Talk:2720: Biology vs Robotics

Explain xkcd: It's 'cause you're dumb.
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The Explanation says "'Cueball complains to the robot that biology (And presumably being biological) is annoying/bad, stating "Biology sucks" and "Bodies have all these problems'" but the comic currently says "Biology is *the worst*. Bodies have all these *random* problems." Was the comic updated or is the explanation inaccurate? 23:29, 4 January 2023‎ (UTC)

As part of building the robot, Cueball (or xer builder, if he didn't build xim) have been drilling holes in xim. Xe doesn't care because xe doesn't have nerve endings. As a result of this conversation, xe discovers that the not-caring would not be reciprocated if xe began drilling holes in humans. (talk) 05:41, 5 January 2023 (please sign your comments with ~~~~)

I think it's not quite that, perhaps just more a passive-aggressive attitude by the robot, who just happens to know that any damage they suffer is going to need at the very least some form of metalworking handyman to patch the damage up (possibly an engineer). But there's not enough context to reliably narrow it down. For example, does a hole 'hurt' the robot (independently of whether it impairs functionality), or is it just an annoyance (or necessitates a system shut-down) until repairs are completed. Yet obviously they like the idea of having a self-repairing system, without understanding that there are different limitations and consequences...
But, the joke appears to be (to me) that the biological being is bemoaning all the flaws in his body's design, whilst not appreciating how truly remarkable are its many useful features, such as (limited, but not insignificant) recovery from trauma. Something the robot has its own perspective on. Simple as that? 10:54, 5 January 2023 (UTC)
Agree. The joke is Cueball is complaining about a situation where he has advantages over the robot. Kev (talk) 19:09, 5 January 2023 (UTC)

Very tempted to add in that, if there was a designer/engineer, the problems of biology might be so easily identified and designed out (or never designed in, in the first place). Except that there's often a few 'awkward' (or even unidentified) flaws in an ostensibly finalised project (at least with man-made things) and I also would attract the ire of the YECs/etc who believe there was a biological 'designer' (despite seemingly having made such errors along the way). 11:51, 5 January 2023 (UTC)

The paradox is that there 'is' an intelligent designer of robots, yet they don't have remarkable features like self-healing. While there are lots of problems in biology that would be considered design flaws if there were a designer (the inside-out placement of the optic nerve is the classic example), millions of years of evolution still produced results that are incredibly robust and far more flexible than anything human designers can create. Barmar (talk) 15:19, 5 January 2023 (UTC)
Yet, while the robot is a fairly new thing (less time to sort out the flaws, or understand how not to even introduce them) presumably created by a human (flawed and fallible, we all can agree), the whole issue of biology is millions of years in continuous test/development cycle (or maybe just thousands, but that's still more than mere years or decades) and that designer is supposed to be Perfect (omniscience, omnipresent and omnipotent) and should have been capable of resolving any loose ends they somehow allowed to be unresolved in the initially rushed six day period of manufacture and integration.
Ultimately, the reason our bodies weren't made to be unflawed (either initially or by tweaking further down the line) falls into the same sort of philosophical realm as "why do bad things happen" (indeed, it is one, perhaps with the likes of Methuselah and other antedeluvian lifetimes being deprecated after His watery 'product recall', as well as playing their part in confusing Bishop Usher's estimates).
Usually, the cover-all of having summarised God's 'plan' as being ineffable plasters over all the logical cracks, so it takes a very determined thinker to imagine they fully understand how it could (or could not) have happened, except by just applying the eponymous Razor and declaring all the unknowables to be irrelevent. (Which mightily upsets those who vehementally disagree, by their own principles.) So let us not go too deep into that, beyond acknowledging the competing ideas involved. 15:58, 5 January 2023 (UTC)

A self-sustaining, self-healing, self-replicating and self-improving system such as a biological one has a very significant limitation: it shall keep working from the very start and through every improvement, no "shutdown time". It is doomed to build upon itself, hence create many flaws and inefficiencies along the way. An electromechanical system built by an external actor may be assembled piece-by-piece from non-working parts and subsystems until it's ready to start. It could be shut down for repairs and improvements. -- 22:40, 5 January 2023 (UTC)

I don't understand how the recurrent laryngeal nerve qualifies as either a "challenge" (per the explanation) or a "random problem" per the comic.Jkshapiro (talk) 00:36, 3 November 2023 (UTC)