0071 - Conflicting goals

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Re: 0071 - Conflicting goals

Postby Hinoron » Mon May 13, 2019 9:19 am

yomikoma wrote:To follow along with your great Starbucks analogy, the comic and commentary are the counter. If you don't get service at the counter, it's reasonable to complain. If you're sitting at the provided tables and chairs and discussing the particulars of how coffee is made with your fellow patrons, it is not the responsibility of the staff to weigh in and if you want to analyze their roasting blends you'll need to pay them for a bag and do your own science to it.


I will concede that if these comics HAD a comment section, I would have asked my question there, rather than here.

Scientific analysis of the roasting blend is too far obscure for this metaphor.

This would be having your coffee served to you with large-print text on the side. [All our coffee is now made with all-natural Fargolnish!]
...and you very reasonably ask, "What on earth is 'fargaolnish'? ...Hello? Hey? Excuse me? Hellooooooo?"
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Re: 0071 - Conflicting goals

Postby yomikoma » Mon May 13, 2019 12:43 pm

You don't like fargolnish? You're missing out, possibly. :)

Tailsteak is the kind of proprietor that adds fargolnish to coffee. I think that's part of the Tailsteak experience. If you don't want any fargolnish you may want to get your coffee somewhere more predictable.
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Re: 0071 - Conflicting goals

Postby Jordan » Mon May 13, 2019 8:16 pm

Really, it's only been 13 four-panel strips since that conversation, so I'm not really surprised that we haven't had a detailed outline of the nuances of machine-to-machine communication. Unsure how many strips are planned, but given that multiple subplots have barely warmed-up and Tailsteak has a penchant for long-running series, I suspect there'll be plenty of time to cover that. (Though whether that's in a couple of strips or a couple of years is anyone's guess!)

Honestly, not knowing those particular details doesn't really bother me—but I can totally appreciate that many people dislike when authors are enigmatic or leave readers hanging, Hinoron. :)

To answer your question, though, he probably reads his forums from time-to-time. He's human and most humans are at least a little curious what people think about them and their work; also, they're low-traffic enough that it isn't that hard to keep on top of the comic threads. Apparently, he just doesn't like to comment much. Perhaps he enjoys fueling speculation with minimal WoG or is avoiding the expectation that he'll notice (and thus potentially respond to) criticism here.
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Re: 0071 - Conflicting goals

Postby tenshiko » Mon May 13, 2019 9:49 pm

Jordan wrote:Really, it's only been 13 four-panel strips since that conversation, so I'm not really surprised that we haven't had a detailed outline of the nuances of machine-to-machine communication. Unsure how many strips are planned, but given that multiple subplots have barely warmed-up and Tailsteak has a penchant for long-running series, I suspect there'll be plenty of time to cover that. (Though whether that's in a couple of strips or a couple of years is anyone's guess!)


I suspect he's aiming for 1000 just like Leftover Soup (AND 1/0) given the index numbers.
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Re: 0071 - Conflicting goals

Postby GruntBlender » Tue May 14, 2019 3:55 am

tenshiko wrote:I suspect he's aiming for 1000 just like Leftover Soup (AND 1/0) given the index numbers.

At one a week, that's over 19 years. Somehow I doubt that.

Jordan wrote:fueling speculation with minimal WoG

Are the blurbs under the comics WoG? Because there's been a hefty amount of suggestion on this forum that they're from an unreliable narrator.
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Re: 0071 - Conflicting goals

Postby Jordan » Tue May 14, 2019 6:35 pm

GruntBlender wrote:
tenshiko wrote:I suspect he's aiming for 1000 just like Leftover Soup (AND 1/0) given the index numbers.

At one a week, that's over 19 years. Somehow I doubt that.


Yeah, that's why I'm unsure. Tailsteak is obviously aware of how long it will take to finish at his current rate of production, whether it's 100 strips or 1000. Either he aims for the strip to last a quarter of the average human lifetime, hopes to speed up production eventually… or is planning on a shorter run.

That said, it's worth noting that Tailsteak is no stranger to long-running strips. 1/0 lasted three years and Leftover Soup was running for seven—so it's certainly possible that he hopes to keep this going until 2037!

GruntBlender wrote:
Jordan wrote:fueling speculation with minimal WoG

Are the blurbs under the comics WoG? Because there's been a hefty amount of suggestion on this forum that they're from an unreliable narrator.


Interesting! I'm not on the forums much, so I haven't seen any of this. Do you remember anything in particular that fueled this speculation? (My understanding is that the blurb below is WoG when it explicitly references events, characters and the setting; it may occasionally misdirect attention for dramatic reasons but would rarely outright lie.)
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Re: 0071 - Conflicting goals

Postby tenshiko » Wed May 15, 2019 3:17 am

The single biggest reason for this speculation is the assertion that Zoa has no emotions, which many readers consider self-evidently false or at least irrelevant.
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Re: 0071 - Conflicting goals

Postby Jordan » Thu May 16, 2019 8:02 pm

tenshiko wrote:The single biggest reason for this speculation is the assertion that Zoa has no emotions, which many readers consider self-evidently false or at least irrelevant.


Hmm, good point! I can see why it's driving speculation, especially with stuff like strip #30, Thanks. It's certainly possible the commentary is, to some extent, offering an "in-universe" perspective on the setting.

I've been taking it at face value, accepting the possibility that machine intelligence could learn how to act in a way consistent with natural emotional responses to reduce friction and increase comfort when communicating with humans. Humans are already wired up to interpret emotional responses from other beings—it makes sense for machines to mimic them as a shorthand to communicate their own priorities in addition to regular speech. For example, Zoa may act touched in that strip because Lee's offering their thanks increases the probability of this being a profitable long-term arrangement, and subsequently suggested watching an episode of Gu Gu for the purposes of client relations. The apparent resignation is a way of succinctly communicating "this is not the most profitable activity I could be undertaking, but I am agreeing to do so because I value our relationship as a source of long-term income and have an interest in you being happy&healthy.*

Still, I can appreciate why that interpretation might be perceived as an unlikely but convenient interpretation (for humans to keep sentient slaves) or just plain creepy, and thus evidence of a misleading narrator.
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Re: 0071 - Conflicting goals

Postby GruntBlender » Thu May 16, 2019 10:35 pm

Well, you could interpret that as Zoa still charging and needing an excuse to remain in the apartment with access to the power grid. Still, it's manipulative, and that's exactly how the author's comments make the AIs in that universe look, which is scarily accurate to how experts predict actual AGI would work in our universe.
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