Freefall 3281 - 3290 (H)
Freefall 3281

Babysitting. In space!

Everything checks out with Winston. Any excitement up here?
None at all.
With any luck this trip will be totally boring and I'll be able to catch up on my reading.
Except that totally boring combined with Sam is a recipe for disaster.
You know, that is a problem that can be solved with duct tape.

Color by George Peterson

Freefall 3282

Babysitting. In space!

We should be able to avoid boredom. We have exabytes of shows and games and learning materials.
We can also tell stories. If Sam is up for it, I'd like to record some of the ones from his world. We could get to know him and his culture better.
Unless you think familiarity would breed contempt?
No worries. Most of us already know Sam. We're starting from a position of contempt.

Color by George Peterson

Freefall 3283

Babysitting. In space!

Has anyone talked to Sam about his homeworld before?
They did when he first arrived. I don't think they got much out of him.
Can't say I'm surprised. How would you react to aliens who started asking about your world? For all he knew, he could be helping us wipe out his species.
Yes, but now he knows us and knows we're trying very hard not to destroy his planet by accident.
Yeah. If I was talking to aliens, that wouldn't make me feel better.

Color by George Peterson

Freefall 3284

Babysitting. In space!

Niomi, we have Sam here now. We have an opportunity to learn about his world and his people. I don't want to miss it.
Fine. If you want to get Sam talking about his planet, it's simple.
Get him talking about himself. Then the hard part will be getting him to shut up.

Color by George Peterson

Freefall 3285

Babysitting. In space!

Why are you staying with Sam? You could do better someplace else. Anyplace else, really.
Sam needs someone to help him learn. He's helping me learn as well.
It's hard to say “no” to a human. Sam is encouraging me to be more assertive and that there are humans that I need to actively oppose.
That sqid is subverting A.I. command structures. And.. and it's hard to get mad when I kind of approve of what he's doing.

Color by George Peterson

Freefall 3286

Babysitting. In space!

Could the people you worked for before give you direct orders?
Yes. Except for Sam, every supervisor I've had wanted direct order authority. I did pretty well. The supervisors I worked for were good people.
Still, I was always cautious around them. I very much did not want to be on the bad side of someone with mind control powers.

Color by George Peterson

Freefall 3287

Babysitting. In space!

I wouldn't want to work for someone who could control me with direct orders.
They were mostly in place so people under the supervisor level COULDN'T give me direct orders.
Speaking of which, they want to form a temporary dictator back home to give A.I.'s standing orders. What do you think those orders should be.
Great. Now instead of getting bored, I'll be thinking about that. You're clever.
Which means making sure minds like yours can't be controlled by another person is not only right, it's self preservation.

Color by George Peterson

Freefall 3288

Babysitting. In space!

How about this? “Direct order. Other than this one, you do not have to obey direct orders. End order.
Our robots aren't socialized.
They were made for specific jobs. For a while, we're going to need direct order authority in case we have to say “Factory A robots! Stop disassembling factory B robots!”
This is going to require more thought.
Take your time. Humans have been trying to make good rules for society for over 5000 years and we still haven't gotten it right.

Color by George Peterson

PHP version of this comic's official website. Selfmade

Freefall 3289

Which way is up?

Don't worry. There are some smart people looking at this. Now if the fate of artificial intelligence was up to me, then we can be worried.
Meanwhile, in another part of the ship, the very nature of reality is being questioned.
My feet are magnetic.
It doesn't matter. I'm standing on the floor. You're the one who's standing on the wall.

Color by George Peterson

Freefall 3290

Which way is up?

It's not about gravity. It's about thrust.
The floor is labeled on the prints. It doesn't talk about thrust.
It's easy. Down is that way, so the floor is that way.
I chose to believe my view of the floor is correct.
Oh, sure. Helix can ignore which way is down and get away with it. When I do that, I pay for it every single time.

Color by George Peterson

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