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Kage2020
18-03-2005, 18:53
Okay, we all know about servitors. The basic Image that GW works on seems to be that they are former humans that, for some reason, are turned into cyborg automatons. Some retain full, or almot full, sentience while others are basically 'dumb'...

So what's the point? One of the other hammers that GW tends to break over the 'fluff' is that they are used instead of computers (except in some big things). But why? They are just robots that involve biological components and, indeed, arguably more complex than robots (depending on the form of the robot). Heck, even the 'ole robots had "biocomputers" in them (but let's not go too far down that route).

Some might argue that 'flesh' is required for 'machine spirit', but surely that is just a reinforcement of some rather tenuous concepts? E.g. the extension of basic (original) animism to formerly sentient beings and then creation of a false concept?

Consider a 'gun servitor'? Why bother with the servitor section at all when a simple cogitator can do the function? It's not as if you really would want to give the servitor a choice in the matter? ("Hmmn... should I fire at that vessel, or am I going to have a bad hair day?").

How much of the servitor quandry is a matter of Image - GW trying to be unique - and how much of it is actually valid?

Kage

Deveathan
18-03-2005, 19:09
I belive it is a simple feeling of fear among the leading men of the imperium is what keeps the servitor in the service of the emperor. I belive that the imperium prefers to use the servitors since they are not at ease handing out heavy weapons (including starships) to computers since the whole dark age of technology and the iron men rebellion.
So instead they use lobotimized humans with some "changes" to get the job done.

I don't see their use as beeing entirely unreasonable because of this.

Typheron
18-03-2005, 19:11
The main fluff reason is what happened with the Iron men, true AI is feared throughout the imperium as the last time things went badly wrong so having a bit of humanity withing there computer systems and machenery is vital, in there view at least, to make sure it does not happen again.

Charax
18-03-2005, 19:15
The first reason to have a biological component is that AI was, IIRC, banned after the heresy - after the Dreadclaw incident. Land raiders and other such blessed vehicles arent true AI, more a series of programming routines that allow it to act quasi-independantly.

Secondly is the religious aspect - Every human soul needs saving, and if a criminal dies his soul goes to the Daek Gods - better to make him a servitor and allow him to continue in the service of the Emperor and redeem themselves.

although it does make you wonder why they bother to use clones for servitors - Imperial cloning has never been very reliable.

Wraith
18-03-2005, 19:20
Possibly it could be something to do with detecting the taint of chaos - it may be easier to detect in a organic vessel than an inorganic one. Also organic vessels would be killed easier via neuro toxin injectors in the event of corruption.

The ability to psychicly control/track servitors may also be a reason but given mind impulse units this could be achieved without organic components - it depends if such technology is available.

There's also the issue of the iron man uprising - an active avoidance of anthropomorphic artificial constructs may be encouraged.

Ultimately the 'rule of cool' may come into effect here...


One might also ask why do Eldar make wraith constructs instead of robots?

Kage2020
18-03-2005, 19:21
Yet it is clear that we're not talking about AI and have never done so. Even the 'ole Imperial "war robots" were not AI. (Or, rather, not true 'machine intelligences' as it is likely that the old Iron Men were.) Thus the restrictions are fairly spurious at best; an Image rather than a meaningful difference?

Of course, I'm not saying that a difference has to be necessarily meaningful in the metaphysics of the adeptus mechanicus or the Imperium, but it still needs to be considered.


Originally posted by Wraith:
On might also ask why do Eldar make wraith constructs instead of robots?
You've mentioned "Rule of Cool", well this is "Thematic Army". There is absolutely no reason that the eldar shouldn't use robots except that it is not covered by their Theme and thus they do not appear. Personally I allow eldar robots!

Kage

Sojourner
18-03-2005, 19:31
Servitors are a peculiar juxtaposition of the Ecclesiarchial veneration of humanity and the human form, and the Adeptus Mechanicus' love of technology. I would think perhaps the predominance of servitors is due at least in part to the Ecclesiarchial hatred of 'blasphemous' intelligent machines, rather than a decision entirely on the part of the AdMech. Something of a compromise to stop the factions killing each other.

Plus, with a human brain you have a pre-built system. All you need to do is tell it what it can and can't do, and you circumvent the whole process of designing an enormously complex robot brain and sensory feedback system.

Plus, servitors repair themselves.

And incidentally Kage, I'm not convinced that more intelligent servitors are at all common. I would go so far as to suggest that servitors even capable of responding to any input outside their programming parameters would be exceptionally rare. In the vast majority of cases, speaking to a servitor would be pointless unless you're issuing a command word.

Kage2020
18-03-2005, 19:46
Servitors are a peculiar juxtaposition of the Ecclesiarchial veneration of humanity and the human form, and the Adeptus Mechanicus' love of technology.
This has elsewhere been discussed as about the only reasonably 'logical' means by which the concept of Servitors can be introduced. Of course, robots did at once exist so the question is what event in the history of the Imperium might have created a situation where the approach of the adeptus mechanicus might have been forced to change? Or they elected to change...?

One can imagine the somewhat ad hoc approaches to integrating 'servitors' into pre-established non-servitor technologies.


Plus, with a human brain you have a pre-built system.
Only to a certain extent. The complexity of 'programming' required to 'programme' a servitor is at least as difficult as the same for a computer. Some things like 'walking' might be a bit of a bugger, but you don't necessarily need to make a 'robot', or mechanically controlled device, walk in the bipedal fashion.


Plus, servitors repair themselves.
So do bolt guns! :rolleyes: ;)

But, yes, there is a certain amount of self-repair. The only problem is that, relatively speaking, they are far more subject to damage than non-organic systems. Furthermore, they are also subject to additional resource demands (i.e. supplements to maintain their organic systems). <grin> I'm reminded of Robocop for some reason, which is I'm sure a part of where the image of servitors derives from! ;)


And incidentally Kage, I'm not convinced that more intelligent servitors are at all common.
Never said that they were common, just that they likely existed.


...speaking to a servitor would be pointless unless you're issuing a command word.
And that is different to a 'robot' how...? ;)

Kage

TheSonOfAbbadon
18-03-2005, 20:18
A robot might not be able to hear what in hell you're saying, e.g:

'Bread and butter.' robot hears 'Bremmbutta.' because that's how you talk, it would be annoying to have to pronounce it properly every time to a robot during battle, servitor still has it's human brain so it knows wtf you're saying.

Flame Boy
18-03-2005, 20:23
Well, there are a few servitors in the fluff able to hold conversation, so though they may be rare, it's still not unheard of by any means...

However, having an organic brain makes servitors rather easy to control with telepathy... Thinking of the Eisenhorn books and the Alph-level psycher controlling two loading servitors comes to mind... there seem to be a lot of drawbacks, but thill they persist...

I suppose it's another way of telling the audience just how expendable humanity is as a concept in the 41st millenium.

sulla
18-03-2005, 20:43
Consider a 'gun servitor'? Why bother with the servitor section at all when a simple cogitator can do the function? It's not as if you really would want to give the servitor a choice in the matter? ("Hmmn... should I fire at that vessel, or am I going to have a bad hair day?").

How much of the servitor quandry is a matter of Image - GW trying to be unique - and how much of it is actually valid?

Kage

To me, the main reason servitors work in the imagery of 40K is that there is such a surplus of 'meat'. That is to say, discarded humans.

For example, many marine recruits fail the initiation process, but were good enough to be selected in the first place. Their chapters still allow them to 'serve' the chapter as thralls (servitors and other automatons).

Likewise, we can imagine that since the imperium already uses criminals in this manner (arco-flaggelants), they probably also use other humans who don't fit into society in the same was (a paraplegic or a heavily autistic person for example)

You are right that it must be far easier to make real robots than cyborgs butthink of it more as a political statement than a practicality. It sends a message to the citizens of the imperium that their duty is to serve the emperor and ways can be found to 'help' them do that, no matter what.

GuardianoftheFlame
18-03-2005, 23:40
Good point Flame Boy, having the humans as servitors add the the grimness of the fluff. also it would appear that being able to easily kill them in case of taint is a good thing after the heresy.
Sulla also makes a good point. It just helps to prove that the emporer is who is in charge and that the people's lives will be used for his purpose. The imperium has so many people in it that they do not worry about losing a life or two thousand in the name of the Emporer.

vyper
18-03-2005, 23:47
Plus the idea behind servitors, and the imagary (not to mention the artwork potential) is too good to pass up.

The half human, half machine, combined with mutants and the partly archaic machinary of the 41st millenium gives so many possibilities. A four-armed servitor powered by a steam belching furnace anyone?

but aesthetics aside, i think its a way of keeping the humant element in the armies, maybe even serving as a warning to people who step put of line, sort of like "you could end up like this."

Also, maybe the technology of being able to create a completely mechanized version of a servitor is too expensive/difficult. After all, why try and create a mechanical brain when you already have a human one?

Sgt John Keel
19-03-2005, 00:12
I agree with sulla. It statuates an example for other would-be criminals and it provides a use for useless bodies/humans. The Imperium seems very reluctant to waste resources.

/Adrian

DantesInferno
19-03-2005, 00:58
I don't think it has much to do with the Imperium's reluctance to waste resources. Besides, this is the regime which has brought the meaning of beaurocratic waste to an all-time high. I'm not convinced they make Servitors merely because they may find it easier.

The reason for me lies here: which would an Adeptus Mechanicus magos rather trust - a beeping computer/robot which appears completely foreign and mysterious to him, or a robot/organic mixture? He doesn't know how either works at all, but at least it looks like a human, so it would appear much less unknowable and much more familiar. Thinking about it from a Middle Ages perspective rather than a 21st century one is often more useful.

And then there are the religious significances too, as people have already mentioned.

Kage2020
19-03-2005, 01:25
Ah, so the reason is... a hodge-podge of the different Images that tenuously hold the basic 'fluff' together? Religion is used as a catch-all, the adeptus mechanicus do not know what they're about despite everything...? And because there are a lot of humans around they are used in some form of technonecromancy?

(Actually the last is interesting, but even then it only answes one tenth of the question and then only the Image...)

The question still does not appear to be answered. It's like that darned stupid question, "If a tree falls in a forest with no one to hear it, does it make a noise?" If a 'robot' is used where no-one can see it, does that make it a servitor by default? ;)

Kage

Delicious Soy
19-03-2005, 02:45
As other have said, in the rarer instances of risky investigation (Like Inquisitorial/Ad Mech investigations into the warp) a servitors biomatter makes it easier to destroy in an instant by exposure hard vaccuum, acids, life eater virus, whatever. Though this would make less of a standard and more of a specialist piece.

Servitors are also a method of punishment and as mentioned in Deux Ex Mechanicus, a form of death for Tech Priests who have lived out their purpose. Of course this in turn would still have them as rare which leads to the Ad Mech using vats to produce servitor parts.

With cloning, the Ad-Mech seems to be capable of creating specific parts without having to create an entire human. Therefore, do they produce a cerebral cortex for a servitor to operate and would it be easier than the creation of an algorithim and necessary circuitry? In term of hardware, the crystal stacking CPU's used by the Ad Mech certainly have the capacity to hold an intelligence necessary for Servitor tasks. Perhaps then its a matter of Mechanicus Dogma.

There are probably several Magos (and Chaos Tech Adepts for that matter) who do know how to create effective AI, even the most basic form that would allow a robot to do the work of a servitor without bewcoming self aware, much like a Christian can know that saying the Lord's Prayer backward summons the Devil. The problem is with loyalists, it flies in the face of the ideology of the Ad-Mech and the way that Human interact with technology.

The basic tenet of the Ad-Mech seems to be a backlash against the DAOT, in that humans must be the master of their technology, not the other way around. Therefore, creations of the Ad-Mech are centered around technology functioning at a level that is closely scruntinised by those with the supposed ability to control it. This is why Naval ships, rather than leave them to navy engineers, are kept under close observance by the techpriests. Or IG motorpools will have an enginseer to overlook everything,even if those doing the work aren't necessarily indoctrinated in the machine cult.

Basically in terms of analogy its better to regard the Ad-Mech less as priests and more of prison wardens watching over a mass murderer. They have to respect the danger he poses, but nonetheless hold authority over him.

Good to see you found your way here Kage, though you must be dying without the eyebrow smiley :p

DantesInferno
19-03-2005, 02:58
I think the status of Servitors is somewhat analogous to that of Servo-skulls:



A servo-skull is a drone-like device created by the Adeptus Mechanicus from the skulls of pious Imperial servants, so that they may continue to labour in the Emperor's cause, even after death. They are fitted with small anti-gravity engines which enable them to float, and each is designed to perform a specific task.


Could the AM create little anti-grav robots which weren't implanted in people's skulls (after their death, of course)? Well, yes, since the skull part seems rather superficial. So why do they use skulls to form a shell for the little robot/computer things? Again, the answer is part religious (so that they may continue to labour in the Emperor's cause, even after death) and part utilitarian (it is easier to get used to a robot in a familiar human form than a robot in an incomprehensible robot form). Same goes for servitors.

Brok
19-03-2005, 02:59
Robots would take more time and precision to produce though, and if more bodies are available than skilled technicians and correct parts then the bodies would be opted for. I see the AdMech using humans just because bodies would be easier to procure. Also, it wouldnt be as easy to build a robot as just replacing some parts of a human.

Mostly though, rule of cool.

Avenging Dentist
20-03-2005, 06:24
Here's one possibility (and I admit that I'm reaching a bit for a logical explanation): much of AI theory is probably lost to the Adeptus Mechanicus, and they only have access to a relatively small set of subroutines. It may be that the only AI theory they know of deals with particularly advanced systems that resemble the human mind in many ways ("fuzzy logic" systems, perhaps). If the theory behind the main AI code was lost, the Adeptus Mechanicus would be left with pretty much useless modules, since they have nothing to apply them to. However, they may have found that the human mind approximates these advanced AI systems, and with appropriate implants, a human could become the core controlling these modules.

AI in cogitators, on the other hand, are very likely just finite-state machines (i.e. "if A, do B; if C, do D; else do E") capable of responding to the real world only in very simple ways.

Like I said, this is a bit of a long shot, but I think it's feasible, and the idea of "lost technology" certainly fits the current fluff.

Sojourner
20-03-2005, 13:09
I think it's a trust issue. The Ecclesiarchy despises AI; it's blasphemous as the proliferation of AI corresponds to that period where humanity didn't have the Emperor's grace and instead made mockeries of their own form which rose up and destroyed them. Human bodies however are practically holy in themselves and to avoid igniting extreme bickering between the two factions, the Admech take the simple approach and base their automata on biological systems.

boogle
20-03-2005, 13:17
they are classed as cyborgs because of the fleshy components that they still have, to call them robots would be like saying that the Ad Mech were the same as they are primarily mechanical

Kage2020
21-03-2005, 00:05
...a servitors biomatter makes it easier to destroy in an instant by exposure hard vaccuum, acids, life eater virus, whatever...
So they're actually created to be easier to destroy? Hmmn...


In term of hardware, the crystal stacking CPU's used by the Ad Mech certainly have the capacity to hold an intelligence necessary for Servitor tasks. Perhaps then its a matter of Mechanicus Dogma.
I think it is clear that it relates to the approach of the adeptus mechanicus themselves, at least in terms of representation to the wider universe, but identifying the specifics is far more interesting than just hand waving it away under this title. Not saying that was what you were doing, by the say...

As to the 'crystal stacks' being capable of holding the 'intelligence'... Yep, that is clear, and more besides. Is that the point, though? Servitors are just lumps of flesh that are programmed. While they might have a 'storage' sufficient to create 'intelligence' (i.e. full sentience) they are not operating a this level, just the one that is required for a given function. Is that any different from, say, a calculator? Or the CPU of a car... it is given just enough 'understanding' that it can function, no more.


There are probably several Magos (and Chaos Tech Adepts for that matter) who do know how to create effective AI, even the most basic form that would allow a robot to do the work of a servitor without bewcoming self aware...
This is one of those points where I feel that the Imagey, and the application of that Imagery, gets somewhat confused. More so when the term 'AI' is applied.

So, first off, what I mean by the term 'AI' and, indeed, related terms:

Machine Intelligence (MI): This would be an overall non-organic entity (but which might include organic processes in its 'circuits' or whatever, i.e. biocomputers) that is 'sentient' in at least the same general fashion as a 'human'.
Artificial or Pseudo Intelligence (AI or PI): A construct similar to the MI but which is otherwise devoid of that 'spark' of intelligence. Any 'intelligence' that the machine evidences is a product of complex programming alone.
Expert System: A 'smart' program, normally designed for a specific purpose. E.g. science programs, law programs, etc. Does not operate beyond the specific remit of the programming.
Program: A 'dumb' program that performs repetitive tasks, or tasks which make an otherwise complex process into a simple one. E.g. word processing programs, databases, etc.
Okay, perhaps not the best explanations out there but it was just meant to give a general gist.

Servitors, by their definition, have the 'spark' of intelligence (consciousness, whatever) removed from them. They are no longer 'greater than the sum of their parts', but rather just equal to them. In essence they are an unprogrammed "bioroid", a biological android. Everything else that happens to them subsequently is all a matter of 'programming', so all you have is a 'free robot'. The nature of the programming is problematic, but generally speaking with the adeptus mechanicus it seems reasonable to believe that computational devices (e.g. cogitators) would be involved... direct neural interface, neural processors, or whatever.

...Incidentally, the destruction of the natural 'spirit' (soul, whatever) of the servitor-to-be can be argued to be considered necessary. That is to say the adeptus mechanicus is making 'space' for the Machine Spirit to become manifest. Some might argue that this can be taken to mean that there must have been spirit in the first place, but the treatment of machines in general would seem to argue against this. Regardless, this might be another reason that 'intelligent' servitors are rarer: they do not have 'space' for the Machine Spirit to become manifest. (Though this gets into some interesting problems with regards to the TechPriests themselves!)

So, we're back to the fact that the servitor is a programmed automaton, little different from a 'robot' except it is vastly more complex and, while it has some strengths, also has a great deal of weaknesses. There are arguments either way for which is better, whether it is the lack of requirement for maintenance (countered by food requirements, medical attention, etc.), the complexity of the nervous system for 'free' (countered by the relative complexity of the programming requried to instruct that system to operate), etc., etc. It is also common to see that the servitor is inherently more 'intelligent', which once again seems to get into the problems of creation and the over-arching Image.

Again, if they are essentially so similar why are we left at a point where servitors are replaced over 'machines'? Some might argue a generic 'fear' of technology held over from the Age of Strife, although that doesn't seem to make a great deal of sense. At least no more sense than the whole Nightbringer 'fear of death' situation and the whole deck of problems involved with that.

Is it somehow 'cheaper' to produce servitors than 'robots'? The answer to that would seem to be 'no'. While the 'cost' of raising the individual is not going to be specifically born by the adeptus mechanicus, or necessrily the Imperium in general, it is still going to be there. Coupled with the expense (presumed) of the materials/research/etc. required to 'programme' the servitor, once again you've got "six of one, half dozen of the other": the same thing, just packaged in a different manner.

Or is it merely a case of Image. The writers went 'cool', were influenced by the material published before and took it to different heights in an attempt to be "original"? The idea that it is done "just because" works as well as any other (and is reasonable), but still doesn't tackle some of the basic problems...

Ah well...


The basic tenet of the Ad-Mech seems to be a backlash against the DAOT, in that humans must be the master of their technology, not the other way around... Basically in terms of analogy its better to regard the Ad-Mech less as priests and more of prison wardens watching over a mass murderer.
Which is, incidentally, a rather wonderful way of looking at things. Great analogy... Except does it entirely work with the adeptus mechanicus? These are the people whose very existence - their religion, their belief structure, or whatever - is predicated around knowledge and understanding, both features which will bring them to their 'God'...


Good to see you found your way here Kage, though you must be dying without the eyebrow smiley
Actually, I had previously determined that I was going to stop using that smilie and just go with the emboldened "Kage" anyway... I got fed up with not taking myself seriously... :rolleyes: ;)


If the theory behind the main AI code was lost, the Adeptus Mechanicus would be left with pretty much useless modules, since they have nothing to apply them to.
Another piece of 'knowledge' lost?


AI in cogitators, on the other hand, are very likely just finite-state machines (i.e. "if A, do B; if C, do D; else do E") capable of responding to the real world only in very simple ways.
Only problem with this is when you consider the cogitators used in Imperial ships. They must, by necessity, by inherently more complex than the type of systm that you are envisaging.


Like I said, this is a bit of a long shot, but I think it's feasible, and the idea of "lost technology" certainly fits the current fluff.
I found it amusing, a while back, for a 'staff member' of GW to say that the "warp storm" idea was too much of a cliche, something that has been over-used in the past and therefore something to be avoid. Does not the same apply to this over-used idea, since it is so often applied to every single race in the 40k universe with one or two exceptions?


I think it's a trust issue. The Ecclesiarchy despises AI; it's blasphemous as the proliferation of AI corresponds to that period where humanity didn't have the Emperor's grace and instead made mockeries of their own form which rose up and destroyed them.
Which is a very human thing to do and, perhaps, is more effective in explaining the discrepancy as any other...


they are classed as cyborgs because of the fleshy components that they still have, to call them robots would be like saying that the Ad Mech were the same as they are primarily mechanical
We're talking about both here... ;)

Kage

Philip S
21-03-2005, 00:46
Not all servitors are devoid of all personality, I know gun servitors in Titan are mind wiped to reduce Psyker control. But other servitors can communicate normally, and seem to be just machine enhanced humans.

Servitors come in many forms.

Which is clear from the fluff is that all humanoid like machines – servitors, dreadnoughts, robots and possibly the Iron-Men all share the same technology base.

As for pure artificial non-biological intelligecne – it seems 40K lacks this in any real form. I could be the artificial non-biological minds needed to power humanoid machines to the level a human can operate are just to complex and can’t be made small enough to fit into humanoid size form (brains are incredibly complex).

It could simply be a design issue, best tools for the job.

As for gun servitors on ships, I think the work in tandem with the auto-targeting systems, the servitor acting as a human failsafe.

Robot 2000
21-03-2005, 00:46
So what's the point? One of the other hammers that GW tends to break over the 'fluff' is that they are used instead of computers (except in some big things). But why? They are just robots that involve biological components and, indeed, arguably more complex than robots (depending on the form of the robot). Heck, even the 'ole robots had "biocomputers" in them (but let's not go too far down that route).

Some might argue that 'flesh' is required for 'machine spirit', but surely that is just a reinforcement of some rather tenuous concepts? E.g. the extension of basic (original) animism to formerly sentient beings and then creation of a false concept?

Consider a 'gun servitor'? Why bother with the servitor section at all when a simple cogitator can do the function? It's not as if you really would want to give the servitor a choice in the matter? ("Hmmn... should I fire at that vessel, or am I going to have a bad hair day?").

How much of the servitor quandry is a matter of Image - GW trying to be unique - and how much of it is actually valid?

Kage

I think the idea is that given that in the past there was some kind of rebellion of robots against humans (the whole "iron men" fiasco) the Imperium (and maybe the generality of humanity) regard it as less dangerous to have augmented, "programmed" sub-humans to do the dangerous and dirty work rather than independently thinking robots.

IIRC there is a mention somewhere of the land raider machine spirit containing organic components (a human brain?) which may or may not be relevant . . .

Kage2020
21-03-2005, 01:15
Not all servitors are devoid of all personality...
As mentioned above.


I know gun servitors in Titan are mind wiped to reduce Psyker control.
And yet psykers can be used to control 'machines'? Just because it doesn't have a 'mind' doesn't make it immune.


Servitors come in many forms.
Erm, yes...


Which is clear from the fluff is that all humanoid like machines – servitors, dreadnoughts, robots and possibly the Iron-Men all share the same technology base.
<sigh> No it is not clear. That is your interpretation of the 'fluff'. While Iron Men and 'robots' might have utilised the same technology, that is worlds apart from servitors. "Clearly."


As for pure artificial non-biological intelligecne – it seems 40K lacks this in any real form.
See the above with regards to the confusion about the technological issue.

And, clearly (;)), this discussion is not merely limited to 'humanoid' robots/servitors/whatever.


As for gun servitors on ships, I think the work in tandem with the auto-targeting systems, the servitor acting as a human failsafe.
Just a human plugged in? Seems entirely unnecessary more so if they're having a "bad hair day" and determine not to shoot. Or, from the above, they are telepathically controlled. But hang on, there is an obvious contradiction. Didn't you say that they were mind-wipped? So where the heck is the 'human failsafe'? Hmmn... Ooops.


I think the idea is that given that in the past there was some kind of rebellion of robots against humans (the whole "iron men" fiasco)....
Fiasco indeed. But a generic 'racial memory' that is spread uniformly over the Imperium and persisted without reinforcement for fifteen millennia?


IIRC there is a mention somewhere of the land raider machine spirit containing organic components (a human brain?) which may or may not be relevant . . .
Servitor or biocomputer?

Kage

Philip S
21-03-2005, 01:33
And yet psykers can be used to control 'machines'? Just because it doesn't have a 'mind' doesn't make it immune.
I think this was an emotional issue regarding corruption – Titan gun servitors (used in interrogation cells) get wiped often (but function remains).


<sigh> No it is not clear. That is your interpretation of the 'fluff'. While Iron Men and 'robots' might have utilised the same technology, that is worlds apart from servitors. "Clearly."
Robots have always had bio-brains (cortex), sevators are machine/ bio mix with bio-brains. It all the same technology.


And, clearly (;)), this discussion is not merely limited to 'humanoid' robots/servitors/whatever.
The point was that at that scale machine/ artificial AI may be out of the window.


Just a human plugged in? Seems entirely unnecessary more so if they're having a "bad hair day" and determine not to shoot. Or, from the above, they are telepathically controlled. But hang on, there is an obvious contradiction. Didn't you say that they were mind-wipped? So where the heck is the 'human failsafe'? Hmmn... Ooops.
The Titan gun servitors I mention where on the moon Titan in the Grey Knights novel (not the big machine Titans), the gun servitors guard prisoners and where memory wiped often as a security feature. It seems Psyker can work on a servitor over time.


Servitor or biocomputer?
The Land Raider central computer is a bio-mind (cortex – similar to early robot’s cortex) and as such possesses a machine spirit.

DantesInferno
21-03-2005, 01:42
It seems to me that the best argument as to the proliferation of servitors is the trust argument, put forward earlier by Sojourner and myself.

Basically, a robot in human form will be easier to trust for a Adeptus Mechanicus magos than a robot in robot form. It is more familiar to him, he knows that the Servitor is not completely foreign, since it has human anatomical parts, even if not a human mind.



These are the people whose very existence - their religion, their belief structure, or whatever - is predicated around knowledge and understanding, both features which will bring them to their 'God'...


Sure, that is the doctrine of the adeptus mechanicus, but in practice it is more about centralising scientific knowledge into their organisation and shrouding it in psuedo-religious mumbo-jumbo to keep the uninitiated in their place. You don't need to look far to find examples of other religious/political organisations whose practices were almost directly contradictory to their supposed creed. Look at the Christian church in the Middle Ages. They're meant to be spreading the word of God, so they conduct services in Latin.......

thearchiver
21-03-2005, 01:44
1. Fear – servitors are a punishment, like hell him going to steal the candy if I know my fate if I get caught is going to be lobotomized and turned into a walking electric screwdriver.

2. It reinforces that fact that you will serve the Emperor either willingly or not

3. Servitors don’t rebel, you must remember that most servitors are just walking tools and don’t set foot on the battle field, there used as basic tools, pure tab A into slot B work, so you have a workforce you can treat like dirt and there not going to even so much as complain

Philip S
21-03-2005, 01:52
1. Fear – servitors are a punishment, like hell him going to steal the candy if I know my fate if I get caught is going to be lobotomized and turned into a walking electric screwdriver.
Sounds about right.


2. It reinforces that fact that you will serve the Emperor either willingly or not
Spot on.


3. Servitors don’t rebel, you must remember that most servitors are just walking tools and don’t set foot on the battle field, there used as basic tools, pure tab A into slot B work, so you have a workforce you can treat like dirt and there not going to even so much as complain
The whole workforce could end up servitors or partial servitors especially on Forge Worlds– reminds me of Fritz Lang’s Metropolis.

Kage2020
21-03-2005, 04:18
I think this was an emotional issue regarding corruption – Titan gun servitors (used in interrogation cells) get wiped often (but function remains).
So the argument is that they gain 'personality' over time? Perhaps reasonable enough given that they are, or were, originally human. Only problem is that when you wipe them you also wipe the 'commands' unless they are hardwired in some fashion (i.e. separate processor), which kind of defeats the purpose of the mind-wipe in the first place. Of course, you could just reload the instructions, but that was never in question...


Robots have always had bio-brains (cortex), sevators are machine/ bio mix with bio-brains. It all the same technology.
Only in Philip-world. The cortex is described as an 'artificial brain of sorts' constructed of 'artificial enzymes', etc. That doesn't mean that you've got a brain in the box, although that is an obvious and simple approach. Regardless of that the technolgy for servitors and robots is different, despite your most fervent wishes to the contrary.

Well, perhaps not the vat-grown servitors since in many ways that would be 'artificial' in all regards...

Of course, as always its a question of what you want to see in the 'fluff'.


The point was that at that scale machine/ artificial AI may be out of the window.
AI does not equate to MI, as above. But, again, that was not the point.


It seems Psyker can work on a servitor over time.
There is no reason why they wouldn't be able to affect it in the 'wiped' state. Other than statement, of course.


The Land Raider central computer is a bio-mind (cortex – similar to early robot’s cortex) and as such possesses a machine spirit.
By your definition, true.


It seems to me that the best argument as to the proliferation of servitors is the trust argument, put forward earlier by Sojourner and myself.
I would actually say that Sojourner's later suggestion is more valid.


Basically, a robot in human form will be easier to trust for a Adeptus Mechanicus magos than a robot in robot form.
So you are suggesting that the adeptus mechanicus also buy into this "superstition"?


Sure, that is the doctrine of the adeptus mechanicus, but in practice it is more about centralising scientific knowledge into their organisation and shrouding it in psuedo-religious mumbo-jumbo to keep the uninitiated in their place. [snip]
You're 'preacing' to the converted, here. My personal interpetation of the adeptus mechanicus is predicated upon this feature.


Fear – servitors are a punishment [snip]
All true. That is indeed the 'fluff'.

Kage

Avenging Dentist
21-03-2005, 07:20
(I would have posted this earlier, but had troubles getting to Portent... oh well.)


Only problem with this is when you consider the cogitators used in Imperial ships. They must, by necessity, by inherently more complex than the type of systm that you are envisaging.

Finite-state machines can actually be pretty complex, assuming you program them right. It would be basically impossible to create a "true" AI using a finite-state machine, but even relatively complicated tasks like language processing can be accomplished through a finite-state machine. In fact, up until the 1970s, most (if not all) AI research used finite-state machines of one form or another. They don't do well at acting human, but in situations where you're supposed to follow rules to resolve situations, they work well enough.


I found it amusing, a while back, for a 'staff member' of GW to say that the "warp storm" idea was too much of a cliche, something that has been over-used in the past and therefore something to be avoid. Does not the same apply to this over-used idea, since it is so often applied to every single race in the 40k universe with one or two exceptions?

I've always read the Adeptus Mechanicus as having approximately present-day levels of true knowledge (perhaps more or less in some places), but they also had access to all these hypertechnological gizmos that they had figured out how to "plug in" to their projects. It may be overused a little bit in the fluff, but everything points towards a limited understanding of the devices the Adeptus Mechanicus uses. Otherwise, they would be much less inclined to search for intact STC machines, since they'd have the knowledge to build something like it on their own.

That said, I think that Sojourner's theory holds water as well. If that were so, it would probably be GW taking a page from Dune (the mentats were the Dune world's response to AI, since the Butlerian Jihad had everyone nervous about AIs).

Delicious Soy
21-03-2005, 07:47
So they're actually created to be easier to destroy? Hmmn... I think in some circumstances thats the reason for their use, though your previous mention of gunservitors is interesting when we look at non-portable Ad Mech gunnery implacements, which seem to operate off computerised programming (at least as far as I know, its entirel possible that theres a servitor head in there somewhere). So in the case of portable firepower Ad Mech use Servitors or Praetorians (which interestingly enough have their own personality). I theoise they do this for two reasons

1. Rapid response/Ease of control: Servitors and Praetorians have natural (or enhanced) senses that would give them a quicker reaction time (running off the assumption of giving a turret legs, shoddy programming and all)

2. Vulnerability: The biological parts of a servitor or Praetorian allow it to be destroyed through more means than a robot if they try to turn on their masters.


As to the 'crystal stacks' being capable of holding the 'intelligence'... Yep, that is clear, and more besides. Is that the point, though? Servitors are just lumps of flesh that are programmed. While they might have a 'storage' sufficient to create 'intelligence' (i.e. full sentience) they are not operating a this level, just the one that is required for a given function. Is that any different from, say, a calculator? Or the CPU of a car... it is given just enough 'understanding' that it can function, no more.I can only conjecture that maybe the Ad-Mech find it easier to inhibit the mental functioning of a human brain through either genetic manipulation or devices like pacifier helms. Or in the case of servitors being made from criminals, lobotomy.



Servitors, by their definition, have the 'spark' of intelligence (consciousness, whatever) removed from them. They are no longer 'greater than the sum of their parts', but rather just equal to them. In essence they are an unprogrammed "bioroid", a biological android. Everything else that happens to them subsequently is all a matter of 'programming', so all you have is a 'free robot'. The nature of the programming is problematic, but generally speaking with the adeptus mechanicus it seems reasonable to believe that computational devices (e.g. cogitators) would be involved... direct neural interface, neural processors, or whatever [snip]Perhaps the soul of a servitor serves as the conduit for the machine spirit itself? The more I think I about this subject the more questions on biological/machine interaction I end up with. I'm thinking now that servitors are left with motor functions, basic sight, hearing perception and enough problem solving capabilities so they can operate semi-independently without having to be programmed for every eventuality, therefore a sliver of their humanity is preserved, even if they are almost wholly linked to the Machine Spirit. Which would explain why some Tech priests view it as a gift.

In terms of cost effectiveness of production, would the Ad-Mech even care? If we accept that they are dedicated to the pursuit of scientific knowledge and the mastery of man over machine, would they even care if it was cost effective? Given their predicliction for Titan Legions, I'd say no. Perhaps a servitor in that respect is an ideological punishment in one regard because it makes you subservient to the machine god which at the same time other Tech Priests would regard as a gift. The problem is that we know nothing about factionalism in the Ad-Mech. We know about it in the imperial church and Inquisition, but surely the Ad-Mech, easily a religious edifice the equal of the Eccliesarchy, would have similiar factionalisation?



Which is, incidentally, a rather wonderful way of looking at things. Great analogy... Except does it entirely work with the adeptus mechanicus? These are the people whose very existence - their religion, their belief structure, or whatever - is predicated around knowledge and understanding, both features which will bring them to their 'God'...Well the analogy isn't perfect, if I was to carry it further said wardens would take the serial killer out to do their dirty work unchained. But I find the Ad-Mech dualistic in their regard of the machine god, on one hand they want to be as close as possible, on the other they want to remain in control. I find this reflected best in the ancient High Magi on Mars:they may have bank upon bank of memories stored in artificial data stacks, but in the end, whats left of their personality is still retained in the same 10,000 year old brain.

DantesInferno
21-03-2005, 08:06
Basically, a robot in human form will be easier to trust for a Adeptus Mechanicus magos than a robot in robot form.




So you are suggesting that the adeptus mechanicus also buy into this "superstition"?


Basically, yes. I see the structure of the Adeptus Mechanicus as extremely pyramidal, with the vast numbers of techpriests at the censer-waving stage of extreme superstition (you know, pray to the Machine Spirit, coat the panel with the sacred oil, pray more, then press the big button called "ON"), with a much smaller hierarchy who actually understand more or less how the machines work.

Now, I would imagine most of the junior techpriests would be much more comfortable with a robot in the likeness of Man than a normal bunch of circuitry and wires which seems to think for itself!! Heresy!

Sojourner
21-03-2005, 10:48
Does anyone remember the explanation of how low-tech the original Battlestar Galactica was? The idea was that Cylons were born from networked AI gone out of control. For the war effort, the Battlestars were constructed - but they did so using no programmable networks whatsoever - purely out of fear. The designers were afraid that the Cylons could infiltrate any programmable system and take control of the Battlestars. Therefore, Galactica in the film used microphones on cables, analogue switches and monochrome CRT screens.

This argument applies well enough to 40k. Machine intelligence is corruptible. Pseudo-human less so, at least according to the Ministorum. Corruption derives from Wrong Thought. Remove thought, you remove the possibility of corruption.

Philip S
21-03-2005, 11:19
Does anyone remember the explanation of how low-tech the original Battlestar Galactica was? The idea was that Cylons were born from networked AI gone out of control. For the war effort, the Battlestars were constructed - but they did so using no programmable networks whatsoever - purely out of fear. The designers were afraid that the Cylons could infiltrate any programmable system and take control of the Battlestars. Therefore, Galactica in the film used microphones on cables, analogue switches and monochrome CRT screens.
Very neat way to explain away all that old technology.


This argument applies well enough to 40k. Machine intelligence is corruptible. Pseudo-human less so, at least according to the Ministorum. Corruption derives from Wrong Thought. Remove thought, you remove the possibility of corruption.
Good point, also remotely hacking a human mind is much harder that remotely hacking a machine.

The Original technology for servitors/ robots/ Iron-Men was developed before human civilization had a ‘Psyker problem’, and so were far more secure than conventional technology. I think that rewriting a human mind is far more involved than unloading a program onto a computer: anyone remember the ‘Porta-Rack from the Rogue Trader Rulebook, it had many fine wires that needed to be inserted, and that was to control state of mind and emotions but didn’t access the mind directly.

With the advent of Psykers, the (bio) systems used in the Golden Age of Technology where no longer secure, Psykers can get in and hack a mind very quickly. However the normal machines aren’t any better at fending of a Psyker attack, but a least a Bio-Mind is still immune to ‘computer hacks’.

One out of two defences isn’t bad, considering the rarity of Psykers (and Psykers are easily found by Imperial Psykers).

Sai-Lauren
21-03-2005, 14:13
I think part of it is the ancient fear/hatred of the Iron Men, partly that they've lost the exact means of manufacture, and the AM does seem to have a lot of difficulty in extrapolating new designs from existing ones, and partly that flesh and bone is readily available.
Think of it this way, the imperium needs a massive amount of manufacturing capacity. But if they employed people to do the jobs, they would bankrupt themselves doing it. Robots as we know them are either banned or outside the AMs knowledge, but they do have access to cybernetic implantation and mental re-programming.
Servitors don't need days off for their granny's funeral, don't need paying, don't come into work hungover and always do the job the exact same way.

Khaine's Messenger
21-03-2005, 18:13
Very neat way to explain away all that old technology.

Although it really says something about their own technical acumen.


Good point, also remotely hacking a human mind is much harder that remotely hacking a machine.

I would disagree with that sentiment. Humans are practically built to be hacked (in fact, I would go so far as to say that it's a necessity for awareness) and leak information like a sieve. Machines, on the other hand, are (unless their designers operate by very pessimistic planned obsolescence guidelines) generally built with durability of all sorts in mind and can guard their secrets very, very well. Not only that, but hacking a machine remotely requires another machine (although in 40k presumably the "machine empathy" power, which we've barely seen exibited ever, could wreak havoc with this), which introduces compatibility issues and all sorts of attendant networking problems (although one might argue that these issues are no more insurmountable than linguistics are between humans), nevermind the possibility of traceability and being counter-hacked.


The Original technology for servitors/ robots/ Iron-Men was developed before human civilization had a ‘Psyker problem’, and so were far more secure than conventional technology.

Are you suggesting that the original technology for such things was not "conventional"?


I think that rewriting a human mind is far more involved than unloading a program onto a computer

Don't let the interface fool you. Those situations aren't really very analagous. "loading a program" involves all sorts of electrical physics and mathematics (and, in 40k, all sorts of nutrient synthesization and crystal growing knowledge, iirc); "hacking" a human requires a sadistic streak and a nice selection of pointy implements, and not even really that, as modern mass media can amply demonstrate.


anyone remember the ‘Porta-Rack from the Rogue Trader Rulebook, it had many fine wires that needed to be inserted, and that was to control state of mind and emotions but didn’t access the mind directly.

Ah yes, the "open hood" method. For those who want to do things the rushed way (it doesn't really help on machines either).


With the advent of Psykers, the (bio) systems used in the Golden Age of Technology where no longer secure, Psykers can get in and hack a mind very quickly.

Although I imagine it wasn't necessarily that they did, most of the time, just that they could. Fear is a wonderful motivator....


However the normal machines aren’t any better at fending of a Psyker attack

Of course, the fact that technologies and personnel exist to shield against psychic attacks does not cross anyone's mind, ever...after a certain point it should become almost like EM shielding. Of course, it's quite possible that such shielding mechanisms would be difficult to produce and maintain (*sigh*) or not exactly easy to miniaturize (hmm, null rods?), or something else.


a Bio-Mind is still immune to ‘computer hacks’.

Why would this be so, when both purely biological and purely mechanical are both vulnerable to "computer hacks"? What is a bio-mind that makes it special in this regard?

Philip S
21-03-2005, 18:38
Hi Khaine's Messenger,

I would say that torture isn’t really hacking a mind, because the torturer isn’t gaining direct access and the victim still has freewill.

Torture isn’t 100% - it often fails, especially if a person believes in their cause, and are prepared to sacrifice themselves - a servitor would naturally be willing to sacrifice itself without hesitation if need be.

(As a backup, the Ad-Mec could put counter-measures so if worked over the brain shuts down - probably releases neuron-destroying toxins into the blood stream too)

Once the brain has shut down/ or the servitor is prepared to sacrifice themselves, then an old fashioned hack approach is needed and this could be very difficult due to the medium the information is stored in.

I think in most cases a hacker will just end up with a dead servitor, with a chemical wiped mind.

Khaine's Messenger
22-03-2005, 21:51
I would say that torture isn’t really hacking a mind, because the torturer isn’t gaining direct access and the victim still has freewill.

Torture isn't needed, as I hinted at several times in my post. All one needs is improperly moderated input or improperly handled unconscious input. For human beings, both seem to happen almost all the time. If you think "direct access" is necessary for hacking, I would again beg to differ--all you need is a means of input/output (I/O). This can be an interface or a chain of interfaces, any one of which can query the "core" for information or action. Something, somewhere, has direct access, but you yourself don't really need it (as I stated before, hacking a machine remotely does require another machine unless one is using a psionic ability).


(As a backup, the Ad-Mec could put counter-measures so if worked over the brain shuts down - probably releases neuron-destroying toxins into the blood stream too)

The fact that this is done by various Imperial institutions means that one doesn't really have to argue that point.


Once the brain has shut down/ or the servitor is prepared to sacrifice themselves, then an old fashioned hack approach is needed and this could be very difficult due to the medium the information is stored in.

Since servitor I/O is being restricted artificially, hacking a servitor would be just as hard as hacking a machine, yes, but the medium in this case doesn't necessarily increase the relative difficulty because one has not defined the data medium or data handling abilities of the machine to which you are comparing the brain (indeed, hacking a barely-sustained brain in a jar would probably be just as hard as hacking anything else locked up with no perceivable I/O).

thearchiver
22-03-2005, 23:52
I cant see the point as to why you would want to mind hack a servitor as I said before a servitor is a walking electric screwdriver, with no free will at all. There are much better targets.

I see it that a servitor would have had pretty much all of it human brain removed and only as the bits left that are needed to maintain homeostasis, therefore most psychic attacks aren’t going to work, as all the psychic attack “work over” the mind by using fear, lust greed and so all emotion based that’s not going to work because the bit of brain that did imagination and free will are sitting in a bin somewhere slowly turning green.

So you’re going to have more luck trying to possess a rock, or a copy of 4th Ed rulebook

Shadowheart
30-03-2005, 05:34
First of all, it's of course a matter of imagery, like everything in 40K. The background is merely a way to make the imagery acceptable to people that want an explanation for something that seems weird. Explaining the weirdness to the point that it becomes logical rather defeats the point, but that's how it goes.

The Servitor image maintains the overal feel of horror and human suffering that drives 40K, and it also goes with the "human blood and human flesh, the stuff of which the Imperium is made" line from the rulebook intro. The major strength of the Imperium is the sheer amount of humans it can call on, it's quantity over quality in that regard. Devaluation of human life, major 'grim darkness' element there.

But from an explanation point of view, my guess is that the Imperium and the Mechanicus are quite simply used to having Servitors. They work, and they're not fixing what isn't broken. Servitors are probably taken entirely for granted. They've got the bits to put them together and are familiar with the procedures. If you'd show them a simpler, more effective way to get the job done (provided you weren't shot/burned for the suggestion alone), maybe some tech-priests would see your point, but I don't see a technological revolution being well received in the Imperium at large.

The question remains as to how Servitors came to be in the first place, and I'm not sure how long they've been in use. Were they used before/during the Heresy? Are they merely a leftover from the initial reaction to the end of the Dark Age of Technology? I could see why people would want to have a clearly human element in a machine after the whole iron men affair. Perhaps they initially developed technology that allowed a human to plug into a machine and control it, which only over the following millennia of chaos, loss of knowledge and madness evolved into the parody that is the 41st-millennium Servitor.

Sojourner
30-03-2005, 08:03
Perhaps they initially developed technology that allowed a human to plug into a machine and control it, which only over the following millennia of chaos, loss of knowledge and madness evolved into the parody that is the 41st-millennium Servitor.

I'd definitely go with this. More and more extreme bionic modification coupled with both brain surgery and chemotherapy to suppress 'distracting' conscious impulses such as tiredness, pain or boredom. Once you have the infrastructure in place to create cyborgs from willing patients, it's only a tiny step to grow bodies in tanks and expand your workforce vastly.

So are we saying perhaps that Servitors are the highest manifestation of Transhumanism in the 40k universe? How ironic. Conventionally, transhumanism is supposed to be a means to freedom, enlightenment and the pursuit of happiness. How very appropriate to 40k that it means the perfect opposite.

And in fact, may explain the dogmatic attitude of the Ecclesiarchy in its entirety. You see what seeking advancement through blasphemous tinkering with the holy form has done? Save yourselves from these heretics who would seek to corrupt the innocent with these filthy Mechanical devices!

Hell's Angel
30-03-2005, 19:16
Brother Theus of the Adeptus Mechanicus: I have an idea Brother Captain Lazarius, lets construct machines that will fight for us, and learn from their mistakes.
Brother Captain Lazarius: ...
Theus: We can even surround the circuitry with laz resistant metal, sort of like an armoured exoskeleton.
Lazarius: Hrmmm I see what your saying... (makes descreet hand gestures to honour guard)
Theus: Imagine the possibilities if they could fall back to secondary systems if injured in order to continue fighting, and repair themselves.
Lazarius: That is an interesting idea, certainly such, um 'allies' would prove highly valuable. Lets just move the conversation into this room over here.
(Room is labelled as Organ and Tissue reclamation area.)
Theus: Oh um, thats O.K I think I am finished now.
Lazarius: Yes Brother, you are.
(Theus feels the muzzle of a Boltgun against his spine.)
Theus: Its the Necron Problem isnt it?
Lazarius: You Betcha...
(24 hours later a new servo-skull is created.)

Minister
02-04-2005, 11:21
Related, although not the same thing, is the reason for the use of servo-skulls, as explained in Kill Team: the remnant of the human soul within shields the technology and, essentialy, stamps it for humanity, thus getting around the whole godless technology problem (which is why only loyal servants of the Emperor are used, you wouldn't want a heretic soul controlling the gun skull floating next to your head, would you?). The same logic also contributes to the Servitors.

Shadowheart and Sojourner have done such a nice job of summing-up the thing that I'll just agree with them for now.