0252 - Strengths - 2022.08.01



In comics, we have something called "the 180 degree rule", a generally-accepted piece of artist wisdom saying that you're not supposed to flip the camera 180 degrees from panel to panel. Doing so, supposedly, disorients the reader.

Like all such "rules" in art, the 180 degree rule isn't a barrier, or even a stop sign. It's more like a "Local Traffic Only" sign - i.e., you CAN go down this road, but, if you do, it'd better be because you have a good reason for it, and not just because you're trying to use it as a short cut.

One might normally use a jarring camera flip to emphasize a difference between competing perspectives, but, if I were to do something like that, I'd actually use different characters' POVs... and I'd have half the characters firmly insisting on one position and the other half championing its inverse. As it is, these four are really just exploring the space, the theory and the orthodoxy, the feeling and the principle, the curlicues around the edges.

The real challenge is the necessity of a binary distinction between person and non-person, in a world where the edges of that boundary become fuzzier and fuzzier. Who is strong? Who is smart? Who is deserving? Who has obligations? Are "natural" and "artificial" (or "human" and "AI") really opposites, or are they separate axes at right angles to each other? Are these rules hard and fast, or are they road signs we can ignore if we have a good enough reason for doing so?

Is it disorienting?


0252 - 2167/07/06/18:54 - Lee Caldavera's apartment, living room
LC: Zoa, you are aware of your own programming, yes? You can track all your variables, you always know why you do what you're doing?
Zoa: Yeah, of course. Legally, I'm required to be able to show that, if I segment out my own self-interest from any decision-making process and only care about human well-being, I could still reach the same conclusions. I can look at my own algorithms, all of that gets archived.
LC: So AIs have more intrapersonal intelligence than humans do.
Zoa: Oh, I wouldn't phrase it like that.
CP: Would you n-not phrase it like that because it isn't t-true?
Zoa: Well, c'mon. Linguistic, spatial, kinesthetic... AIs have a lot of those different intelligences at levels higher than a human's even can be. What's the square root of forty-eight million, five hundred sixty-six thousand, nine hundred sixty-one?
LC and CP, simultaneously: Six thousand nine hundred sixty-nine.
Zoa: Okay, but you only got that because of your implants, does that really count?
CP: I suppose you wouldn't say you're "strong" b-because you used a forklift to pick up a c-c-car.
LC: I only have perfect pitch because of my artificial ear bones, does that mean I'm not actually musically intelligent?
Doc: I should point out that intelligence of any and all sorts is, obviously, indicative of neither personhood nor ethical culpability.
LC: Right, otherwise people in comas wouldn't be people any more.
CP: And any c-computer program that c-can hold d-down a conversation would be people.
Zoa: And so would friskergibblins, which, I'm sure we can agree, is a nightmare scenario.