Gen III synths - why?

Discussion in 'Fallout 4' started by Cave, Feb 20, 2016.

  1. Cave

    Cave Big Iron

    Dec 5, 2015
    So if the purpose of the synths were to replace humans by being better than them, what's the point of them still having all the basic needs of a human? If they're robots, why do the still need to eat or sleep or drink. Why are they no more powerful than humans? What's the point of synths at all?
  2. Spacemunkey

    Spacemunkey Vault Senior Citizen

    Dec 4, 2015
    Synths are at the heart of a deep philosophical plot that delves into questions such as, what makes someone a human and is what the institute does really slavery or simply the symbiotic relationship between man and machine; you know if FO4 had been written by a competent writer. However in Bethesda's FO4 they are simply sexbots and target practice.
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  3. Irwin John Finster

    Irwin John Finster Sonny, I Watched the Vault Bein' Built!

    Nov 13, 2015
    It will be nice to see CD Projekt Red give synths (if that is indeed what is involved with Cyberpunk 2077) a proper written story.
    Last edited: Feb 20, 2016
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  4. cratchety ol joe

    cratchety ol joe Where'd That 6th Toe Come From?

    Sep 2, 2008
    Honestly, even on the limited amount I know of the cyberpunk lore, I know that it already handles trans-humanism far better than FO4 ever could.

    If I may be so bold to try and answer the OP 'in lore' (at least how I've understood it...)

    --- Warning Long Fan head-cannon 'non-lore' post ahead

    War... war never ... 'blah blah blah'

    The institute (here abbreviated to Inst.) after surviving the great war finds itself in a world forever changed with only few resources at hand, it's collective intelligence, it's lack of vault tec interference and some time.

    Unrestrained by vault tec it allows them to exceed the capabilities of any vault, relying on some of the best technology available at the time and with some of the most technologically capable minds at their disposal that they become sealed off from the world.

    I would assume that quickly an authoritarian democratic rule is established and duties and work roles are formed. I would expect that they already have access to some 'robotic' assistance such as autodocs, perhaps some mr handy's perhaps even a semi-autonomous intelligence such as a rudimentary version of that we see at 'the sink' either way - They engage in their tasks of building a safe environment and providing to meet their needs through their use of such technologies.

    Over time it is only natural that an intellectual group would seek to improve on the tools they have at their disposal -

    It is here that the journey to autonomous 'synths' begins, however I would presume that originally they were merely retrofitted handy's or upgrades of other robotic machinery.

    Some years pass, their society safe, and catered to they can now be more frivolous in their occupations, food and other mundane tasks catered to automatically by a plethora of varied machines. however this would be a crucial turning point in their ethos on designing their mechanical assistants.

    Lack of freely available materials means one thing - streamlining their designs to be of one or just a few models of machine that are easy to maintain and inter-exchange parts where failure may occur over time.

    I would guess that many designs were discussed in a very bureaucratic format, oddly dismissing the widely used and very capable mr handy model they opt for a humanoid robot which would have a range of dexterity similar to that of a humans - This would allow such machines to cater to any task a human could and with possibly greater accuracy of task.

    And so, here is where the first prototype synths would exist- I would suggest that the Inst' at this time has no requirement of subterfuge and as such the very early models would have been simply robots in human form. after some refinement to production standard Enter Gen 1

    Probably out of nothing more than avoidance of 'uncanny-valley' they decided that it would be more aesthetically pleasing to have the synths take on a more visually human form, with fake silicone / plastic / rubberised skin - simply an upgrade of convenience. Enter Gen 2

    I would guess that by this time the Inst. is already having to interact with the outside world, which in it's early stages would have been incredibly hostile to human life, so these new tools would be invaluable in gathering material and resources from above ground... and so the first sighting of synths would occur.

    Time passes and the Inst. realises that humans have survived above ground - the first stage of any interaction would of course be reconnaissance, and again their synths are the perfect tool, with some adapted programming and some upgrades to their appearance a synth could pass off as a human with a basic 'personality' program routine it could engage in some human contact without making anyone aware of it's presence.

    I personally have a feeling that Gen 2 spans various sub-versions with aesthetic improvements made specific to one derivative to ensure it's performance above ground... essential Gen 2 rev 1

    blah blah blah [ insert some lore that you can find out in the game here ]

    Now, after the attempt at unification, and the tensions of above ground / Inst. relations a few things became apparent to the Inst.

    1. Using Gen 2 above ground had failed, they were too simplistic and far too easy to compromise.
    2. The ease of compromise led to Gen 2 models going missing

    I'd like to come to point 2 first, years of development, a great deal of resource and effort have gone into producing Gen 2 models (especially my hypothetical revised models) and the loss of any such item would be quite notable to the Inst. although produces in quite large numbers realistically they cannot afford any such loss, certainly not if it means doing so at a sustained rate.

    In the background there will have always been a progression of technology occurring so Gen 3 was almost always going to happen, it however coincided with the events we see unfolding pre-game and in-game - a model of synth utterly indistinguishable from a human with a personality program so complex and presumably much harder to compromise it was to be the ultimate tool, and one perfect in the role of subterfuge, reconnaissance and of course able to bring back any other compromised units.

    Addendum - are synths 'alive'

    Prototype Synths - utterly mechanical and entirely recognised as such
    Early Gen 1 - noticeably mechanical and entirely recognised as such
    True Gen 1 - noticeably mechanical and entirely recognised as such
    Gen 2 - observably different from a human, easy to recognise if observed, otherwise a close facsimile of a human
    Revised Gen 2 - nearly human in appearance and behaviour, close inspection would be easy to pick out but can easily become mistaken for human.
    Gen 3 - utterly indistinguishable biological appearance and behaviour - only express knowledge of it's being would give any reason to not think it human.

    Are any of them alive?

    Even the most complex programming, even one that protests it's individuality and person-hood is programmed to do that, and that programming can be overridden with sufficient technical capability.

    Even the most technically 'perfected' Gen 3 is at it's core a machine, running on some base programming with levels of subroutines that operate it's being, there is somewhere in it's programming a routine that operates it's breathing mechanism - albeit a bio-mechanical mechanism it is still governed by programming.

    But wait I hear you cry!!! surely we humans are just bio-mechanical machines and our brain is/can be 'programmed'

    And here's where the line blurs...

    By what I've seen in game - I do not consider 'synths' as we see them to be autonomously concious, there's a lot of discussion beyond this point in what it means to be concious or indeed autonomously so .... but I've written enough and I've run out of brain power for now.
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  5. Lanfear

    Lanfear Mildly Dipped

    Jan 26, 2016
    Yeah, but still... why?

    Why do they need to spy on wastelanders in their shitty shanty towns? No one can get in or out of their little superbase without teleporting, so why do abovegrounders even matter to them? Clearly they want as little to do with them as possible.

    If they needed raw materials, why not just send a dozen sentry bots out to flatten everything in a reclamation area and then teleport it back? I don't see why it was ever necessary to bother with synths when robotics were already so advanced.
  6. ZigzagPX4

    ZigzagPX4 The Swiftness of the Ranger

    Nov 22, 2015
    Alright, this is gonna be long.

    Institute Armies and Recruitment

    They do send entire Gen 1 and Gen 2 armies out to the surface to flatten entire settlements for single components. Take a look at University Point, which I still think was so good in comparison to the rest of the game that whoever designed and wrote for the place is being wasted working at Bethesda. As observed in Fallout 3, reproduction isn't exactly of the highest degree in the Institute, so like with Doctor Li and that guy you have to recruit during the questline, they scout the surface for new recruits. As for why not sentry bots, well synths are from what I've seen less resource consuming to make, are much more versatile, and can be repurposed for more than just combat.

    What the Institute wants from the surface, and what the synths were for

    The entire point of the Institute questline was to prove that they never wanted to mess with the surface all along, as had originally been presumed by the wastelanders. They only teleport outside for these few reasons - to gather resources, recruits, and valuable pre-war components (as in Mass Fusion), and the Coursers exist to counter-attack anyone who interferes with the gathering. As an extension of that, they dot the entire wasteland with undercover agents so they can quickly get wind of upcoming threats and maybe, if lucky, overhear information on pre-war tech locations. The synths program is two-fold: it is to build a viable labour workforce for the Institute's future, and an investment into the field of surface espionage.

    Underlying threat to the Institute

    Finally, there is an access directly into the Institute. The Minutemen questline concerns Sturges finding a disused water outflow tunnel from the Institute that purports the only entrance into the Institute without teleportation. Considering how unguarded and isolated the entrance was, making sure it was never discovered was very much a mission they had to keep maintaining.

    The Institute's goals and internal conficts

    As for their overall goal, they've never really had one. Their small numbers yet differing opinions between each one gives them all the problem of all compromises, no direct solutions. They all argue how to take the Institute forward and never get anywhere. You were supposed to change that, starting from as soon as Father died, which conveniently marks the end of the game, so that Bethesda didn't have to write the hard parts.

    After that, the synths were supposed to basically create a "lower-class" labour force and later (with Gen 3-4 intelligence) viable assistants to their research, I would presume. It's never really put clear why a child synth was created, other than for the Institute to flaunt their AI development skills between themselves. Maybe it was just so that you could have a happy ending with the Shaun you spend the whole game looking for.

    The Institute are just a bunch of scientists who have no idea what's going on with the surface. The people dying at the hands of their synths are all a game to them. The Institute (which I presume was supposed to be significantly larger than was shown in-game) just wants to build a society underground, and the damage they cause to get there (gathering, counter-attacks) doesn't matter to them because, ironic to Bethesda's take on Fallout, they can't comprehend consequences.

    The Railroad, their mission and why they exist

    Now, for the Railroad. The Railroad I would presume was originally founded to free normal slaves. An organisation aimed at using guerilla tactics to maintain freedom and human rights in a world gone mad. They discover the Institute, and guess what? A small band of scientists have, I would assume, several hundred thousands of slaves under their control. Rather than chip at the hundred of slavers on the surface, bringing the Institute down would restore order to the Commonwealth (the Institute's surface gather teams and Coursers would no longer be destroying everything), and as a result the raiders would be less likely to dot the landscape and therefore, less slavers. Hitting the Institute was the most efficient way of using the Railroad members and resources.


    Conclusion? Synths were a labour force. A man-made working class. The Railroad, working by the logic that they are all human, aims to free hundreds of thousands "human" slaves. Many Gen 3s, originally developed to mimick humans so that they could think and work with human efficiency and precision and therefore be better labourers and work assistants, and the synths the Railroad mainly aimed to rescue, were repurposed to be counter-intelligence to the Railroad, who were bothering their resource gathering directly.

    Why the presentation of the lore was badly executed

    If it seemed iffy to you during your playthrough of Fallout 4, it's because the writing doesn't connect the dots really well. The information available is all over the place, and even when put together that most of the plot is just taken from various books, movies and games in the past that have already done the themes better. The original idea was sound and a good spin on the standard post-apocalypse. A lack of connection between each "lore point" and an overall inefficiently paced plot is what ultimately ruined Fallout 4's story. But the frame for what could have been is there, in Fallout 4, it just takes a bit of work to notice that the potential exists.

    Any questions? ;-)
    Last edited: Feb 20, 2016
  7. Lanfear

    Lanfear Mildly Dipped

    Jan 26, 2016
    It still seems largely pointless to me. They have literal robotic tank platforms if they need to bulldoze a settlement for spare parts, why do they need shitty robot men with laser pistols? They have the ability to create intelligences like Curie if they need lab assistants, why do they need fake humans? The only reason synths seem to exist is for spying, and no one ever really provides much of a reason for why they need to spy on anyone except because they can. In fact that seems to be the main reason for the existence of synths - "because we can". Or alternatively, because they had this idea for a Blade Runner inspired quest back in Fallout 3, and were so proud of it that they chose to make an entire game based on it.

    I choose to pretend the delivery entrance you use in the Minutemen ending doesn't exist, because the lack of logic behind it just pisses me off so much.
  8. Spacemunkey

    Spacemunkey Vault Senior Citizen

    Dec 4, 2015
    That's not even needed either. On a terminal in the Institute it says plain as day that pretty much every traveling merchant in the Commonwealth works for them, not that it would be important to give that information to say the BOS,RR,or Piper to put in her newspaper. Like most of FO4 synths were a poorly thought out waste of I mean FO4 GOTY.
  9. ZigzagPX4

    ZigzagPX4 The Swiftness of the Ranger

    Nov 22, 2015
    I'm trying to explain what I can, not defend Bethesda. Could you at least cut me some slack? Just because 95% of it is nonsensical doesn't mean we can't analyse the the 5% left that isn't.

    "Because We Can"

    I have a feeling the Fallout 3 Replicated Man quest expanding into a sequel was planned from the start, so nevermind that. Yes, the Institute do have an attitude of "because we can". I think that the best equivalent of The Institute in fiction is Portal's Aperture Science. They research, experiment, test, all for the sake of furthering research, and just to prove themselves to each other, with no comprehension of the consequences of their actions or anything they create. They're like children with an insane amount of intelligence. They're geniuses with no understanding that they're creating something more complex than what they create it for.

    Why not just use existing [insert robot model here]?

    What do they create it for? Glad you asked. So okay, they have designs for complex AIs, they have designs for robotic tank platforms, and they have designs for versatile, precise human-like workforces, except under their control rather than of free will. Why would they use three seperate designs when they can all combine them into one? Much like Bethesda at making Fallout, again ironically, the Institute took a "jack-of-all-trades, master of none" approach with the synths. They can be used as armies, they can be used as spies, they can be used as workers and miners, they can be used as intelligent lab assistants. Why make one for each? Not to mention - god complex. The idea of creating a being so close to actual life was probably as a result of their ego. Literally every Institute inhabitant is extremely arrogant, so wanting to make synths wasn't much of a leap.

    Okay... how did they not see it coming that it was a bad idea?

    They're the Institute. They are utter geniuses with no view of what consequences their actions have. They create creations to help them create more creations. Their idea of "efficiency" in the modern world would probably be to nuke an entire town to get one file under a bunker in that town even when that file is available in the next country over, and they would have no idea what was wrong with the nuking of that entire town. It's a solid philosophical concept, the idea that a group with so much power would have no idea what they were doing with it. Too bad it's a concept that got in the hands of Bethesda, because philosophy was never what they were good at.

    Delivery entrance and bribed merchant spies

    It's not a delivery entrance. It's water outflow. It's heavily guarded and presumably also exists as an emergency exit. Their well-maintained secrecy keeps them assuming it would never be discovered. Plus, the Institute leaves no witnesses. Again, the Institute does not know of the concept of a consequence. They have it for the logical reason of "needs an exit, needs sewage outflow, needs direct air supply in case of oxygen system failure". They won't think as far as to assume it could bite them in the ass later on.

    As for the merchant spies, well, the Institute are paranoid. For every ten merchants they bribe, five would probably be dead by next week, three would not bother, one might be working for the Railroad, and only one would actually provide useful intel. It's fair that they would be having a backup plan like having bribed merchants in addition to having spies on the surface.
  10. Lanfear

    Lanfear Mildly Dipped

    Jan 26, 2016
    Far as I recall there were about four synths and eight laser turrets between the sewage grate and the relay platform. It pissed me off so much because it makes no fucking sense for them to invest so much time and energy into this ridiculous, power-sucking teleportation system in order to maintain their secrecy, and the game sends you on this long convoluted fetch quest to hijack the relay because the place is totally impregnable, and then in the end it turns out there's just this fucking sewage pipe that leads straight in. About a hundred yards from the MIT ruins. Really? And no one ever accidentally found this? In 200 years?

    This was the single most irritating thing in the game for me. You can make all the excuses for it in the world, but to me it is nothing more than the most transparent example in the game of the BGS writers reaching a point where they didn't know what to do and just going "ah fuck it, we'll just put an emergency hatch here". They quite clearly didn't give two shits about the Minutemen quest line for most of the way throughout, but this one bit here at the end was so lazy it was almost like a slap in the face.
  11. ZigzagPX4

    ZigzagPX4 The Swiftness of the Ranger

    Nov 22, 2015
    It's not an RPG. You wouldn't expect higher levels of writing from Call of Duty, so I see no reason why we should expect it from Fallout.
  12. Lanfear

    Lanfear Mildly Dipped

    Jan 26, 2016
    I expected a level of writing from Bethesda somewhat above "utter ratshit" going into Fallout 4. It's not a mistake I'll make again. Nor is giving them money.
  13. ZigzagPX4

    ZigzagPX4 The Swiftness of the Ranger

    Nov 22, 2015
    Well, uh, my remark was supposed to be veiled sarcasm, so I guess I was being too subtle? Ah, well.
  14. Lanfear

    Lanfear Mildly Dipped

    Jan 26, 2016
    No, I got that. Does little to mitigate my extreme irritation with this shitty game.
  15. ZigzagPX4

    ZigzagPX4 The Swiftness of the Ranger

    Nov 22, 2015
    Heh, well, Far Cry 3 had better writing and that game was just an FPS with no delusions of being an RPG.

    On another note, should Fallout games have a codex or archive of in-game lore like Mass Effect and Far Cry does?
  16. Pvt Snowball

    Pvt Snowball First time out of the vault

    Nov 2, 2015
    The synths that took out University Point were under Kellogg's orders. He gave them 48 hours to give up the data, it wasn't components. I do have to say this was one of the few well designed locations in the game.
  17. Lanfear

    Lanfear Mildly Dipped

    Jan 26, 2016
    Funny thing is that the data was for a legendary bottomless laser gun. I dunno, I'm more interested in how those freezing flamers work.
  18. ZigzagPX4

    ZigzagPX4 The Swiftness of the Ranger

    Nov 22, 2015
    Ah, so it was research data. Well, that makes it even more stupid. No surprise - the Institute are a constant supporter of using "overkill". Paranoia and a lack of perspective will give you that. An inefficient use of their armies and resources, I would say.

    Yes, University Point was, in fact, one of thew few locations in Fallout 4 where the Bethesda brand of classic environmental storytelling works. Two nitpicks with it - why weren't we allowed to rebuild a settlement within it, and why was it one of the few only locations to actually have any decent writing behind it when it doesn't even factor into the main quests? I sense misplaced development priorities.

    Apparently, in-lore it was just data for improving reactor efficiency. Somehow, "making more efficient" means "make infinite".
  19. Cave

    Cave Big Iron

    Dec 5, 2015
    Funny you say well designed,
    I had that location break on me, despite killing all the hostiles, and the location being marked as [CLEAR] on my map, the quest still told me to eliminate all the hostiles.
  20. Mudguy47

    Mudguy47 It Wandered In From the Wastes

    Feb 17, 2016
    You are expecting far too much there Lanfear, way way too much. If they can't even bother to hire new writers or new people period, how can you expect them to improve in anyway? They are still the close to 100 man team from Oblivion with a few different people.

    The gen 3 synths are just supposed to show how edgy Beth can get with their "morally ambiguous" writing. Which it isn't. It goes along with the other ideas they have stolen from other games in regards to game features, this just goes to show how far they went to rip off Blade Runner. The entire idea of synths is stupid, they are superior to man yet they have every weakness of man and the weakness of computers. Not sure what the writer was on when they made that but it does not make very much sense.