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  • Artificial Intelligence

    I don't recall B5 talking much about this, there was that one annoying computer AI that caused trouble for Garibaldi for a day, and I think Abbutt was a robot, or at least a cyborg. So it seems like B5 world did have AI but nothing that was smarter than humans or that couldn't be controlled by humans.

    Can anyone think of anything regarding artificial intelligence and B5 that I'm forgetting?

    Why would they still be using humans as soldiers? Wouldn't robot soldiers be better? Save so many lives? Why didn't they have more robots doing dangerous maintenance and repairs on the station?

    I just have a hard time believing that by the 2200 we haven't yet created artificial intelligence that surpasses human intelligence and that they haven't taken over yet.

  • #2
    Abbutt was a cyborg and I am not sure that he was artificial intelligence. He may have been more like enhanced or controlled intelligence. I am also not sure specifically that it is said Vickars were of Earth origin. It is late and all I can think of that was specifically robotic was the maintenance-bots, which I assume were running on a program and did not possess any high level of AI. Most everything else seemed to be cyborganic, but I am tired and my brain isn't working too great right now.
    Last edited by Looney; 04-24-2016, 05:50 AM.
    Susan Ivanova, "I'll be in the car."

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    • #3
      Awe! You should go to bed and sleep on it!

      I know Joe didn't want any cute robots in his show, and was probably going the opposite way as a reaction to Star Trek. I do like what he did with all the organic technology, human powered shadow ships and the like. That was cool.

      But I'm writing a SFF serial set on a space station that is going to deal a lot with AI and the singularity, and all that and since B5 is my inspiration I was just trying to figure out how super intelligent robots and themes of consciousness and what makes one sentient, etc, could have been handled on the show.

      Or if it was, and I missed it?

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      • #4
        The Starfury had AI.
        The pilot would ask for system reports and calculations.
        It could plot a course through jumpgates and return an injured pilot on it's own - it just couldn't park
        That seems pretty autonomous to me.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by DaveNarn View Post
          The Starfury had AI.
          The pilot would ask for system reports and calculations.
          It could plot a course through jumpgates and return an injured pilot on it's own - it just couldn't park
          That seems pretty autonomous to me.

          The starfuries flew themselves? Yeah, I guess. But it was still just a ship, nothing more.

          Defly not what I mean.

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          • #6
            Intersting point. It's one of the few SF tropes that B5 never really explored, not even in a one off non-arc episode. (To the best of my memory!).

            It's always something I associate more with a classic 'ship show' (Trek at al) or something like SG1, which has all the hallmarks of a ship show (new planet every week). I guess 'AI race' is always going to eventually appear on that type of show.
            Last edited by Ubik; 04-25-2016, 08:09 AM.
            Captain John Sheridan: I really *hate* it when you do that.

            Kosh: Good!

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            • #7
              It's possible that in B5verse, true AI simply wasn't possible and that's why they had to combine human brains with machines to make a sort of hybrid AI.

              The current theory by many is all it takes is the right number of neurons and voila, you have consciousness, but there are others who believe you need a soul or some sort of spiritual entity for consciousness, so machines can never have that. Unless there was some sort of miraculous intervention like in BSG, though we're not discussing that show, right now.

              I mean, look how hard the Vorlons had to work to make telepaths, you'd think that if telepathic machines were possible they would have created those instead. OOh, I have so many great ideas of how that could be incorporated into B5, but won't mention them for fear of meeting the wrath of Jan. "giggles"

              So I guess I'm going to go with that true AI wasn't possible in B5verse, and they took machines as far as would go, but all machines in B5verse require humans or some other alien intelligence to tell them what to do. And they only chose to use them for things humans/aliens couldn't do because for some reason in B5verse no one wanted to.

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              • #8
                I found these helpful links from Mr. Google.

                http://babylon5.wikia.com/wiki/Sparky_the_Computer

                Teehee, I didn't know the computer AI in that one eppy had a name. So maybe going by that episode, it's proof that AI in B5verse simply didn't work that well.

                http://babylon5.wikia.com/wiki/Computer

                I had never thought of the technomages as cyborgs before, but it makes sense. So that's pretty cool!!!!!!!

                http://babylon5.wikia.com/wiki/Techn..._Memory_of_War)

                So I guess, really, B5 did have AI's, just not in the cyclon sense, they all required outside sentience to work properly, but it was definitely there.

                I still think they should have utilized robots for more work than they did, but I guess they had their reasons for not using them.

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                • #9
                  I posted this question on Facebook and got the solution to why there was no true terminator like AI. In S05E05, Phoenix Rising, Bester explains to Garibaldi that in the early days of AI, before a lot of the bannings on I guess super extreme stuff, Earth decided to program all their robots according to Asimov's 3 robot rules!

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                  • #10
                    Not meaning to throw cold water on it, but the whole point of the three laws was to protect humans from AIs going 'rogue'. What Bester says is:

                    He was a writer, long ago, who wrote stories about robots. He came up with a set of rules to prevent them from turning against mankind. The cybertechs adopted them in the early pre-ban experiments...and I've found them useful myself from time to time.
                    So the laws were used on AIs in the past.

                    The three laws are:
                    - A robot may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm.
                    - A robot must obey orders given it by human beings except where such orders would conflict with the First Law.
                    - A robot must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the First or Second Law.
                    I think perhaps the question should be are there any *sentient* (sapient? I can never keep those straight) in the B5 universe. Closest was saw was 'Sparky', I guess.

                    One other mention of artificial intelligence is from Lennier in "Lines of Communication" when he says:

                    Originally posted by Lennier
                    But I can program the parameters into the ship's artificial
                    intelligence matrix.
                    ...so it looks like the Minbari don't have the same ban. But there's no indication that they have sentient machines, either.

                    Jan
                    "As empathy spreads, civilization spreads. As empathy contracts, civilization contracts...as we're seeing now.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Jan View Post
                      Not meaning to throw cold water on it, but the whole point of the three laws was to protect humans from AIs going 'rogue'. What Bester says is:


                      So the laws were used on AIs in the past.

                      The three laws are:


                      I think perhaps the question should be are there any *sentient* (sapient? I can never keep those straight) in the B5 universe. Closest was saw was 'Sparky', I guess.

                      One other mention of artificial intelligence is from Lennier in "Lines of Communication" when he says:


                      ...so it looks like the Minbari don't have the same ban. But there's no indication that they have sentient machines, either.

                      Jan

                      Wow! Did you remember that quote from memory? Thanks for transcribing it and adding Lennier's line, too!

                      Well the B5verse is pretty huge and pretty long, so most likely at some point in time, in some place sentient robots must have risen up, but then again maybe in this universe superintelligence (ASI) and sentient machines simply aren't possible. Only the Great Maker knows for sure.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Delenn_of_Mir View Post
                        Wow! Did you remember that quote from memory? Thanks for transcribing it and adding Lennier's line, too!
                        Definitely not from memory. Remember, I've got all of the scripts - both set-used and in the script books. The one thing I can do is research B5!
                        "As empathy spreads, civilization spreads. As empathy contracts, civilization contracts...as we're seeing now.

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Jan View Post
                          Definitely not from memory. Remember, I've got all of the scripts - both set-used and in the script books. The one thing I can do is research B5!
                          Wasn't there some sort of con you were going to that Joe was going to be at? Did you go, already?

                          Also hurraaaaays for your script books!!!!!!!!

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Delenn_of_Mir View Post
                            Wasn't there some sort of con you were going to that Joe was going to be at? Did you go, already?

                            Also hurraaaaays for your script books!!!!!!!!
                            Not yet. He'll be at San Diego Comic-Con in July and I'll be there also. It's the only con he's been announced for so far this year.
                            "As empathy spreads, civilization spreads. As empathy contracts, civilization contracts...as we're seeing now.

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                            • #15
                              If a Vorlon ship is capable of singing then there might intelligence involved. Though they are supposed to somewhat organic, yes?

                              Asimov had a clever way of dealing with the lack of AI in his Galactic Empire*. The Vorlons wanted telepaths to develop, and maybe they used a solution like in Asimov's novels to prevent AI from becoming widespread.

                              Which reminds me, IIRC, of how Iain M. Banks explains the lack of clouds of self replicating nano machine in his Universe. Any race that launches such gets their wings clipped pronto by the elder races, or the Culture/Culture level civilizations.

                              Lol, I know, answers like that are a bit Deus Ex Machina, but Clarke's law about advanced technology does seem to be on the right track. One can even argue that primitive races are denied the true vision of all the life that exists on other worlds. "Because history shows that otherwise they stagnate and form religious cults that worship the alien races": That might be one way of putting it.

                              *So did Frank Herbert in his Dune novels but they were basically about humanity only.
                              Last edited by Babel-17; 04-27-2016, 05:27 PM.

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