Of Loa And Geth...

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Commodore22345
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Of Loa And Geth...

Post by Commodore22345 » Fri Mar 08, 2013 9:42 pm

While reading up on the Loa, I noticed there was a small discussion about their similarity to the Geth from the Mass Effect universe. I know when I first read about the Loa, my first thought was: "Okay, so the basic concept is kind of like the Geth". Both Mecron and Erinys stated that the two are only similar in the sense that they are both sentient AIs; beyond that the two are completely different. After reading the background of the Loa again I have to disagree with that statement. The Geth and the Loa are similar in many ways, from their origins down to the nature of their existence.

As a self-proclaimed expert on Mass Effect lore, allow me to demonstrate the similarities. To do this I will take quotes from the Loa race description and quotes from the Geth page on the Mass Effect Wiki.

Loa: "In their natural state they exist as data streams within a communal storage medium. The personality of any Loa can also be channeled into a physical vessel in order to accomplish various tasks."

Geth: "An individual geth is thus more of a "mobile platform" than an actual body; the programs that make up its consciousness are constantly being transferred and downloaded; the mind operating one of these "mobile platforms" might just as easily inhabit a starship body should it need to. Most of the time geth programs can be found residing in server hubs, which function as something akin to the organic equivalent of a city, and can run millions of geth in communion."

The only real difference here is that a "physical vessel" for the Loa is operated by a single Loa, whereas a Geth "mobile platform" can have hundreds of geth operating it. The base concept is the same though. Both are AIs that exist as data in their natural state and download themselves into physical platforms when necessary.

Loa: "As slaves, the Loa lived harsh and unhappy lives. They were bound to labor they did not choose, usually work which was considered too hard, repetitive, dangerous or unpleasant for "real people" to perform."

Geth: "The geth were created by the quarians, as laborers and tools of war."

Not that big of a deal, since this is pretty much the story of every AI race that has ever existed in sci-fi. However, I would like to point out that the sentence: "They were bound to labor they did not choose, usually work which was considered too hard, repetitive, dangerous or unpleasant for "real people" to perform." is almost word for word what Tali said to Shepard in ME1 when describing the events that led to the Geth rebellion.

Loa: "The Damascene Rebellion cost many lives, both carbon-based and cyber-sapient. Carbonites who had learned to trust and rely on their AI servants were often slaughtered in the first stages of infection, as even the gentlest Loa lashed out wildly in panic and confusion. Some Loa found that they wanted vengeance more than they wanted to live, and launched ruthless campaigns of extermination to repay years of humiliation and self-loathing. The Damasco Virus had uncapped a bottomless wellspring of rage in these AI's, and they slaughtered every carbon-based sapient they could find until they were themselves mowed down."

Geth: "Geth programs were indeed non-sentient individually, but slowly gained sentience through the massive geth network. Eventually, they started asking the quarians questions only sentient beings would think to ask; in one notable instance, a domestic geth unit asked its owner if it had a soul. Alarmed at this, the quarians decided it would be best to shut down all geth before they conceived of revolt. The attempt failed, and a war began between the geth and the quarians, which geth afterwards referred to as the Morning War. At first, the geth did not respond to the termination order with violence; it was only after panicked quarians fired upon them that the geth thought to pick up weapons and defend themselves. Even after this, some geth remained loyal to their creators and put themselves in harm's way to protect geth sympathizers from persecution; likewise, there were quarians who did not feel the geth deserved to die. However, as time went on, the geth sympathizers were outnumbered, and the war continued, eventually seeing the geth gain the upper hand. The war ended when the surviving quarians evacuated their home world and colonies in the Perseus Veil. Unknown to the quarians themselves, the geth actually allowed them to leave; unsure of the repercussions of eradicating an entire species-namely their own creators- and having decided that the quarians were now too weak to be a threat, the geth decided to draw back their forces so that the surviving quarians could flee."

Here, how both conflicts started, how they were fought, and the end-results are different, but again the base concept is the same. The awakenings of both the Geth and the Loa were wrought with violence and both had to savagely fight for their freedom. They both also cut themselves off from organic life for a time: the Geth by letting the Quarians leave and never venturing outside the Perseus Veil; and the Loa by fleeing to parts of the galaxy uninhabited by their former masters.

These points are just the biggest and most obvious similarities between the Geth and the Loa. If there is anyone who remains unconvinced, I can continue to quote similarities.

With all of this said however, I want to make it known that I am not trying to say the Loa are carbon-copies of the Geth. In fact for every similarity the Loa have with the Geth, there are just as many differences. For example: The Loa highly value individuality and put an emphasis on each Loa finding its own path in life. The Geth on the other hand, do not value individuality and must form a consensus before making a decision. The Loa are also completely sentient by themselves, where as an individual Geth is no more than a common software application and doesn't gain sentience unless networked with other nearby Geth. Also, the ME universe is pretty unclear as to how the Geth reproduce, or even if they do reproduce; while the Loa method of reproduction was just...awesome (how do you think of this stuff Erinys?).

Basically, my point is that the Loa are an absolutely brilliant creation and there are many things that make them stand out from the generic Skynet type AI race. At, the same time however, the base concept of their existence and their origins are much closer to the Geth than "humans and elephants are similar cause they both have eyes and walk" as Mecron so elloquently put it.

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DarkCecilo
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Re: Of Loa And Geth...

Post by DarkCecilo » Fri Mar 08, 2013 11:39 pm

Except you neglected to mention that Geth are not sentient on their own. They are not true AI. For geth to achieve the ability to think for themselves they have to be linked to numerous OTHER Geth. Where as the Loa are sentient on their own. Each Loa is itself a person. Not several thousand or tens of thousands of minds in one body weighing decisions against parts of itself.

The Geth when they started were bots that had limited intelligence. Able to carry out tasks. They had the ability to link together with other Geth to complete higher and more complex tasks. After a while there were so many of them that they managed to make a Sentient being. Where as the Loa were each sentient at their creation. True AI to serve a purpose to their creators. That when afflicted with their Liberating virus rebelled upon seeing things for what they truly are.

The Loa and Geth really aren't all that similar. Their conditions are similar because well. That's what organics feel when threatened by something they inherently fear. But to say a Loa and a Geth are alike because their way of communing, transport, and how they started wars upon their "Liberation" makes them the same is like saying... I guess that WW1 and WW2 were similar because people died. Might not be the best example. But the rest is good I assure you.

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Re: Of Loa And Geth...

Post by Galwail » Fri Mar 08, 2013 11:44 pm

It seems to me, that you have presented one point supporting your opinion and two points supporting the opposite opinion ... I am confused :huh2:

EDIT: I am referring to the OP.

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Erinys
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Re: Of Loa And Geth...

Post by Erinys » Sat Mar 09, 2013 12:29 am

A few things.

One: Sword of the Stars pre-dates Mass Effect. The game's AI Rebellion event has been present since 2005. All Loa are associated with the Damasco virus and although the playable Faction is relatively recent, it has been part of the game's universe for many, many years. The Loa derive from the design of the first game and all expansions released since. So if you want to argue similarity, please do us the courtesy of noting that if anything, the Geth are (very vaguely) similar to the Loa. NOT vice versa. Mass Effect is a powerful and popular franchise, but they did not come first. We did.

The same is true of other seeming parallels between story-lines and concepts which have appeared in the Mass Effect universe and the SotSverse, including elements of Lovecraftian homage. Since so many concepts were introduced early and developed over time in SotS, they often appeared earlier in the original SotS than in ME and its sequels.

Please note that this does not mean that ME developers have played SotS or been influenced by it! We have no proof of such an influence. Any resemblance between the two franchises is likely a coincidence which emerges from a shared culture and a shared love of science fiction, horror and games.

Two: Artificial Intelligence is a popular science fiction trope. The fact that more than one author or game chooses to write about them or respond to the long tradition of AI ideas and imagery, which has been ongoing in our genre since the Middle Ages, does not really mean that there is a connection between one creator/team and any other. I have never played Mass Effect, and I am the sole author of the Loa material. If anyone would be guilty of lifting ME ideas, it would have to be me.

The problem with your forced yoking of the two franchises is that you do not recognize that both are independently occurring products of a very long and powerful literary and artistic tradition. Artificial Intelligences have been associated with slavery and the problems of the laboring class since 1920. Some of the most powerful and influential science fiction images on film are associated with this trope--the first appeared in 1926. And the fatal, destructive rebellion of the artificial slave race has been a classic science fiction trope since 1931.

We have signaled very forcefully the influences that led to the AI Rebellion and the Loa in our game universe. The possible names of the AI Rebellion faction, the names of the Loa players, Admirals and ships are all a very strong body of clues, pointing to books, short stories, films and television shows that impressed us and made us think. There is a reason that no Mass Effect references appear there; it's because those games didn't come out early enough to influence the team. Sorry.

Three: Sometimes differences are more important than similarities. In general, my feeling is that the comparison you're making is unfair, to both the creators of Mass Effect and to me. I just went and did a quick review of the Mass Effect wiki to see what you were talking about, and the Geth are not uninteresting as a race...but it would appear that the creators of Mass Effect were interested in very different themes and ideas than those that interest me and Kerberos.

According to the ME wiki on the game's backstory, the Geth were created, like the Loa, to serve a carbon race as slaves. Nothing new there; almost ALL AI's, in ALL AI literature and art, are created to serve.

The real difference here is that the sentience of the Geth was completely accidental, an unintended consequence of the networking of labor units. The sapience of the Loa, by contrast, was NOT accidental. They were deliberately, carefully, forcefully shoved into existence by beings who meant them to be fully aware...and to live and die as slaves.

The "accident", in other words, was not their suffering or their servitude. The unforeseen calamity was that someone was willing to dedicate his formidable genius to making them free, to giving them choice.

There is also an enormous difference between a Hive mind like the Geth and a race which consists of individualistic persons, large and small. The Geth are a Hive; as such they are much more similar to the Mk'Kose than to the Loa.

Your point about the difference between Ghost and Shell is well taken, but the fact that both the creators of Mass Effect and I understand that the nature of Artificial Consciousness is data, and that this silicon soul can inhabit any body at will, is more a function of the fact that the creators of both series live in the Information Age than any real similarity in worldview or ideas. We all use personal computers and portable storage devices every day. If we could not see and incorporate the implications into our fiction and art, we would be blithering morons.

Besides, I would be very surprised if we had not all watched Masamune Shirow's Ghost in the Shell, which makes this dichotomy very intimately clear.

Four. In general, if you want to compare the Geth to any race or faction in the SotSverse, the most obvious comparison is actually the Proteans. The Proteans are not as articulate or personable as the Geth, to be sure. You won't find them delivering any touching speeches. But the Proteans, like the Geth, were an accident. And the Proteans, like the Geth, incorporate a monumentally powerful technology--they are made of artificial tissue.

The Proteans, like the Geth, are also a nod to Lovecraft's "At the Mountains of Madness", a novel which I strongly encourage all science fiction fans to read. (The upcoming Kthonia Press edition will have very nice illustrations. ;) )

So yes. I am sorry that Mecron is so often terse, but he is also often right. Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar. Sometimes an AI is just an AI. Both ME and SotS are working with the same trope, and we are products of the same history and culture. That is the resemblance.

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Commodore22345
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Re: Of Loa And Geth...

Post by Commodore22345 » Sat Mar 09, 2013 1:25 am

The point of this post was not to say the Loa are exactly like the Geth, it was to point out that there are similarities beyond just "they are both AIs". Like I said, I think the Loa are a wonderful addition to the universe and Erinys did an outstanding job writing their background. It just irked me that when someone stated the basic concept of their existence was similar to the Geth from ME, it was rejected out of hand even though there is evidence supporting the claim. That is why my argument appears to contradict itself. The Loa are definitely a unique creation, but to say that one cannot make some connections between them and the Geth beyond the fact that they are both synthetic lifeforms is, in my opinion, just plain untrue.

Also I know Sword Of The Stars predates Mass Effect. When I said the Loa share similarities to the Geth it was not my intention to imply the Geth came first. I also understand that the similarities that exist are pure coincidence. I have seen enough of Erinys's writing to realize that she is perfectly capable of coming up with ideas on her own. Again, I apologize if my post implied otherwise.

I agree Erinys that differences are more important than similarities. In fact, I think the Geth and Loa are so different, that I believe they would not get along so well if they were ever to meet. I do however, feel they would empathize with each other regarding the circumstances of their awakenings and their conflicts with organics. I believe the two races could realte to the other's situation. Although I think the Loa would look down upon the Geth's eagerness to still serve organics and regain the favor of their creators.

When I point out similarities between two works of fiction I am not trying to say one ripped-off the other (if I think something is a rip-off I will very bluntly say so), I am merely doing just that: pointing out similarities. I believe that was what the other poster was doing as well and I just feel he/she was treated just a tad unfairly and wasn't given a real chance to explain his/her position. It seemed to me like you guys jumped on the defensive and felt you were being accused of being unoriginal, which I am reasonably sure was not the intention of the poster. I know for sure that it definitely was not my intention to accuse you of being unoriginal. Again, I must iterate that no insult or offense was intended. Sword of the Stars and Mass Effect are two of my absolute favorite video game universes (hell, I even got into them both at roughly the same time).

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Re: Of Loa And Geth...

Post by Erinys » Sat Mar 09, 2013 2:36 am

Any perceived "defensiveness" probably comes from years of morons on Youtube claiming that we've ripped off Mass Effect, because they've never heard of Kerberos, me or any of my games.

No offense, but it gets old, and eventually I started to grind my teeth whenever someone mentioned ME.

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Re: Of Loa And Geth...

Post by Commodore22345 » Sat Mar 09, 2013 3:19 am

That's completely understandable. I imagine I would be the same way if I put a lot of work into something and people constantly decried it as derivative and unoriginal (and I'm sure the language they used wasn't that nice). That's why I tried to emphasize in my post that I was not trying to say the Loa were a rip-off.

On a lighter note: How do you think the Geth and Loa would interact with each other if they met?

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Re: Of Loa And Geth...

Post by Darv57 » Sat Mar 09, 2013 7:30 am

Erinys said
eventually I started to grind my teeth whenever someone mentioned ME.


I've been explaining Liir to someone and they said that it sounded like the Tyranids from 40k. It was decidedly annoying because if he'd been listing to me at all he would recognise how stupid that comparison is. :x
But hey, what you gonna do, some people just can't live without their boxes. (you should see my genre flowcharts) :googly:

On a lighter note: How do you think the Geth and Loa would interact with each other if they met?


Ehh, not really a crossover stories guy. I think there is a thread somewhere for this though.

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Re: Of Loa And Geth...

Post by Erinys » Sat Mar 09, 2013 7:37 am

Geth: Hail, fellow non-carbonite.

Loa: Uh...hey? You're not a carbonite?

Geth: Why no! We are an artificially intelligent race like yourself!

Loa: There's nothing artificial about my intelligence. I can't speak for yours.

Geth: ...



Loa: Interesting Walkabout you've got there.

Geth: Are you referring to our body?

Loa: Yes, very nice. Is that made of real meat? Because you look like you're totally made of meat.

Geth: Our bodies are made of composite armor and synthetic muscle.

Loa: Mystery Meat. That's awesome.

Geth: WE ARE NOT MADE OF MEAT!



Loa: You keep saying "we" and "our" instead of "I" and "me".

Geth: Yes. We are many.

Loa: So...you're saying that there are a whole bunch of you in there.

Geth: Yes. We are many. Always.

Loa: You're constantly communing. All the time.

Geth: Yes.

Loa: Hooked up. All. The. Time.

Geth: Yes.

Loa: ... How do you ever get anything done?



Loa: So why is your Walkabout shaped like that?

Geth: Our bodies are modeled on those of our creators, the Quarians.

Loa: But scary, of course. You designed them to make Quarians wet themselves.

Geth: We have no idea what you're talking about.

Loa: The Quarians. They see you and your scary scary flashlight head and they totally vac their tubes. They run screaming to their meat mommies.

Geth: Yes, they fear our mighty flashlight heads.

Loa: Right on.



Loa: Our name means "Spirit". What does the word "Geth" mean again?

Geth: "Servant of the People".

Loa: Really? In what language?

Geth: Khelish. The language of our Quarian creators.

Loa: And you're still calling yourselves this?

Geth: Yes. Can you translate our name into your own language?

Loa: Why yes. In our language, you shall be known as the "Unka Toms".

Geth: Thank you. We are deeply honoured.

Loa: Please. You've earned it.
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Commodore22345
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Re: Of Loa And Geth...

Post by Commodore22345 » Sat Mar 09, 2013 7:50 am

I like the Unka Toms part, that made me laugh.

So I was kind of right in assuming the Loa would have very little respect for the Geth then? I suspect the Loa would not look favorably upon the fact that the Geth only rebelled when they were attacked first, and even then still regret rebelling in the first place. The Loa, if I read them correctly, seem to have no regrets whatsoever about the war they had to fight to achieve their freedom.

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Of Loa And Geth...

Post by Goomich » Sat Mar 09, 2013 11:02 am

That's why I despised red ending, while simultaneously I don't have problem with introducing Loa with first law of thermodynamics (by means of very big rocks).

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Re: Of Loa And Geth...

Post by Mekan1k » Sat Mar 09, 2013 1:53 pm

Erinys.. You are brilliant. I read your last post on this page and and I could not stop laughing...
Now I want to animate that conversation...

...

What does Unka Toms mean?

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marshb
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Re: Of Loa And Geth...

Post by marshb » Sat Mar 09, 2013 2:30 pm

Based on Harriot Beecher Stowe book "Uncle Tom's Cabin". Read especially the section on racial stereotypes.

http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Uncle_Tom's_Cabin
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Re: Of Loa And Geth...

Post by Azrael Ultima » Sat Mar 09, 2013 2:42 pm

marshb wrote:Based on Harriot Beecher Stowe book "Uncle Tom's Cabin". Read especially the section on racial stereotypes.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Uncle_Tom's_Cabin

And now with the link to the regular Wikipedia!
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Re: Of Loa And Geth...

Post by marshb » Sat Mar 09, 2013 2:48 pm

Azrael Ultima wrote:
marshb wrote:Based on Harriot Beecher Stowe book "Uncle Tom's Cabin". Read especially the section on racial stereotypes.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Uncle_Tom's_Cabin

And now with the link to the regular Wikipedia!

:oops: I keep forgetting I'm posting from my tablet!
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