The Mech Touch Chapter 1340
1338 Ves The Altruis
Yet… did Ves become a mech designer in order to become a god?
"No." He shook his head. "I never entered this business with the intention of becoming an all-powerful god. I simply became a mech designer because I love mechs."
It was important for him to reaffirm his original intentions. Even if he had changed a lot from his younger, naive self, his endless fascination for mechs never diminished.
Even if he became a mech designer in order to make his own mechs, he never pursued anything more than designing great mechs. Nothing about his intentions demanded him to pursue wild, megalomaniac ambitions such as attempting to create life out of nothing or to become a god.
"Does any of that still have anything to do with mech design?" He frowned in thought.
On the surface, pursuing the path of determinism was all about getting more and more factors under his control. At some point, this inevitably ventured to mech pilots as well, because people were intricately tied to mechs.
"At least.. that's the convention."
One possible direction he could take when pursuing the path to determinism was to cut out any variables that couldn't be controlled.
In his case, that might mean removing the mech pilot from consideration!
"Wouldn't that just be a giant-sized bot?"
Not necessarily. Just because a mech wasn't being controlled by a mech pilot didn't automatically turn it into a bot. What if he attempted to replace the an undesignable mech pilot with another living entity that could be designed?
What if he could make the role of mech pilots redundant by letting the design spirit or a living image take the reins of the mech directly?
"It's like cutting out the middleman." He whispered. "A mech without a mech pilot. Not quite a bot, but not quite a mech either. It would be something new. Something radical. Something so innovative that the entire mech community will call me insane!"
The notion was so bold and unheard of that it instantly ruffled his competitive spirit. A part of him deeply wanted to accomplish the impossible and create something unprecedented!
Fortunately for his sanity, he quickly reined himself in and doused himself with a healthy heaping of reality.
"Just because I can do something doesn't mean I should."
Pursuing this deterministic path implied that he would share the same difficulties as the Skull Architect. While he didn't mind an uphill battle, the outcome had to be worth it and to his liking if Ves wanted to maintain his passion!
He predicted that he would eventually come to change his mind about the role of mech pilots. Rather than see them as an asset to mechs, he would instead come to see them as uncontrollable burdens.
The entire reason why the Skull Architect got chased out of civilization in the first place was that he attempted to have his cake and eat it too. Reno Jimenez thought he found a way to influence some of the uncontrollable factors of his mechs.
Was he wrong?
"Maybe not. Perhaps it made sense in his sick, twisted logic."
Ves was much better off in this regard. The nature of his design philosophy combined with his keen perception and understanding of spirituality meant that he possessed a lot more means of turning the impossible into reality!
Yet just because he could, didn't mean he should.
When he thought about trying to design autonomous mechs that essentially piloted or fought by themselves, he felt very ambivalent about this possible outcome.
On one hand, he deeply admired the courage it took to go against the common consensus and try to develop a true pilotless mech.
On the other hand, he questioned whether mechs that piloted themselves was something that the mech community even needed.
"When mechs run themselves, are humans still necessary?"
He was afraid the answer would be no. What if he became so obsessed with designing a mech that required no human intervention at all that he inadvertently unleashed a new, artificial lifeform? What if these sentient mechs decided to turn against their creators?
Ves deeply feared he might become so obsessed with trying to make this dream into a reality that he might inadvertently unleash another Sigrund onto the galaxy!
While the original developers of Sigrund arrogantly believed they had everything under control, they could never account for all of the variables. Just a small number of accidents resulted in the birth of a horrible sentient AI that potentially had the power to cripple the entirety of human civilization!
"It's a fallacy to believe that someone can control everything! Mistakes and oversights always take place!" He shook his head. "Besides, trying to cut out the mech pilot from the mech is an ambitious goal, but it's not what I wish to see."
From the beginning, he always put the needs of the mech pilot into account when designing a mech. Why should he minimize or abandon this fundamental principle when it played such a central role to his design philosophy?
"The central purpose of mechs is to serve the needs of its users. Taking a step back, mechs are devices designed to benefit and strengthen humanity!"
Distancing humans from mechs was a philosophically dangerous development because humanity might one day end up fighting against the very tools they created to solve their problems!
These days, humanity rightfully possessed a very dim view on automation. The CFA may be more open-minded on this controversial issue, but the MTA firmly rejected any moves towards introducing more automation into human civilization.
While Ves had no qualms in rejecting the MTA ideas when it suited him, on this issue he was very much on the same side as the overbearing organization.
Humans still needed to be in control of their own lives! Humanity as a whole should still keep a firm grip on their own civilization!
The moment they started farming every task and function to bots and AIs, the human race would cease to innovate and progress!
Ves crossed his arms and closed his eyes. "The MTA is right to prevent the encroachment of greater automation."
In short, Ves rejected any approaches that entailed disconnecting mechs from the people they served.
He imagined himself turning away from the path of determinism. Not only did this road closely resemble that of an unhinged mech designer like the Skull Architect, it also led to an outcome he actually wasn't willing to accomplish.
"I have to pick a direction that more closely aligns to my principles and ideals." He reminded himself.
Two more open paths beckoned to him, though Ves was sure that additional paths existed as well. He just hadn't discovered them as of yet.
He did not consider those undiscovered alternatives yet. He still had to go through his other two choices, starting with the opposite of the previous path.
"If one path leads to absolute control, the other path leads to absolute freedom."
Perhaps freedom was the wrong description. The path of life embraced the chaotic and unpredictable nature of living entities.
Instead of seeing chance and free will as detrimental factors, the path of life instead saw them as intrinsic treasures that empowered mechs beyond their technical limits!
Of course, this did not mean surrendering himself to total chaos. It merely meant that if he tried to make mechs alive, he needed to treat them less like machines and more like actual living entities.
Wouldn't that mean the path of life attempted to pursue something similar to the path of determinism?
Instead of fearing the possibility that his 'living mechs' might run out of control one day, he might as well embrace it if he pursued the path of life!
In fact, to create living mechs that could fully think and act by themselves did not have to turn out into the civilization-ending disaster that Ves and everyone feared.
If he accounted for this possibility beforehand, he might be able to shape mechs into an unassailable ally of humanity.
"Yet.. the same problem that plagues the path of determinism applies here as well. Does the mech market truly ask for living mechs? Regardless of whether they still need mech pilots or not, just allowing them to think for themselves can turn out disastrous if they begin to question the necessity to fight!"
The path of life also introduced another problem. On a more philosophical perspective, how could Ves even 'design' a living mech?
Pursuing a path opposite to the path of determinism essentially entailed diminishing what could be designed. Instead, he would try to pursue the more radical option of leaving it up to chance.
Ves already did some of that when it came to his specialization. Instead of relying on images that he designed by himself, he began making use of external spiritual fragments.
Aside from finding them and extracting them from their former abodes, he possessed remarkably little influence in their future direction. While he could partially influence them by having them absorb some of his images, the spiritual fragments essentially retained full autonomy, especially once they settled into his mech designs as their design spirits.
If he pursued the path of life in a restrained manner, then he could easily see himself trying to expand this methodology and turn it into an essential feature of his mech designs.
If he decided to take a more radical bent in this direction, then he may even attempt to veer away from designing mechs in favor of conceiving them! He could easily imagine himself trying to create organic mechs that started small but grew into formidable giants in their prime!
"That's a step too far."
He didn't feel very enthused about designing organic mechs. Instead, he turned his attention back to the more restrained direction which essentially focused his priorities towards maximizing the use of external spiritual fragments.
Ves imagined that if he pursued the path with a laser focus towards exploiting spiritual fragments, he may one day be capable of many tricks. The existence of his mother in the form of a spiritual ghost hinted that spirituality was capable of doing so much more.
If he invested much of the development of his specialty into this field, he might be able to match or surpass the powers of his mother. In fact, he might even be following in her footsteps!
He widened his eyes. "Perhaps it's in my blood. I just didn't realize it until now."
Would he be able to shed his incorporeal body and live on as an undying spiritual ghost? Would he be able to stave off the inevitable deaths of his friends and family and implant them into mechs or other artificial constructs so that they could live past their natural lifespan?
The temptation of this possibility was so incredibly strong that Ves had to press a firm mental hand onto his mind in order to stop him from making the choice.
"Even if all of that can be done, what does that have to do with mechs?!"
The possibilities he fantasized just then sounded more like something a cultist of the Five Scrolls Compact would pursue! The connection to mechs became a lot more tenuous.
After spending some time to mentally sober himself up, he attempted to look at the path of life in a more critical light.
"The path of life diminishes the role of design. Even if designing mechs is still necessary to some extent, it won't be my focus anymore."
Was that what he really wanted? To treat mechs like a means to an end?
That didn't sound like him. His goal in mech design had always been to make mechs something greater than lifeless commodities!
"I shouldn't take the words 'living mechs' too literally!"
His primary aspiration had always been to make mechs more appreciated. He wanted them to acquire the same intrinsic value as a living human being.
"That does not mean giving them human rights or the capacity to literally live like humans!"
The point of setting this goal was for him to develop a means to empower mechs in a way that made them more useful to their mech pilots. Power shouldn't be pursued for their own ends.
"The path of life is very tempting, but… it will lead me to value the wrong priorities." He concluded.
While he might still develop some of those powers he imagined earlier, they would not be something that ought to be central to his design philosophy.
"As a mech designer, I should not lose sight of my core purpose, which is to design fantastic mechs!"
His current means of using external spiritual fragments to add some extra oomph to his designs shouldn't be seen as a holy grail. Instead, it was just one of many possible tools at his disposal.
Trying to put his focus on spiritual entities instead of mechs was a grave mistake in his eyes. If he really decided to delve into this field, then he might become no different from the likes of Doctor Jutland in the end!