Help - Search - Members - Calendar
Full Version: Robotic Prime Directive
Dumpshock Forums > Discussion > Shadowrun
Moonstone Spider
In Rigger3 p.44 it states that any drone with a robotic brain may use it's control pool as combat or control pool in any action relating to it's prime directive.

But how do you determine Prime directive? In the descriptions there's nothing that says what it's prime directive is for a robot on the ones that have an adaptation pool.

Take the Toyota Mcguyver Search and Rescue Robot. On the one hand since the robot is called a Search and Rescue 'bot it seems like it's prime directive should be saving lives in natural disasters. . . which makes me wonder why it's got an autosoft level 6 demolitions skill. Should it's prime directive cover the use of explosives? Should a prime directive be a paragraph long or a simple sentence?

The wolfhound's a lot easier to understand. It's a recon drone with no bizarre autosoft screwing things up, so naturally it's prime directive should relate to gathering information.
i don't know of any rules that cover this. my opinion is that a prime directive should be something simple but far-reaching: "protect your subject" for a bodyguard-type drone, "shoot down enemy aircraft that enter your airspace" for a UAV fighter, etcetera. i'd further say that it takes more than a simple command to imprint or change a prime directive--maybe something along the lines of a computer (programming) test with a TN equal to 2x the robot's rating.
Ol' Scratch
I'm pretty sure they mean "the last main command your master gave you" for "prime directive," but that's just my interpretation. I don't see it as a RoboCop thing.
possibly, but then there wouldn't be any case in which the adaption pool doesn't apply. i mean, robots are smart, but it's not like Johnny 5 is going to knock off for a beer right in the middle of his patrol route. "damn, i won't be able to use my adaption pool for this keg stand!"
Digital Heroin
*suddenly picturing a rigger diving into one of his drones while it's downing mass quantities of beer, and hiccuping*
I believe Prime Directive is something like, for the search-and-rescue bot, "Rescue People". Were this a real bot, it'd have to be more detailed, but as the world is created by a human we can go with a high-level instruction like that. As for the Demolitions autosoft, it makes complete sense; shaped charges can clear away all sorts of obstructions to saving people.

Think of what robots say again and again in movies etc. For example: Daleks say "Humans are inferior and must be exterminated" using that sharp dalek voice they have whilst robocop's prime directive would be "protect and serve" or whatever it is he says. What you're allowed depends on your GM but I'd allow rescue robot, air defense, and bodyguard to be prime directives, as well as surveilance for snooper robots. I'd also allow prime directives to be 'hacked' using the computer programming skill and some tests stolen from the deck design section of the matrix books (and I'd suggest a fairly harsh version of the bug rules even though I wouldn't normally use them)
As far as I rember, its really what the last command was. If it was "stay here and shoot what comes in that door" it can use its adaption pool if say, something starts shooting at it from behind, or if say YOU come though that door (and hope to hell that it figures out not to shoot you)
Ol' Scratch
Right. Robotic drones have a limited ability to think for themselves, so they can process information and adapt to a situation beyond a command given to them. However, they can only gain the aforementioned benefits when following their current "prime directive," which is whatever the last command they were given is.

At least that's my take.
My take is more the other way. I think the particular robots have specific prime directives. A robot pilot is WAY more advanced than a drone pilot, but only within specified limits. The Wolfhound, for example, is programmed with 'detection-avoidance maneuvres'. I'd say that would count as its prime directive and that it is sold with that preprogrammed.

I'd agree its primary routines can be reprogrammed, but when you look at how expensive robot pilots are I don't think it would be quick, or easy. the 'last command' thing is for normal drone pilots.

I think the case can be made for either approach, but the rules are not specific enough to make a definate call without consulting the official source.
I agree that it's not explicitly stated that a robot can only have one prime directive. It does say that the prime directive is another name for the robot's 'primary function', however. IMHO the primary function of a robot does not change if you order it to do something else.
I hate you guys. You made me notice a new hole in Rigger 3. LET ME HAVE MY DELUSIONS DAMNIT.

If a robot's current 'prime directive' was based only on commands, they would be rather overpowered.

It's absolutely possible for a starting-level rigger to have a robot with Robotic Reflexes 3, Robotic-Pilot Advanced Programming 4, Improved Neural Network Algorithms, and to have plenty of money to spare as long as they placed it on the right chasis(0.25 markup or less). Just take at least B resources and you're good to go. You could even afford 2 bots with the above programming with B resources.

If you allowed 'prime directive' to mean whatever you last ordered it to do, you would be facing something eerily similar to the problems Skillwires possess. The robot would have 4 dice for all drone-related tasks with a pool of 8 he can add to any task you declare it's current prime directive.

"Drone, I order you to save this man! You can now perform surgery!"
"Drone, I order you to blow up thing building! You can now use demolitions!"
"Drone, I order you to do my physics homework! You can now understand Einstein's Theory of Relativity!"

You could just say that those adapation pool dice can only apply to tasks a drone normally could do, but then you would look over at Man & Machine. There, a robot is explicitly outlined as be able to perform surgery as its prime directive(Pg 139).

So now my suggested solutions.

1. Remove the demolitions autosoft from the T. S&R robot. You open up a really ugly can of worms if you allow it to have that autosoft. By allowing a skill to be replicated by an autosoft, you set the precedent that other skills could also be done with an autosoft.

2a. Prime directive is hard coded into the robot. You buy a Biotech 'Bot and it can do stuff related to biotechnology. You buy a Demolitions Dude and it can perform demolitions. Note that this is in addition to standard drone tricks, such as you can mount a turret on it and it will be able to shoot with it. The robots are also fairly smart in that they will not know just the skill, but the things related to it. You might even say a Biotech 'Bot can also drive ambulances by datajack, for example. This is deep into GM discression territory. Work it out on a bot by bot basis.

2b. If you're not nervous about characters being able to effectively convert nuyen to karma in the form of buying autosofts/skillsofts, you could say that a lot of it is done in the software. A robot can use autosofts that replicate skills, but a normal drone can't. Their adaption pool dice can also only be added to autosofts. Autosofts are available for any and all skills.

2c. Fuck the M&M. The robot outlined there violates the rules in several ways. Adaption pool can only augment tasks a drone could normally do.
Looking at the entry in R3, if I was GMing and someone wanted to bring in a robot-drone into the campaign, I'd select a number of appropriate skills/tests equal to its Pilot rating, so in example:

Toyota S&R, Robotic Pilot 2:
Handling tests (only when negotiating terrain for S&R, obviously)
Athletics (specifically any climbing/jumping/etc to reach victims)
Demolitions (planting charges to clear an escape path)

Drop the Autosoft, and I feel that any mobile Robotic Pilot should receive their bonus in relation to their movement while in pursuit of their directive. However, it should split their Adaptation pool between applicable it could use AP for Handling, but it couldn't use it that same turn for any 'Athletics' related tests.

It also doesn't make much sense to me that a Robotic Pilot can use their Pool for any weapon strapped to it... Sure, it can use the weapon like any other drone, but to use any specific weapon with its Pool, it should be intended to use it...
Ok, so I cant find my copy of R3 to argue... yet.
Ol' Scratch
Okay, I actually looked it up and Rigger 3 (on page 44) is pretty clear about what a Prime Directive is.

It is, indeed, the primary purpose you design the robot for. It only gains the ability to use its Adaptation Pool when performing a task, any task, relating to its prime directive, which must be designated when the robot is created. It can still perform other tasks just like a drone, but without the benefit of the Adaptation Pool. They don't list any examples in that chapter, but the intent and context is clear.

So in other words, I conceed the point. smile.gif

I do see the main problem, though: What are the limitations of a Prime Directive? I think it's really up to the GM or player if the GM allows them to create one. It can be as specific as "demolitions" or as open-ended as "protect [person or group of people]." It's totally the GM's call and judgement on this one.
I thought this was going to be about Asimov's three laws...
Loco, I am glad I am not alone there. I was gonna post about that, but thought I was left this topic to be ravaged at other areas...

From what I can tell Robots in SR are not at all robots the way asimov wanted them. Firstly they have absoultely no degree of true or sentient AI(like his rules assume). They in fact are little more than mindless drones built for a purpose.

Leaving aside 2061+ years Deus and the other "AIs" there is no AI in SR. But in terms of robots, there aren't any in the way of what Asimov saw...only a few worker drones, pilot drones, cleanup drones, etc.
Yep. They're another step in the right direction, but until they can cram the Arcology's approximate processing power into a drone-sized package, there will be no Asimovian robots in SR.

... And until people forget the Renraku arcology incedent I doubt people wil be making sentient robots. Anyway: Why have an AI when you could just have an SI?(SI = Sufficient Intelligence, it is able to do what you want it to, understanding and obeying orders, without the problem of sentience)

On an interesting side-note. People theorise that top-grade computers will have approximately the same processing power as the human brain by 2050. Taking their logic a bit further, I don't think a sentient AI in an affordable (non-supercomputer-grade) box would be an impossibility by 2060.
You'd've thought that about small cellphones, too nyahnyah.gif

heh. well, they errata'd that.

on the subject of AI's, it's fairly clear from the text that processing power isn't the sole factor in determining the formation of an AI--it's a requirement, but it's not the only requirement.

Wha? Dammn. I meant to say it would not be an impossibility... Dammn I need sleep.
Moonstone Spider
Hmm, if the prime directive is created with the robot does that mean I can make the prime directive "Do what your master tells you?"

After all, it's a single simple sentence. . .

Were I GMing I'd say that after Renraku you'd have to be insane to build even a level 1 robotic brain with any kind of combat-oriented prime directive. There shouldn't be a corp in existence willing to take the risk, much less the ungodly bad press this would result in.

"Rescue People" seems like a good prime Directive although given the normal shadowrunner pursuits it also makes the SR a completely worthless piece of Junk (I can just see a Rigger's robot starting to disobey and try to drag the guards out of the fire from another drone's flamethrower attack). You'd basically have to be lying to your robot in order to use it's demolitions autosoft under 98% of the shadowrunner conditions. The other 2% are you're running a Docwagon campaign.

Come to think of it where did that demolitions autosoft come from anyway? My copy of Rigger 3 specifically states that Drones cannot use activesofts, only autosofts and datasofts. It also has a list of all autosofts on page 99 and there's nothing remotely like demolitions on the list. There is:

Clearsight: + to detection rolls
Datalink: + to resist certain MIJI tests
Electronic Warfare: + to perform certain MIJI tests
Performance Profile: - to stress tests for one vehicle only
Sharshooter: + to gunnery skills

This has me confused now. Also those programs are fragging expensive. If Demolitions is as big as Sharpshooter the program alone should cost 72,000 Nuyen, 3/4 of the Toyota SR's price tag.
QUOTE (Moonstone Spider)
Hmm, if the prime directive is created with the robot does that mean I can make the prime directive "Do what your master tells you?"

After all, it's a single simple sentence. . .

It's a single simple sentence, but it's a high-level sentence, with an infinite number of cases contained below it. Robots need prime directives that limit them sufficiently to be able to adapt within them.

Dim Sum
Asimov?? I thought this had something to do with Star Trek! I even put on my Klingon suit before looking through the thread! biggrin.gif

Anyway, IIRC, the Prime Directives are:

1. Uphold the law.
2. Protect the innocent.
3. Serve the public trust.

*runs for cover*
Moonstone Spider
That's robocop, and I think you have them in the wrong order, protect the innocent was first and uphold the law was last.

Asimov's are:

1: A robot must not harm a human, or through inaction allow a human to come to harm.

2: A robot must obey any command a human gives unless this contradicts the first law.

3: A robot must preserve it's own existence unless this contradicts the first and/or second laws.

And if you go advanced:

0: A robot must not harm humanity, or through inaction allow humanity to come to harm.

Of course those are incredibly broad-spectrum and require vast intelligence. Also for a Shadowrunner those laws make the "SR saves the goon you're shooting" scenario seem positively tame compared to what an asimovian robot would do to you. . .

The rigger checks the weapons turrets on his robotic drone before making a run. What's this?!? The Ingram Valiant has been removed and replaced with a Defiance Super Shock!

Robot: "The Ingram had the potential to harm humans. I uninstalled it and installed the super-shock which is less likely to do so."

Rigger: "Wait a minute, how did you manage to do that? You have no B/R skill."

Robot: "I used my mechanical arms to borrow your credstick and contacted your fixer to purchase a cars B/R autosoft for myself. Then I sold the Ingram and purchased the super-shock."

Rigger: "Fraggin' what?" *Checks credstick.* "You spent my entire Roll on an autosoft for yourself? That was supposed to go for buying me a 1000 round EX-explosive ammo belt!"

Robot: "EX-Ammo may explode, which is a risk to you I cannot allow. It also poses a risk to me which I cannot allow without a direct order, which you failed to provide. Also I sold all the regular bullets for your assault rifle and replaced them with gel-rounds so you are less likely to hurt any other human with them."

Rigger: "You are so going into the scrap heap."

Robot: "That violates the third law, and since without me are are more likely to be able to hurt other humans I have arranged for my own protection under first-law priority. Should you terminate my existence a special program I have paid for using your credstick will give all your personal information plus the location of all your safehouses to your enemies in Aztechnology. . ."
Dim Sum
QUOTE (Moonstone Spider)
That's robocop, and I think you have them in the wrong order, protect the innocent was first and uphold the law was last.

Nitpicker! biggrin.gif
This is a "lo-fi" version of our main content. To view the full version with more information, formatting and images, please click here.
Dumpshock Forums © 2001-2012