Strip 46: The Tools of Humanity

We’ve touched on the idea that Dy-Gar’s crusade against organics might have a legitimate basis, but now we’re delving a little deeper into the philosophy behind his hatred. The question of slavery is one of the most important issues in organic/machine relations, since artificially intelligent machines are, essentially, manufactured slaves. Just because they’re created for the sole purpose of serving their masters doesn’t make it justified. It makes it easier. Even easier than justifying slavery through racism, and as history has shown us, that’s already pretty damn easy.

I believe this is an issue our species will have to confront sooner or later - maybe within our lifetimes, maybe hundreds of years from now. And we may not be the first to suggest the link between artificial intelligence and slavery (see the Star Trek episode “The Measure of a Man,” wherein a scientist attempts to seize Data for study and Picard has to argue in court that Data is sentient and not a piece of property), but we do intend to make it a central theme of the story. Dy-Gar is the result of a society in which there were no Picards to defend the rights of sentient machines - or, more accurately, the Picards were too few and too ineffectual to make a difference. I doubt that our little comic can in any way prevent a future like that, but I still believe we need to make these kinds of connections, because if we don’t, and if nobody else does, then that future is all the more certain to come true.

- J.S. Conner

February 28th 2014