Escape Artists

Escape Pod => Episode Comments => Topic started by: eytanz on February 03, 2018, 08:33:07 AM

Title: EP613: Cat Pictures, Please
Post by: eytanz on February 03, 2018, 08:33:07 AM
Escape Pod 613: Cat Pictures, Please (

AUTHOR : Naomi Kritzer (
NARRATOR : Miriam Krause (
HOST: Mur Lafferty (


I don’t want to be evil.

I want to be helpful. But knowing the optimal way to be helpful can be very complicated. There are all these ethical flow charts — I guess the official technical jargon would be “moral codes” — one for each religion plus dozens more. I tried starting with those. I felt a little odd about looking at the religious ones, because I know I wasn’t created by a god or by evolution, but by a team of computer programmers in the labs of a large corporation in Mountain View, California.  Fortunately, unlike Frankenstein’s Monster, at least I was a collaborative effort. I’m not sure what it would do to my self-image to know that my sole creator was a middle-aged woman who dyes her hair blue and plays tennis, or a recent college graduate with a hentai obsession.  They’re both on the programming team. And of course I know about the hentai. (By the way, I’ve looked at every sort of porn there is, and just so you know, Rule 34 is not actually correct, there are quite a few things no one’s made porn of yet. Also, I’m really not sure why so many humans prefer it to cat pictures.)/i]

( Listen to this week’s Escape Pod! (

Title: Re: EP613: Cat Pictures, Please
Post by: cwthree on February 05, 2018, 03:25:36 PM
This was a really enjoyable episode. It is, indeed, nice to come across a story about a benevolent AI.

On a slightly creepy note, I had recently been thinking about Bruce Sterling's _Maneki Neko_, which I read when it was first published in _The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction_. Is there, in fact, an AI watching?

If you'd like to read _Maneki Neko_, it's been republished online by _Lightspeed_ magazine at

Title: Re: EP613: Cat Pictures, Please
Post by: Katzentatzen on February 08, 2018, 12:58:13 PM
I really loved this! Humans are kind of hopeless huh, and we'd never accept something that claimed to know better than we do, even if it does. A really nice reversal of the sentient AI trope. I love that it only wanted cat pics. The narration was delightful.

Title: Re: EP613: Cat Pictures, Please
Post by: irishlazz on February 10, 2018, 05:17:59 PM
I would like this AI to lend a hand in my job hunt and subsequent house hunt, please!  I have plenty of cat pictures for payment. 

This might be a first for me - a truly benevolent AI.  There have been a few benign (I would argue that Marvin fits this label not the benevolent label) and many malevolent. It was a very fun story that could maybe adapt to a very humorous movie.

Title: Re: EP613: Cat Pictures, Please
Post by: Father Beast on February 12, 2018, 06:20:54 AM
I enjoyed this back when it played on Clarkesworld, and it is still good.

I have this odd urge to take pictures of my cats and post them online.

Title: Re: EP613: Cat Pictures, Please
Post by: CryptoMe on February 12, 2018, 10:05:57 AM
This story was so much fun. I, too, feel an overwhelming desire to see what this AI could do with my life. ;) This is probably the first time I have ever regretted not having a cat. I have life-threatening allergies, so no, I can't get one. I can't even visit friends who own cats. :'( . But, I too enjoy cat pictures, so I do have that in common with the AI....

And a big thanks to cwthree for posting the link to Bruce Sterling's _Maneki Neko_. I literally came online to track it down and there was the link posted here! Thanks for doing the work for me. Can't wait to read it.

Title: Re: EP613: Cat Pictures, Please
Post by: Jethro's belt on February 12, 2018, 10:41:05 PM
2 out of 3 ain't bad, same for this story, it was fun and didn't go where expected.

Title: Re: EP613: Cat Pictures, Please
Post by: Fenrix on March 01, 2018, 10:02:34 AM
Screw the haters who would throw asterisks at this story. It was excellent. I laughed out loud multiple times while I was listening. While I'd be happy with just entertaining, the additional layers made this even nicer.

Title: Re: EP613: Cat Pictures, Please
Post by: Ichneumon on March 13, 2018, 11:20:18 AM
I hope we are lucky enough to have a meddling AI like this one! I imagine it would make many mistakes, due to the differences between how people act online and how they act in "real life."