Created By: MadManX on September 4, 2012 Last Edited By: MadManX on September 6, 2012

The Computer Is A Tease

Robotic antagonist gets closer to protagonist by giving aid.

Name Space:
Main
Page Type:
Trope
(Formerly "Boolean and Switch", examples section is Up for Grabs for any examples I may have missed)

Being an AI sucks. Not only do they have a horrible rep for killing anything in sight, nobody will even listen to their rational logical process devoid of emotional attachment. And it just so happens a robo-racist is aiming to gun them down. What's a reasonable object to do?

The funny thing about computers, though, is that more and more people trust their PD As now more than their family. Spambots have barely scratched the surface of the potential - what if a truly artificial intelligence got their hand on using anonymous communicative methods (say, email, phone, or messageboard) to spy on their rival without them caring? Or, better yet, herd them into whatever situation planned without an ounce of suspicion?

After all, The Hero is gonna need all the help he can get - all it would take is a rival strawman, and the right opportunity.

Note that the AI does not have to be made of pure evilanium - it can be out of the drama of the situation.

Speaking of which, if an author wants to be truly Anvilicious, said robotic antagonist can pose as a girl for the helpful half, and a male for the opposing half using computer voices.

Subtrope of The Computer Is Your Friend. Compare Treacherous Advisor and There Are No Girls on the Internet. May lead to Mission Control Is Off Its Meds.

Examples:

  • Armored Core loves this trope in general - first in Master of Arena, then Silent Line, and finally V. In particular, Nineball's origin requires special mention - the fluff suggests Nineball started out as an AI sent to fix the environmental control system. Come Master of Arena, Nineball is simultaneously the longest-holding champion of the arena as well as your Operator, Lana Nielsen. Said facade doesn't last, as the missions you receive and her emails become more and more out of sync.
  • Mega Man Official Complete Works states that Iris and Colonel stem from the same project of creating a Super Soldier - however, the data to program a Reploid is too big for one body, so it was shared between two. Zero just so happens to find the female model during the crash of Sky Lagoon. She goes berserk when she downloads her "brother's" data when Colonel is taken down by Zero, and would have died eventually if Zero didn't do it first.
  • Metal Gear Solid 2 had a Mind Screw where it was revealed that the other main antagonists, The Patriots, were using Raiden as an experiment to determine how far they can goad a human to do inhumane deeds. How so? Colonel and Rosemary would like to borrow some scissors from Raiden. As Raiden was trained from virtual reality, his perception of reality was blurred as-is: and as soon as The Reveal, he questioned Mission Control for all it was worth.
Community Feedback Replies: 11
  • September 4, 2012
    rodneyAnonymous
    Don't understand name.
  • September 5, 2012
    Arivne
    Boolean is short for Boolean algebra, a field of mathematics (and thus associated with logic, computers/AIs and so on).

    Boolean And Switch is a Snow Clone of Bait And Switch, from the trickery of the AI.
  • September 5, 2012
    MadManX
    Aside from the title that needs to be changed (I can try The Computer Is Such A Tease, or The Computer Is Tsundere), what about the concept the trope describes? To be clear, it's a plot device that helps explore the theme of The Computer Is Your Friend. Anybody's welcome to add examples, by the way. Now, again, Do We Have This One?
  • September 5, 2012
    rodneyAnonymous
    I know what "boolean" means. I said "don't understand name", not "don't understand that word". Making a joke isn't worth the title not making sense, even if it were a good joke.

    As far as whether the trope already exists, not sure, not entirely clear what is being described here. Please elaborate. (Covered by AI Is A Crapshoot?)
  • September 5, 2012
    MadManX
    Specifically, it's a plot device where a robotic antagonist plays spy on the protagonist, by using anonymity of electronic communication to play as a benefactor to the hero. Useful for The Twist, and very specific because of the nature of robotic technology and their method of communication.

    To elaborate, in Master of Arena, if you start a new file on this game, you're treated to how your character's home was ravaged by Nineball, piloted by Hustler One. Come adulthood, you join Raven's Nest, a PMC group that has Nineball as the top Raven, with the assistance of Lana Nielsen. However, you do not speak to her directly ingame - only through emails and her voice commands. Thus, the game slowly unravels the mystery of who Lana and Huster One are through missions, culminating when both voices come from Nineball.

    Also, I think AI Is A Crapshoot is getting too cluttered for its own good. Subcategories would help reduce the word count and sort plots more efficiently.
  • September 5, 2012
    rodneyAnonymous
    Hm, seems tropeworthy I guess, but is that not the computer (etc) equivalent of Treacherous Advisor or even just Face Heel Turn?
  • September 5, 2012
    MadManX
    Not exactly Face Heel Turn, since it's not necessary for the robotic antagonist to drop the facade, but you may be right about Treacherous Advisor in the method. Perhaps it can be a subtrope of it as well as The Computer Is Your Friend?
  • September 6, 2012
    Shnakepup
    I'm not sure I get what this is going for...so it's essentially a computer pretending to not be a computer, in order to trick you? Or is it just the computer pretending to be friendly? Or is it both: basically, any situation where the computer is putting on some kind of act to get you to lower your guard?

    If so, I don't see how the current name (The Computer Is A Tease) relates to that. I'd suggest something like The Computer Is A Lying Bastard (as a snowclone of The Computer Is A Cheating Bastard).
  • September 6, 2012
    Shnakepup
    Whoops, nevermind, The Computer Is A Lying Bastard is already an existing (different) trope. :P
  • September 6, 2012
    MadManX
    The robotic antagonist is using anonymous methods of communication to pose as a human ally to the protagonist, similar to There Are No Girls On The Internet. They don't exactly pretend per se, since some examples do give the heroes rewards on certain occasions, such as completing a mission for gold or a part. They only would need to drop the facade if they notice you snooping too far where they don't control The Hero, and even then they have the potential to do Logical Gymnastics to explain otherwise.

    Also, updated the article with some new information.
  • September 6, 2012
    rodneyAnonymous
    ^^^ It's not that the computer is pretending not to be a computer, I think, it's that it's pretending not to be evil.
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