Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 15 of 17

Thread: Sentient roboforms in the major franchises.

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2002
    Location
    fringes of civillization
    Posts
    903

    Sentient roboforms in the major franchises.

    I was looking at the Transformer/Star Wars toys and I had one of my patented strange thoughts:

    How would the two major Sci-Fi franchises (Star Wars and Trek) handle encountering a race of robots. I'm saying something like the Cybertronians, but not them particularly. It's more that they are a recognizable robot like race, free of many of the hang ups associated with mechanical life forms (no emotions, no personality, suspicious ties to their makers, etc.) in most science fiction. I mean, talking to a Transformer would be just like talking to an organic being; hell, some of them are MORE emotional then organics in other fiction.

    I think things would go better in ST: the FED would be like "oh hey, we always thought that AI could become independent life forms" They'd discuss things, probably trade and such, be some sharing of tech, and maybe if the robots fit the criteria, an offer of FED membership. There would be some bumps along the way, but for the most part it would be smooth.

    Things aren't so smooth in SW: droids are the lowest social cast in the Empire/Republic/Whatever it's called in the new Movies. Even the nicest of characters would be puzzled at the lack of owners/makers. There would be tension on both sides, as the SW organics, even ones that treat their personal droids with some modicum of respect, talked down to these new roboforms. And I'm sure the roboforms would look at the Protocol, astromech and other droids in service other beings as slaves. And it gets worse when it's the Empire, not either version of the Republic, that they contact.

    Here's a lil thought experiment to see how this would go: imagine we are contacted by another race. They have a ship coming toward our planet, and want to meet our species. The land a craft on Earth, and the doors open. Dogs. The aliens are dogs; not dog like, not dogmen, but just talking dogs. How do you think people would react to them? How would they react to us (keep the Sarah McLaughlin ads off the tv!)?
    _________________
    "Yes, it's the Apocalypse alright. I always thought I'd have a hand in it"
    Professor Farnsworth

  2. #2
    Star Trek has a more complicated relationship with robots/droids/whatever than that, esp Prime Trek (the original universe before JJ). Prime Trek is very humanistic (humans should do for themselves rather than have robots do things for them). You rarely see bots and sentient ones are even more rare than that. Even in the 24th century there was still debate about the status of Data and other androids and/or photonic sentients like Voyagers' Doctor.

    Star Wars has a much more blase attitude towards bots. While most SW citizens don't consider droids to be sentient, there are examples of fully autonomous droids, such as IG-88 and 4-LOM in the original trilogy. Even relatively "stupid" droids like the Clone Wars-era B-1 battle droids could develop basic personalities.

  3. #3
    I usually assume that the SW notion that Droids aren't sentient is due to their inability to use the Force: rather than conceive of the possibility that a consciousness may not have a connection to the Force (undermining Jedi beliefs about the nature of the Force and the lightness of the light side), the Jedi would rather believe that it is not conscious at all. Whether Cybertronians, ensouled by Primus and the All-Spark, have a potential connection to the force is a question for greater/worse nerds than I.
    Portfolio | Blog Currently Running: Call of Cthulhu, Star Trek GUMSHOE Currently Playing: DramaSystem, Swords & Wizardry

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 1999
    Location
    Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
    Posts
    3,453
    Star Wars droids are certainly sentient by any standard - at least as much so as Data; indeed in many ways more so than Data. They are aware of self, can feel emotions, and are capable of independent thought. They just aren't biological, which is the real reason they can't manipulate the Force. Hell, most biologicals in the Star Wars universe can't use the Force, but does that make Han Solo any less sentient?

    Going back to the original question, the Federation has run into machine intelligences with no existing creators or masters, and it has not gone so well. In both the cases of the Ruk android and the Borg (which, let's face it, are merely robots which inhabit biogical bodies), the Federation has not dealt with them well. Granted, the Borg are inherently hostile and parasitic, but Ruk could well have been dealt with better. And let's not talk about the Mudd's World androids...

  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by Owen E Oulton View Post
    Star Wars droids are certainly sentient by any standard - at least as much so as Data; indeed in many ways more so than Data. They are aware of self, can feel emotions, and are capable of independent thought. They just aren't biological, which is the real reason they can't manipulate the Force. Hell, most biologicals in the Star Wars universe can't use the Force, but does that make Han Solo any less sentient?
    SW doesn't make enough internal sense to figure out if a plurality of Jedi would say yes or no to that question, but we can at least be sure that answering yes would be a cornerstone of dark-side philosophy.
    Portfolio | Blog Currently Running: Call of Cthulhu, Star Trek GUMSHOE Currently Playing: DramaSystem, Swords & Wizardry

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by Owen E Oulton View Post
    Star Wars droids are certainly sentient by any standard - at least as much so as Data; indeed in many ways more so than Data. They are aware of self, can feel emotions, and are capable of independent thought. They just aren't biological, which is the real reason they can't manipulate the Force. Hell, most biologicals in the Star Wars universe can't use the Force, but does that make Han Solo any less sentient?
    Droids aren't organic, and thus cannot support the midichlorians through which the Force flows. Doesn't make them non-sentient, but it does explain their lack of Force awareness.

    Going back to the original question, the Federation has run into machine intelligences with no existing creators or masters, and it has not gone so well. In both the cases of the Ruk android and the Borg (which, let's face it, are merely robots which inhabit biogical bodies), the Federation has not dealt with them well. Granted, the Borg are inherently hostile and parasitic, but Ruk could well have been dealt with better. And let's not talk about the Mudd's World androids...
    I just re-read the transcript of WLGAMO and Ruk is hardly an innocent victim of anybody, let alone the Federation. They had gone Cylon on their creators and when Ruk remembered that he went psycho and had to be stopped.

    And what did they do to the Mudd androids that was so bad? They restored their original program so they weren't slaves of Mudd then left them alone.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Nov 2002
    Location
    fringes of civillization
    Posts
    903
    Well, Ruk and his people killed their creators, so that is a sticky widget. As did the Companion Units from VOY. Destroying your creators seems to be the default setting for most sci-fi robots. That's kind of why I threw that in with the list of fictional robot tropes; once you found out your new robot/android/photonic friends wiped out their creators, you really don't want to be around them anymore. Especially if they find out you're just as flawed and imperfect as their creators were.

    Hey, we forgot about one of the most dangerous roboforms in Trek: Nomad.

    I guess we could throw V'Ger in that box as well. (wait, he was found by a planet of Living Machines.....no, that can't be right....Cybertron IS in Star Trek?!?)
    Spock Mind Melded with both of them. Somehow I accept that with V'Ger, but not Nomad. But now I wonder, could Spock Meld with Data?
    _________________
    "Yes, it's the Apocalypse alright. I always thought I'd have a hand in it"
    Professor Farnsworth

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Nov 2002
    Location
    fringes of civillization
    Posts
    903
    I remember a Perk I had come up with after reading the excellent Artilects supplement for Decipher: 'The Rebel Equation', basically you can throw off one flaw based on your artificial nature (you know, like NOT being able to kill your creators, but probably more like acting in your own self interest, rather then obeying an owner.
    _________________
    "Yes, it's the Apocalypse alright. I always thought I'd have a hand in it"
    Professor Farnsworth

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by Tricky View Post
    Well, Ruk and his people killed their creators, so that is a sticky widget. As did the Companion Units from VOY. Destroying your creators seems to be the default setting for most sci-fi robots. That's kind of why I threw that in with the list of fictional robot tropes; once you found out your new robot/android/photonic friends wiped out their creators, you really don't want to be around them anymore. Especially if they find out you're just as flawed and imperfect as their creators were.

    Hey, we forgot about one of the most dangerous roboforms in Trek: Nomad.

    I guess we could throw V'Ger in that box as well. (wait, he was found by a planet of Living Machines.....no, that can't be right....Cybertron IS in Star Trek?!?)
    Spock Mind Melded with both of them. Somehow I accept that with V'Ger, but not Nomad. But now I wonder, could Spock Meld with Data?
    Not without messing his brain up like he did in TMP.

    The problem with robots, esp sentient ones, is that they have no innate emotions, no true conscience or feelings. And that always leads to trouble. Trek didn't invent it; it's a long long standing intellectual dillema concerning AI. Look at the "Zeroth Law" question as formulated by Asimov.

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by Chris Donovan View Post
    I just re-read the transcript of WLGAMO and Ruk is hardly an innocent victim of anybody, let alone the Federation.
    Well, he's an innocent victim of his creators.
    Portfolio | Blog Currently Running: Call of Cthulhu, Star Trek GUMSHOE Currently Playing: DramaSystem, Swords & Wizardry

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Nov 2014
    Location
    S/E Queensland Australia
    Posts
    844
    as others have noted Trek still has major hang ups in the 24th century concerning non-biological, sapient life forms and whether they have rights in Federation society.

    Star Wars integrates droids more fully into their society, with several types being as sapient as any biological lifeform, though many droids are considered to be the lowest rung in society.

    The big problem for either would be the avatar sapien, a human consciousness uploaded into a neural net and put into an android body. Think Human-form Replicator from Star Gate.

    http://future.wikia.com/wiki/Avatar_Sapiens
    AKA-Dean
    "I will never make excuses for who I am. It is the way I was born. I am a HUNTER. a BONE COLLECTOR."
    Wave Man, the term "wave man" is the English translation of 'Ronin' (Japanese word) and literately translates to "wandering person" and in a modern context a WaveMan is one who is socially adrift or a SalaryMan who is between employers.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Nov 2014
    Location
    S/E Queensland Australia
    Posts
    844
    Quote Originally Posted by Tricky View Post
    Here's a lil thought experiment to see how this would go: imagine we are contacted by another race. They have a ship coming toward our planet, and want to meet our species. The land a craft on Earth, and the doors open. Dogs. The aliens are dogs; not dog like, not dogmen, but just talking dogs. How do you think people would react to them? How would they react to us (keep the Sarah McLaughlin ads off the tv!)?
    I don't think we would be very accommodating, humans are still very prejudice. One only has to look at race relations across the planet, rampant homophobia and religious intolerance to see how it would turn bad. As far as them, who could say.
    AKA-Dean
    "I will never make excuses for who I am. It is the way I was born. I am a HUNTER. a BONE COLLECTOR."
    Wave Man, the term "wave man" is the English translation of 'Ronin' (Japanese word) and literately translates to "wandering person" and in a modern context a WaveMan is one who is socially adrift or a SalaryMan who is between employers.

  13. #13
    Quote Originally Posted by WaveMan View Post
    Star Wars integrates droids more fully into their society, with several types being as sapient as any biological lifeform, though many droids are considered to be the lowest rung in society.
    Just say it: they're treated as property. Even a "sapient" droid owned by an organic can have it's memory wiped by it's owner at his discretion. In fact, it's recommended that wipes be regularly done to prevent droids from developing a personality to begin with.

  14. #14
    Quote Originally Posted by The Tatterdemalion King View Post
    Well, he's an innocent victim of his creators.
    How so? The Ruks KILLED their creators. That makes them victimIZER, not victim.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Nov 2014
    Location
    S/E Queensland Australia
    Posts
    844
    Quote Originally Posted by Chris Donovan View Post
    Just say it: they're treated as property. Even a "sapient" droid owned by an organic can have it's memory wiped by it's owner at his discretion. In fact, it's recommended that wipes be regularly done to prevent droids from developing a personality to begin with.
    mate I agree, for the most part they were treated as property. Though a few rare droids were sapient and were treated like organic beings (IG-88 for example).
    Memory wipes were indeed instigated to prevent droids from developing a personality. Restraining bolts were also used to control droids, which further shows that they were at best 2nd class citizens.

    I would say droids like R2D2 and Chopper were basically treated like organics by their 'owners' and neither had memory wipes and possessed a distinct personalities.
    AKA-Dean
    "I will never make excuses for who I am. It is the way I was born. I am a HUNTER. a BONE COLLECTOR."
    Wave Man, the term "wave man" is the English translation of 'Ronin' (Japanese word) and literately translates to "wandering person" and in a modern context a WaveMan is one who is socially adrift or a SalaryMan who is between employers.

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •