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#1 furashgf

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Posted 28 November 2012 - 04:12 PM

Servitors come up in the fiction all of the time:

• floating servo skulls;

• the creepy floating cherubs;

• the a varieties of servitors: former human pseduo-undead merged with technology slaved for a specialized task (singing, doing some navigation thing, being a murder servitor)

So:

• who ends up being servitors. I was hoping it was mind-wiped real criminals, but I have a bad feeling that it's not;

• why do they need servitors? is there something about the biological parts, particularly the brain, that is necessary;

• they seem to be able to persist for some time. Are they "undead"? Are they cyborgs?

Thank you in advance for your assistance. 



#2 wolph42

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Posted 28 November 2012 - 08:18 PM

IRC this is described in Shira Calpurnia, and again if memory serves me right: servo skulls are made from convicts condamned to death (NOT cultists!) and servitors are made from honourary people e.g. clergy and battle servitors from troops that are KIA.



#3 FieserMoep

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Posted 28 November 2012 - 09:09 PM

• who ends up being servitors. I was hoping it was mind-wiped real criminals, but I have a bad feeling that it's not;

As mentioned before criminals are used quite commonly to make up for Servo-Skulls and other ones though even some skilled, or the other way - unskilled -, people might get the "honor" to become a servitor. For example a lazy adept can be manufactured into a mono-task servitor that manufactures copies the whole day. Or a Adeptus Mechanicus Novice that failed his training to become a Tech-Priest might be turned into a repair servitor. There are lots of reasons, sometimes punishment, somties an honor to do your duty beyond death. Though this "honor" is mostly seen as another kind of punishemnt. Also some kind of servitors are seen as a worse punishment than death. Its Arco-Flagelation which is mostly only reserved for heretics and punts them into a life full of agony until they get destroyed in battle against their own treacherous kind. Also the Adeptus Mechanicus effectivly uses clones, manufactured by the Magos Biologis, to fill the ranks of the skitarii with a perfect breed of soldier "chassis" to further manufacture into killing machines.

 

• why do they need servitors? is there something about the biological parts, particularly the brain, that is necessary;

One important aspect is that humans, or human flesh, is one, if not the most cheapest resource the Imperium has. You can either build some kind of basic logis machine or cogitator or use one of the many brains available. Also the human form is seen as holy (one reasons the most Tech-Priest keep their human like apperance and for Example Titants look how they look like.) So you can fill your ranks with lots of humans and just improve them with the technology, not build them from scrap. Its very efficent (look at the skitarii regiments of the Ad Mech). Also some "full" robots are absolute tech heresy depending on the fluff you are refering too. They might have no AI though complete mechanic robots are in the newer fuff seen as heretic. (Thanks to the Iron Men)

 

• they seem to be able to persist for some time. Are they "undead"? Are they cyborgs?

They are not undead. They are a fuse between human parts (always the brain) and some technology (more or less). Therefore they might be called cyborg though their biological parts work more like machines (their brain is programmed) and the believes of the Ad Mech view the human as the most failable machine (because of the flesh) though the mind of a human to understand and feel emotions makes him superior. (Yes, in fact the Adeptus Mechanicus praises emotions in his very fudamental laws and believes though they let them follow logic). But back to the question. In theory the life time of a servitor is without limit, depending on the craftmanship of his design just like some Tech-Priest ware "immortal". Though the main part of every design is the brain and with time it will suffer, no matter what. But you can say there are ways to make a brain operational for atleast some centurys. To survive some millena intact requires the servitor to be very well crafted and put in "sleep" mode just like some space marine dreadnoughts and Ad Mech Tech-Priests are.

 

 



#4 borithan

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Posted 29 November 2012 - 05:03 AM

I thought I read that servo skulls tended to me made from the skulls of those that were respected while servitors were made from those that had failed somehow (most commonly criminals) or from specially grown "vat flesh". As far as I understood it Servo Skulls don't use the brain of the original individual, and are pretty much robots, and so the punishment aspect of being a servitor (a "fate worse than death") doean't apply. It is simply using the empty skull as a body (and a keepsake of the individual it is creafted from), while Servitors are essentially lobotomised (in the colloquial sense) living beings, coverted into partially thinking servants.



#5 furashgf

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Posted 29 November 2012 - 11:37 AM

Thanks. I believe your explanation to be true because it is unjust and cruel. It's not for nothing that the "splash" of every book isn't "You live under one of the most fun, just, and happy regimes imaginable." :-)



#6 Adeptus-B

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Posted 29 November 2012 - 11:38 AM

furashgf said:

Servitors come up in the fiction all of the time:

• floating servo skulls;

• the creepy floating cherubs;

• the a varieties of servitors: former human pseduo-undead merged with technology slaved for a specialized task (singing, doing some navigation thing, being a murder servitor)

So:

• who ends up being servitors. I was hoping it was mind-wiped real criminals, but I have a bad feeling that it's not;

• why do they need servitors? is there something about the biological parts, particularly the brain, that is necessary;

• they seem to be able to persist for some time. Are they "undead"? Are they cyborgs?

Thank you in advance for your assistance. 

furashgf said:

• who ends up being servitors. I was hoping it was mind-wiped real criminals, but I have a bad feeling that it's not;

As has been mentioned, most servitors are concemned criminals (no shortage of those in the Imperium!), while some are destinguished servants of the Emperor who have been given the 'honour' of continuing to serve after 'death'.

furashgf said:

• why do they need servitors? is there something about the biological parts, particularly the brain, that is necessary;

In addition to human flesh being cheap and super-abundant, as FieserMoep said, there is the fact that Imperial law strictly forbids any kind of 'artificial intelligence'; hence the role of robots in other sci-fi universes are fulfilled by servitors, who use part of their existing human brain as a decision-making c.p.u. of sorts…

furashgf said:

• they seem to be able to persist for some time. Are they "undead"? Are they cyborgs?

They are cyborgs and are technically 'alive'. If not maintained and given nutritional infusions, they will eventually expire, but otherwise they have a much longer 'lifespan' than a normal human.



#7 ranoncles

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Posted 02 December 2012 - 11:25 PM

furashgf said:

Servitors come up in the fiction all of the time:

• floating servo skulls;

• the creepy floating cherubs;

• the a varieties of servitors: former human pseduo-undead merged with technology slaved for a specialized task (singing, doing some navigation thing, being a murder servitor)

So:

• who ends up being servitors. I was hoping it was mind-wiped real criminals, but I have a bad feeling that it's not;

• why do they need servitors? is there something about the biological parts, particularly the brain, that is necessary;

• they seem to be able to persist for some time. Are they "undead"? Are they cyborgs?

Thank you in advance for your assistance. 



#8 macd21

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Posted 04 December 2012 - 02:33 PM

There are a number of different sources of servitors, with the most common probably being condemned criminals and vat-grown clones created by the AdMech.

They are used for a couple of reasons. One being the obvious advantages of a human brain - it's essentially a very advanced computer, if you can use one then why not? Second being that they are a lot less dangerous than AI, which have been forbidden. In fact AI is so forbidden that even non-AI computers (known as cogitators) are probably less effective than the laptop I'm typing this post on.



#9 ranoncles

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Posted 05 December 2012 - 05:05 AM

Servitors come up in the fiction all of the time:

• floating servo skulls;

• the creepy floating cherubs;

• the a varieties of servitors: former human pseduo-undead merged with technology slaved for a specialized task (singing, doing some navigation thing, being a murder servitor)

So:

• who ends up being servitors. I was hoping it was mind-wiped real criminals, but I have a bad feeling that it's not;

• why do they need servitors? is there something about the biological parts, particularly the brain, that is necessary;

• they seem to be able to persist for some time. Are they "undead"? Are they cyborgs?

Thank you in advance for your assistance.

 

----------

Many people have already answered but as my own reply went missing in cyberspace, I'll give it a retry.

 

There is a lot of (often contradictory) information floating around but in general there seems to be 4 broad categories of supply:

  1. Criminals. These are humans who have run afoul of Imperial authorities. Either because they purposely broke the law or because they failed their duties. Imperial Armour Volume XI describes an Inquisitor-Lord who fails and is sentenced to millenia of service as a servitor for his crimes….
  2. Honored humans who after death provide skulls to be used as servo-skulls. Often these are servants who are given the opportunity to continue to serve their masters after death.
  3. Vat grown 'humans'.
  4. Unwilling humans. When the cog-boys need servitors, they are not picky about whom they impress in their service. Humans from forge worlds, human tithe to be processed or even human pilgrims who made the fatal error of landing on a forge world/tech-priest ruled world…Basically whoever they can get their hands/appendages on and who is too weak to scare them.

 

As to the reason of their existance, that seems to lie in the past. Humanity mastered AI technology and created robots to serve their needs, both worker types and combat types. These eventually rebelled after which AI is forbidden and all robots must have some kind of human/animal brain processing power. It is not necessary to provide processing power to servitors/robots but their presence and usage seems to prevent autonomous behaviour as well as possession by deamons. 

AFAIK, there is no strict canon regarding their maintenance requirements. Most sources and forum threads seem to indicate they do require some kind of maintenance (either plug in power and/or food paste) but published adventures indicate they can survive quite long without it although suffering from some degradation.

Hopes this helps.

 

 

 

 



#10 Jeans_Stealer

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Posted 06 December 2012 - 10:03 PM

It's part of the underlying horror of 40k Servitors of all qualities are everywhere, mind-wiped human visages turned into doing repetitive tasks over and over. They're as common to 40k life as mobile phones and computers, and were an Acolyte to get a look at  where they come from, the existential shock could be horrifying.

But most humans see it as TechnoArchana and don't even think about it. It's how it is and always will be, and there's a comfort in knowing your life has been lived many billions of times before.

They're cyborgs, undying but not experiencing life, destined to do the same task over and over forever.






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