2720: Biology vs Robotics
|Biology vs Robotics|
Title text: Sorry, I've just always had these random things I don't like--like olives, or robots drilling holes in me without warning.
| This explanation may be incomplete or incorrect: Created by a ROBOT HOMEOMORPHIC TO A HUMAN WITH A HANDLE AND A CONICAL ATTACHMENT WHICH MIGHT HAVE NON-DRILLING USES - Please change this comment when editing this page. Do NOT delete this tag too soon.|
If you can address this issue, please edit the page! Thanks.
In this comic, Cueball is walking along next to a robot holding a conversation – from this we can infer the robot is sentient or even sapient. Cueball is complaining to said robot about the problems of biology, especially his own biology, whining that "biology is the worst" and "bodies have all these random problems". The human body does have many challenges, ranging from the mildly inefficient to the lethal-without-warning, and culminating in irreversible senescence and (unless you're Tolkien) obligate mortality. The robot, an abiological entity (some exceptions apply) responds by posing a question which may or may not be intended as rhetorical.
The robot thus highlights an advantage that biological bodies have – i.e., the ability to heal themselves, while metal robots like this one don't and probably must seek out repairs. However, Cueball immediately points out that this ability only works "sometimes", and is often painful. First and foremost, one must actually survive a hole if they wish to heal from it, as death comes with some pretty big impacts on their continuing ability to do so. Secondly holes can come in all sorts of shapes and sizes, in many widths and depths with many further complications (including the aforementioned death). For example, a small hole made for an earring would be easy to close, whereas one carved by a 91.4cm mortar shell would be less easy to heal. There is also ambiguity in what counts as a hole. Is a cut a hole? Is surgery, etc? This variability is likely why Cueball says "Sometimes".
He also states that "it" is "not exactly fun". This is either sarcasm or an understatement, as some holes can really hurt. "It" is implied to be the holes themselves, as while the healing process can hurt, the formation of the hole (such as being shot) is often a lot more painful.
The title text is Cueball apologizing for his whining, explaining his frustration with certain things such as particular fruits and unexpected robotic incursions. He appears to equate these two issues, where most normal people would consider one a minor irritation, and the other a serious threat (though he may be deliberately making this comparison sardonically). Even when a robot is used purposefully for cutting into a human (such as robotic surgery), it should be expected and consented to. There are few situations where cutting open a human without consent would be considered socially, morally, legally or cybernetically acceptable in most countries  (one example would be a trained medic trying to saving an unconscious person’s life by urgently cutting into them in some way).
Part of the humor may also derive from the fact that Cueball is complaining about things which the Robot could only dream of for its own future (self-repair, automatic recharging from abundant naturally occurring proteins [food], self-replication without external construction, etc). This is similar to 1839: Doctor Visit where the doctor marvels at the fact that "your body has been moving around for years and still works at all. My USB cables fray after like a month". Some people argue  that self-replicating, self-repairing sentient robotics would in their complexity be quite similar to biological systems and might even suffer from similar problems.
- [Cueball is walking to the left with a robot following behind him. It is a bit shorter than Cueball and is made out of three rectangles, one almost a square representing the head with a part representing where it can see the surroundings and a small antenna on the back. This is connected with a thin neck to a large rectangle representing the torso. This torso has three smaller rectangles, one on the front and one on the back, and a larger one on the side. The latter could represent some sort of arm. Below this is a thin rectangle with, probably, eight small wheels, four are visible. Motion lines indicate that the robot is rolling after Cueball. Cueball is holding both arms up with his palms up, while walking and talking to the robot:]
- Cueball: Ugh, biology is the worst. Bodies have all these random problems.
- [Same setting but with Cueball walking with his arms down. A scatter burst, from the top front of the robot's "head", indicates that it speaks to Cueball:]
- Robot: Is it true that if someone makes a hole in you, it just closes up on its own?
- [Same setting but in a wider panel. The scatter burst, indicating that the robot is speaking, now comes from the top rear end of the robot's "head".]
- Cueball: Only sometimes. And it's not exactly fun.
- Robot: Noted. I'll try to avoid perforating your surface.
- Cueball: Thanks! It's kind of a pet peeve.
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