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The Expanse #2: Caliban's Thread - [spoilers for book only up to latest tv show episode]

491 posts in this topic

Posted (edited)

1 hour ago, Kalbear said:

I kind of felt the same way, but my suspicion is that simply there are too many complex things going on for any one robot to fix, and robots are expensive. So you see a ton of AI in ships, in natural language processing, in trajectory and combat, but you don't see a lot of robotics in things like fixing specific items because so much is jerry-rigged. It's easy to have a robot do something that it knows exactly how to do with the right supplies; it's hard for a robot to ascertain that this specific combination of duct tape, welding material and plant life will be exactly right to fix things for the next 2 hours.

My suspicion is that there should have been more robots to do more vacuum-related tasks, but otherwise it's not that bad.

Hmm, I guess. But considering that they have had the tech to automate away most tasks on Earth, I don't really see why that wouldn't also work for the asteroid-cities. The spaceships and mining stations themselves I can sort of understand, but Ceres has like, what, a couple million people? Should it really be that much different than a city on Earth for most of its inhabitants? 

But nah, it's not that much of an issue in the grand scheme of things, you're right. 

1 hour ago, Manhole Eunuchsbane said:

On top of all that, you have a "Company Store" sort of economy going on with the Belters wherein I would have to guess that it is more economically lucrative for Earth Corps to just keep that model in place.

Oh, I have no trouble at all in believing that the Belters could be economically oppressed, and have most of the surplus they produce be sucked away to bank accounts on Earth or Mars. I was more talking about that they seem to use pretty primitive and ineffective production technology compared to the rest of human civilization. You'd think their overlords in the inner rings would be interested in getting as much value out of them as possible, after all. 

Edited by Khaleesi did nothing wrong

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2 minutes ago, Khaleesi did nothing wrong said:

Oh, I have no trouble at all in believing that the Belters could be economically oppressed, and have most of the surplus they produce be sucked away to bank accounts on Earth or Mars. I was more talking about that they seem to use pretty primitive and ineffective production technology compared to the rest of human civilization. You'd think their overlords in the inner rings would be interested in getting as much value out of them as possible, after all. 

I just mean in the grand economic scheme of things, you can sell water, air, food and living space to your oppressed workforce. To robots, not so much.

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Just now, Khaleesi did nothing wrong said:

Hmm, I guess. But considering that they have had the tech to automate away most tasks on Earth, I don't really see why that wouldn't also work for the asteroid-cities. The spaceships and mining stations themselves I can sort of understand, but Ceres has like, what, a couple million people? Should it really be that much different than a city on Earth for most of its inhabitants? 

But nah, it's not that much of an issue in the grand scheme of things, you're right. 

It's hugely different, because the Belt doesn't have the kind of supplies and supply chain Earth has. On Earth they literally have warehouses full of virtually any item you might need, and if something happens they have time to replace it. In the Belt, they don't; things can go south, fast, and they don't have the ability to store tons of things on a regular basis. And again, Earth has life support built-in. The Belt doesn't. That kind of large-scale failure just doesn't happen on Earth.

As a result, faster, weirder decisions need to be made in the Belt, and that results in a lot of jerry-rigged shit. 

Another issue is that the Belt just doesn't have the population density either.

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Posted (edited)

On top of several good reasons already provided, I would imagine that it's necessary for the mental health and survival of colonies in the Belt for inhabitants to be as productive as possible.  It's an incredibly harsh existence.  Having large swaths of the population, especially in the 15-25 age bracket, just sort of chilling and hanging around with no purpose and nothing real to do doesn't seem like a good idea.  

Edited by Dr. Pepper

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Posted (edited)

Mmh. That reminds me though, why would people even move to the Belt? It appears that everyone gets free NEETbux on Earth, so why would people choose to do poorly paid manual labor out in the Asteroid fields? Are living standards for those jobless individuals on Earth even lower than they are for Belters? 

Edited by Khaleesi did nothing wrong

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25 minutes ago, Khaleesi did nothing wrong said:

Mmh. That reminds me though, why would people even move to the Belt? It appears that everyone gets free NEETbux on Earth, so why would people choose to do poorly paid manual labor out in the Asteroid fields? Are living standards for those jobless individuals on Earth even lower than they are for Belters? 

Not sure what the initial reason for migrating was exactly, but you're now talking about generations of folks who have lived on the float, who likely couldn't even function in a gravity well without expensive meds. Plus, I would have to believe that it would be expensive to relocate and it's not even clear that those folks would qualify for Basic, seeing as how they aren't Earthers. I doubt that moving would be economically viable for the vast majority of Belters who seem to be living a hard-scrabble, subsistence sort of existence.

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34 minutes ago, Manhole Eunuchsbane said:

Not sure what the initial reason for migrating was exactly, but you're now talking about generations of folks who have lived on the float, who likely couldn't even function in a gravity well without expensive meds. Plus, I would have to believe that it would be expensive to relocate and it's not even clear that those folks would qualify for Basic, seeing as how they aren't Earthers. I doubt that moving would be economically viable for the vast majority of Belters who seem to be living a hard-scrabble, subsistence sort of existence.

Ahh, right. I had forgotten about the time frames involved. Most Belters aren't recent arrivals, and maybe they didn't always have basic income back on Earth. Makes sense. 

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4 minutes ago, Khaleesi did nothing wrong said:

Ahh, right. I had forgotten about the time frames involved. Most Belters aren't recent arrivals, and maybe they didn't always have basic income back on Earth. Makes sense. 

Yeah. I think Miller's partner also explains why - he wanted adventure, to try new things, and to actually have a shot at a job. Same with Bull. Why do people drop an engineering job to become a masseuse? 

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1 hour ago, Khaleesi did nothing wrong said:

Mmh. That reminds me though, why would people even move to the Belt? It appears that everyone gets free NEETbux on Earth, so why would people choose to do poorly paid manual labor out in the Asteroid fields? Are living standards for those jobless individuals on Earth even lower than they are for Belters? 

Adventure.  Job opportunities.  Etc.  Basic is just basic.  Enough to survive.  Housing, food, medical care, basic education.  We saw that a lot of people fell through the cracks or still chose to live in tents under bridges rather than the basic housing.  People are always going to want opportunity even when their basic needs are met.  I imagine if that guy Bobbie met were offered a chance at med school in the Belt, he'd probably take it.  

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Posted (edited)

13 hours ago, Khaleesi did nothing wrong said:

That situation could easily reverse itself in the future if some conditions change, though. For example, presumably one of the big reasons for the low birth rates in the developed world right now is that child rearing takes up too time when both parents have to work. Hence why developed countries with more generous maternity/paternity leave policies and access to kindergartens and so on, have higher birth rates than those that don't. 

In a future where the majority of people don't even have any jobs to go to, that might not be much of an issue anymore. 

What I found more unrealistic in the show was rather the very primitive conditions that the Belters seemed to work in. A lot of the stuff they do looks like the kinds of 20th century industrial jobs that are already being replaced by robots in our societies, nevermind how things will look like 250 (?) years from now. If automation has eliminated most jobs on Earth, which seems to be the case, I wonder why the same thing hasn't happened to the Belt? 

Anyway, I really liked the show, and it does feel a lot more realistic overall than most Science Fiction series. Are the books worth reading as well? 

The books are good. Tho for me it is deja vu. Robert Heinlein was writing kind of the same thing in the 1950s, a number of authors were. A little later Larry Niven had 'belters' in his stories 1960's. In fact story borrows from Niven for the ideas of asteroid mining.

Would not  necessary  need robots , but yeah I could see more automated machinery , which is a kind of equivalent robot. Well it's dramatic license , the level of space flight technology in the story implies there would be even more high tech instrumentality than we see.

Edited by boojam

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Posted (edited)

So I started reading the books and I like them. The world building is more developed than in the series, and it fills in some blanks I had. 

However, I am bothered a bit by the dialogues. Too many characters come off like they don't take things seriously*, and speak in jargons that sound more like 20 year old college students hanging out with friends than military officers on duty, or whatever they are supposed to be. I think the TV show does a better job in that regard. 

 

*Which is especially jarring when you consider the things they go through.

 

Edited by Khaleesi did nothing wrong

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