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[1546] Gauging intent

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Re: [1546] Gauging intent

Post by paarfi » Tue Jan 22, 2019 12:38 pm

darrin wrote:
Tue Jan 22, 2019 12:30 pm
Requirements, very near the top if not #1 of which will be "acts like a regular girl". How to go about doing that will need to be fleshed out in a long series of meetings involving Product, the designers, QC, etc etc.
In the real world, no doubt. In a megatokyo with zombies, zillas, magical girls, etc, I think the genius scientist who makes all the decisions and has underlings he orders about would make all kinds of sense. It probably even has an entry on tvtropes. :D
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Re: [1546] Gauging intent

Post by darrin » Tue Jan 22, 2019 1:04 pm

paarfi wrote:
Tue Jan 22, 2019 12:38 pm
I think the genius scientist who makes all the decisions and has underlings he orders about would make all kinds of sense. It probably even has an entry on tvtropes. :D
Yeah, I definitely agree about him giving off plenty of "genius" vibes. (Double-checking.... yes I made reference to his "deeply thoughtful" look back in my first post in 1522, and ha, I thought this wasn't until 1523 but I also said this in 1522:
me wrote: there's a spark in the current guy's eyes that looks to me more about curiosity (engineer / science type) rather than lust
The problem is that I also get a strong "company man" vibe from him. (EDIT I mean I do now, as of this update; I was previously open to the possibility but not at all sure.) Not quite as company as Ed :lol: but someone who enjoys his nice corner office while leaving the Ed-related headaches to other divisions. Again, calmly drinking a cup of coffee while waiting to see Ping's current antics play out, without any apparent (genius megalomaniac) need to "retrieve my precious toy at once" or anything like that.
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Re: [1546] Gauging intent

Post by Eraden » Tue Jan 22, 2019 2:55 pm

I suspect that he's playing the long game. This project is probably not merely an effort to produce a "companionship accessory" but perhaps more of a stepping stone into exploring true AI. To a certain extent, being a scientist myself, I can actually empathize with him. This is truly an exciting turn of events which can net an amazing amount of useful data. Where I differ from him, however, is that once your creation acquires actual sentience, I believe that it ceases to be your "thing" and now becomes your child. You now have a moral responsibility to care for it and raise it properly to be able to fit into society.

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Re: [1546] Gauging intent

Post by darrin » Tue Jan 22, 2019 3:42 pm

Eraden wrote:
Tue Jan 22, 2019 2:55 pm
I suspect that he's playing the long game. This project is probably not merely an effort to produce a "companionship accessory" but perhaps more of a stepping stone into exploring true AI. [...] I believe that it ceases to be your "thing" and now becomes your child. You now have a moral responsibility to care for it and raise it properly to be able to fit into society.
As much as I could wish that were true... "Hopefully she won't cost too much. I'd like as many people as possible to be able to experience her" doesn't really bode well for his pure scientific intentions, at least for my money. And if he's not a rogue lone genius but yet another faithful employee, then I'm even less sanguine about this project being an effort by Sony to produce anything more far-sighted than one more addition to the product line.

Well, I mean, unless Largo was right. But in that case, heaven help us all. :shock:

EDIT:
Eraden (below) wrote:
Tue Jan 22, 2019 4:01 pm
that last panel tells me that the scientist in him wants more.
I get that "Fascinating" is extremely damn tempting; I called him Spock-like in one of my 1522 posts, so this word triggers as much of a Pavlovian response for me as for any other nerd.

But In that same panel, he calls her "one of my emotional doll system prototypes". Just another cut from the batch, amusing but not particularly special. If you and paarfi are right, if Ping is the result of special effort invested by this rogue genius above and beyond what Sony asked of him, having single-handedly brought artificial consciousness to life rather than cranking out the requested "non-H sex toy", then I would at the very least expect a much more proprietary attitude -- again, not necessarily a pure-hearted Noonien Soong (or even "let's get you home to Frinkie"), but even an evil supervillain would want his masterpiece back in his lab now that he's managed to track it down.
Last edited by darrin on Tue Jan 22, 2019 4:47 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: [1546] Gauging intent

Post by Eraden » Tue Jan 22, 2019 4:01 pm

I would agree with you, Darrin, that at least on one level, he is behaving as the "loyal Sony employee" preparing a product for sale. However, that last panel tells me that the scientist in him wants more.

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Re: [1546] Gauging intent

Post by Eraden » Tue Jan 22, 2019 6:36 pm

There's no need to drag her back to the "lab". The entire city with all of it's inhabitants is his lab. I suspect Ping's actions were somewhat unexpected. His primary goal might have originally been to produce the required product as requested by Sony. Now however, things have changed. Ping has grown. Our scientist now has a new and perhaps more interesting goal to reach for. All he has to do is watch her function in the great laboratory known as "society", and gather as much data as he can, in the hopes of reaching new heights. Or......he might just be the dirty rat that you might think he is, in which case, this is not going to end well.

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Re: [1546] Gauging intent

Post by darrin » Tue Jan 22, 2019 8:08 pm

I have been going over the dialogue, trying to see if I could trace a source for the slightly negative "vibe" I had been unconsciously getting.

The "she" he refers to in the course of the strip is not a single "she". He is changing referents (without marking the changes in any way).

"How much it will cost to buy her". You don't buy a prototype, and he assumes Ashe is aware of this. He is talking about buying one of the many EDS dolls that will be on the shelves in stores.

"She is still very much a work in progress." He is talking about the project as a whole, on the way from multiple current prototypes to eventual mass-produced sellable entities.

"I don't know how much she will cost when she finally hits the market." Again, the final product once it's available for consumer purchase.

Panel 6, the same, a sold commodity product.

"How surprised I was to run into her today." Now he is suddenly (and without transition) talking about a particular prototype, the Ping we know and love.

He does not distinguish these uses because he makes no such distinction in his head. As far as he is concerned there is only the EDS project, which is the real "she" behind all of his usages. He doesn't indicate any change in his speech because no such change is happening in his mind. The abstract design, the various prototypes, the mass-produced final products, these are all instances of the Ping project. The antics of a particular protoype, one among many, and only one step along the development path of the Project, are of mild amusement to him, but not enough to trigger either concern ("we need to get her back to the lab to make sure she's ok") nor genuine scientific wonder at whatever signs of individuality she has managed to develop ("Fascinating... but not fascinating enough to interrupt this great cup of coffee.").

This amalgamation of referents simply wouldn't be possible if he were a rogue scientist who had managed on his own steam to create a new life form without regard to Sony's product requirements. He would immediately suss that the "she" in Ashe's first message was about his Ping, The Ping, and would respond that of course She isn't for sale at any price... but that Sony was planning to develop and sell non-self-aware "ordinary" Ping-like accessories, if Ashe had any interest in those. The distinction between "his" Ping and the (much less interesting) project from which she had sprung would be impossible to conflate or leave ambiguous in his mind and speech.

Another trail of breadcrumbs... I had been struggling the past few days to recall, without doing the obvious thing of rereading the comic, if Tsubasa was a legitimate beta tester of Ping, or had somehow acquired her less legitimately (stolen or gotten from someone who stole her; substitute "helped escape" for "stolen" depending on which POV is under discussion). Then today while searching for something else I found this one: "The missing EDS prototype" (so not legitimately beta tested by Tsubasa); "The boys in the lab were pretty upset when you went missing."

But the Old Man here doesn't seem "upset" at all. Yes a lot of time has gone by since 252; but if he no longer had reason to be "upset", it seems strange that Sony (and thus Ed) still would be. If she was the unique creation of a rogue genius, her escaping under unknown circumstances ought to upset him greatly. If the lead designer of an official Sony project "misplaced" one of the key prototypes of the project, the resulting shitstorm from upper management indeed ought to leave him rather upset. But in panel seven he is giggling at the prototype's antics, not bothering to mention her having escaped, apparently unconcerned with where she's been or where she's going.

This makes sense to me if "the boys in the lab" Ed is talking about are the ones in the testing (QC) lab, not the design lab. (Maybe even these guys :lol:) The Old Man is not "upset", because his lab finished their work; he signed off on the prototype(s) and passed them on to the QC lab. QC dorks lost a prototype? Ha, sucks to be them. Ooh, found it on the street, retrieval? Nope, not my bailiwick, let Ed handle it.

Believe me, I would love it if this guy were Noonien Soong or Tony Stark. The things he's said here just aren't pointing me in that direction I'm afraid.
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Re: [1546] Gauging intent

Post by Okashinamaru » Tue Jan 22, 2019 9:28 pm

Eraden wrote:
Tue Jan 22, 2019 6:36 pm
There's no need to drag her back to the "lab". The entire city with all of it's inhabitants is his lab. I suspect Ping's actions were somewhat unexpected. His primary goal might have originally been to produce the required product as requested by Sony. Now however, things have changed. Ping has grown. Our scientist now has a new and perhaps more interesting goal to reach for. All he has to do is watch her function in the great laboratory known as "society", and gather as much data as he can, in the hopes of reaching new heights. Or......he might just be the dirty rat that you might think he is, in which case, this is not going to end well.
Eh, he still pretty much talks about her as a product. I think you're assuming a lot of things that just aren't there. I mean he was obviously surprised but he hasn't actually shown any sort of proactive interest in her affairs or what she's becoming.

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Re: [1546] Gauging intent

Post by Roamer » Tue Jan 22, 2019 10:12 pm

Invisigoth wrote:
Sun Jan 20, 2019 7:54 pm
Given what's been hinted by Fred about Megumi with her phantom ears and tails, tails being erased for the final comic, our Engineer will be fortunate if Ashe deals with him herself without bringing in more family
Ok, how many tails is she equipped with? If she's the one casting the illusion, it's more than one, but you're making it sound like she's potentially power level 9000 all by herself...

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Re: [1546] Gauging intent

Post by Roamer » Tue Jan 22, 2019 10:17 pm

paarfi wrote:
Tue Jan 22, 2019 12:38 pm
darrin wrote:
Tue Jan 22, 2019 12:30 pm
Requirements, very near the top if not #1 of which will be "acts like a regular girl". How to go about doing that will need to be fleshed out in a long series of meetings involving Product, the designers, QC, etc etc.
In the real world, no doubt. In a megatokyo with zombies, zillas, magical girls, etc, I think the genius scientist who makes all the decisions and has underlings he orders about would make all kinds of sense. It probably even has an entry on tvtropes. :D
Omnidisciplinary Scientist [https://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php ... Scientist] to the rescue!

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Re: [1546] Gauging intent

Post by Roamer » Tue Jan 22, 2019 10:43 pm

Teddy-Werebear wrote:
Mon Jan 21, 2019 11:20 pm
Sackett wrote:
Mon Jan 21, 2019 2:51 am
So...
He is Ping's designer like people thought...
but in a way that makes him even more creepy.
I am more in line with your thinking about Dr. Feelgood being a creepy creeper.
Despite this update. He makes the skin under my fur crawl like a Marlon Brando portrayal of Dr. Moreau...
He seems to me to be more similar to a scientist who falls in love with the possibilities of his creation but can't visualize the downsides, than a run of the mill creeper. Note that all of the inferences he uses have potentially innocent meanings.

None of this is meant to deter Teddy, of course. I don't have a nuke, or a MIB memory eraser, so I know I've got no chance of that.

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Re: [1546] Gauging intent

Post by Teddy-Werebear » Wed Jan 23, 2019 3:21 am

Roamer wrote:
Tue Jan 22, 2019 10:43 pm
None of this is meant to deter Teddy, of course. I don't have a nuke, or a MIB memory eraser, so I know I've got no chance of that.
...
Are you working with that creepy McCreeper, Dr. Feelgood? :shock:

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Re: [1546] Gauging intent

Post by Eraden » Wed Jan 23, 2019 3:40 am

There might be a misunderstanding here. Darrin, I do not for a moment think of this chap as a Noonian Soong or a Tony Stark. It can be argued that both Soong and Stark have a strong sense of morality, even if it does not exactly match that of their societies in which they exist. No, THIS fellow gives me a feeling that he may be quite amoral. Science for the sake of science. Anything as required, by his employer. In some ways, this makes him the perfect scientist, as little things like morality are not allowed to get in the way of a discovery or the development of a product. However....such individuals are often the most dangerous kind of persons to have to deal with within societies.

One must always remember that even though the pursuit of science is a lofty goal, one is still part of the society in which one lives and any activity which threatens in some way to destabilize that society, is ultimately going to hurt the scientist as well, eventually. This man has used Junko, possibly others as well, in ways she and they probably would not willingly condone. Ping is showing signs of true sentience and yet he still refers to her as a product, albeit a "fascinating" one. The only other character that treated her in such a fashion was Largo (and Ed but then he's a real loon) and I suspect Largo would not score very high on an empathy test. I find this scientist to be an interesting fellow but I sure as hell do not like him at all. He may turn out to be one of the most dangerous characters yet introduced to this comic.

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Re: [1546] Gauging intent

Post by darrin » Wed Jan 23, 2019 8:40 pm

Teddy-Werebear wrote:
Wed Jan 23, 2019 3:21 am
Are you working with that creepy McCreeper, Dr. Feelgood? :shock:
A while ago you accused me of "defending Stranger Danger", when I was defending the proposition that the probability that he was Stranger Danger was much lower than the probability that he was not Stranger Danger, given the evidence available at the time. In a previous post in this thread you refer to my "Devotion to him not being a creeper". I am not devoted to him not being a creeper. I am devoted to FINDING OUT whether he is a "creeper" or not (for any particular definition of "creeper"). Similarly, Roamer asking whether the Old Man does or does not have characteristics of Dr. Evil does not make Roamer a minion of Dr. Evil.

I know I have referenced Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality several times, and I doubt you or anyone else here have gone and read it, but it may be difficult to follow much of what I say or why I say it without understanding the Litany of Tarski. In the present case, I would state it as, "If Fred intends this character to be a pervert, I wish to believe that the character is a pervert. If Fred does not intend the character to be a pervert, I wish to believe that the character is not a pervert. Let me not become attached to beliefs I may not want."

Saying "Character A is obviously an Xer, you folks are defending a filthy Xer" doesn't, in my opinion, contribute to a discussion of whether or not character A has trait X. Which is fine, there's no requirement to do so, I just tend to get curious whether people (not just you, but folks in general, me included) are taking new things in new comics into account (revising previous ideas as deemed necessary) or rationalizing to fit them with the fixed ideas they already have. (*cough* Miho *cough* :lol: :lol:)

More briefly, to paraphrase that guy from the Indiana Jones movie, "My theory's falsifiable; how's yours?" :D
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Re: [1546] Gauging intent

Post by Teddy-Werebear » Wed Jan 23, 2019 10:42 pm

Are you asking me to be reasonable in an online comic forum, D?

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Re: [1546] Gauging intent

Post by BetaCygnus » Thu Jan 24, 2019 10:19 am

This scene and Darrin’s observations actually remind me of two movies: D.A.R.R.Y.L. and Short Circuit.
In both, there’s a big difference between the people who marvel at the real life situations in which the respective robots find themselves (choosing between chocolate and vanilla ice cream, for instance), and the "need to neutralize possible but probably imminent threat from what was originally intended as a superweapen"-type of guys.

I think this man has no sexual intent whatsoever concerning Ping or the other girls he has "used" (as models, as objects for behavioral studies &c.).
Would Erika have allowed the game engineers of the game she played with Largo in the back room of the Megagamers store to "use" her in any wrong way? I should think not, but I could be wrong, of course. Still, she allowed them to "use" her to improve the reality level of the female model. I think this man uses the word in the same way.

I think he’s interested in the way Ping is dealing with the real life situations she encounters.

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Re: [1546] Gauging intent

Post by darrin » Thu Jan 24, 2019 11:46 am

Teddy-Werebear wrote:
Wed Jan 23, 2019 10:42 pm
Are you asking me to be reasonable in an online comic forum, D?
Heaven forfend :lol: :lol: :lol:

Just springboarding into an elaborate excuse to gratuitously reference hpmor yet again, hope ya don't mind. 8-)

EDIT:
BetaCygnus wrote:
Thu Jan 24, 2019 10:19 am
I think he’s interested in the way Ping is dealing with the real life situations she encounters.
There seems to be quite a range of opinions as to what exactly the Old Man's attitude toward Ping (our Ping, not just the Project ;)) might currently be, and what it might evolve into. I think that's a testament to Fred's tremendous skill at packing a lot of content into characters' dialogue while leaving subtler issues like intent or motive ambiguous or even obscure.

For me the diagnostic will be if Ashe convinces him to come into the Foxhole to help Ping deal with her issues. If he instead wanders off to look for Junko I will consider this evidence he is not as interested in Ping as we might hope. :(
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Re: [1546] Gauging intent

Post by Eraden » Thu Jan 24, 2019 2:08 pm

darrin wrote:
Thu Jan 24, 2019 11:46 am
Teddy-Werebear wrote:
Wed Jan 23, 2019 10:42 pm
Are you asking me to be reasonable in an online comic forum, D?
Heaven forfend :lol: :lol: :lol:

Just springboarding into an elaborate excuse to gratuitously reference hpmor yet again, hope ya don't mind. 8-)

EDIT:
BetaCygnus wrote:
Thu Jan 24, 2019 10:19 am
I think he’s interested in the way Ping is dealing with the real life situations she encounters.
There seems to be quite a range of opinions as to what exactly the Old Man's attitude toward Ping (our Ping, not just the Project ;)) might currently be, and what it might evolve into. I think that's a testament to Fred's tremendous skill at packing a lot of content into characters' dialogue while leaving subtler issues like intent or motive ambiguous or even obscure.

For me the diagnostic will be if Ashe convinces him to come into the Foxhole to help Ping deal with her issues. If he instead wanders off to look for Junko I will consider this evidence he is not as interested in Ping as we might hope. :(
There's a third option, Darrin. If he is the amoral scientist I think he might be, he might just monitor Ping's development without getting directly involved with her in any sort of way that might be helpful to her.

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Re: [1546] Gauging intent

Post by darrin » Thu Jan 24, 2019 3:10 pm

Eraden wrote:
Thu Jan 24, 2019 2:08 pm
If he is the amoral scientist I think he might be, he might just monitor Ping's development without getting directly involved with her in any sort of way that might be helpful to her.
True, but then I think he'd need some way of keeping tabs on her from a distance in that case. It's clear from the first few panels of 1522 and what he says here that he was surprised to see Ping (even though he recognizes her), so he hasn't been making use of any kind of tracking until now if he had access to it. So unless he's managed to turn such tracking on without us noticing it at all [1], or does something like that in the next few strips, I will continue to consider that lower probability than the other possibilities (but certainly not zero ;)).

[1] I have wondered on and off if his "arm-on-the-shoulder" move at the end of 1522 (which seemed to pin a lot of folks' pervert detectors at the time :lol:) was a Star Trek VI kinda thing. But even there, you can see the little patch on Kirk's shoulder when he turns around to get on the turbolift (at least by the second or third time you've watched the movie :oops: :lol:). So again, it's certainly possible that Fred would keep something like that completely devoid of a any hints whatsoever until the big reveal a few more strips down the road; my gut feeling is that it doesn't really fit style-wise but that's not worth much.

EDIT:
@paarfi, below: Exactly. I didn't want be quite so pedantic as to tack on "assuming such a thing even exists" to the end of all my sentences :D, but I was hoping it would be obvious that that particular hypothesis carries a lot of complexity in its assumptions, which is why I was considering it low probability, at least until the next interesting thing the Old Man does or says. Which I am expecting at this point means 1547. 8-)

But as long as I am here, I guess I should add that this possibility Eraden mentions (however remote it might be) is not, I believe, strictly orthogonal to the first two I outlined in my last post above. That is, not necessarily a "third option" independent of those two. Old Man could wander off to look for Junko while still in some fashion "monitor[ing] Ping's development" (not necessarily immediately); or, if Ashe persuades him to join the conversation in progress in the Foxhole, he might decide to begin "monitor[ing] Ping's development" (again, not yet obvious how, but that's for future speculation). I am starting to doubt his motives (at least the "deeper" ones) will be made clear in a small number of strips, possibly not even by the end of the chapter.
Last edited by darrin on Thu Jan 24, 2019 4:15 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: [1546] Gauging intent

Post by paarfi » Thu Jan 24, 2019 3:38 pm

darrin wrote:
Thu Jan 24, 2019 3:10 pm
True, but then I think he'd need some way of keeping tabs on her from a distance in that case.
If Sony had a way to keep track of Ping from a distance, I think Ed would be having a much easier time bringing her back in.
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Re: [1546] Gauging intent

Post by Eraden » Thu Jan 24, 2019 5:56 pm

paarfi wrote:
Thu Jan 24, 2019 3:38 pm
darrin wrote:
Thu Jan 24, 2019 3:10 pm
True, but then I think he'd need some way of keeping tabs on her from a distance in that case.
If Sony had a way to keep track of Ping from a distance, I think Ed would be having a much easier time bringing her back in.
Would it be possible that the project is in such an early stage of development that Sony simply hadn't had time to plan for or even expect that this sort of situation might arise? It certainly seems that this scientist has been caught by surprise by the current development.

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Re: [1546] Gauging intent

Post by Yl33 D4 N00b » Thu Jan 24, 2019 7:55 pm

As we all know, Ed's an idiot, though...... ;)

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Re: [1546] Gauging intent

Post by Roamer » Thu Jan 24, 2019 10:46 pm

darrin wrote:
Thu Jan 24, 2019 3:10 pm
...I am starting to doubt his motives (at least the "deeper" ones) will be made clear in a small number of strips, possibly not even by the end of the chapter.
If we use prior important (not critical) reveals as a baseline average, we should know in about three chapters. Or to put it another way, three to six years. Probably closer to six as the chapters are getting longer. (Every chapter since #7 has been over a hundred comics, with the exception of #8. I think that was as short as it was as it contained major scenes that Fred has had fully mapped out in his head for a long time.)

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Re: [1546] Gauging intent

Post by cidjen » Fri Jan 25, 2019 5:16 am

Roamer wrote:
Thu Jan 24, 2019 10:46 pm
darrin wrote:
Thu Jan 24, 2019 3:10 pm
...I am starting to doubt his motives (at least the "deeper" ones) will be made clear in a small number of strips, possibly not even by the end of the chapter.
If we use prior important (not critical) reveals as a baseline average, we should know in about three chapters. Or to put it another way, three to six years. Probably closer to six as the chapters are getting longer. (Every chapter since #7 has been over a hundred comics, with the exception of #8. I think that was as short as it was as it contained major scenes that Fred has had fully mapped out in his head for a long time.)
I just wish to input that we (yeah, me too) seem to be heavily influenced by what Fred dubbed dr Gero to be - called him a creep from the outset, right? I'd still like to keep the possibility of a Fred Herring here, sorry Fred :)

"There is a part of me..." that sort of still wants to take what dr Gero said here and previously, at face falue. Namely, coming from perspective, that to most people who interact with Ping, she is just a robot: you know, the old 'she's a doll, it doesn't mean anything, unless you play with her for real' excuse. He's no different here: she's his creation (collective/collaborative or not, she still is at least in part), but he's not thinking about her as a real girl, but as a product. 'Cos that what she is, to him. Not a real person.
From that perspective, everything he said so far, is entirely justified and nowhere near the level of creepy, that everybody seems to assume it is.
We may speculate as to how was the emotive data gathered on the source(s), but that doesn't change the fact, that there is this angle, from which it all is plain, simple and justified: new product development....

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Re: [1546] Gauging intent

Post by darrin » Fri Jan 25, 2019 12:29 pm

cidjen wrote:
Fri Jan 25, 2019 5:16 am
creepy, that everybody seems to assume it is.
I argued repeatedly from the start that there was no strong evidence for the then current sense of "creepy" (pervert who dates young girls). Above I am arguing his attitude to Ping is (at least potentially) quite callous but not (the current sense(s) of) "creepy" -- any more than Frink's reaction to recognizing the AT-5000 was "creepy".

The Old Man either doesn't know that Ping is self-aware (this "trying to play a real girl" thing might just be a programming quirk), or doesn't care (since one rogue prototype isn't significant to the Project that he does care about). I don't yet consider either of those possibilities strong evidence of "creepy" (as would, e.g., knowing she was self-aware, knowing this was significant, and still wanting her back under his / Sony's thumb, or retired entirely, regardless of consequences).
Avatar by Broken, I changed the book
My rescripts, now with little bits of commentary for each one

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