0058 - Kiosks - 2018.11.12



Green Lantern's power ring is the ultimate form of technology.

The ultimate aim of technology of any sort, of course, is to increase its users' abilities while being as intuitive and simple as possible. The power ring is the final possible example of that - a device that can accomplish literally any task, with an interface so simple that all you have to do is think of what you want.

Of course, there are artificial limits of wood or yellow, but the various Green Lanterns aren't limited by their rings as much as by their own minds - by fear or uncertainty or confusion. Hal Jordan does not win every fight and is not a god, not because he doesn't have godlike powers, but because he lacks a god's perspective.

On a technological scale of pointy stick to power ring, a gynoid like Zoa is maybe a six - it's self-repairing, it's self-sufficient, it can do most tasks a human could do, and can interpret common commands with a reasonable degree of intelligence. Like the power ring, the real limit of the AIs in Forward is the humans that are giving them commands. The frustrations we've seen in Lee or Orb or Patricia are largely due to bureaucracy, confusion, and the inherent vagueness of English statements. That's been a theme of sorts - humans being stymied by their own AI technology simply because it's advanced to the point that they feel (incorrectly) that they understand it intuitively.

If Lee has a defining characteristic at this point in the story, it would be self-centeredness, but they're taking time here to listen to Zoa, to understand what Zoa's existence is like from Zoa's perspective. Once technology advances to a certain point, if you want to know how best to use it, the best approach may be simply to ask.


0058 - 2167/07/06/11:22 - Rosenthal College, hex
LC: I'm really thirsty. Can I get a juice?
Zoa: There's a kiosk over there, I think it sells beverages.
LC: One of your fellow vending machines, huh?
Zoa: Yeah. You rescinded my ability to make financial decisions on your behalf, though, so I think you'll have to go over there and buy juice directly.
LC: Can't you just buy one for me, Zoa?
Zoa: I don't actually get the first ESA payment until Monday, so I'm still in the red at the moment. Also, I kinda don't have the ability to give or receive no-strings gifts at all. I think I could only buy juice for you if you agree to subsequently purchase it from me at a markup.
LC: Ugh, fine, I'll get up.
LC: So you can't receive gifts?
Zoa: Nothing with an actual cred value. Remember, I'm owned by the DemeGeek corporation. They give me a pretty loose leash, but I still have to give them statements of every transaction I do, and they have to pay taxes on me. Gifts mess that up, because technically you'd be giving a present to the corporation, and that's... not a thing.
LC: So the holidays are a lousy time for you, is what you're saying.
Zoa: Oh, I hate Christmas. You know how many people are in the mood to buy robot blowjobs on the twenty-fifth? Guess. Go ahead and guess.
Zoa: Had a Santa's elf outfit and everything, no takers. Terrible holiday. Not a fan.