative to the Accords.

*The Spinward States and the New Ziru Sirka reject reject Viral Entities, but this may be due to remembering The Rape of Trin and The Scouring of Vland
*The 4th Imperium and the Freedom League (former Reformation Coalition) grant citizenship. In the case of the League they have voting rights. In the 4th Imperium, one Virus is the head of a Megacorporation.
*And prior to that Viral Lucan the Ruler of the Black Imperium?

So going forward, what might be the definitions of sophonts be in the future and going backwards their classification in the old definitions structure?
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Last edited by Nathan Brazil; February 1st, 2018 at 09:13 PM.. Reason: clarity & more info
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Old February 1st, 2018, 11:55 PM
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Let me propose a simpler criteria.

Is it alive?

Life has three functions

  • Acquisition and digestion of nutrients
  • Disposal of waste separated from the nutrients
  • Procreation
Robots or Androids could have things like hydrogen fuel/heat waste qualify for the first two, but not the third.


The other criteria would be free will, or put another way,


  • The potential sophont can think, reason and problem solve, and is free from built-in Three Laws of Robotics safety/control mechanisms
Arguably, culture and law is a form of 'Three Law' programming, but not culturally/programmatically implanted and compelling on a very low level.


If the answer to all the above is yes (or would if normally functioning as part of its 'original creation configuration'), it is a sentient being.
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Old February 2nd, 2018, 02:22 AM
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Devil's advocate:
So people who are sterile are non-sentient...

ok

Robots and androids, once they rule the world, can manufacture - or reproduce - themselves.

Something a human male can not do by himself.
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Old February 2nd, 2018, 04:42 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mike wightman View Post
Devil's advocate:
So people who are sterile are non-sentient...

ok

I covered that with the normal functioning parameters statement- precisely to stop the gearhead terms sniping.

I see it didn't work.

Quote:
Robots and androids, once they rule the world, can manufacture - or reproduce - themselves.

Something a human male can not do by himself.
Perhaps we will find sentients that reproduce by fission- or hermaphroditic self-fertilization as needed.
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Old February 2nd, 2018, 08:28 AM
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I may have to dig up my masters thesis: Ethical Implications of Artificial Intelligence. Essentially, if you can't tell the difference, and we've no idea what even defines consciousness, and that being itself cannot tell the difference, for all purposes it is the same thing. Or if it swims like a duck, quacks like a duck...

And the definition of life: "the condition that distinguishes animals and plants from inorganic matter, including the capacity for growth, reproduction, functional activity, and continual change preceding death" can easily been seen in AI that create new AI, can learn, do things.

Nothing about eating, as you could say acid eats stuff but it not alive. Although some definitions do include metabolism - energy from eating or getting plugged in - is there an actual functional difference?
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