It turns out, while androids do dream, it is not of electric sheep.
This is significant for AI research.
Also Sulla is remembering something of the circumstances of Al’s death…
While robots tech and AI has ludicrously outpaced our own, blogs are apparently still a new thing in alt!200X.
Uh-oh. A call from the US Military. They want Al to work with some other robotics companies with the prototype neural emulator. Definitely not for defense purposes. Suuure.
(It is true of course that today’s most sophisticated robotics, such as Boston Dynamics, mostly seem to get their contracts from the US military.)
Well, he signs up for it for $20 million. But the US guy basically wants to sideline Brendan, and there’s good reason to think they won’t be cool about Al being gay.
Also you know. Don’t trust the US military to have anything but global imperialism at heart.
Back in the future, Lucille is still around! Also seems Brendan is out as gay to her at least. I get the impression that these AI geniuses have some kind of clique going on.
As Brendan asks around about any suggestion of who built Al, Lucille encourages Brendan to talk a ‘mysterious inventor type’ with a blacked out face in Brendan’s phone who has been making ‘unusual requests’ recently. But whoever it is does not pick up the phone.
Clearly an enigma wrapped in a mystery bundled up in a sock and thrown into a conundrum.
Flashback: the military officers in the project are indeed a bunch of old white dudes who probably think Al is a lot more like them than he is.
Judging by a pin on his uniform of the Rod of Asclepius (you know that medical thing with the snake stick) the military guy here was a doctor. So he was a neurosurgeon in the army medical corps and that’s why he’s into robotics etc.
Poor Brendan gets a bit talked over. And the army dudes creep on Lucille. Defiitely a big culture clash thing etc.
There’s some pretty cool stuff with Lucille and her feelings re: visibility of disability and prosthetics.
Honestly this comic does social interactions so well - so much good body language stuff, so much hinted in what’s said and what isn’t. It’s really taking good advantage of the medium. Like Lucille and Al’s frosty conversation… I want to be able to write dialogue like this.
God the army guys are being arsey to Brendan. Al and Brendan’s relationship is so realistic and well done.
Brendan spots some old self-harm scars on Al and… doesn’t deal with it well. Like ‘I want to take your sharp object away’ badly. But again they resolve it.
In the future… there’s an area of the city called the Synth Corridor where many of the Synths hang out. Maybe not a good place for Al to be.
Mystery person calls back and is totally unhelpful and quite rude!
Back to Sulla and the other cool kids! Titus is trans and nb!
“Like a robot or something” ouch
So there’s a weird interaction where the robot at the counter won’t get Sulla her food and a human assistant takes over.
I wonder if this demonstration of the presence of iron particles in food would actually work that well? It’s not one I’ve seen before.
In a commentary, there’s a reference to an artist, Sachiko Kodama, who works in ferrofluids. Cool!
Pretty fascinating discussion in the comments here about how the broth resulted in Sulla crying.
Lucille has an all-woman robotics team I think? That’s well cool.
I like how Lee is all ‘we can us the giant mecha for defence’ and everyone else is like ‘nah’. Good. Shut up the army man.
Oh. Shit. I think this is the point Al dies - what a horribly sad note to leave Al on.
Back in the present… Al kind of does a shitty job of being a robot prophet.
Oh gosh the big robot did end up working in construction after all!
Action scene time. I won’t narrate. It’s tense.
Oh gosh. She’s been outed as a robot. Oh gosh.
Chapter title refers to a somewhat satirical chilrden’s book by animator Frank Tashlin. Tashlin's colleage Chuck Jones adapted it into a cartoon in 1976: