0183 - Doc's eyebrows - 2021.04.05



Yes, after... *checks timestamps on comic transcripts*... seventeen minutes out on the sidewalk, Lee has finally gathered themself enough to be able to walk back into the apartment lobby towards the elevators.

It is, I'm sure, a complete coincidence that this action is not motivated by comfort or propriety or shame or practicality or obligation or care for Caleb or Zoa, but by Doc being inadvertently rendered mute, and an entirely impractical whim to see Doc in person in order to atone for that command. It's not like Lee is only motivated by being contrary, no. There's surely more to it than that.

And no, in much the same way that (despite what a TV scriptwriter would tell you) autism doesn't make you an unfeeling robot, having control over your emotions also doesn't make you a robot. Also (despite what a film scriptwriter would tell you), not being creative, not enjoying life, and not indulging in music or frivolous play do not make you a robot. Being a robot makes you a robot. That's about it.


0183 - 2167/07/06/16:31 - sidewalk.
LC: Wait, Zoa, why is Doc not responding to you?
Zoa: Off the top of my wig, probably because you told it to "shut up". Pretty forcefully, as I recall.
Zoa: I don't have authorization to let it resume communication, but you did give me authorization to pause it whenever I want. Would you like me to do that?
LC (getting up): No, no, I... I should go talk to it. I owe the damn thing that much.
CP: You really don't, Lee. It's an appliance.
LC: Well, it's probably getting bored, just sitting there without me.
Zoa: I assure you, it's not. AIs don't actually get bored.
(all walking back into the apartment)
LC: Okay, okay, I know, logically, that Doc can't get bored or angry with me, but sometimes it feels that way. It emotes at me all the time. Let me anthropomorphize.
Zoa: I mean, Doc can still have facial expressions and tone of voice, same as me. I imagine that if some subroutine determines that tilting its eyebrows down will make you more likely to do your therapy stuff, then that'll kick in. Manipulating humans emotionally is the only reason AIs have faces at all.
LC: Okay, but you've said that your various directives are analogous to feelings, and, presumably, your facial expressions correspond to that. What's the real difference between that and an actual emotion?
CP: Uh... as we've established... the ability to control it?
(all entering lobby)
LC: So if a human can control their emotions, they're an AI?
Zoa: Yeah, Caleb, if you're doing your therapy to make yourself have better conscious control over your emotions, are you making yourself more like a robot?
CP: I... my... the, the parts of me that are artificial are... are the p-parts I d-don't l-l-like, so... so I really h-hope not.