Author Topic: feasibility of Robot Populations  (Read 1810 times)

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Offline Blogaugis

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Re: feasibility of Robot Populations
« Reply #45 on: November 17, 2021, 02:17:38 PM »
I don't see a point in making robots a parallel population measured in numbers just like humans are. I can't see robots in the future as being as clean-cut as being 'replacement humans'.  Instead we would develop 'robots' in the form of automated systems built specifically to fulfill some purpose or another. Like the factory arms you see making cars these days. I think a better term to use than 'robots' would be 'automation'.

Automation tech would basically reduce the number of population required to operate a particular facility to reflect advances in automation.

This can be done solely through the research mechanic. You can call it 'automation' and it can go in the Logistics or Construction section. Have it start with basic robots and go all the way to hyper-advance AI's making humans essentially obsolete.

Add branching technologies to also make ships require less crew, saving on amenities to the point you can make automated ships.

Make it dangerous to go this far and employ so much automation by making AI rebellions a thing. Watch your automated colonies and ships turn on you and die.

This would be a much better representation of 'robots' in Aurora's gameplay than just adding a pop type you can build on command.
I agree with You, until the "making AI rebellions a thing."
I prefer if we ever get to the point of having robots in game - that is to keep the "AI rebellions" a toggleable thing. Because, sure, some folks would want to play a terminator (and skynet) rebellion role-play in the future, I personally prefer not to. Well, maybe for fun sometimes, but with seriousness - nah.
After all - we have certain spoilers Precursors in game already - why not give the player ability to repeat the histories of old civilizations, and create it's own robots Precursors..?

Frankly, of most space games that I've played which invlove exploration - one thing that I miss from basically all of them is - How do I recreate it? How do I repeat the story? How do I create these vast constructs, that perhaps some future civilization will explore as derelicts? So, can the Aurora4x finally break the cycle of find some abandoned derelict and possibly profit from it? And finally be the We are the ones that made these constructs!? Can Steve make this a reality?
 

Offline Sebmono

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Re: feasibility of Robot Populations
« Reply #46 on: November 18, 2021, 11:58:57 AM »
Before we even consider AI rebellions I would love to see human pop rebellions, with colonies being able to turn NPR and fight against the empire. This would require enhancements to the overall political and diplomatic layer, but would be amazing to see.
 

Offline Bobcloclimar

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Re: feasibility of Robot Populations
« Reply #47 on: November 25, 2021, 12:10:31 AM »
I think robot populations and ship crews can already be modeled with RP:
- Improved productivity already models increased automation in the general population. 
- Crew requirements could easily represent dedicated space for housing and maintenance of the supporting electronics for an AI or robot crew (e. g.  they require specialized hardware that can't be lumped in with MSP).  Morale is long-term buildup of instabilities in the code bases that reduce efficiency and require memory wipes (downtime) to reset.  Escape pods can represent salvageable (and accessible) memory banks floating in the debris.  Crew loss can be damage to an AI core. 
- Genetic engineering could be reflavored as armature customization, for which the primary energy source is water-derived hydrogen.
- Academies become military-grade AI production facility. 

Unless there's interesting gameplay mechanics or tradeoffs to make, I'm not sure adding robotic pops really adds much to the game that couldn't already be done with RP. 
 
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Offline dsedrez

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Re: feasibility of Robot Populations
« Reply #48 on: Yesterday at 04:51:54 PM »
Inventing an entirely new set of standard "interfaces" (used broadly) that are robot specialized, then installing them literally everywhere in place of the existing human specialized interfaces, has both developmental and deployment problems.

It's a huge upfront cost, for one. "What do you mean I need to rebuild my kitchen, laundry room, lawn shed, bedroom, bathroom, and utility rooms before I can use your home assistant robot? I'll just go buy the Honda one that has hands. Also, I kind of like cooking and would like the option of doing it myself sometimes."

And, well, at the end of the day why is the non-humanoid one better? Even granting your premise that it is more "efficient" in the context of a house designed around it (as opposed to designed around the person living in it and paying for it), as soon as you want to do something the designers failed to anticipate you are boned. If the robot is mechanically humanoid, new "tasks" can be added with just a software update (or even by having the person demonstrate what they want). If it's an eldritch monstrosity that can only operate in spaces designed around it, you are stuck unless you call a mechanic. And what happens if the robot breaks? If the house is still human adapted, you can cope. But if I have to get the robot repaired before I can operate the microwave....

Moreover, there is an issue with getting people to "trust" the robots, and having the robots be things that are more or less human looking is a good way to build trust.

These are not hypotheticals I'm spitballing, by the way. These are things robotics researchers are actively studying.

Long thread and I've just started reading it, but I'd like to comment on the need or convenience of humanoid-shaped robots. It's a bit off-topic re: Aurora, sorry. If someone else has remarked on these same points already, please forgive me.

1. Trust issues: there's the "uncanny valley" problem: as the similarity to humans grow, after some point, there's a human tendency for severe distrust to grow as well. There's also the question if you *should* trust robots, and how far. Part of the problems with AI (and computers in general) is that humans tend to trust whatever result they show, until they have overwhelming evidence that the results are *wrong*, and then you may simply not trust them any more. When the proper attitude should be that you should trust only so far, and verify whenever necessary... there's *always* a margin of error in any AI (and in fact any human) judgment.

2. Interfaces are always evolving. Just as an example, TVs no longer have button panels on the front for turning them on/off, switching channels etc. Now you do that through a remote control. When *these* are broken, which happens every so often to me, you have to use clunky menus and hidden buttons, when there's a button at all. Also, bluetooth is an already established technology that could be used by any robot to access most devices they'd need to operate: much better, and faster, than buttons. Alexa is an immobile tower which pretends to be a personal assistant (I find them hugely annoying). It doesn't need buttons to buy things for you from Amazon.

3. The humanoid shape may have been selected by evolution, but it is by no means the optimal shape, or even a good shape, for modern physical tasks. It's way more complicated to control, balance etc than, say, a wheeled barrel with a telescopic eye and a robotic arm. And, if really necessary, you could switch those wheels for any of a number of stair-climbing solutions available already. Robots don't share our biological constraints. There are reasons for the current pursuit of humanoid shapes in robots, but I'd say they have much more to do with human psychology than practical concerns.

4. A generic AI, that would be able to do tasks not previously foreseen and modeled, with a wider scope than a specialized AI, is way beyond reach right now, in spite of all the hype around singularity and such. And, arguably, such generic AIs would have to be sentient, at least to a point, if they needed to correctly interpret context in human-level conversation. Which opens the question of whether they would be so advantageous over human intelligence to justify their existence. And they would have to be hugely complicated, their non-human reasoning would be very difficult to explain to humans, and that would mean they'd most likely be felt as a threat to humans, through the "uncanny valley" effect, even if they were not humanoid-shaped.

5. Now back to Aurora: I find the idea of a robotic population extremely interesting. They wouldn't need to be humanoid-shaped, at all, for that. Nor "generic AIs" in the above sense. I could imagine them downloading behaviour models for the usual tasks they'd be asked to perform, as necessary. Operating mines, factories etc. Well, if you *do* want your robots to be humanoid, capable of arguing with you on the best way of doing something, then you can RP that. That's the beauty of Aurora: there's lots of flexibility in what you can represent within the game mechanics.
However I do agree that one of the current game's interesting aspects is that I do have to deal with population shortages. My current game starts with just 150m pop, it's very low/slow tech, and I have a NPR sharing my system :) The population limit is fun. Being able to build robots to replace pop would remove some of that. I'm not sure if robots would add enough to the game to be worth it.

 

Offline nuclearslurpee

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Re: feasibility of Robot Populations
« Reply #49 on: Yesterday at 04:53:38 PM »
1. Trust issues: there's the "uncanny valley" problem: as the similarity to humans grow, after some point, there's a human tendency for severe distrust to grow as well.

In fairness to human-shaped robots, the only thing I trust less than a human-shaped robot is an actual human.  :P
 
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Offline dsedrez

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Re: feasibility of Robot Populations
« Reply #50 on: Yesterday at 05:10:21 PM »
I would like some kind of robot or AI ship control so we could have drones and unmanned probes.

Some ideas: a computer control checkmark or component that can be added to ships. AI ships would not lose morale for deployment time or require crew or crew quarters or have life pods. However they gain no fleet training or commander bonuses. They could cost more tonnage or more minerals than normal crewed ships to make them prohibitively expensive.

oh that's a proposal I'd very much like. I'd give them combat limitations too, to limit any abuse. But for my small sensor platforms that I drop at every JP, that stay for over 10 years on station, an AI computer overseeing it would be great! Today I have to ignore the feelings of the poor two or three crewmen I have to strand so far from home for so long every time, with the very real prospect of never coming home at all. Still, they're more practical than sensor probes that I can only remove with great difficulty.

 

Offline dsedrez

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Re: feasibility of Robot Populations
« Reply #51 on: Yesterday at 05:14:48 PM »

I was thinking something similar. A Component that would weigh about 100 tons, but would reduce the required crew by, say, 20. But the more i thought about it, i have never had an issue with not having enough crew to man my ships, so i don't know if anyone would every find it necessary.

I have a dire need for more crew in my current ship: it started very small, I had very few build points, and I'm trying to expand my fleet to have a chance against my NPR neighbour, and my ships are being crewed by inexperienced recruits... argh

but that's not the reason I'd want robotic crews. At most I'd use them in fighters and specialized ships.
 

Offline ArcWolf (OP)

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Re: feasibility of Robot Populations
« Reply #52 on: Yesterday at 06:31:18 PM »


I have a dire need for more crew in my current ship: it started very small, I had very few build points, and I'm trying to expand my fleet to have a chance against my NPR neighbour, and my ships are being crewed by inexperienced recruits... argh

but that's not the reason I'd want robotic crews. At most I'd use them in fighters and specialized ships.

that is a scenario i did not think of.