Completely off-the-wall TF question...

Discussion in 'Transformers General Discussion' started by 26_Mirage, May 26, 2009.

  1. 26_Mirage

    26_Mirage Heroic Stunticon

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    While driving to work today an odd question popped into my head...

    If the combiners (Devastator, Menasor, Superion, etc.),when in combined form, have a personality that is a mixture of their component parts, what would happen to an INDIVIDUAL's personality if that part were destroyed?

    :crazy: HUH???:crazy: 

    For instance lets say Megatron/Galvatron lets loose on Defensor and obliterates Def's arm (First Aid). Would Defensor still retain some part of First Aid's consiousness or would it just be lost.:rip 

    I know we've seen that when the combiner gets injured it usually would just break apart into it's individual pieces, but I'm talkin' complete destruction of one piece while still combined.

    Any thoughts?
     
  2. Backscatter

    Backscatter Autobot Brainmaster TFW2005 Supporter

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    Depends on the memory, RAM or ROM? :lol 
     
  3. Spyro

    Spyro Banned

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    Depends. If any data from that part was saved in the main component, it would probably still retain some of its conciousness.
     
  4. 26_Mirage

    26_Mirage Heroic Stunticon

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    If that's the case...could one envision an 'Autobot Spike' scenerio where that consciousness is downloaded into a 'blank' robot.

    ...and wasn't ROM some sort of comic book 'space knight'?:p 
     
  5. Team Jetfire

    Team Jetfire Pop-POP!

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    I thought I read somewhere where it had happened to a combined. one of the "team" was killed and the rest of them could not function properly.
     
  6. Shockscream

    Shockscream Chairman of Nerd Day

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    If the personality of the one component is lost entirely, I'd imagine it would disrupt the mental integrity of the others enormously. They would most likely be unable to function and would be "traumatised" by the loss of a part of the self. It would make the combined mentality dumber and make the individuals unable to combine.
     
  7. Gingerchris

    Gingerchris Telly-headed Tyrant

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    Combiners have been shown to operate with a limb missing, but that's not been after a death of that part. I should imagine there must be some kind of built-in safeguard against the destruction or forced disconnection of one or more parts. Maybe that's why they're usually seen splitting apart when they get blasted really badly or something.
     
  8. Pikatron

    Pikatron Well-Known Member

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    If you've ever played Valve's 'Portal' game on the PC, I think the what you described would have a similar effect as what happens to GLaDOS at the end of that game.
     
  9. spikex

    spikex Nightbird is my bitch

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    The brain has been proven to compensate for the loss of a limb by taking over that control area with the function other parts. I believe this would happen, just at a excellerated rate because they are computers. Aside from the lack of a limb, mentally the combiners would operate the same. Although they would have to learn to compensate quickly, or the rest of the gesalt would perish in the heat of battle. What happens to the individual personality that perished, I think that depends on the individual combiner, I mean, could Devastator really get any more stupid? I also think that once they separate, the deceased personality of the combiner would be erased
     
  10. AnimatedFan

    AnimatedFan Banned

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    I'd imagine the combined brain would retain that piece of the lost limb's mind. Once they're connected, it's one cohesive unit. Even if their personalities clash, the physical part is still doing it's job, otherwise it wouldn't be a combiner. They don't combine out of sheer will power. Something mechanical has to go with the programming.

    I'd say they could try and retrieve as much as possible from that piece of brain to try and restore the dead team member, but I doubt it's going to have everything that would be required to bring it back.

    I'd imagine each piece of the brain offered up by each component would cover logic, intelligence, tactics, abilities, but it wouldn't have the... "soul" of that component. The necessary mental bits and pieces to make it all work might be there (or at least most of it) but without the personality retained, without the essence of what made that component who it was...you've gained nothing but a really detailed tactical computer with bits and pieces of memories attached to it.
     
  11. blunghole

    blunghole The Tapeworm of Unicron!

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    I think that the Combiner would lose that part of the personality. For example, when the Seacons combine to form Piranacon, they usually use Nautilator as the gun so that his fear of water doesn't affect them in combined mode. However, sometimes Nautilator is an arm or a leg and at that point Piranacon must have some fear of the water. If part of the personality was left over, wouldn't Piranacon have a slight fear of water everytime, even if Nautilator wasn't an arm or leg?
     
  12. Decay_is_awesome

    Decay_is_awesome Well-Known Member

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    interesting question. weve seen gestalts operate without all their components before (devastator and defensor in the cartoon) but they were formed without them, they didnt have them torn out of the collective after they had united. i think it would cause a fair bit of mental trauma, after which the gestalt would have to kind of relcalibrate its brain to compensate. it would be interesting to see if defensor is more ruthless without the pacifist mind of first aid, or if devastator more measured and intelligent without bonecrushers desire to smash everything.
     
  13. AnimatedFan

    AnimatedFan Banned

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    Let's flip the question around for a moment.

    We've seen combiners hit hard enough that they disassembled back into their component robots...instead of the combiner brain retaining a piece of the mind of a dead limb...

    What happens to a limb that's removed without having a chance to disengage? Is he stuck with his mind locked away, or is he fully functional with minor damage?

    I mean we've seen episodes where bits and pieces of them fall off, but this is kinda deep if you think about it, and kids wouldn't have figured out what was going on, most likely...so they never explored it. (That's a guess.)

    So, we're pretty sure the combiner will still function with the loss of a limb, but can the limb function when taken abruptly from the combined system?
     
  14. kryptofred

    kryptofred super-con

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    Given the frequency that combiners disassemble after taking a serious hit, I think that the dissasembly is a built in function meant to avoid this very thing. Since we've seen combiners form without a member the combined personality must have a way to compensate for that. But maybe it cannot cope with a unexpected loss like this so it automatically falls apart allowing the individuals to deal with the situation. Either by reforming (with or without all its members) or continue the fight separately. This way the individuals can decide if someone needs medical help or extraction or if a retreat is in order. Or, if someone is destroyed, they can reform without him and the central inteligence more easily compensates for a missing personality rather than the loss of one.
     
  15. Coeloptera

    Coeloptera Big, bad beetle-bot

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    I'm going to take a more complex tack with this one, by defining a gestalt as an "emergent personality" created from a combination and integration (however imperfect) of all the components.

    Now, the basic idea here is that you're taking 5-6 distinct personalities and synthesizing a functional whole from elements of those components. You can't just lump all the existing personality traits together or you're going to get an incoherent mess. Bonecrusher's destructive exuberance does not "jive" with Hook's utter perfectionism, which doesn't quite work with Mixmaster's eccentric mad alchemist traits. Thus, the most difficult part of creating the gestalt mind is is picking, choosing, and blending elements from all of the members to create a functional whole. If you don't do this, you essentially have a being that would be more psychotic than a human being would actually be capable of being on their own.

    So, Devastator's personality, simple though it is, is a synthesis of elements from the Constructicons, cobbled together to create a single, functional mind. I think this is the point that cannot be overstated enough. Devastator has his own personality, distinct from any of the individual Constructicons. Each gestalt is its own, true being, with its own, unique mind. That mind happens to be created from elements from several others, but that doesn't change the basic fact.

    Now the reason most gestalts tend to not be as actualized as individuals as most Transformers is the fact that one can only do so much with the materials at hand. Look at Abominus. When you have to work with Blot and Rippersnapper as major building blocks of a personality that has to incorporate elements from 3 additional minds, you're not going to get something very "healthy" in any sense.

    And it is important that a gestalt be an emergent personality, because you can't have all the distinct minds up in there, taking votes and having little meetings, because the gestalt's thought-processes would be slowed to a crawl, making it useless. The gestalt must think its own thoughts and take its own actions, which are informed by which aspects of the components' personalities have been synthesized into a whole.

    Look at the most successful gestalt: Predaking. He works so well because there are a few, common elements that every component shares. Thus, there are no disparate elements to be synthesized in the case of those personality traits. Each Predacon loves to hunt and fight. Thus, the emergent personality exhibits no conflict whatsoever where those behaviors are concerned. Fortunately, he's not called upon to do very much else.

    Defensor, on the other hand, has some serious problems. When you have to composite Blades and First Aid, some elements must be discarded, because you can't have "dirty, vicious, nasty street-fighter" and "empathic, caring pacifist" in one personality at the same time. Some elements have to be excised for the gestalt to be functional, which leads to a less stable personality since it isn't synthesizing all of the input, but rather suppressing much of it just so the whole will work at all.

    So, that established, removal of a component is going to have a distinct effect on the gestalt. There's two possibilities, I think. My preferred one is that each component acts like a "boot disk", uploading their personality to be synthesized by whatever it is that makes a gestalt work, and the emergent mind then goes about its business. The thing is, what we get isn't the entire personality of each component, for the reasons stated above. Thus, if a component is annihilated, the gestalt can function until it splits. It is then, in essence, dead.

    Thus, each limb is needed to "upload" the needed element for the emergent personality. Note that failed attempts to form incompletely seem to always end very poorly for the gestalt.

    In (shudder) the G1 episode B.O.T., it is overtly stated that Bruticus won't work without Brawl. This makes sense if the emergent personality "Bruticus" is formed from a specific merger of the Combaticons. Without the specific elements that make him up, Bruticus is not Bruticus. He is missing major elements of what makes up his mind.

    You could try compositing them with a new member, but, and this is important, it will never be Bruticus again. It would be as if a major section of a human's frontal lobe was removed. Note that severe brain damage can and has engendered great personality changes in humans. For all intents and purposes, that gestalt is deceased.

    This is also somewhat supported by Scramble City. When Dead End snaps himself onto Superion's leg in place of Fireflight (isn't Fireflight usually an arm?), Superion is in evident distress. This could be the result of an wholly incompatible personality element being forcibly (perhaps even uncontrollably) downloaded into the emergent mind, causing psychic trauma as thoughts that have no place in the gestalt "Superion's" mind come to the fore, disrupting the preexisting synthesis.

    So, taking what I've presented as evidence, destroying a component of a gestalt will, in essence, kill that gestalt. Perhaps this explains the apparent design feature that will cause a gestalt to split apart before being destroyed as a way of protecting itself. The part of its mind that was composed of elements from that component are now gone. I doubt the component is really recoverable, due to the fact that the gestalt is composed of only elements from each component, and not the whole mind. Elements are suppressed or excised, leaving an incomplete remnant not likely to be salvageable.

    - Coeloptera
     
  16. Nemesis Liger

    Nemesis Liger Well-Known Member

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    @ Coeloptera -- Forgive my (slightly offtopic) butting in here, but I could help marveling over your post there. Really, that was quite thought provoking. Like you said it is complex, but it makes alot of sense. Especially so considering we're talking about sentinent mechanical beings as opposed to conventional robots.
     
  17. Coeloptera

    Coeloptera Big, bad beetle-bot

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    Blame my first degree, Lit/Psyche double major.

    The thing is, even if an author may not intend certain things, consistent storytelling has a tendency to create it own "rules" just because of that consistency.

    Gestalt behavior has been written with some basic elements that always seem to be in play, almost regardless of setting.

    My little theory also derives from some of the reading I've done on consciousness as an emergent phenomenon, ie, human self-awareness may be such a thing because once the electrochemical processes in the brain pass a certain level of complex interaction, the network of interactions becomes, as a whole, "aware of itself".

    It's a bit of a simplification, but here's a good starter article: http://eebweb.arizona.edu/faculty/dornhaus/courses/materials/papers/Moody%20essay.pdf

    Just because it's about giant robots fighting, doesn't mean there aren't some very complex ideas buried in there, intended or not.

    - Coeloptera
     
  18. Anthony _aggro

    Anthony _aggro Platypus prime

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    Coeloptera, nice post and use of examples.


    I think that the minds of each combined limb are still stored within their respective bodies. It is more of a network with all of the minds linked together and working together to become the gestalts personality. Some gestalts, like Computron, work great when they combine, while others, like Devastator, do not mesh correctly and result in a dumbed down personality. The best line and examples come from the DW War Within comics when the Protectobots are fighting Devastator and they are having problems with Defensors personality, and Devestaor is refered to as being the first gestalt and having complications from the procedure that caused him to be a dimwit.
    The best line was delivered by the Protectobots (I think, it's been a few years since I read it), "Six of Cybertrons greatest minds combined into Devatator mush."

    In the DW G1 series, Menasor is not very well put together mentally and the individual Stunticons can be distracted from the main mind as a whole and the Autobots use this to their advantage. When the minds are finally all distracted, Menasor is forced to seperate. With this in mind, I would theorize that while there is a definite formed mind while combined, it requires each members concentration for the gestalt to remain merged.

    I think that the death of an individual member would effect the merged form greatly removing the aspects of its intelligence gained from that member, but since the individual personalities are not physically uploaded to one server, or form of data containment whilst in combined mode, the mind of that individual cannot be recovered from the remaining gestalt.

    IDW, or Hasbro will probably prove me wrong, but that is my theory derived from what I know. Of coarse my examples are from Dreamwave, and that is pretty much a dead continuity.

    But as mentioned by Coeloptera, in Scramble city, each gestalt is effected by how they combine and who becomes what part. One individual may have a better skill than another that will determine when and what limb they form. Also the fact that combiner groups can switch between each other, except the Constructicons, it is even more evidence that the formed gestalt is a conscious group effort and not an uploaded and merged form of its parts.

    The G1 cartoon fully negates that theory too, because Superion would still have Silverbolts fear of heights and he does not. Also it is shown that each Combiner does have a seperate distinct personality, although it could still require the mental concentration of each member to stay combined.
     
  19. Coeloptera

    Coeloptera Big, bad beetle-bot

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    That's one reason I mentioned that the gestalt process almost has to suppress certain incompatible personality elements. Silverbolt's fear of heights and Air Raid's daredevil nature literally could not function if they both inhabited the same mind at the same time. It would be like a human having a fear of water and a love of swimming at the same time. It just can't be so.

    - Coeloptera
     

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