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Author Topic: EP613: Cat Pictures, Please  (Read 2470 times)
Posts: 6106

« 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!
Posts: 48

« Reply #1 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
Posts: 212

« Reply #2 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.

"To understand a cat you must realize that he has his own gifts, his own viewpoint, even his own morality."
Posts: 39

« Reply #3 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.

"We can't solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them." A.Einstein
Father Beast
Posts: 515

« Reply #4 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.
Posts: 1041

« Reply #5 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. Wink 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. Cry . 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.
Jethro's belt
Posts: 54

« Reply #6 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.
Curmudgeonly Co-Editor of PseudoPod
Posts: 3749

I always lock the door when I creep by daylight.

« Reply #7 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.

All cat stories start with this statement: “My mother, who was the first cat, told me this...”
Posts: 213

« Reply #8 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."
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