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Herne the hunter
12-12-2010, 14:14
I recently learned that the Imperium does not use robots due to a robot uprising in days of yore (ala the Duneiverse). My question is: how strict is it on this? Are robots still legal provided they're pretty dumb?

I ask because I have an old Space Crusade dreadnought knocking around that I'd like to use in my Genestealer Cult and I want to explain it as a "stolen arbites droid." Let's face it; the thing was pretty much GW's take on ED-209 anyway and I'm thinking it probably isn't much smarter.

Fluff-wise is this believable or am I going to have to pretend it has a dead arbite's brain?

Gorbad Ironclaw
12-12-2010, 14:33
The Imperium doesn't allow any kind of AI. That doesn't mean they couldn't have something that looks like a robot, it would just be based on the same principle as servitors and there would be a human brain at the core of it.

burad
12-12-2010, 14:38
The latest HH novel has Legio Cybernetica robots. The difference is they have genetically engineered organic brain components, so they are not regarded as being AI. .

Aiwass
12-12-2010, 14:42
The Imperium doesn't allow any kind of AI

Machine Spirit?

Mr Zoat
12-12-2010, 14:52
Either doesn't exist, is organic or is mind impluse unit residue.

Leftenant Gashrog
12-12-2010, 15:55
Generally speaking when it comes to scifi AI means an artificial sentient: a targeting computer will only be classed as an AI if it can philosophise over the morality of vaporising its targets - simply being able to identify targets in accordance with pre-programmed criteria and shoot them doesn't count.

Interestingly Imperial Armour 9 includes rules for two "combat drones" tho doesn't go into much detail on them.

Balgora
12-12-2010, 16:07
Actually that's not always the case in 40k, for example Tau drones are described as being given an AI roughly on par with a "petrasquirrel"(or something like that) I think, so I wouldn't be surprised if the rules for what is an isn't a dangerous amount of AI might be a bit more strict than you think.

Then again that's sorta assuming that Tau drones or other technology go into the red zone for what the Imperium likes its AIs to be.

Probably varies with writer from "Good to see you today commiss*BOOM!! HEADSHOT!!*" to "Can it help the Imperium? Great!"

Iuris
12-12-2010, 16:38
Two things to point out:
- First, exactly where exactly the computer-AI border is is a matter of theological discussion even among the AdMech magi. A lone magus far away from control, or a really top level one that noone really has a way to control could toe the line significantly

-Second, the prohibitions seem to have changed from the HH on. Apparently, research of AI was one of the things that the Emperor forbade, to the chagrin of some in the AdMech. One of the reasons AdMech rebelled. So, it's possible the prohibitions are a matter of later change.

Arthanor
12-12-2010, 16:42
I've always drawn the line at self-awareness, since you need to be self-aware to rebel in the first place. So something that "thinks" and can follow Asimov's laws would be outlawed, something that is just a dumb hunk of metal that does everything you tell it to, including things that puts it in danger for no reason except you asking, should be fine.

It's still AI in a sense, since it's intelligent enough to parse the commands and execute them, but it's not self-aware so it doesn't have "a mind of its own" capable of invention and rebellion.

On that note, tau drone are self-aware to some extent, as they will retreat if threatened and if retreat doesn't endanger living tau. An acceptable level of AI would be fearless (representing its lack of toughts and mindless execution of orders, like tyranids in synapse) in games terms, not have leadership which implies the capability of taking decision regarding one's well-being (like tau drones).

So yes, I've just said that tyranid organisms in synapse are more acceptable robots than tau drones! Obviously, one would have to replicate that behavior in a machine, otherwise it'd be a mutant, which is wholly unacceptable.

Notanoob
12-12-2010, 17:12
The Imperium outlawing AIs was a thing that dated back before the Great Crusades, before the Dark Age of tech, and during Mankind's first Golden Age. They created a fabled race of "Iron Men" who went about and did stuff for them with the intelligence of humans, but they got pissed about being slaves and rebelled. The resulting war was so devastating and terrifying that people are still afraid of the idea and it was just made official that they can't be advanced enough to think beyond pre-programmed tasks. The Legio Cyberetica consists of "dumb" AI's, to use a Halo term, who can't really think or innovate beyond their current objective and "shoot the big one who's killing our guys" or the example shown in Thousand Sons, but that's a more unique case.

Kage2020
12-12-2010, 19:30
I've always been amused by the hood that the Adeptus Mechanicus has pulled over the eyes of the Imperium and, sometimes, apparently the fans. Call it a "servitor" and it's not a robot, despite the fact that they often serve the same role, are described in much the same way, etc. (Forgetting, of course, that they're cyborgs.) And if you want to really to hoodwink people, use organic components in your normal machines and start harping on about "Abominable Intelligence" and the woes of Silica Animus. :shifty:


The greatest trick the Devil ever pulled was convincing the world he didn't exist

:D

Kage

Pontiff
12-12-2010, 20:24
Essentially its your game, if you want to do it and your mates are cool with it in your games does it really matter if its 'canon'.

Our group pretty much use the bits we like from 40k and bin the bits we think are naff. I lie awake at night sweating in case the 'games police' kick down my door and arrest me for using unnofical rules and minis... its a real stress i tell you :)

Seriously.If you read the original desingers notes for 40k.. its a framework to have fun.

If you want an arbites surplus wardroid do it.

Unless you're into souless 2000 point bash em up tournies it should matter. Hopefully you play narrative game swith soul and character with mates who are a laugh and it really wont matter as long as the ideas fun and the rules you come up with are balanced.

Idaan
12-12-2010, 20:35
But the difference is functional. Using biological elements can lead you only this far, especially with regards to calculating power. Which led the Imperium to rely on the Navigators so much rather than just building a cogitator that could calculate jumps longer than 5 light years.

Kage2020
12-12-2010, 21:21
But the difference is functional. Using biological elements can lead you only this far, especially with regards to calculating power. Which led the Imperium to rely on the Navigators so much rather than just building a cogitator that could calculate jumps longer than 5 light years.
Errr, if you will forgive me, that's a problematic statement even at the best of times. It makes a whole lot of assumptions about why we have these fairly arbitrary numbers... Admittedly, that's we we fans do all the time so no worries.

On the face of it, however, I would say that there is a difference between calculation/prediction and reaction, but YMMV.

Kage

Herne the hunter
12-12-2010, 21:23
Essentially its your game, if you want to do it and your mates are cool with it in your games does it really matter if its 'canon'.

Yes. I'm very pedantic with regards to things like that.

Kage2020
12-12-2010, 21:28
Don't worry, Herne the Hunter, the majority of the background nerds tend to be the same. It's one of the reasons that we post on the forums--to share the disease and, perhaps, lessen it. :D

Kage

Aliarzathanil
12-12-2010, 22:25
I like the idea of an Arbites dread. No reason it couldn't have the brain of a famous judge wired in it. Maybe an Admech Magos owed him a favor. Not so much the robot from the first Robocop as the one from the second (the one with the drug addicted psychopath controlling it, because what could go wrong with that, right?)

Bergen Beerbelly
12-12-2010, 23:16
Well, Robots are canon, just not recent canon. Robots were available in the 2nd edition of the game iirc and were definitely available to the Imperial Guard and the Squats in Space Marine and Titan Legions. Both the Space Marine and Titan Legions games were set in the 41st millenium too.

Balgora
12-12-2010, 23:30
But the difference is functional. Using biological elements can lead you only this far, especially with regards to calculating power. Which led the Imperium to rely on the Navigators so much rather than just building a cogitator that could calculate jumps longer than 5 light years.

Thing is, the human brain as shown by various people who we would consider "abnormal" can rival our best supercomputers and do some pretty fantastic things.

Organic elementsare far more advanced in some ways and have some drawbacks aswell, the problem is trying to graft something into your system that wasn't custom designed for that function..that human brain you have in a jar doesn't lack potential computing power (you'd be surprised what it takes just to make humans function at the level we do), it's just been pre-programmed as a person already, and is so complex that you can't harness its full potential and too many of those former connections before you damage it :).

Maybe the brains of babies are the answer.

ashendant
13-12-2010, 00:56
Thing is, the human brain as shown by various people who we would consider "abnormal" can rival our best supercomputers and do some pretty fantastic things.

Organic elementsare far more advanced in some ways and have some drawbacks aswell, the problem is trying to graft something into your system that wasn't custom designed for that function..that human brain you have in a jar doesn't lack potential computing power (you'd be surprised what it takes just to make humans function at the level we do), it's just been pre-programmed as a person already, and is so complex that you can't harness its full potential and too many of those former connections before you damage it :).

Maybe the brains of babies are the answer.
That's pretty much the best assumption

Don't forget that scientists have discovered recently that the brain acts more like the internet than a single computer

Balgora
13-12-2010, 01:06
Maybe it's just me, but i've always found the concept of servitors kinda confusing..if anything they're going to be more difficult to impose restrictions on than any type of AI..there's no guarantees involved in the whole wiping their brain and making them your machine slave concept, everybody is a little different and will react differently..

The human brain can be quite astonishing sometimes..every so often you see a psychology study of somebody who's missing 80% of their brain and still functions for 40 years as a normal person before they find out, things like that.

Especially since the imperium often uses the most extreme criminals as subjects for it, as a punishment.

Ramius4
13-12-2010, 01:48
Don't worry, Herne the Hunter, the majority of the background nerds tend to be the same. It's one of the reasons that we post on the forums--to share the disease and, perhaps, lessen it. :D

Kage

Exactly Kage. Myself included. I can be a bit of a fluff-nazi, but only when it comes to what is written. I'm a walking contradiction when it comes to fluff. On the one hand, if I see a post that clearly has something wrong, I'll say something. I know the fluff very well.

But when it comes to discussions say, on the opinions of people regarding the fluff, I say do whatever makes you happy. I have my opinion, and you are of course welcome to yours.

At the end of the day, we're just discussing toy soldiers and a game. A game that's meant to be fun. For ALL who play it.

So yes, while I know the fluff as written has the Imperium as having laws against AI... If you were to say "hey my robot here is an AI construct", I just wouldn't care. As long as it makes you happy, then that's the important thing.

MagosHereticus
13-12-2010, 02:44
Maybe it's just me, but i've always found the concept of servitors kinda confusing..if anything they're going to be more difficult to impose restrictions on than any type of AI..there's no guarantees involved in the whole wiping their brain and making them your machine slave concept, everybody is a little different and will react differently..

The human brain can be quite astonishing sometimes..every so often you see a psychology study of somebody who's missing 80% of their brain and still functions for 40 years as a normal person before they find out, things like that.

Especially since the imperium often uses the most extreme criminals as subjects for it, as a punishment.

the inclusion of feral servitors in mechanicus deals with the fact that servitors can be naughty

ExquisiteMonkey
13-12-2010, 04:11
That's pretty much the best assumption

Don't forget that scientists have discovered recently that the brain acts more like the internet than a single computer

yes, mostly concerned with pr0n.....:D

Sai-Lauren
13-12-2010, 12:13
Don't forget that scientists have discovered recently that the brain acts more like the internet than a single computer

More like a multi-processor system, but yes.

Back on topic, IMO, Machine Sprits and similar "advanced control systems" are Expert Systems - those for the Land Raider can analyse the path to the selected destination point, assert a measure of control over weapons and so on, but only under the crew's directions (for example, if "The Machine Spirit" is taking a shot with the starboard lascannon, IMO, it's actually the gunner that's specifying the target and taking the shot, but the Machine Spirit is concentrating it's sensors on that target, monitoring the movements of the vehicle to get the guns as stable as possible etc).

jt.glass
13-12-2010, 15:10
Well, Robots are canon, just not recent canon. Robots were available in the 2nd edition of the game iirc and were definitely available to the Imperial Guard and the Squats in Space Marine and Titan Legions. Both the Space Marine and Titan Legions games were set in the 41st millenium too.I can't speak for Titan Legions, but Space Marine was the companion game to Adeptus Titanicus which ws definitely set during the heresy!

Anyway, there were "robots" in RT 40k as well (they were in the red book) but even back then they were implied to have orgnic brains: They were the Legio Cybernitica, after all!


jt.

Kage2020
13-12-2010, 15:41
Well, organic circuits that formed a cortex, which is not necessarily the same as a "brain in a box." Indeed, it's probably better if you didn't have a brain in the box. :D

Kage

Pontiff
13-12-2010, 15:55
Actually the white dwarf article pretty much called it a brain:

"What makes a robot different from an unoccupied dreadnought suit is its cortex. This is an artificial brain of sorts, which is constructed from artificial proteins and enzymes. This cortex is imprinted with simple maintainnance and movement routines - a rudimentary 'mind'. These enable the robot to obey simple instructions ("open the weapon bay door please... move ahead to the holding area" etc) . These firmware routines... ... are often patterned after living creatures and a robot may develop a dog like devotion to its master"

So in fairness Mike Bruntons original text makes it more like a brain in a box than anything else :)

(source for the pedants... 'White Dwarf Warhammer 40,000 Compendium' (aka the red book) Pg 97 para 11)

Kage2020
13-12-2010, 16:41
The "artificial brain of sorts" is the point that I'm referring to. After all, a computer is an artificial brain "of sorts." There's no real requirement that it be taken as a "brain in a box," and indeed perhaps reasons not to. YMMV, though, as always.

:D

Kage

Hedgehobbit
13-12-2010, 16:55
I can't speak for Titan Legions, but Space Marine was the companion game to Adeptus Titanicus which ws definitely set during the heresy!
There were actually two games called Space Marine. One for each of the first two editions of Epic. Robots in both.

Pontiff
13-12-2010, 17:15
The "artificial brain of sorts" is the point that I'm referring to. After all, a computer is an artificial brain "of sorts." There's no real requirement that it be taken as a "brain in a box," and indeed perhaps reasons not to. YMMV, though, as always.

:D

Kage

Personally i think its clear that the authors intention is indeed that its very much an artificial animalistic basic brain rather than a true computer - hence the comment about them developing personalities.

The general tone/content of the article and the accompanying illustration of a techpriest handling a gooey brain like blob surrounded by fluid filled cables on a castellan class sort of backed it up too IMO.

Kage2020
13-12-2010, 17:38
As I said, YMMV and in this case clearly did. After all, having a "artificial brain of sorts" doesn't require that it be brain-shaped nor does it being brain-shaped inherently engender.

I'm merely pointing out that this isn't a requirement.

As to the art? Well, there is that. Of course, I try not to read too much in the artwork where possible given that it is as subject to artistic license as the 'fluff' itself. Again, though, YMMV.

It's all good, though. If you like your "brains in a boxes" then go for it. I'll work on the other idea since both are permissible. :D

Kage

Pontiff
13-12-2010, 17:48
Fair enough but i have to ask... have you actually read the article in question or seen said illustration?

Kage2020
13-12-2010, 17:56
Yes. Both when it was originally released and more recently while writing a fan RP supplement for the Adeptus Mechanicus and trying to get to grips with the functioning of their cogitators and other "electronics."

Again, though, you disagree and prefer the "brain in a box" approach. That's great. There's no real reason to insinuate ignorance just because I don't agree with your nor take a gelatinous mass to be a "brain in a box." That it might be a component is something that I would be happy with, but the "brain in a box" theory has a number of limitations up to and including it being fairly pointless. Again, though, YMMV, though that would be an amusing reason for the death of the "Imperial Robots"--GW marginalised them with their servitor concept. ;)

Kage

Pontiff
13-12-2010, 18:01
Not implying ignorance. Simply put its a 20 years old (or so) out of print article that not that many folk do have a copy of.

Its just your interpretation is interesting and the first time I've seen any one see it that way both as a gamer and staffer. Just wondering that was all.

IIRC from conversation with games dev at the time i was working for UK studio robots were written out simply because 'Rick didnt like robots'. They were in the original RT rules as RT was supposed to be a catch all 'sci fi simulator' letting you do anything. The imperium background was actually tacked on to RT well after it was put together and in Ricks background he didnt really want robots - you'll have to forgive me i'm trying to recall the gist of a conversation had nearly eight years or so ago. Personally when i was told that I was simply surprised they'd written them in anyway it could have been something that Brian wanted and Rick had to have included regardless of preferance.

Kage2020
13-12-2010, 19:07
Its just your interpretation is interesting and the first time I've seen any one see it that way both as a gamer and staffer. Just wondering that was all.
It's not original, just a pilfer from the Traveller universe. Then again, I really don't like the "brain in a box," preferring that it be an established part of the Adeptus Mechanicus tech-base that puts them on a separate path to silicon electronics. (Admittedly, it's always amusing seeing that as the "bees knees" of the G/DAoT.)

On the other hand, that's not to say that the "brain in a box" doesn't have its place. Heck more so in painful memories of childhood and horrible Steve Martin films. :shifty:


Personally when i was told that I was simply surprised they'd written them in anyway it could have been something that Brian wanted and Rick had to have included regardless of preferance.
It does not surprise me that GW would try and distance themselves from "standard" imagery. Of course, the more things change the more they stay the same...

Kage

Herne the hunter
13-12-2010, 20:40
Especially since the imperium often uses the most extreme criminals as subjects for it, as a punishment.

Ooh, now THERE'S a fun idea! Okay, forget the robot thing, my SC dread is now a former arbites dread powered by the brain of a psychotic criminal. Not that it'll have any bearing at all on the tabletop, I just find it hilariously ironic and Robocopish.

What's the deal with those robot dogs Arbites have? I can't find any info on them at all.

Kage2020
13-12-2010, 21:21
Ooh, now THERE'S a fun idea! Okay, forget the robot thing, my SC dread is now a former arbites dread powered by the brain of a psychotic criminal. Not that it'll have any bearing at all on the tabletop, I just find it hilariously ironic and Robocopish.
What do you mean Robocop-ish? That's practically the plot from Robocop 2! :D

All you need to do is give it a drug addiction too. :shifty:


What's the deal with those robot dogs Arbites have? I can't find any info on them at all.
I seem to recall that they've shown up in one of the Dark Heresy supplements somewhere. They're basically there to show that some things should never be done. ;)

Kage

Herne the hunter
13-12-2010, 21:28
There's an Inquisitor scale arbiter mini that has one and there's also a converted one in the sentries section of the 4th ed 40k rulebook.

Idaan
13-12-2010, 21:29
What's the deal with those robot dogs Arbites have? I can't find any info on them at all.
Inquistor wargame. The rulebook is available on GW's site for free, the cyber-mastiff is described on p81 of part 1.

Kage2020
13-12-2010, 21:32
Hmmn... Maybe it was actually Inquisitor that I was thinking of. No worries either way, though I still have to raise an eyebrow when I see those things. At least GW didn't get all homage and turn it into K9 (http://www.plasticbag.org/images/extra/doctor_who_k9.jpg).

Small blessings and all that. :D

Kage

MagosHereticus
14-12-2010, 03:35
I seem to recall that they've shown up in one of the Dark Heresy supplements somewhere. They're basically there to show that some things should never be done. ;)

Kage


they're in necromunda too and i take offence to that, i have two and they are awesome (i was planning to use them as stand ins for crusaders if i ever bother getting the witch hunter with the funky hat in 40k)

Bergen Beerbelly
14-12-2010, 03:47
I can't speak for Titan Legions, but Space Marine was the companion game to Adeptus Titanicus which ws definitely set during the heresy!

Anyway, there were "robots" in RT 40k as well (they were in the red book) but even back then they were implied to have orgnic brains: They were the Legio Cybernitica, after all!


jt.

Space Marine was also the name for the second edition of Epic. And Titan Legions was the second edition Adeptus Titanicus.

For my part, I was talking about 2nd edition Space Marine and Titan Legions.

There is no mention in either of those games about organic brains. Just that they had robots.

FabricatorGeneralMike
14-12-2010, 04:22
they're in necromunda too and i take offence to that, i have two and they are awesome (i was planning to use them as stand ins for crusaders if i ever bother getting the witch hunter with the funky hat in 40k)


Hell ya. I Love that model.


I think the reasion robots where phased out is because the rules where horrendiously horrible to use. I used them in RT, I always used the pre-made programmes'. You had all these squares that had actions on them and you could set them up like a flow-chart. It was horriendiously time consumming to make a new program. Great idea that just didn't pan out. I could see Rick, Andy and Jervis dropping them like a hot patatoe. ;)

Askil the Undecided
14-12-2010, 08:42
No matter how hard one closes their eyes or how loud they hum tunelessly it doesn't change the fact that "brains in boxes" to some degree or another is how GW decided to go for imperial tech in all but a very small number of occasions when a computer would have done the same job.

The most notable exceptions being cyber mastiffs, power armour's onboard computers and servo skulls.

Sai-Lauren
14-12-2010, 10:40
I think the reasion robots where phased out is because the rules where horrendiously horrible to use. I used them in RT, I always used the pre-made programmes'. You had all these squares that had actions on them and you could set them up like a flow-chart. It was horriendiously time consumming to make a new program. Great idea that just didn't pan out. I could see Rick, Andy and Jervis dropping them like a hot patatoe.

1st edition epic tried to streamline them - you'd give them a program, work down a list until you reached the first situation that applied, then gave them the specified order.

IMO, the biggest thing against them wasn't the rules, but the fact that in Epic, they - in one of GW's most brilliant ideas ever, and along with the field artillery pieces and dreadnoughts - came randomly in blisters with various tanks, so you couldn't field a unit of the things. :rolleyes:

They'd probably still be around if they'd been available in usable units.

On the "brain in a box" bit, I tend to reserve that for the big things that need some flexibility and can afford the biological support mechanisms they'd need - titan gunnery servitors, larger robots etc. Under that, it's electronics in black boxes with AM seals on them and dire warnings about what'll happen to anyone that opens them (suffice to say that they go a long way beyond merely voiding the warranty ;)).

Herne the hunter
14-12-2010, 12:53
At least GW didn't get all homage and turn it into K9 (http://www.plasticbag.org/images/extra/doctor_who_k9.jpg).

They actually remind me of a James Herbert graphic novel called The City (incidentally illustrated by Ian Miller in between leaving GW way back and returning to them a few years ago). The main character has two robot dogs which look very much like the model despite predating it by around a decade.

So these cyber-mastiffs; they are robots? Or do they have dog brains?

Felwether
14-12-2010, 13:08
Don't worry, Herne the Hunter, the majority of the background nerds tend to be the same. It's one of the reasons that we post on the forums--to share the disease and, perhaps, lessen it. :D

Kage


Heh... Lessen it... Good one! ;)

Crazy Ivan
14-12-2010, 13:13
So these cyber-mastiffs; they are robots? Or do they have dog brains?
Knowing the Imperium, getting a cyber-mastiff body is probably the "reward" for being an exceptionally good dog...