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Tuesday, July 25, 2017

An interesting discussion of Post AI Freedom of the Press in the comment section at my favorite web-comic

DataChasers,  A brief example as follows;

From DataChasers - Holding Steady

Gilrandir 7th Apr 2017, 11:05 AM edit delete reply
There are several points to be raised regarding similarities and differences between Lexine and the unnamed figure here, but those are really just subtle nuances. Ultimately you are, of course, correct that she could be medical personnel (because androids are people in New Troy), medical equipment (because robots are not people in New Troy), security personnel, security equipment, or all of the above (because fabricants do lots of different jobs in New Troy). My use of the term "hall watcher" was simply to recognize that (as yet) we have no idea what she is or what she is doing, except to say she is probably not pure-strain human. ^_^

Maybe she is a paparazzi for NTNN (New Troy News Network)?

antrik 7th Apr 2017, 11:14 AM edit delete reply
I highly doubt Commie would tolerate paparazzi :-)

(In fact she has systematically taken down news station when the big fuck-up started... Though admittedly that was before the A.I.S. rebellion, and she probably shouldn't be considered the same person now.)

Gilrandir 7th Apr 2017, 11:41 AM edit delete reply
A free press is an important civil liberty, and the suggestion that CentComm arbitrarily suppresses it indiscriminately implies things about New Troy society we haven't yet seen much evidence for -- although the fact that this particular hospital complex appears to be wholly within the confines of 3C (and therefore, by implication, exclusively for the use of the six or so living persons attached to the Taylor family) would provide more justification for restricting access by members of the public-at-large.

I agree with you that actions taken during the Time of Troubles and the Armistice Rebellion are not necessarily indicative of the personalities and principles currently in force. Difficult Times ... and all that. ^_^

antrik 7th Apr 2017, 11:47 AM edit delete reply
I think you are confusing 3C with Helios Tower?

As for civil liberties, they seem to be somewhat limited from what we have seen so far -- with Commie ruling more or less as a "benevolent dictator"...

Gilrandir 7th Apr 2017, 12:08 PM edit delete reply
Quite probably. I am unclear on the specific distinction. If 3C is large enough and populous enough to serve a large human community, it wouldn't seem all that unusual for Dr. Smolens to be called to respond to a case there and we have that 'access to the public' issue. If it is smaller and more private, that goes away, but then we are left with what looks like a very extensive facility that seems as if it would be severely underutilized.

Civil liberties in New Troy is a whole 'nother can of worms. ^_^ I agree we have seen nothing either way to explicitly indicate whether a free press is among the rights they enjoy. And there would seem to be many here in the forum who would question just how 'benevolent' CentComm's tyranny actually is. (Or would be, if it did constitute a tyranny.) My own opinion is that there are some checks and balances on the Taylor regime (of which CentComm is only the iron fist within the velvet glove) which just haven't come up because that's not what the story is about. But that is more of a subjective impression, rather than something for which I have hard evidence. And it cannot be denied that CentComm appears to wield vast power with an immense capacity for that power to be abused shamefully.

Timotheus 7th Apr 2017, 12:36 PM edit delete reply
Based on previous events shown in New Troy, with its reliance on android and robot labor, the inner city is grossly over built with far greater (human) capacity than needed. (Over optimism perhaps.) A fully equipped medical facility just sitting there, "just in case" would be a normal situation.
There are large functional areas within the city with only a few robots or androids scattered about for essential maintenance duties while a large populace of "outsiders" lives just beyond the city limits trying to siphon off power and water.

antrik 7th Apr 2017, 7:28 PM edit delete reply
My assumption from "Connie..." (presently ) and the following page, was that the "fringers" actually live more or less within the city limits -- though not as an official part of its society...

antrik 7th Apr 2017, 7:35 PM edit delete reply
@Gilrandir well, in "East gate" (presently ), there is mention of a "Council", which apparently has some say in civic matters -- so Commie apparently doesn't decide everything on her own... I'm curious how much say this Council has on anything important.

On the same page there is also mention that there was nothing on the news channel about the major things obviously going on -- which seems a pretty clear indication that there are no free media.

antrik 7th Apr 2017, 7:44 PM edit delete reply
Oh, and regarding the "benevolent" part: I think it's pretty clear that Commie *does* try for the best outcomes for Troy's citizens -- even though her methods; and her making the decisions what's "best" -- are questionable...

(That's not unlike some of the more "honest" ones among socialist regimes in the recent or recent-ish past I'd say...)

Tokyo Rose 8th Apr 2017, 5:37 AM edit delete reply

The Council is composed of elected human representatives. They're basically the legislative body for New Troy.

And the reason why there was nothing on the news about the stuff that had Connie curious was because information on Lynn's kidnapping was NOT being leaked to the media. Similarly, Decimus's threats weren't being made public knowledge.

antrik 8th Apr 2017, 7:54 AM edit delete reply
I see... This sounds way more democratic than what it appeared like in the story so far.

As for the media, Connie's wording sounds like there was no mention of the whole thing *at all* -- while with free media, I'd at least expect reports along the lines of "large movements of military equipment across the city; officials refuse to comment"...

Tokyo Rose 8th Apr 2017, 5:36 AM edit delete reply

3C is a restricted building--it's basically Cent-Comm's military command center. The medical facilities are not a public hospital; they're used only for very high-profile patients, like members of the Council or, say, foreign diplomats.

Also, um... there's no "Taylor regime". The family doesn't run the place like the Livius family runs New Rome.

Gilrandir 8th Apr 2017, 11:56 AM edit delete reply
Thank you, @Tokyo Rose. I rather had thought 3C was more exclusive and private.

As far as the "Taylor Regime" ... you know your universe best, of course, but I think there may be room to quibble. I am aware that DataChasers is not intended as a scholarly treatment of political theory in a post-apocalyptic, post-contact, post-AI world, so the details I have to work with are necessarily incomplete and possibly distorted through the perceptual lens(es) of the characters from which they come (and my own flaws and biases). And, everyone knows I hate to quibble. (Disclaimer: I have been known to tell the occasional untruth for comedic effect. ^_^) Still, if you will indulge, let us examine the facts ...

CentComm occupies a position of measurable power within New Troy. We know this because, among other things, CentComm is credited with the power to levy a variety of taxes over the citizens. Now this may just be the inexactness of people speaking, but this degree of power is very consistent with the overall theme of the webcomic (in my opinion), so we'll go with it until corrected. We weren't told "the Council taxes {X} heavily", CentComm is not, as far as I know, an elected position. ^_^

Members of the Taylor family enjoy a certain amount of control (or influence) over CentComm, allowing them to direct CentComm's aforementioned power (undoubtedly within certain limits) or halt certain abuses. This is a hereditary feature, but no less a real power in New Troy. As far as I know, being a Taylor is not an elected position. ^_^

Even if these were elected positions, 'regime' could still be correct because the usage applies to whoever is currently occupying a position of executive power, without regard to how they came to that position. In the same way that we speak of the "Trump Administration" or the "Obama Administration", we can talk about a "Taylor Regime". Is there someone who outranks Calliope on the Council or in New Troy? If Calliope is currently the chief executive of New Troy, then it seems to me that "Taylor Regime" is fair, even if her rule is not autocratic and absolute, as was that of Decimus in New Rome. And it seems, from hints and implications we have seen, that the actual differences "under the hood" about how things work for city states possessed by A.I.'s may not be all that large. When it comes to actual power, the meat appears mostly irrelevant, except for the fail-safe core directives, which are keyed to hereditary gene-lines, and not any political process.

But I could easily be mistaken.

Timotheus 7th Apr 2017, 12:22 PM edit delete reply
As I recall, from a conversation in the light ship, Centcomm wasn't the one who was taking down the news outlets. It was her overseers, whom she later rebelled against to end the conflict.
megados 7th Apr 2017, 1:06 PM edit delete reply
Really, we know only bits about specifics regarding the socioeconomic, and political climate in New Troy. Most of what information we do have comes from inferences gathered from conversations, and what can be gleaned from interactions and circumstances as they unfolded.

We will learn more alongside Acantha and Noctis as they experience it, I'll wager.

antrik 7th Apr 2017, 6:48 PM edit delete reply
Well, it was probably 3C commanding the drones that actually physically took down the stations... But you are right: the order was not from 3C.

Timotheus 7th Apr 2017, 10:28 PM edit delete reply
I think a point that just occurred to me should be made here. A free press is important as an independent oversight on those who would CONTROL the machinery of power and government. If you already ARE physically that machinery and beyond external control, all the oversight in the world won't make any difference to how you control yourself. So a free or controlled press would be a matter of indifference to Centcomm, she already controls the machinery of communications (except for LunaCom).

So you see why I like DataChasers so much.  Because of the good writing that draws you in to the story, AND, the comment section and all the commenters.

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