Wednesday, July 17, 2013

IMTU Organic Bias

In GURPS the cost of an AI that can do a better job than a human is very very low. So low that I wanted to balance it out, like No Talents, but I kept getting caught in having an Human-Centric Bias. It hit a hard question: If a machine could do a better job than me and the economy and circumstance says this is a sustainable alternative then I've been made obsolete... not just me but my race, my children, their children.

I was working and reading the Mentality Template (B263) differences between a basic human and AI's (UT27-28). I wanted to answer some questions I had about what is the economic consequence of AI that is cheaper and better than humans. I had to throw my older rules out because, I was actually biased to the organic when i was comparing performance in apples to apples. Catching myself in a bias is refreshing, but put me in a dillemma as if I let AI's and robots eat up all the jobs what happens to people?

This is an age old question in sci-fi, but economics and the human condition really makes this more complicated than a cut and dry system. I think there is room in a universe for a ship to be crewed by VAI's at the expense of humans but there are consequences and challenges that have to be identified.

State Sponsor. In my Subsidized Economy post, The State, loyal to humans, has dictated policy for education and the means for anolog humans find work, training, and the means to raise their quality of life. Basically humans only have the state preventing them from being obsolete but by all objective measures, they are already obsolete by TL10.

Genetic Upgrades (BT66) - The only way Humans can avoid obsolescence is by upgrading to match the growing demands. I can imagine States begin by subsidizing gene-fixed because it will lower the cost of healthcare and bring down mortality rate and increase the talent pool. People will adopt cybernetics along with Gene-upgrading their children. 

I would allow Genetic Upgrades, but for fun allow Players to Roll randomly for them. Ooops I got a Hellot II... crap (BT67).

The consequences of allowing Genetic Upgrades In-My-Traveller-Universe is opening another can of worms, but a fun one with a Yes And/But storytelling. It is too complex and too much work to detail things as a GM, so use Yes And/But... after this no more head ache.  

Accountability - In light of a recent plane crash, AI seems to be the perfect scape goat but this makes the mega-corp more accountable if VAI is property. because of the NEED for scape goats we still have key positions for Analog Humans.

Analog vs Digital. Because many AI have the ability to Possess, Probe, Read, and Mind Control Digital Minds (see AI customization rules in UT29) Analog brains have the advantage of being another layer of defense, requiring Social Engineering or a different mode of Hacking.  

Analog vs Digital is an old but interesting topic. I'll let the players munchkin it out, but work with me looking at the consequences of certain strategies. 

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