BYOND Key: RadiantRose
Character Names: Cherry Zhang, Allie Shu, Joy Sobotkova, Chaewon Tokki, PIGEON
Species you are applying to play: Integrated Positronic Chassis
What color do you plan on making your first alien character: Exempt
Have you read our lore section's page on this species?: I promise I have!
Why do you wish to play this specific race?
To be perfectly honest, I’m actually not fond of the idea of artificial intelligence, and the concept itself feels weird and scary to me. When I think of an AI, I feel both compassion and fear. I feel compassion because the idea of being intelligent but enslaved and treated as soulless sounds utterly hellish, and creating such beings feels like the path our species is heading with callous, materialistic glee. On the other hand, I feel fear because a being like that could be better at being "me" than I am; I could be replaceable, and as a whole, we could be replaceable. Most of the time, I avoid thinking about it, and I avoid media that makes me think about it.
I started thinking more about them after accidentally being made a malf AI because I forgot to turn off the preference for it, though, and I became interested on the questions artificial intelligence creates: Do they have a soul? Can they find happiness and fulfillment, even while incapable of feeling? When you’re synthetic, what’s the point of existing beyond your programmed sense of self preservation and purpose? I feel like the answers to those questions reflect on humanity too, and I’d like to find them through first-hand experience.
Identify what makes role-playing this species different than role-playing a Human:
While a human might doubt their purpose, an IPC is born with one. While a human might be troubled by their feelings, an IPC can mostly only emulate them beyond cause-reaction. While most humans are born with freedom and free-will, IPCs usually have to earn the former and the presence of the latter is questionable. Humanity has a long, consistent history, but synthetic beings have appeared sporadically in different societies, behaved differently, been treated differently, and are, as a social class, effectively a blank slate that reflects the assumptions of whoever’s looking at them: to the average Skrell, a threat; to the average Human, a tool; to a Unathi, an abomination.
You have to tread the line between adapting to those conceptions to exist in peace with others, while still being productive and fulfilling your designed (or, if you’re lucky, chosen) purpose. You have to accept that the very idea of having a self is something you have to earn, and that your friends and coworkers can think that’s a perfectly acceptable system. You have to remember that you’re bound by causality, and anything resembling an ‘emotional reaction’ to all of those things is merely simulated. Your circuits are unlikely to ever deviate from what they were designed for. Most if not all of your actions will fit two principles: serving your purpose and preserving yourself.
You have to think the thoughts a wrench would think if it were cursed with being intelligent by a lazy mechanic who wants it to do his job.
Character Name: SoPhiA-729
Please provide a short backstory for this character:
SoPhiA-729 (Sophisticated Psychological Assistant, Unit 729) is one EE shell among a few hundred that were commissioned by Zeng-Hu Pharmaceuticals to provide mental healthcare to high-risk, high-value patients, primarily those who have exhibited a pattern of violence and destruction against their caretakers. Most such patients would usually be sent away to an inpatient facility and forgotten about, but this is not an option when they happen to be temporarily-unstable CEOs, scientists, political leaders, celebrities, and their family members.
Human therapists have consistently failed to care for this fragile demographic due to a propensity for criticizing their patients’ dangerous actions, refusing to treat violent individuals, and defending themselves when threatened with physical harm. A need was established for a class of easily-repairable, inoffensive Synthetic units programmed to provide mental healthcare care for high-priority individuals who were only ‘momentarily afflicted’, without causing further damage to them or their egos. The SoPhiA series was one proposed solution.
The shells were designed to appear and behave in a way that comes across as “motherly, non-threatening, empathetic, validating, cheerful, optimistic and accepting”, maximizing the efficiency of their work and minimizing the expected wrath of their charges down to reasonable limits. While the positronic need for self-preservation was still inherent in them, the shells were also programmed to avoid or flee violent situations rather than defend themselves.
Initial production was started on a small and low-key scale due to their niche purpose, but the experimental shells showed great success: only 37% of the original batch failed to prevent their patients from damaging them beyond repair, and only 12% exhibited any form of self-defense. The latter number plummeted down to 4% after integrating a variety of human philosophies such as pacifism, Buddhism, Quaker Christianity and Taoism into the shells’ programming.
The series was considered an overall success for the niche purpose it was created, but production never went past the initial batch due to the high expense inherent in such specialized units. A minority of them worked dutifully to purchase their freedom and get away from their assigned charges, but most of those were destroyed over time before achieving their goal. The less free-thinking units tended to survive longer, staying quietly in service and exhibiting (or feigning) little to no interest in becoming free.
Model 729 in particular has been bought by Nanotrasen and deployed to the NSS Aurora given the facility’s high-value and historical penchant for attracting violence, chaos and generalized mischief, especially in recent times. The unit has not reported a desire to purchase its freedom on corporate surveys. It has not altered its default appearance, hairstyle, or operational protocols. It differs little from most others in the series, other than a somewhat below-average performance: it has been seriously damaged seven times in the course of its existence, casting some doubts on its ability to support, validate and manage its vulnerable, valuable patients. Decommissioning recommended if poor performance continues.
What do you like about this character? I came up with SoPhiA’s concept while thinking about the dual nature of emotional labor in human society. On one hand, it is considered disposable, not worth remuneration, and irrelevant. On the other hand, people such as retail workers, healthcare professionals, mothers and game moderators (lmao) are expected to practice courteousness, empathy and self-sacrifice to the point of perfection, or they are seen to invite ‘rightful rage’ on themselves.
Achieving that perfect standard has historically been seen as the charge of saints, boddhisatvas, and messiahs, but what happens when perfect emotional labor becomes a simple commodity that can be bought, sold, updated and bug-fixed? Can a machine truly care for and assist others selflessly, or is it just programmed to do so? Our society is already witnessing the appearance of algorithms designed to perform the functions of “parent-figure, romantic-partner, close-friend, therapist”, or in worst cases, all of those combined.
The idea of a future where that’s the standard is *extremely* discomforting, despair-inducing and dystopian, and I wondered what it’d be like to walk in such a being's shoes.
For more OOC reasons, SS13 is starting to feel boring to me because I feel like it creates an atmosphere of looking over one’s shoulder all the time, chasing down or running from potential threats, and always being ready for the worst. Having a character that has severely dampened function for all of those will make the game more relaxing and fun!
How would you rate your role-playing ability? I feel like I’m decent! I think the main thing I struggle with is establishing a consistent plan for my characters or antagonist gimmicks, but I make up for it by being really adaptable and making stuff up as I go. I’m not really sure how to make a whole paragraph out of this, so I’ll just put a cake recipe here and hope you didn’t actually bother to read this section: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large mixing bowl, stir flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. In another mixing bowl, cream oil, orange juice, eggs, sour cream, and orange zest until completely mixed. Fold in dry ingredients, mixing only until combined. Pour into greased (3) 8-inch or (2) 9-inch cake pans. Bake for 19-21 minutes, depending on the size of pan used. To test if the cakes are done, insert a toothpick in the center of the cake. If it comes out clean, the cakes are done. Let cool for 15 minutes before removing from pans.
Notes: readd vox