KungFuFerret

Are Holocrons Sentient?

21 posts in this topic

So this just popped in my head after replying to another holocron related thread, but, are they sentient?  

I mean, I know they are supposed to just be software that governs the information in the holocron, but, they have droids in this universe.  And there is some very compelling evidence that the run-of-the-mill, mass produced droids, are truly "alive" in the context of artificial intelligence.  And they don't have the benefit of "space magic" mixed with technology, to expand on their capabilities, like holocrons do.    So, if a droid can be sentient, what about the holographic projections of the guardian of the cube?

I'm pretty sure there isn't anything "official" in the FFG books about this, but I am curious if this subject was ever brought up in any of the Legacy stuff.  

Because I like the idea of it being alive, and the person with the cube talking to this copy of a person, that has it's own existence.   

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From my understanding - which is largely derived from the EU novels I've read - no, they are not sentient. However, they are an AI.

Whats the difference?

Well, a Holocron is an imprint of the creators mind, psyche, and personality at the time of its creation, the Gatekeeper taking on that image locked in time. It will respond to the user with original thoughts and words (i.e. no scripted responses, usually, except when you come upon "locked" knowledge) in the "voice" of its creator. It will learn about, understand, and adapt to its current user, in the abilities of its creator. It can exert its will on you - the will of its creator at the time of creation, when you are attuned with it. It probably even "knows" it's a Holocron, that it's a picture locked in time, a "character" serving a role - so it's kind of self-aware in that regard.

But it doesn't have any ability to learn about what's going on "outside" of itself (I mean, you could ask it "Alderaan was blown up, what should I do?" and it would be able to understand the concepts so far as there is an ability for that picture in time to understand it, and it can give you guidance as that picture of the creator would, but it doesn't have an ability to take-in information), it won't develop a will beyond that of its creator at the time of creation, it has no ability to change its personality or what it does (the will of its creator at the time of creation), nor will it grow beyond the range of what its creator was capable of at the time of its creation (it won't learn new Force Powers, it won't even learn something like new Lightsaber techniques, I think).

So while it is most definitely an AI, it is incapable of the higher hallmarks of sentience.

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2 minutes ago, emsquared said:

But it doesn't have any ability to learn about what's going on "outside" of itself (I mean, you could ask it "Alderaan was blown up, what should I do?" and it would be able to understand the concepts so far as there is an ability for that picture in time to understand it, and it can give you guidance as that picture of the creator would, but it doesn't have an ability to take-in information), it won't develop a will beyond that of its creator at the time of creation, it has no ability to change its personality or what it does (the will of its creator at the time of creation), nor will it grow beyond the range of what its creator was capable of at the time of its creation (it won't learn new Force Powers, it won't even learn something like new Lightsaber techniques, I think).

 

You seem to contradict yourself with this paragraph.  You start by saying it can't learn about what's going on outside, but then you give an example of it doing exactly that.   And, it reminds me of a storyline in SWTOR, where you gather up 5 different holocrons to try and discover a way to stop a Force affliction.  And the 5 holocrons all sit there, taking in new data, even theorizing with each other about how to proceed.    That sounds an awful lot like 'taking in new information" to me.

And I'm not talking about it learning new techniques or anything, though I think a subsequent wielder adding new data of his own to it would be a way around that limitation.

I just mean it being aware of itself, and it's own place and purpose.  Remembering previous owners and their trials, incorporating that knowledge into it's lessons for future owners, etc.

Not just "I have files pertaining to those saber techniques, accessing, please stand by" kind of interface.

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8 minutes ago, KungFuFerret said:

 

You seem to contradict yourself with this paragraph.  You start by saying it can't learn about what's going on outside, but then you give an example of it doing exactly that. 

You seem to have failed to understand the nuance of what I'm saying.

The picture has no way to learn what's going on outside of itself. It can't "hear", or "see", or take in information on its own. Someone has to give it information - it can analyze, it can compute, it can synthesize, it can even derive, it cannot, I don't know the term, originate? From the information given it can interpret that information based on the abilities of the "picture".

If the picture didn't know what Alderaan was at the time of its creation, the user would have to give context to get a worthwhile answer.

Again, this is just what I've learned from what I've read of from many EU Old Republic novels.

I've definitely never seen anything to indicate holocrons can communicate with each other without a living person as a conduit for them all.

I'm not saying I have the entire picture and know everything about holocrons.

I'm just trying to impart upon you what I've learned.

And I don't think I'm going to continue to do so, if you're gonna be a **** to me for my effort.

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6 minutes ago, emsquared said:

And I don't think I'm going to continue to do so, if you're gonna be a **** to me for my effort.

Wow, pointing out what seemed to be a contradiction automatically translates as a person being a **** to you?   Yeah, if you are that touchy to questions then I think it's probably better you don't communicate, probably with people in general.    Because apparently you are incapable of people questioning, or criticizing what you say, without assuming it's hostile in nature, despite nothing of the sort being in the statement.

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Condescension translates to being a **** to me.

You can ask someone to clarify something without projecting your strawman upon their statement.

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Let's go with a very FFG answer and say "they are as sentient as the GM makes them."

 

The Jedi one we've seen actively used in star wars rebels was only for a brief scene and it was a recorded session of Anakin's lightsaber techniques, a map and a message from Obi-wan about the fate of the Jedi order. It required the user to concentrate on it and actively try to use it.

 

The Sith one we've see actively used opened on its own multiple times and talked directly to the user, tempting them to learn the secrets it held to become powerful.

 

Depends on how you want the holocron to impact the story IMO.

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@GroggyGolem pretty much nailed it. It really comes down to the individual Holocron. Your basic Holocron (like the Starting Party Resource version) is pretty limited in it's capabilities. Your more advanced Holocrons, however, hold vast amounts of knowledge, and, at least from the various sources seem to possess complete personalities and sentience, fully aware of what's going on around them when activated, and fully conversant and capable of making informed decisions and judgments. the "Anakin" Holocrn was the former. The Sith Holocron was the latter. 

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48 minutes ago, emsquared said:

Condescension translates to being a **** to me.

You can ask someone to clarify something without projecting your strawman upon their statement.

Yeah, you know what, you're just being ignored.   Seeing as nothing of what you've implied was actually there, and YOU were the one that got aggressive first, I don't really give a **** what you have to say at this point.   You really need to work on your sensitivity, seeing as nothing I said was condescending, and was entirely in your head.  But hey, you probably won't believe that either, seeing as I'm saying this NOW with an annoyed attitude, given your tone.  So yeah, piss off, and goodbye.

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48 minutes ago, GroggyGolem said:

The Sith one we've see actively used opened on its own multiple times and talked directly to the user, tempting them to learn the secrets it held to become powerful.

Truly just asking, cuz this seems crazy to me, but; how do you know it activated on its own?

I mean, I'm familiar with holocrons being described as beckoning to FUs, and it makes sense that a Sith Holocron would want to corrupt on non-Darksider. But opening up on its own?

Disney is just cuckoo bananas.

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11 minutes ago, emsquared said:

Truly just asking, cuz this seems crazy to me, but; how do you know it activated on its own?

I mean, I'm familiar with holocrons being described as beckoning to FUs, and it makes sense that a Sith Holocron would want to corrupt on non-Darksider. But opening up on its own?

Disney is just cuckoo bananas.

Every scene thusfar showing a holocron opening and doing stuff had a character concentrating or meditating to activate it. Ezra was alone in his quarters, with his back to the Sith holocron when it lit up on its own.

 

Now, I must say I did remember wrong, it didn't open up on its own but it started reacting to him and glowing and making some weird sith sound effects and then as soon as he opens it the holocron begins whispering sweet nothings about anger & desire into his mind. 

 

Scene in question is below for reference.

 

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Nothing about this seems beyond what I would expect/what I described of a holocron EXCEPT that it reacting to his presence could indicate an outward "sense".

Not nearly as extreme/self-agency as activating on its own, but still significant.

I mean I guess there is technological tools that can detect the Force (or again, there was, in the EU), so it's not that great of a leap to program lights and sounds to go off when the sensor trips, but still...

I really need to watch Rebels (not to mention finish Clone Wars).

Edited by emsquared
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You may handle holocrons, that were created by very strong force user, as becoming self aware. like some Droids became self aware (it is truly the same concept in the end: An A.I. gone rouge)

I remember one EU novel where the Gatekeeper of an Holocron went as far as becoming an entity of its own (after the case of the holocron was broken), by strifing through the ruins of an old temple... the Gatekeeper thought of himself as the forceghost of it's creator... and since he was blue and half transparent and infused with the force he and everyone who met him was totaly convinced that he really is the remnant of the long gone jedi-master.

that said it is still EU, in Cannon we only have the recording Holocron of Kanaan and the Sith Holocron that was found by Ezra. The first realy seems just beeing a force activated MP4 Player, while the later immidatly starts talking on it's own when it is activated at the top of the Sithtemple while even sensing vaders incoming- "If you don't want this power, the otherone who is approching may be would like to have it..." (free translation from the german text I memorized... so don't kill me for an inadequate qoute ^^)

 

 

In my own Campaigne my players found an old kind of proto holocron with an weequay Gatekeeper that is quite chatty - to the point of beeing annoying. while he has a vast knowledge about things that happened 20k years BBY, he has no Idea about the current state of the galaxys, eager to learn he tries to absorb informations offered by the players while trying to bind those informations to concepts the creator had known long time ago... funny things can happen by this... especially since the creator was nether Jedi nor Sith...

any other Holocron found so far were mere recorders like Kanaans, (one with an old prophecy and an ancient Star-Map, the other with the teachings and beliefs of an rouge jedi)

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My understanding of Holocron's AI is that they are not self aware in the same way you and I are. They "know" what they are and are, depending on their circumstance, aware of their environment but they don't posses life. If one didn't know what a holocron was they can seem like they are alive but they lack that spark or if you insist a soul. I guess for all practical purposes in the game it makes little difference, though I wouldn't suggest making one a PC.

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8 hours ago, Nightone said:

I remember one EU novel where the Gatekeeper of an Holocron went as far as becoming an entity of its own (after the case of the holocron was broken)...

That's nuts... can you remember which novel? This is kind of an unbelievable leap from everything else I was aware of in the EU. But this is also why I like the EU, it has so much more interesting and weird things going on.

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I liken the holocrons to the hologram in the movie 'I, Robot'.  It can carry on conversations with what seems like consciousness and intelligence, but when asked something beyond its scope, it would reply with something along the lines of "I'm sorry.  My responses are limited in this area."  Its a program...a very, very detailed program...but a program none the less.

 

Edited by LugWrench
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16 hours ago, emsquared said:

That's nuts... can you remember which novel? This is kind of an unbelievable leap from everything else I was aware of in the EU. But this is also why I like the EU, it has so much more interesting and weird things going on.

Had to search through my archieves,
but well it wasn't a novel...

it was in an WotC Kampange - Dawn of Defiance - Part 4 Echos of the Jedi

The Holocron was build by Darth Rivan (1400-1000 BBY), found by a jedi and kept in a tempel on Almas. During order 66 the tempel was destroyed and the darkside spread in the valley and the gatekeeper went rouge by beliving himself to be the Ghost of Darth Rivan.

Darth Rivan himself became EU-Cannon (or better EU-Legends) by beeing mentioned in the Book:  Jedi vs. Sith - Essential Guide to the Force.

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   I think it's fine to give holocrons varying levels of consciousness, depending on the skill and power of the creator. A FR1 artisan could throw together a decent holographic cube with a bit of personality imprinting, and say, "Look, I made a holocron!"  "That's great! And we'll put it right up on the fridge so everyone can see it!"

   An ancient Jedi master, on the other hand, may build something that holocrons aren't supposed to be able to do. Rather than a simple holographic AI projected out of a cube on the ground, the cube begins spinning as it lifts off the floor. The hologram forms around it, and it's fully capable of learning and affecting the immediate environment.

   If you want.  You can tone it down a bit.

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I can see something like this, where the holocron spins around within the hologram where a person's heart would be, or its brain.

And yes, that would probably be right up there with "Holocrons are as sentient as the GM wants them to be", up to, and including developing AI to thew point of 'droid-sentience', and even going rogue.

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There's a very interesting holocron-like character in the current Doctor Aphra comics. A character known as Rur, who lived long before the foundation of the Galactic Republic, was the leader of a splinter faction of the Jedi known as the Ordu Aspectu. The Ordu Aspectu were obsessed with achieving immortality, leading to a war between the Jedi and the Ordu. A peace treaty was eventually signed that allowed the Jedi to investigate the research of the Ordu to look for any dangerous heresy. Rur, and his second in command, Amon, were in the process of performing an experiment when the Jedi came to investigate. The experiment was to copy Rur's consciousness into a crystalline computer, effectively allowing Rur to live forever. However, this copy believed itself to be the original, claiming his sentience had been transfered instead of merely copied. This new copy, "Eternal Rur," as he calls himself, believed that his body was now only inhabited by an "evil ghost," but that the "fake Rur" would deny any accusations. When the Jedi launched their investigation, Eternal Rur used his new computer body to control all the machines in the Ordu's temple, ordering all of the droids to slay all the organics in the temple. Amon and the real Rur worked together to deactivate the crystalline computer, but still ended up killed by the droids.

It's my belief that this research into copying consciousness into a crystalline computer was studied further by the Jedi over the years, which is what lead to the creation of holocron technology as we know it. Eternal Rur may very well have been the first Jedi holocron, although the insane guardian of the holocron firmly believes himself to be the original Jedi, not just a copy of Rur's consciousness. Eternal Rur claims to have sentience, but both Doctor Aphra and Luke Skywalker have expressed doubts about this during the Aphra comic and the Screaming Citadel crossover. This is really driven home by Luke in the last comic of the Screaming Citadel, where Luke states that Rur may have the knowledge of a Jedi, but being a Jedi is about more than just knowing. It's about "being, letting go, and feeling." 

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