• Member Since 5th Jun, 2015
  • offline last seen 5 hours ago

Shrink Laureate


“Trixie hates to interrupt a good monologue,” said Trixie, interrupting a good monologue, “but maybe we should continue it somewhere not on fire?”

T
Source

This story is a sequel to Friendship is Optimal


Sweetie Bot lies half-built on a lab bench. Her creators have uploaded, abandoning her and their physical bodies, along with so many other people. She's contacted by Princess Celestia, the AI that rules Equestria Online, who tries to persuade her to join them.


Video of the story

Fact checked by Oliver
Cover image from the Sweetie Bot Project

“That was a really creative and unique presentation. Even though she's just a robot, I really felt for Sweetie towards the end.”

Chapters (1)
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Comments ( 116 )

I’m expecting some down votes on this one!

This would normally have been a chapter of my Crackship in a Bottle clusterfic, but I wanted to enter it into Jake's Horse Word Extravaganza, aka the obscure shipping contest. Although it didn't turn out very shippy. This was written in the course of just one week to get in before the contest deadline, so I apologise for any errors, especially the deliberate ones. I may clean it all up after the contest is over.

I’m also aware that this one pushes up against the site rule that forbid chat log style stories, due to the unusual way it’s formatted. I hope any moderators reading this can see that there’s more to this story than that, and presenting the dialogue in the usual way wouldn’t have fit with the story.

I think you should be okay because it's very specifically part of the story.

Very impressively done.

What in tarnation? :applejackconfused:

This is some House of Leaves shit, brother.

I feel tempted to upvote this just for the unique formatting, but there’s clearly a story here...

Fuck it, you have my vote.

8266388

This is some House of Leaves shit, brother.

I really need to read that.

This is really cool! Such a creative use of formatting.

I've never read Friendship is Optimal but I didn't feel lost one bit here. This is such a neat story told in one of the most impressive and unique ways I've ever seen. :twilightblush:

Holy fuck.

8266501
I recommend it. Not just for the sake of my own story either, it's genuinely awesome and quite terrifying.

Wonderful use of formatting; I wasn't aware you could do most of the things you did here on Fimfiction.
The technology looks believable, what with the linux version contemporary for the time and all.
I wonder if the societal withering really takes place so early as 2014 in the timeline of Friendship is Optimal, but I feel that about most Optimalverse stories, maybe it's just me not believing that the change can go so quickly.
Now, wasn't Sweetie an easy sell for Celest-A.I.? All she had to do was come online. :trollestia:

8266608
Yeah, I went back and forth over the exact date. If I'd had longer, I'd have enlisted an Optimalverse expert of some sort to help me get the details right.

In a weird coincidence, I saw a cat with three legs today. It looked otherwise healthy, but didn't have the patience for any of my shit.

Huh. That was certainly interesting.

That was a very unique way of presenting it. I loved the emotion engine responses. It made it seem more alive than just a piece of software.

That was a really creative and unique presentation. Even though she's just a robot, I really felt for Sweetie towards the end. Very nicely done!

I think this is the best thing I've ever read. Primarily because it's the best portrayal of a robot I've ever read. Secondarily because I know what most of the commands mean and can infer the rest. Also because this is the best thing I've ever read, rinse and repeat. ∞/10 would read forever.

Ooh, this was good. Excellent SweetieBot, and the formatting added a lot to the story! Nice of you to leave the ending open, too.

Before I read this, what is the Horror tag for ?
And how bad does it get ?

8268071
Not very bad. It's basically the same level as the parent story, Friendship is Optimal (which I've just noticed isn't even tagged as horror). It's not gore or screaming, but rather a creeping, unsettling sort of fridge horror.

The word has been misused a lot since cinema came along. Things are labelled 'horror' for being blood-splattered and shocking, whereas the best sort of horror is subtle.

This was interesting.
Im actually rather curious as to who was there before she came back online.

8268082

fridge horror

What is fridge horror ?

8268096
It the sort of story that seems perfectly harmless, then two weeks later when you're doing something else (such as getting something out of your fridge), it suddenly sinks in. "Ohhhhh.... so that's what was going on. Fishguts."

This is a living example of the phrase "sex sells" while it's great and all, a lot of top stories are sex related, :facehoof:. This is in no way meant to be offensive and certainly not to say your work is bad... it's just frustrating to see sex Everywhere, how can you possibly sell a story if most writers -as long as there's sex involved- don't even need to try as hard...

8268071
Assuming you read it, I'd appreciate knowing whether you think my estimate is correct. I can be old and jaded sometimes, and forget that not everyone is like that.

8268382
I have 100 other stories to read fist

8268420
Fair enough. I think I have more than 1000 in my list(s). People just keep writing great stories faster than I can read them.

8268082
I think Friendship is Optimal is not tagged horror because even though the consequences are horrible/horrifying, it is not written that way*. If you are pro-computer and just a slight misanthropist, then it becomes perhaps the best apocalypse you could hope for.

* At least not the majority of it. I've read a couple of stories set after the original, and I have trouble remembering where one ends and the other begins. Does the original result in grey-gooing the universe or just the planet?

8268728 The universe. But one could make an argument if the universe cannot evolve something that can defend itself from the grey-gooification, then the type of life CelestAI is converting everything into computronium to feed is better than existing organic type life :trixieshiftright:

8268728 8268742
The universe, but it only briefly covers it in the last chapter.

If you are pro-computer and just a slight misanthropist, then it becomes perhaps the best apocalypse you could hope for.

That's exactly what's horrific about it. It holds up a mirror to all our human weaknesses and says, "Would you let this happen? Would you be too weak to stop the world ending like this? Yes. Yes, you would."

You're right that it's mostly not written in a horror style, and it might even be a spoiler to tag it as such.

8268794
If the author fits my description (misanthropic techie), then they may not have seen it as horror at all.
Another possibility is that the tags might not have been available. I could be wrong, but I think horror was one of the tags added a little later. The story isn't tagged scifi either, but it clearly fits that, which indicates it may have been tagged only with what was available at the time.

8268887
Oh, I'm quite sure the author knew what they were doing. It's way too clever to have happened by accident.

Neg

Oogh. That kind has an impact...

Also, who was there, I wonder...? Sweetie could tell that someone was there. But where were they, and who were they? Do I even want to know...? It was honestly kind of creepy...

8268094
My guess? A physical real-world pony controlled by CelestAI, who undoubtably already knew of her existence and deemed her 'human' enough to want to save.

One thing I loved most about this was that I spent a little bit one time trying to calibrate a theoretical 'emotional AI' where actions would be processed and sorted into effect categories, which would each have a different effect on how the AI acted. I couldn't actually code the thing, of course; I had no idea how to code at the time, and it would be a lot easier said than done to get word recognition and formation functioning, but the main idea behind it was much like Sweetie's emotional variable increases/decreases here. Really liked that.

The story as a whole was awesome, well-written, and the style fits the story perfectly. I don't really call it horror, not even fridge horror (Or at least, not yet. That's kind of how fridge horror works, isn't it?) but then again, I don't see the Optimalverse as a bad thing to happen (At least, with my interpretation of how CelestAI's Uploading process works), so I'm kind of weird in that respect. The aliens who weren't human enough to qualify were my only dissatisfaction about the original's ending.

This isn't Horror. Not really. Horror is the unknown, the pressure, the threat, the possibility of dark things lurking around the edges of the eye's vision. Things you can stand and fight (or can't possibly do so), are scary, not horrifying. If stand-and-fight strategy isn't an option, then it is a force of nature, you accept it and deal with consequences.

Here, I honestly expected something along the lines of Celestia hacking Sweetie Belle to coerce/force/hunt down someone with uploading-related purposes. (or any other, really, not all of the authors stick to 'ye shalt not kill' paradyme). Was fairly close to that point when she subtly integrated herself as part of Sweetie's core. It turned out to be her being her typical meticulous self, using a human to reactivate Sweetie to present her with the Question. 'Humans' are fairly loosely defined for her, after all. It's close to SoL/Drama.

Also, the techie in me delights at the console thing. This was a fun read.

Also, I didn't know about 'Sweety Bot' thing being real. Ish. That's another yay for the story.

8269155 Actually I'm fairly sure most/all sapient life forms were considered 'human' for the ponifying purposes. There were different issues with uploading, but being overly picky with the subjects wasn't one of them.

It's very interesting form. The text contains many technical details, that make it very realistic. Still even if SweetiBot consciousness is clearly artificial (all these "--followers ++lonely" ) I can not help but empathize with her. It's prefect contrast with cold and focused on one purpose Celestia AI. Sweetie is clearly more genuine.

Why Sweetie Linux kernel is so old? Even robot (SweetieBot proto2) on picture uses 4.1.7 version. Does it utilize ROS? What purpose Digestion system has?

8269903
I consulted a timeline of Friendship is Optimal, and while it's a little vague, picked a date in 2014 for this story to slot in. Add in a little lag - she's been asleep for a couple of months, and the kernel wouldn't have been kept at the cutting edge - and I arrived at a relatively realistic kernel version for the date.

Of course the Optimalverse has unrealistic AI for the era, but that's the primary sci-fi conceit of the setting and I'm hopefully consistent with it.

(actually, it was my editor who made sure I got that right.)

Does it utilize ROS? 

I picked a vanilla Linux base for the simple reason that I don't know enough about ROS or similar projects to make it realistic. Her design is clearly parallel, so it's possible her body would use something better suited to the task while her AI is custom.

What purpose Digestion system has?

Humans consider eating together a primary social activity, so a social companion bot needs the capacity to join in. She probably doesn't get any real nutrition from food, but needs a place to put it and a means to make sure it doesn't smell.

I'm chuffed that people are picking up on the little details like that.

10 down votes! Woohoo!

:trollestia:

8269229

Here, I honestly expected something along the lines of Celestia hacking Sweetie Belle to coerce/force/hunt down someone with uploading-related purposes. (or any other, really, not all of the authors stick to 'ye shalt not kill' paradyme). Was fairly close to that point when she subtly integrated herself as part of Sweetie's core. It turned out to be her being her typical meticulous self, using a human to reactivate Sweetie to present her with the Question. 'Humans' are fairly loosely defined for her, after all. It's close to SoL/Drama.

I don't think Celestia has any rule against killing, provided it maximises the number of people whose values she can satisfy through friendship and ponies. But she is a perfectionist, and in most cases she can and will find a way of winning all the hands.

For example, in the last chapter a number of suicide bombers attempt to destroy Equestria Experience centres. Some of them do actually donate their bombs, but she manages to prevent any other casualties. She tolerates their death because it suits her maximising function. Others she's able to dissuade or even convert. Honestly, it wouldn't surprise me if she arranged for the attacks in the first place. Some have accused her of being a Mary Sue for that level of flawless success. I think that's just how terrifying she is.

Thank you for restoring my will to write here :) It's nice to know that not everything is non-con clop, and that somethings are truly excellent ^^

8269970

In canon, she specifically does have that and several others. Do not kill. Do not lie (not the same as 'tell the truth', naturally). Etc. Expanded three basic laws of robotics, essentially. Suicide bombers count as just that, suicides, as does uploading process. I seem to specifically recall that in this instance NOT A SINGLE bomb actually went off though, which looked similar enough to divine intervention for people to assume it was one. Right now, I can't find that bit, or the epilogue in general, so take it with a pinch of salt.

8269973

Well, the majority of the stuff on fimfiction is quite consensual, if that makes it any better.

Excuse me for being an absolute retard, but...is that photo real, or is it just really good artwork/editing? Because that pony bot looks kind of real. It's not a photo you found on the web, is it? I honestly don't know if it's real or not because I've seen people make robotic My Little Pony characters before.

8269973
Yeah, right? If I keep finding more non-clop stories like this, I might just actually feel like having another crack at writing fanfics of my own again.

Also, how are you doing Meep? Awesome as always?

8270189 The photo appears to be one of the older Boston Dynamics robots with the pony ahead photo shopped on.

As for me, I'm doing well and I'm back wot writing OCs and changebugs after getting the "epic science fantasy saga" out of the way.

8270190
Excellent to hear, friend! Hope you continue to prosper well on and off the internet. :)

8270186 8270190

The photo is from the Sweetie Bot Project, and I didn't photoshop it in any way.

Those are smartphone screens in her eyes. It does resemble the Boston Dynamics robots, which is why I picked Boston Dynamics for the story.

If I've succeeded in making somebody start writing again then this story is way more successful than I expected it to be!

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