This thing has nicely grown with the comments. It appears the future will have its share of battles and wars as well, so why not show the more tender sides of technology (with all the possible side effects that have been noted).
I like your little trip into the 'modern'. Will there be more? Go to Comment
That is the problem with science ficiton pieces, they must provide an explanation that is logical and consistant. You have to follow general Newtonian laws and material science. You can't just wave your hand and say "it is magic.. so it is unknowable, unexplainable, random". Technology needs to be built. People need to have direct reasons fo doing so. There has to be an economic incentive if the item is not a one off.
(You, and anyone writing science fiction subs, also need to give more background material, so we know the applicable setting for the subject. Unfortunately, there is no "generic science fiction background" like there is for fantasy (psuedo european medieval fantasy of the Tolkien mold). Thus we need a bit more setting material incorperated or a linked setting submission.
I think you just need to think about what can be done with the products a little more. To see their applications all the way through, including other options. This one just needed some more explanation and had that one logic hickup. Kineticite violated the third law of thermodynamics in places. Both were solid ideas, they were just not thought through as well as they could of been. So keep making science ficiton, just check the logic and science before you release them.
Oh and science fantasy has many of the same issues. You need to give a lot of setting material and a lot of logical sounding gobblygook to make it seem like technology rather than magic. Go to Comment
Interesting idea and the write up has some nice features.
The advert part at the top makes it look like the unit is for domestic/ commercial other than governmental/ institutional use. It just has the same feel as a toaster ad.
Does this follow Asmovian Rules, or just can't be an offensive? Since it is really smart, it gets to decide what it can do?
If this thing is smarter than your average human soldier, then why does need to be directed by a human medic? Why not a soldier?
And does it have to obey? So if you don't like your buddy, you can order this thing to jump on him?
Will it work on the opposition? Can I tell it to jump on another guy (who is hopefully injured)? Or if he is about to kill me, he is obviously sick (in the head) and must be subdued and taken for treatment.
So hopefully it can decide as to what it should do. And does it decide to do it well? Go to Comment
I've got to say I really disagree with a lot of the people here - I don't think the submission has logical hiccups in or contains implausible science, nor do I feel a need for more settings details.
The science is plenty deep enough for a sense of verisimilitude and the way it works (e.g. the restrictions) all seem to make sense and have a nice grey area around the border to make things interesting.
Overall, very good! I could pick this up and drop it into almost any science-fiction campaign I was running - it not into the main society, then into a smaller world/system that the PCs visited. Go to Comment
>The advert part at the top makes it look like the unit is for domestic/ commercial other than >governmental/ institutional use. It just has the same feel as a toaster ad.
That was the feel I was going for actually, or something from a Soldier of Fortune magazine.
>Does this follow Asmovian Rules, or just can't be an offensive? Since it is really smart, it >gets to decide what it can do?
Not formally - the world view where this is invisioned had a bad experience with automated soldiers, so armed Robots are banned. It is smart within the domain of it's programming. It could be reprogrammed as a combat unit in defiance of the treaty.
>If this thing is smarter than your average human soldier, then why does need to be directed by a >human medic? Why not a soldier?
Primarily for the same reason as they can't be armed. They are smart, but not allowed to have initiative. As to why not soldiers and only medics, command and control reasons. Dumb Grunts are not trained to direct medical robots (for good or ill). They are intended to reduce the number of medics per unit and therefore reduce the training costs of larger formations. One human medic can direct numerous RR80's.
>And does it have to obey? So if you don't like your buddy, you can order this thing to jump on >him?
No - it would ignore that order unless your buddy was injured and required it's services. An NCO or officer could probably override this, but you bet there would be a note in the after action report. It is programmed with basic Military operations, so it is rank aware. One might even assign a rank to the robot, but again under treaty obligations, it cannot give orders to combat soldiers.
>Will it work on the opposition? Can I tell it to jump on another guy (who is hopefully injured)? >Or if he is about to kill me, he is obviously sick (in the head) and must be subdued and taken >for treatment.
It is not programmed for Human Medical (Psycological) so 'sick in the head' is beyond its area of knowlege. It could be ordered to help even the opposition, i.e. prisoners. It would be possible to use it offensively in this manner, but I think shooting the enemy would be simpler.
Since it is not extraordinarily effective as a combantant (at least without programming upgrades), using it offensively is not practical. Go to Comment
Which part of the sub do you consider a logic hiccup? The fact that it can be used to attack is not a hiccup in my mind.
Kineticite is another story, but I am not entirely convinced something like it is not possible. Perhaps not explosive, I'll grant. Since it is Sci-Fi, it needs to be somewhat plausible. Going further then that is actual design and if I figure out how to store energy with nanoscale flywheels, I'd better apply for my patent now! :) It's purpose it to provide a non-chemical explosive to a sci -fi setting. Sci fi is all about What If, not What is. Some of the best Sci-fi i've read is entirely implausable by todays (or yesterdays) physics (i.e. ANY FTL) and do not follow Newtonian Physics. (Which, are not in 100% concurrance with General Relativity anyway, at least at the larger end of the scale, at least according to some articals in Discover,etc, I've read...)
The setting that most influenced me was one where disputes were settled with low-tech mercenary battles (19th century arms only) and I just moved the timeframe for allowed weapons a little further, and added the rules against robots directly fighting. Go to Comment
Not bad. I like the presentation and the suggested limitations on combat machines. I can't see such limits being consistently enforced, as there would be too much incentive for various forces to "skirt the rules". Despite this, in a universe where direct offensive capability is prohibited to robotic intelligences, numerous support functions could be taken over by robotic systems.
I could see a few minor programming changes being installed to produce the RR80-P (Pacifier) variant: A robot programmed to keep prisoners sedated, but maintain their health. Under human supervision, it would complete medical procedures designed to ensure that the prisoner could not escape, such as temporarily blocking the nerves needed for sight or mobility and inserting tracking devices into the body, or even administering brainwashing chemicals.
Once the medical procedures were completed, it would maintain a medical watch upon the prisoner, ensuring that he was kept sedated and compliant without unduly damaging his health.
Measures like this could become a bone of contention between the different sides of a conflict, as they argue about whether such behavior is prohibited by treaty. Go to Comment
It's almost impossible to anticipate every possible error or objection: Few of us are minds of the "Buckaroo Banzai" mold, able to do brain surgery in the morning, set a new land speed record in the afternoon, then have a rock concert in the evening. There will always be something to overlook, whether it's a quirk of social dynamics or a wrinkle of fluid dynamics, no one will consistently see everything.
This is where a group like this can really shine, however. I would suggest that Science Fiction pieces be routinely thrown into the "Advice Requested" bin; we need to then make an effort to give more feedback to authors trying to develop these pieces.
The robotic corpsman suggests a setting post to describe the historical and technological forces that led to its development. Go to Comment
"As for needing to build a whole setting to support the sub, I'm not in agreement."
You misunderstand my intent: I didn't think that a setting post was necessary; I thought that a setting post would be a worthy follow-up to the piece. Future settings where independent AI has been tried and found too dangerous have often been seen before (Dune comes to mind), but new variations on the theme are always welcome, and might suggest other, companion pieces about the technology and cultures of such a setting.
"As to Advice Requested, its a good idea, but nothing I've ever put there has received advice."
I found that I need to specifically ask people to comment before I get much feedback. We are all guilty in that regard and need to take more initiative. Until we establish a way to encourage thoughtful feedback, I recommend that authors actively solicit such. Go to Comment