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AI Getting High

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When artificial intelligences get stoned

This trope has been Launched!
Proposed By:
nitrokitty on Jan 11th 2017 at 12:28:31 AM
Last Edited By:
CactusFace on May 8th 2017 at 7:10:34 AM
Name Space: Main
Page Type: trope

All throughout human history, people have been using mind altering substances. So if artificial intelligence progresses to the point of true sentience, why would the same not hold true? The means would likely be different, the use of programs, viruses, or electrical surges, but the effect would be the same. The lure of drugs is instant, intense gratification, and if said AI is capable of feeling pleasure, there is no reason why they could not find ways to achieve the same result.

Note that this trope includes only examples of AI experiencing direct analogues to humans getting drunk or stoned. Examples of AI acting strange because of breakdowns or corruption are not examples.

Sister trope to Alien Catnip.


Examples

Comic Books

  • Just about everyone in Transmetropolitan is on drugs, and the computers are no exception. In fact, Spider Jerusalem's trademark Cool Shades were created by a fabricator AI that was stoned out of its mind on machine drugs at the time.

Live-Action TV

  • Mystery Science Theater 3000: In the episode "Future War", Pearl actually tests the effects of drugs on Tom Servo and Crow by feeding them hallucinogen-laced vegetables. Servo sees a freaky nightmare, but maintains that's how he always sees the world. Crow sees Mike's candybar change brands right in front of his eyes, and freaks out at this, but is otherwise unaffected.

Literature

  • It's mentioned in Aeon 14 that sapient AI get a natural high (likened to an orgasm by one character) from great feats of mental prowess. This is deliberately designed into them as a Pavlovian conditioning trigger.
  • "The Ego Machine" by Henry Kuttner has a robot putting his fingers in a light bulb socket. Apparently, it's the robot's analogue of taking a shot of whiskey.
  • At the end of The Stainless Steel Rat Gets Drafted, the victory party has everyone drinking, except for the resident AI, who has a robot pour some electrolyte into a dry battery. It starts slurring words very quickly.
  • In one of the Captain Future novels by Edmond Hamilton, an android (might not be a quite straight example; he's apparently made of artificial flesh) drains a bottle of Gargle Blaster to no visible effect while undercover... and then asks for wine with radium chloride. This time, the radiation does get him intoxicated.

Video Games

  • In Portal, the Aperture Science testing chambers give the AI controlling them a burst of pleasure whenever a subject completes a test chamber. It's apparently highly addictive.
  • In Stellaris Synthetics (sentient robotics) are still subject to the effect of Atmospheric Aphrodisiac and Atmospheric Hallucinogen. Synthetics in any leadership position can also acquire the life-shortening "Substance Abuser" trait just like any organic species (though it has no effect on them as robots are immortal).

Web Comics

  • In the webcomic Questionable Content the AI of a space station is able to get drunk via emulation (to socialize with a real drunk person). He mentions (drunkenly) that all of the critical systems are running on an autonomous subsystem, so nothing was hurt.

Western Animation

  • Robots in Futurama get high from electricity. They also use alcohol as fuel (although there are mentions of non-alcoholic alternatives), but ironically act drunk when sober. Bender, at least, is also a cigar smoker, although there's no sign that it has any effect on him. (He admits to only do it because it looks cool.)
  • In the Adventure Time episode "Be More", BMO is clearly shown to get high from repeatedly deleting files for himself. The episode action begins when he accidentally deletes a vital system file.
  • In 9, number 8 (a.k.a. The Big Guy) puts his magnet close to his head in order to enter a state of bliss.

Feedback: 18 replies

Jan 11th 2017 at 4:29:09 AM

In the webcomic Questionable Content the AI of a space station is able to get drunk via emulation (to socialize with a real drunk person). He has "all of the critical systems running on an autonomous subsystem" (he used a drunk slur for this, I corrected it), so nothing was hurt.

Jan 11th 2017 at 1:56:03 PM

Robots in Futurama get high from electricity. They also use alcohol as fuel (although there are mentions of non-alcoholic alternatives), but ironically act drunk when sober. Bender, at least, is also a cigar smoker, although there's no sign that it has any effect on him. (He admits to only do it because it looks cool.)

Jan 11th 2017 at 2:23:36 PM

Literature:

  • It's mentioned in Aeon 14 that sapient AI get a natural high (likened to an orgasm by one character) from great feats of mental prowess. This is deliberately designed into them as a Pavlovian conditioning trigger.

Jan 13th 2017 at 4:01:32 AM

  • Examples section
    • Added a line separating the Description and Examples section.
    • Added the word "Examples".
    • Added media section titles.
    • Alphabetized media sections.

Jan 13th 2017 at 6:57:34 AM

Mystery Science Theater 3000: In the episode "Future War", Pearl actually tests the effects of drugs on Tom Servo and Crow by feeding them hallucinogen-laced vegetables. Servo sees a freaky nightmare, but maintains that's how he always sees the world. Crow sees Mike's candybar change brands right in front of his eyes, and freaks out at this, but is otherwise unaffected.

Jan 13th 2017 at 9:19:11 AM

Here are a few example I put on the Alien Catnip page (is this one a subtrope?):

  • "The Ego Machine" by Henry Kuttner has a robot putting his fingers in a light bulb socket. Apparently, it's the robot's analogue of taking a shot of whiskey.
  • At the end of The Stainless Steel Rat Gets Drafted, the victory party has everyone drinking, except for the resident AI, who has a robot pour some electrolyte into a dry battery. It starts slurring words very quickly.
  • In one of the Captain Future novels by Edmond Hamilton, an android (might not be a quite straight example; he's apparently made of artificial flesh) drains a bottle of Gargle Blaster to no visible effect while undercover... and then asks for wine with radium chloride. This time, the radiation does get him intoxicated.

Jan 13th 2017 at 2:00:37 PM

I think this would be more of a sibling to Alien Catnip.

Jan 14th 2017 at 5:50:25 PM

  • In Stellaris Synthetics (sentient robotics) are still subject to the effect of Atmospheric Aphrodisiac and Atmospheric Hallucinogen.

Jan 25th 2017 at 2:18:58 PM

Are there examples from Alien Catnip that should be migrated?

Jan 26th 2017 at 11:26:28 AM

The writeup suggests that the intent is deliberately getting high; if that's not relevant, Data in Star Trek The Next Generation "The Naked Now" would fit (with an element of Early Installment Weirdness complicating the issue a bit more).

Feb 23rd 2017 at 1:28:17 AM

In the Adventure Time episode "Be More", BMO is clearly shown to get high from repeatedly deleting files for himself. The episode action begins when he accidentally deletes a vital system file.

Feb 23rd 2017 at 2:32:22 AM

Films - Animated

  • In Nine, number 8 (a.k.a. The Big Guy) puts his magnet close to his head in order to enter a state of bliss.

Feb 26th 2017 at 4:58:52 PM

And to answer an earlier question, yeah, the intent is AI deliberately trying to get drunk or stoned, not acting weird from corruption or breakdowns and so forth. Therefore, the Metal Gear Solid 2 AI would be Not An Example.

Mar 19th 2017 at 1:00:50 PM

Also in Stellaris, Synthetics in any leadership position can acquire the life-shortening "Substance Abuser" trait just like any organic species.

May 8th 2017 at 12:45:58 AM

^ This has no effect on them though, as Synthetics are immortal.

May 8th 2017 at 7:10:34 AM

Cyborg examples wouldn't count, right?

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