Comic 193 - Emergency

11th Jan 2012, 12:14 AM in Tiptoe
Average Rating: 5 (5 votes) Rate this comic
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Author Notes:

view 11th Jan 2012, 12:14 AM edit delete
This was a hard page to draw, technically speaking. Some problems with it, but it sets the mood, I think.


cattservant 11th Jan 2012, 12:23 AM edit delete reply
Scene set. Situation explained. Emotional sub currents set in motion. (Even unnamed blond boy gets a foot in!)
view 11th Jan 2012, 12:24 AM edit delete reply
You're very observant.
cattservant 11th Jan 2012, 12:32 AM edit delete reply
(Once in a while, depending on the flavor of the moon.) Looks like Miwa is getting some unexpected (hence unplanned) time with Jim. That might make a girl who thinks too much a little happy...
JasperWB 11th Jan 2012, 12:50 AM edit delete reply
I think I'd be an outcast in this town. I hate to say it but I think losing one of these robots would be like having a toaster die on me since they back up and all. Emotion over their "demise", even for the parents, seems...illogical. Almost useless even. Especially for them. I think the only scenario where people being upset would make sense would be for /human/ parents since they just watched their child die. For other humans its senseless and for robots, so artificial. Just my thoughts though.
cattservant 11th Jan 2012, 1:11 AM edit delete reply
I can see your point to a degree. If I followed view's comments correctly, robot equality is still a fairly new social situation in the general culture, and is particularly advanced here [does this town have a name?] where the story takes place. I think I notice that the older folks tend to react [though they suppress it] in the way you were describing. The younger folk don't think much about it and the kids take it as natural fact.
view 11th Jan 2012, 1:13 AM edit delete reply
Well, that's what next chapter will try to explore a bit.
JasperWB 11th Jan 2012, 1:24 AM edit delete reply
Awesome. I was hoping you would. And uh, *sniff*, I could always serve as the basis for a character with that view. Recluse, grumpy, complex relationship with townfolk. I did forum rp, I set up a mean character.
view 11th Jan 2012, 1:25 AM edit delete reply
Okay, you're apparently Jack.
JasperWB 11th Jan 2012, 1:41 AM edit delete reply
I'm not a cowboy, I'm a failed up and comer! Typecasted again!
cattservant 11th Jan 2012, 1:56 AM edit delete reply
Maybe it's the robotic horse...
JasperWB 11th Jan 2012, 2:09 AM edit delete reply
I have farmed crops, I love classic country music, but I have never dealt with livestock real or otherwise. Every time I get called a cowboy the real cowboys get closer to kicking my ass!
cattservant 11th Jan 2012, 2:15 AM edit delete reply
If you think about it, it would be better to be a 'bullman' than a 'cowboy' anyway.
JasperWB 11th Jan 2012, 2:36 AM edit delete reply
I think Jack already is the bull man. Heh..heh..

Shutting up now.
cattservant 11th Jan 2012, 2:42 AM edit delete reply
Me too. Getting past my bedtime... <don't ever get old, not worth it!>
TDean 11th Jan 2012, 4:44 AM edit delete reply
Modern! machines acquire personality. And human affection, Just ask a guy who crashed a car he rebuilt and had for 20 years, those on ships 200+ years ago or some computer tec if his "machine" crashes. Real Robots Real personalities.....Be way past losing a "toaster" .
Meh.Aloe 11th Jan 2012, 5:35 AM edit delete reply
Well, Mary would disagree, as we've seen... The robots as I understand it all back up their memories and personality patterns and such, but until those are activated in a robot's quantum-ish brain, if I got it, they're just a bunch of inert data, not a living person. When a robot's brain is destroyed, that's still a conscious being disappearing forever. If I could make a back-up of your memories and personality, and then you died, would your death be any less real, just because an exact replica of you can be created and given a life of its own afterwards? Seems like a meaningful death still occurs. As Jim said, the robots do back-ups for those around them, not for themselves; when they die, they still experience death -- the people around them just get a perfect replica so they can continue on with their lives. In a way it's quite creepy; I mean, I'd be constantly telling myself -- okay, this "backup" is a person, just like the "original," but is it really the -same- person? Am I disrespecting the memory of the now-dead original if I pretend they never really died? How do I find the balance between mourning and moving on, while at the same time not alienating this new individual, from whose perspective, of course, they are the same person? Etc. I wonder if Mary might have similar problems, given her trouble with making back-ups.

And this is all setting aside the fact that all the experiences the dead robot had since their last birthday back-up would be lost, along with any growth in their personality, so a very real part of that person would be lost forever even if you do accept the backup in place of the original...

... Writing this late at night so sorry if I make little sense. :P
JasperWB 11th Jan 2012, 6:42 AM edit delete reply
Well then maybe they should just let them die if they cannot salvage enough of their qmem to resore them to the moment of death. But they dont. Now why do they do that? Just because they can back them up? So people around them feel better, not for the robots sake? I think they still treat them like just machines. They are still a novelty for humans. Possibly around for our pleasure still and not theirs. Smart toasters humans decided to get attached to. However I most likely presume too much, I do not know the complete history of this universe
Meh.Aloe 11th Jan 2012, 1:24 PM edit delete reply
From Jim's comment, I thought it was implied the robots themselves choose to make the backups, rather than someone forcing it on them. Of course maybe that's just in this community, and maybe elsewhere robots are still treated as objects, and forced to make backups; or maybe even here, they do it due to social pressure or something; gosh knows there've been plenty of times when minority groups weren't technically "forced" to do something, but faced enough pressure that they might as well have been.

Either way, despite the creepiness, I'm not sure I'd see the backups as a bad thing -- assuming the dying person freely chose to make them -- just a very weird and creepy thing... But in the end, even if the dead person's personality and memories survive only in a new individual, perhaps that is still better than nothing... I mean, I said earlier if I made a back-up of you, it wouldn't make any death you'd suffer any less real; however, even given that, I think I wouldn't mind having a backup made of myself anyway. :P I wouldn't feel like it made me, personally, "immortal" in any way, but I think it'd still give me a little piece of mind knowing that if my life ended, someone very much like me could pick it up again afterwards, and maybe keep doing the things I wanted to do.
Meh.Aloe 11th Jan 2012, 1:28 PM edit delete reply
... A little *peace* of mind, not "piece." Though perhaps a little piece of mind is what I have now. :P Give you anything I've got...
tteclod 11th Jan 2012, 3:10 PM edit delete reply
A guy named Iain Banks has written about this extensively in his Culture sf novels. Most of his thoughts are compressed into the novel "Surface Detail" which discusses death, after death, after life, artificial life, and so on in extensive detail.

He's also a kick-ass author. His debut novel is Wasp Factory, which will give you nightmares for months. If what 'View is doing intrigues you, read some Iain Banks sci fi novels.
pancake 11th Jan 2012, 5:35 PM edit delete reply
it seems to me you all forgot that robots "die" each and every time they backup.
Meh.Aloe 11th Jan 2012, 6:07 PM edit delete reply
That too. >o< I don't think I'd want a back-up if that was the cost. And it does change how the rest of the characters would see it... I mean, is there a real difference between Gretel dying in a controlled situation as part of her back-up, and Hansel dying due to head-squishyness? The main difference would be the time that's passed since Hansel's last back-up... Does that mean this wouldn't be seen as such a big tragedy if he'd had his last backup, say, a few hours before going to the abandoned construction site? I imagine people would still feel differently about it...
view 11th Jan 2012, 9:13 PM edit delete reply
There are competing feelings, but the younger generation feels that it's the time lost that matters. Gretel, as will be abundantly clear next chapter, really wishes it had been her.
JasperWB 11th Jan 2012, 9:49 PM edit delete reply
You have tons of questions to answer in the next chapter lol. This topic is extremely deep and we'll probably wind up at the base argument of what is life and what of robots having emotions. This could be turned into a book: "Humans and Robots: Or How We All May Just Be Toasters To Someone Else"
TDean 12th Jan 2012, 1:44 AM edit delete reply
Seems the Androids/robots would clasify it more as a "injury" with a "unconsous" period if a succesful reboot occured. Not "DEATH". and upgrades more equal to hospital stays after surgerys. and the human reactions ...well we're a variable lot arn't we?
Tenchirizu 11th Jan 2012, 1:34 AM edit delete reply
The lighting effect also doubles as a mood setter, I like that.. Very somber. I feel for the children seeking comfort. A definite gloom across the scene. Hoping for a positive outcome but have to take the bad with the good I guess.
cattservant 11th Jan 2012, 1:49 AM edit delete reply
I was wondering about the shadows too. A distinctly energetic/emotional aspect to them.
view 11th Jan 2012, 2:00 AM edit delete reply
Well, that's the welding torch's fault...
jst56strong 11th Jan 2012, 1:34 AM edit delete reply
OH NO please make him ok lord robot view. please.
cattservant 11th Jan 2012, 1:43 AM edit delete reply
(hail! master view) was admiring the last panel. nicely balanced wide angle shot with lots of very clear body language. Jim is protecting himself. Miwa is accentuating her underwear. Waverly is feeling guilty and about five years old. The robots are harder to read, but Hansel's dad is worried, sad and being strong. Gretel is just plain guilty. Her mom is being very maternal and blond kid is loyally (if uncomfortably) standing by. And all this in just one panel <with fancy shadows too> out of five or six a day six days a week... All Hail view!!!!!
Mr Muffins 11th Jan 2012, 3:33 AM edit delete reply
WHELP...time to get a new one
duLapel 11th Jan 2012, 6:03 AM edit delete reply
I think the sadness is for what may be lost if thing are as bad as they seem:
1. If the quantum memory has collapsed then all memories are lost from the last "factory default" reset. That could be years of life experience lost.
2. There may be a mystique around using the same QC brain and a robot's "soul" amongst robo-kind. If so then just reloading Hanzel's factory defaults won't bring Hanzel back... just a stranger that acts like him before his last upgrade.
3. In either case, his human friends and sister Gretel will be developmentally out of sync with Hanzel which would be a genuine buzz-kill for the budding adolescents.
view 11th Jan 2012, 1:43 PM edit delete reply
You got it!
Seafog 11th Jan 2012, 6:29 AM edit delete reply
I'd say the real question that hasn't been asked is: When was his last backup? Would he be loosing weeks, or years?
view 11th Jan 2012, 1:43 PM edit delete reply
He's three months younger than his sister. You should be able to work it out from that.
pancake 11th Jan 2012, 5:48 PM edit delete reply
wait, you're telling me he's going back to being a toddler? that's sad...
ZombieDerf 11th Jan 2012, 7:43 AM edit delete reply
been awhile since I have said anything. too much work and TOR.
how's life view and have you noticed ppl the pervy scenes? lol
view 11th Jan 2012, 1:44 PM edit delete reply
I didn't notice. People always seem weird to me.
cattservant 11th Jan 2012, 3:44 PM edit delete reply
Master view: Technical back ground questions (if you care to answer them) about your rough map. The out of service rail line at the old station connected with Metropolis (it was stated). The other rail line (south?) of town with the loop is active, crude oil from Boulder for example. I assume the town (does it have a name?) is exporting agricultural products from the farms. What form does the marine harvest take? Oh, and how is the Cat (#37/38) doing? Cats & Rail Roads! Just a naturally superior work of art. <your webcomic that is>
view 11th Jan 2012, 9:11 PM edit delete reply
The cat is fine.

While they do export some freshwater algae and "oil corn", in truth they get by mostly because they licensed some technologies to some of the Boulder folks, and the Boulder folks pay the license fees in oil.

The amount of trade they do is extremely minimal: they are basically self-sufficient, aside from a need for a relatively small amount crude. The oil is mostly used to make the wide variety of plastics which show up in virtually every robotic body.
cattservant 11th Jan 2012, 11:14 PM edit delete reply
Thank you for the information. On a very 'side' note; have you ever read "In Watermelon Sugar"?
view 11th Jan 2012, 11:31 PM edit delete reply
Not that I know of.
cattservant 11th Jan 2012, 11:38 PM edit delete reply
It could be considered an early example of Sci-Fi Small-Town Romance.