Are Gen 3 Synths People?

Discussion in 'Fallout 4' started by Amgry_Meatball, Apr 28, 2020.

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Are Gen 3 Synths humans?

  1. Yes, they are humans

    44.8%
  2. No, those things are androids

    55.2%
  1. Copey

    Copey First time out of the vault

    33
    Feb 14, 2022
    You’re either being deliberately obtuse or simply don’t understand how species are defined. If you have twins and one is fertile and the other isn't, does that make your wife a monkey? No it means your kid has fertility issues.

    Yeah pretty much this. People conflating being a person and experiencing emotion and consciousness on a near human (this can either be a positive or negative) level is beyond irritating. For example, if a dog was suddenly able to communicate about itself and its thoughts in fluent English, its understanding and grasp of various things would be fundamentally different than people as its brain is quite obviously different than a persons and therefore processes information differently than a person. It still feels pain and has an emotional range just like all animals, but its perception of reality is fundamentally different to people due to this. Does this mean they are not deserving of life or possess free will or agency? No it doesn't, but simply saying that anything that possess conscious thought and basic sentience is a person is reductive and ignores fundamental biological differences between sentient species.
     
  2. SquidWard

    SquidWard Pirate and Bankrobber oTO Orderite

    Jun 1, 2018
    Humans really struggle with the idea that something else could be different than we are. And with good reason, there's not many other examples of something near our level that's not us. We used to believe that intelligence of our level was only attainable through our evolutionary means but studies, observation, and theory on octopi have changed our minds about that. We really cannot fathom that other life could be based on anything but carbon as silicone seems like a decent alternative but it is less stable in its bonds than carbon. Something yet may surprise us one day.
     
  3. Atomic Postman

    Atomic Postman Vault Archives Overseer

    Mar 16, 2013
    I think ultimately regardless of whether the Synths are considered human or not, or even people, I actually think the F4 Brotherhood are kind of right to exterminate them.

    In-game their reasons amongst the ranks and even leadership are kind of luddite-ish but I think there's a good argument to be made that the Institute effectively created the Cro-Magnon to our Neanderthal. A new species superior to our own in all the ways that count and beyond that with boundless potential to improve themselves. It's humanity creating its own replacement. An extremely dangerous and frightening prospect and one that I actually sympathize with the argument for nipping it in the bud. It's a pathway to human extinction.

    The reasons why that replacement is scary on top of a sort of reactionary nature appealing argument to preserving the species is I think beyond the writing of Fallout 4, but the novel Blindsight comes to mind which sort of dwells on the nature of sentience and other species that also possess it. As far as I recall (been a while) but vampires co-exist with humans in that book, but whilst they're sentient the vampires experience a totally different form of consciousness to humans in a way that is both alien and frightening. In anothrr world Fallout 4 would pose the question that we have no real way of knowing truly whether Synths even think like us or if they're something truly alien to our own human experience. In Blindsight the Vampires are basically comparable to someone who is extremely sociopathic or perhaps autistic and the same if not moreso could be true of Synths.

    Of the number of things that Bethesda gets wrong about the BoS, I think a West Coast BoS written by classic writers would actually logically take a similar if not same approach as the F4 Boss when presented with the same scenario (barring the moronic destruction of the Institute itself)
     
    Last edited: Feb 15, 2022
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  4. Copey

    Copey First time out of the vault

    33
    Feb 14, 2022
    It really is fascinating to think about, though I do agree that high levels of intelligence are due to evolution. Or rather evolution in the right direction. Thinking about this sort of topic is such a rabbit hole its not even funny. For example I remember reading that dolphins and orcas have an extremely high level of intelligence. This brings up a few questions, the five most prominent being:

    1. How can you measure intelligence accurately without being able to communicate effectively through language?
    2. How does language shape our intelligence and more poignantly, how does it shape our perception of reality?
    3. Is the effective use of language the true measure of intelligence?
    4. Can we even comprehend how animals and by extension other non-humans with near human intelligence perceive reality?
    5. Do dolphins think that WE are retarded?

    This line of thinking usually quickly spirals out of control until deliberately stopped. Honestly Terry A. Davis (may he rest in peace) put things so simply in this quote:
    "What’s reality? I don’t know. When my bird was looking at my computer monitor I thought, ‘That bird has no idea what he’s looking at.’ And yet what does the bird do? Does he panic? No, he can’t really panic, he just does the best he can. Is he able to live in a world where he’s so ignorant? Well, he doesn’t really have a choice. The bird is okay even though he doesn’t understand the world. You’re that bird looking at the monitor, and you’re thinking to yourself, ‘I can figure this out.’ Maybe you have some bird ideas. Maybe that’s the best you can do."
     
  5. Hardboiled Android

    Hardboiled Android Vault Senior Citizen

    Jun 7, 2015
    Human =/= Person

    Being a person is not a biological category. It's a moral/philosophical category, it only means a sentient (or sapient, your mileage may vary) moral agent. Human, on the other hand, is indeed a purely biological classification.

    Now, there's still an argument to be made that only a human being could ever be a person, but person does not strictly refer to a particular biological group.
     
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  6. Atomic Postman

    Atomic Postman Vault Archives Overseer

    Mar 16, 2013
    As I said in my own post I think the "does human = personhood?" thing would make for a very interesting idea to pose in regards to what's effectively a species that exists parallel but is ultimately alien to that of humanity. In that we can't truly understand what it's like to think like them in the way you can with other humans.

    I also think it would make people sympathize with the anti-synth types more than your standard Replicant storyline fiction because personally I find the idea deeply unsettling.
     
  7. SquidWard

    SquidWard Pirate and Bankrobber oTO Orderite

    Jun 1, 2018
    So they made sex robots? :roffle:

    Definitely, I think the issue people have with the FO4 BoS is that now they get that the Brotherhood is kinda prejudice where even in the original Fallouts they didn't get to see that so outright. I mean I get the synths as that aligns with their ideals and that super mutants were an old threat in the West and are a current threat in the East with no way to fix their stupidity and their violent tendencies (simply, they're just too dumb to even really rehabilitate like the West Coast mutants, who are you going to talk to? They're literally just orcs on the East).


    Well, it really seems that intelligence was evolutionarily needed to form better and more complex social bonds. Octopi are not social.

    It's arguable you cannot fully understand an intelligence level even with language.
    That's a better question. I mean language of our level allows us to communicate future and past events with far more accuracy than any other animal could.
    No
    Not entirely but they still live on the same planet as we do and we can understand a lot more than you'd expect about other animals while many things are still mysterious.
    Probably not but they probably also don't think we're as intelligent as they are, at least wild dolphins. For ones in captivity they probably grasp that we are also smart yet benevolent enough to not cause physical pain to them and still feed them food they like.

    Language is (almost definitely) something innate in humans though. So the questions about language are weird. Dogs can register words and understand tone and body language. Tons of animals are able to display some level of intelligence. Dolphins are well known. Dogs are pretty smart. Raccoons and many birds are also pretty smart. Cows even recognize faces apparently and might have collective learning. Of course other apes and primates are very intelligent too but cannot learn our language.

    It's about what you need in the world to survive. But something we did provided enough intelligence to produce towns and cities and societies with laws and order.
     
  8. Atomic Postman

    Atomic Postman Vault Archives Overseer

    Mar 16, 2013
    I think the "Suffer not a mutant to live" attitude could apply to the West Coast BoS and Mutants too in that they're the direct products of super-science WMDs gone awry and used irresponsibly for evil, again the core tentpole of BoS ideology. I could see plenty who disagree with it within the Brotherhood since unless you think their existence is a threat due to basically being a living remnant of that technology that could be repurposed (their DNA) then they're just dead ends.
     
  9. SquidWard

    SquidWard Pirate and Bankrobber oTO Orderite

    Jun 1, 2018
    I don't see why you would be wrong outside of the fact that the ones living with humans are doing (from what we see) a decent job at it. But the BoS is in a decline even at the time of Fallout 2. I doubt they'd really accept Mutants into their group for sure. I don't think they'd hunt them all down but also wouldn't lend a hand to help them if they could either.
     
  10. Copey

    Copey First time out of the vault

    33
    Feb 14, 2022
    Thats kind of the issue though. With people, our perception of reality and society at large is incumbent to language. When people think, its in their language and the limitations and freedoms of that language also determine how they can interact with society and the world at large. For example, many native american languages have very different concepts of time than western ones, in Japanese much of the language is ambiguous and neutral, and many native south african tribes definition of "promise" is "I may or may not". All of this shaped their societies and interactions with reality. When people watch their dog looking out the window, they might wonder if the dog is thinking about this or that and typically they figure the dog is thinking in their own language too. We cannot fully understand an animal's thought process without first pressing it through the lens of written and spoken language. There is quite possibly no dog language and we can never fully appreciate how they think and operate.

    One of my favorite little bits of this comes from Tin Tin of all places, where he is stuck in the Asian jungle and fashions a trumpet to "speak" with an elephant. Of course elephants communicate through sound, but to translate that sound 1:1 into understandable English with sentences and grammar just wouldn't seem possible. Its obvious we can understand animal behavior, though I doubt we can ever understand fully the why of the how due to this barrier. I guess that brings into question the Gombe chimp war, where it appears on the surface that these chimps are fighting a tribal war. Though this interpretation may be too humanizing, as the why of their actions may simply be territorial struggles that we as people cannot help but personify.
     
  11. Hardboiled Android

    Hardboiled Android Vault Senior Citizen

    Jun 7, 2015
    I agree, as I said I think there is a good case to be made that no other sentient being could be considered a person because we can't know the quality of their experience and if it's anything like our experience of reality, and it could be an interesting premise to explore.

    Though I think it's a faulty argument in general and specifically as regards "synths" on two respective fronts: One, we have to make exactly the same assumption of personhood for other individuals. It is impossible to know the quality of any experience other than your own. The only strong arguments that we should assume personhood for anyone other than ourselves are commonsensical ("They look like me, so they must be like me") or practical.

    Second, in the case of synths as presented in Fallout 4, they literally have human brains and act exactly like humans, so that eliminates the commonsensical argument.
     
  12. Iprovidelittlepianos

    Iprovidelittlepianos A Smooth-Skin

    623
    May 12, 2020
    I think you misunderstand his point, or possibly you misunderstand the biology of gen 3 synths. It is true that synths can’t breed with humans, but this is not because they are two different species. Synths can’t breed with anyone, not even other synths. There are completely sterile, a consequence of using FEV in their creation. The fact that they can’t reproduce doesn’t make them any less “human”, or any less a person.

    On a slightly unrelated note, I think it’s hilarious that Bethesda attempted to ask this question in Fallout 4 (Are Synths People?), and despite (imo) their complete and utter incompetence at portraying this philosophical question in an interesting or logical manner, us supposed intellectuals here at an NMA have spent four pages worth of comments arguing over it. Maybe Fallout 4 is deeper than I thought…
     
  13. Alphons

    Alphons National Beholder

    Aug 9, 2017
    I think the topic is kinda pointless to discuss, because the stuff we know about GEN 3s isn't only barebones, but also contradictory.

    They aren't the only robots to have personalities- earlier synth generations like Valentine or his brother from Fart Harbor even have more autonomy than 3s. Even pre-war robots like Codsworth or Curie! They can talk independently and judge your actions, even negatively!

    In every previous game- even in Fallout 3- they weren't capable of independent thinking. There's that one unmarked house where you can order Mr Handy to go to grocery store, read a poem to a couple of skeletons or walk the dead dog and it will obey.

    So based on information we're provided- are Gen 3s people or are Bethesda writers incapable of consistent writing?
     
  14. Copey

    Copey First time out of the vault

    33
    Feb 14, 2022
    It’s doubtful even Bethesda even really knows what gen 3s are biologically. Apparently they are completely genetically identical to humans but somehow don’t age, sleep, or have a need to eat and cannot gain or loose weight. All of this, not just sterility, implies massive biological differences from people, but a lot of people you ask in game just go “yeah they’re people bro lol”. You also can’t just declare something human. Sentient life =/= human. If the question was “do synths possess free will, agency, and sapient thought?” I’d agree, but they still are not people, like gen 1 mutants.
     
    Last edited: Feb 16, 2022
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  15. Alphons

    Alphons National Beholder

    Aug 9, 2017
    I'm gonna be honest, every single human in 4 feels like they don't have free will, so I don't think it's a good question to ask.
     
  16. Copey

    Copey First time out of the vault

    33
    Feb 14, 2022
    You’re telling me Radiant AI ™️ doesn’t just work™️?
     
  17. TorontoReign

    TorontoReign The Douchelord Staff Member Moderator

    Apr 1, 2005
    F4 BoS were fine (compared to F3 especially) it was the game that was the problem namely the fact that it was Mass Effect Fallout. I thought the synth plot was fairly well done but The Institute felt half baked so nothing made sense in the end. It's like they thought of something interesting to talk about then didn't talk about it.
     
  18. SquidWard

    SquidWard Pirate and Bankrobber oTO Orderite

    Jun 1, 2018
    Yes but at the end of all of that you still find many of the same roots and things. It's not like Japanese, Native American tribes, and Europeans are all so vastly different from each other they couldn't find ways to communicate or learn each others languages well enough to communicate and eventually intermingle and trade and immigrate to other societies. There are core principles in all of our languages that seem to pop up. A major but basic one is literally waiting to take turns. There are rules to how you speak to someone. Notice how when a very young child first learns to talk they might interrupt a bit often. As they get older, they'll say something and then stop talking to let you talk. An important rule in language that apes and primates never learned when using sign language. Children don't say "Me eat candy, candy eat me! Eat me candy, candy, candy, eat, eat, me!!!" even at a basic level.
    There is almost certainly not a dog language that is as complex and varied as ours that also carries shared traits around the world despite having very significant cultural differences. Not to mention their range of sounds is not biologically engineered into them. They whine, bark, and yelp at different pitches and volumes but they aren't manipulating those sounds with their mouths. They have body language as well but so do we. They can communicate with one another but they almost certainly cannot tell each other about the complexities of nuance in words that are seen as synonyms between each other and explain how the word "fuck" is so versatile in a sentence.
    Would a territorial struggle of dissenting humans not be considered a tribal war though? It's just that we're using words to communicate the events effectively and quickly rather than every time someone brings it up in casual speech (or just conversations where both parties know what's going on) they have to now explain in detail the nuances of the chimps splitting off into two groups and then ambushing each other. It's not Vietnam or World War 1 or any civil war and 99% of people you talk to about this will know that, especially if they have the context of the events. That's how language often works especially in non-formal settings. You say something as quickly as you can as long as the subject is understood and stated.
     
  19. Charwo

    Charwo Look, Ma! Two Heads!

    310
    Mar 9, 2017
    The problem with the "lore" Dip Shit Emil (henceforth DSE) is physically impossible. You cannot make something that is indistinguishable from humans in terms of flesh and blood and it not run on food. Biology requires metabolism and metabolism requires FOOD. Also IF this were the case Danse would be shitting a LOT more than his fellows in the BOS and they would put him under intense medical observation.

    And then we get to the other impossibility: you cannot make the Synths (capital S means gen 3) indistinguishable without being the same. One, the human body is small to hide the synth component from medical testing, X-rays, cat scans, PET, they have virtual reality teaching machines and memory extracting devices (in the slum part of Boston no less!) they could find a brain implant.

    The other more critical thing is that human bodies are not shells, they are ECOSYSTEMS. You have at least 10X the gut bacteria in you by number than cells that are strictly you. If Synths are not biologically human, any rudimentary testing of their stool is gonna show that REAL goddamn quick.

    ERGO, Synths are biologically human. It's required secondary powers for their infiltration functions.

    So then we get to the reprogramming. Again, the Synth component is the key, it's their non-organic control chip, and probably the thing that implants rudimentary knowledge like how to walk, English language, how to use basic tools, all the things humans have to be socialized into either do at all or do in a way acceptable in a particular culture so you don't end up with adult Romanian Orphan Children.

    The synth component is what allows them to be "shut down" and to a degree be reprogrammed as most of identity is memory cores and skillsets, both of which the Institute needs to be able to instantly download into the Synths brain to make them viable workers.

    They are sterile because they are sterilized in the birthing matrix, not because they are inhuman or their DNA is incapable. In fact, if lore is logically based on Vault City they should be able to go to any still functional Vault but especially Vault 81, and get lab-grown replacements for their faulty reproductive organs. Dollars to doughnuts the Institute has only screwed with the testes and ovaries because junking the whole reproductive system would be overkill in their minds.
     
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  20. SquidWard

    SquidWard Pirate and Bankrobber oTO Orderite

    Jun 1, 2018
    Okay the problem with all of that is that understanding what you said would take more effort than Bethesda put into making the quests and worldbuilding of Fallout 4 make sense in the context of not only itself even as a sequel to any Fallout game.

    So, synths SHOULD work the way you're talking about if they're really that close to human but they don't because Bethesda's not gonna consider all of that. Hell, most companies would not have considered all of that. They'd get pitched what you said and be like, "uhhh maybe let's do something else"
     
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