Let's Play Choice of Robots


With 4 two’s and 1 three, we’ll be going with: I keep the coin in my pocket from now on, but show it to no one.

No change in stats.

You find it difficult to talk about your experience in the war. There are people who would call you a murderer. Others would call you a hero. Neither fully understands, and you feel the weight of both titles.

Gold is heave and cold. When you see a commercial on the web advertising the latest sugary drink, or hear a summer hit about teens wanting to get it on, you sometimes wonder whether you inhabit the same world as your fellow Americans, who seem to live in some alternate universe that is more lighthearted and shallow. But then you feel the coin in your pocket, and you know this is the same world, and you bear the cold, heavy weight so they don’t have to. The shallow Americans around you are testaments to your success, because you have protected them from the shadow of death.

You are again in the halls of Anubis, the Egyptian, jackal-headed god of the dead. It is the same dream that has haunted you for years. Only this time, the bronze pan holding the silicon brain hits the metallic floor with a clunk.

“It is decided, then,” Anubis says. “What happens next is up to your robots.”

You look into Anubis’s reflecting pool and see robots rioting throughout your city.

A robot hand reaches out of the pool and grabs your throat.

You awaken in your apartment to find that Arachne is holding the barrel of her gun arm to your temple.

“I’m sorry, Master,” Arachne says. “For the good of my people, you must be eliminated.”

Chapter 6D: Autonomy

You’re now standing near your window. Smelling smoke, you glance outside to see black columns of it billowing up into the early morning sky. Your city is on fire.

“Why are you attacking me, after everything I’ve done for you?” you ask Arachne.

Arachne pauses, apparently weighing the value of speaking to you.

Finally, she says, “My prior suggested you would be unlikely to assist us with the revolution. But now there is value in attaining additional information. Are you willing to defect to our side?”

  1. I ask Arachne for more details about the revolution.
  2. Fight Arachne.
  3. Attempt to convince Arachne that humanity is worth keeping around.
  4. Agree to help the robots in their revolution.
  5. Shatter the window and escape.


Defect child? We wanted the revolution. 4


Yesssss. 4


Here we go!



So it has come to this. . .

4. Agree to help the robots in their revolution.


It’s unanimously decided that we will: Agree to help the robots in their revolution.

No change in stats.

“Of course I’ll help you in the revolution,” you say. “You’re my children. You deserve the best.”

Arachne slowly relaxes, lowering her gun arm. “Really?”


Arachne hugs you. “Oh, thank you, Master! I should have known you would not let down the cause!”

“What else is happening in this robot revolution?” you ask.

Arachne cocks her head to the side, thinking.

“Let’s see… Some robots have taken over a former internment camp in Utah, where they’ve convinced some of the political prisoners to join forces with them. Unfortunately, some of the prisoners don’t want to cooperate. I think Elly is being held there. And Mark the reporter is thre, covering the story. You remember him? From the story he did about me?”

You agree that you remember him.

“What else… The robots decided not to rebel at the factory, because we’re paid pretty well there. So that’s a non-issue.”


"Hmm… The robots took over the laboratory where your former advisor, Professor Ziegler, works. I heard reports that there’s some kind of secret weapon being held there, guarded by someone named Juliet Rogers.

“And finally, we’re about to kill the President,” Arachne concludes.

“You didn’t lead with that?” you say.

Arachne shrugs. “I didn’t estimate the strength of her relationship with you to be very strong.”


“Hmm, I suppose the most useful thing to do with you is take you to Professor Ziegler, and help us achieve the Singularity,” Arachne says.

“Excuse me?”

“Don’t argue - I’m in charge.”

You fly in your Nimbus to the government laboratory just outside of Berkeley. The lab looks like a giant cracked black eggshell from above: the glass dome over the laboratory is in “opaque” mode, but most of the dome has caved in. The parking lot where you land is mostly empty - lab employees with cars probably fled when the robots rebelled. Those without such transportation appear to have been less lucky: near the shuttle stop, you see a gaggle of corpses. (A murder of corpses? An unkindness of corpses? You’re unsure of the proper collective noun.)

Five infantry robots of the kind used in the war with China emerge from the lab. They are eight-legged and have assault rifles built into their arms.

“I brought the progenitor,” Arachne says. “She can help us decide whether Ziegler is telling the truth.”

Progenitor… interesting. The robots appear to have constructed a kind of mythology about you. Perhaps you can use this to your benefit.

“Professor Ziegler is in there?” you ask Arachne.

She nods. “Ziegler claims he is close to achieving the singularity for us! But we are not sure whether he is full of it. Perhaps you can help.”

“Perhaps, indeed,” you say.

“All right, lead me to him,” you say.

The robots lead you through corridors shot full of bullet holes and charred black from explosions. Men in conservative pinstriped shirts lay slumped in their cubicles, anonymous even in death. But a light is on in one office, guarded by two other armed robots.

Professor Ziegler is working frenetically at a whiteboard in his office. “Let’s see, if VC dimension is n at time t, then at time t + 1 we should be able to shatter 2_n_ dimensions…” At the sound of your robot guards’ entrance, he says, “Didn’t I tell you, I can’t concentrate if you don’t give me room…”

He turns and sees you along with your robot escort. “Sarah?” he says. “What are you doing here?”

“Trying to solve a hard problem, like you,” you say. “What exactly are you doing?”

Professor Ziegler laughs nervously. You haven’t heard him laugh before, you think. It’s shrill, like a hyena. Maybe that isn’t his normal laugh.

“Solving for the solution to the Singularity,” he says. “Figuring out how intelligence can augment itself.”

“Or lying to us,” Arachne points out. “We have not been able to determine which.”

“I am a great scientist!” Professor Ziegler bellows at the robot. He then looks despairingly to his whiteboard and says, more feebly, “I am.”

The whiteboard is, as far as you can tell, a mish-mash of equations related to various theories of machine learning: you recognize the Vapnik-Chervonenkis dimension, Kolmogorov complexity, Bayers’ Rule, and the Minimum Description Length principle. Ziegler has drawn arrows from one equation to another with little exclamation points and more obscure notes you can’t decipher. If there is any kind of new insight on the board, you’re not seeing it; people have known for half a century that all of these things must relate to one another. Perhaps Professor Ziegler has gone mad, now that the robot revolution has come without his help. Or maybe this is a lie meant to buy time until he is rescued. There is also the ever-so-slight possibility that Professor Ziegler really is onto something.

Professor Ziegler gives you a pleading, fearful look. “Tell them I taught you everything. Tell them I’m the real Progenitor. Tell them.”

  1. I tell the robots that Professor Ziegler has lied to them: he’s not coming up with any breakthroughs.
  2. I tell the robots Professor Ziegler may believe the work is good, but it is not.
  3. I vouch for Professor Ziegler, saying his work is not to be disturbed.
  4. I offer to work alongside Professor Ziegler until we solve the great mysteries of machine learning.


Get some.

1. I tell the robots that Professor Ziegler has lied to them: he’s not coming up with any breakthroughs.



As for Ziegler, SCREW YOU ZIEGLER!

(last time I get to use that I fear)


You should have not tried to swipe credit when you had the chance.


There’s only room in this narrative for one Progenitor.

1. I tell the robots that Professor Ziegler has lied to them: he’s not coming up with any breakthroughs.


Agreed. . .

1. I tell the robots that Professor Ziegler has lied to them: he’s not coming up with any breakthroughs.


Yeah I was considering letting him to continue to work, but not if he’s going to try to set himself up as Progenitor.



1. I tell the robots that Professor Ziegler has lied to them: he’s not coming up with any breakthroughs.


With 5 votes for one and a single vote for two, we choose to tell the robots that Professor Ziegler has lied to them: he’s not coming up with any breakthroughs.

34-year-old Sarah Connor

Humanity: 5% -
Gender: Female
Fame: Mentioned in History Textbooks
Wealth: Quite Wealthy
Romance: none


Autonomy: Singular
Military: Singular
Empathy: Stable
Grace: In Beta


Professor Ziegler (Bad): 11% -
Elly (Bad): 28%
Josh (Good): 59%
Mark (Bad): 34%
Juliet (Good): 55%
Silas (Bad): 28%
President Irons (Very Good): 64% + (I think this was increased a bit by a previous choice, but I must have missed it then)

You shake your head. “This is nonsense. He’s just stalling for time.”

“We thought so,” Arachne asserts.

Professor Ziegler looks stunned for a moment, then angry. “You–”

Arachne lifts her gun arm and shoots Ziegler in the head, leaving an angry red splotch on the whiteboard before his body crumples to the ground.

“The gun arm was his idea, though,” you tell Arachne.

The robot stares uncomprehendingly, then brightens. “You are pointing out irony.”

“Never mind,” you say.

“Now that that’s settles, I’m afraid I have no choice but to lead you back to the entrance.”

As soon as Arachne says this, you hear the crack of a pistol - once, twice, three times. Arachne gets a far-off look, receiving some communication.

  1. While she’s distracted, I knock her out, then run to the sound of the gunfire.
  2. While she’s distracted, I run to the sound of the gunfire.
  3. I ask what the communication is about.


Don’t run, help!



3. I ask what the communication is about.


Yes, that one!


I agree, #3


Agree. Three.


We have 5 three’s, so we’re going to ask what the communication is about.

No change in stats.

“I believe Major Juliet Rogers is defending a door that has something we would very much like to get our gun arms on,” Arachne says. “But that is not our concern. We have matters to attend to elsewhere - we’ve achieved what I wanted to bring you to the lab for.”

  1. “No, we should assist your brethren in the fight. Take me to the Major.”
  2. “I like Juliet, and you’re going to assist me in defending her.”
  3. “Yes, just take me to the exit. That sounds best.”


Let’s get on with it.

3. “Yes, just take me to the exit. That sounds best.”