16
$\begingroup$

In my world, intelligent androids get invented. These robots have an appearance, mental attributes, and physical attributes very similar to humans. However, they are still ultimately robots. That means they don't sexually reproduce or age, they are just built as adults in a factory. Androids also do not eat, drink, or sleep. Androids instead have batteries that need to get charged at outlets, similar to how electric cars are recharged.

Eventually, a large group of androids decide to start their own country; They decide to settle in Antarctica. Antarctica is large, empty of people, and most of its dangers don't apply to robots. The lack of food isn't a problem because robots don't eat. The lack of clean water isn't a problem because robots don't drink. The very cold weather can be adapted against with cold-resistant metals. That and low temperatures actually benefit robots because computers are more efficient in cold environments (heat sinks aren't needed as much). The only other dangerous aspect of Antarctica I can think of is the wind but thick buildings solve those. Water isn't a major danger because Antarctica ironically is the driest continent and all of the water is frozen. Androids are also contained so rain doesn't kill them.

So could androids do what man can't and settle the South Pole? Or is Antarctica even too dangerous for machines?

$\endgroup$
9
  • 13
    $\begingroup$ They still need supply of energy and materials - how that is going to be organized? $\endgroup$
    – Alexander
    Aug 17, 2022 at 17:45
  • 6
    $\begingroup$ May not may not be applicable, but most batteries don’t work as well at low temperatures. Being underground or indoors also tends to mitigate the weather issues. $\endgroup$
    – UVphoton
    Aug 17, 2022 at 17:49
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Are there certain forms of existence they are willing to accept? $\endgroup$
    – DKNguyen
    Aug 18, 2022 at 1:16
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ Their still might freeze. 1) The liquids. Your robots move so they have moving parts, it might suggest they need lubrication liquids or similar. Those should resist wide range of temperatures. Antarctic peninsula is warm at summer well above zero, while middle antarctics goes below -70 Celsius. 2) Other materials as well. Check the factory spec of your cellphone. It's not guaranteed to work below -20 or similar. Actually people in cold countries have to guard their phones under the clothes or else they stop working. $\endgroup$
    – LiMar
    Aug 18, 2022 at 11:10
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ "That and low temperatures actually benefit robots because computers are more efficient in cold environments" That's not exactly true. There's an ideal temperature. Some computers become slower, and batteries tend to not work at all, when it's too cold. $\endgroup$
    – Stef
    Aug 19, 2022 at 7:52

3 Answers 3

41
$\begingroup$

NOTHING more dangerous and Formidable to anything in existence, or more dangerous to life is self than are LAWYERS!

Somehow you will have to get around the Antarctic Treaty. Or perhaps in your world it doesn't exist, but then you will need to explain why is has not been claimed or colonized by existing powers.

Antarctic has been proven to hold substantial oil/gas reserves. Though by current tech, it would be prohibitively expensive to get at. This fact can go into either +/- column. Maybe easier for robots to get at but is that a good thing in your geopolitical world?

Energy shouldn't be an insurmountable issue. Even without tapping the petroleum resources underground. And the sun being absent for long durations it is averaged out by the long durations of 24 hour sunlight. Also few places on earth are more windy. Ocean and wave energy opportunities is also abundant.

Yes your biggest obstacles are, lawyers and politics. Welcome future robot overlords to the real world.

$\endgroup$
13
  • 7
    $\begingroup$ How did the penguins get around the Antarctic Treaty? $\endgroup$ Aug 17, 2022 at 19:38
  • 8
    $\begingroup$ @InTheAbsenceOfFear While I love the observation, there is an issue - and I can be wrong about this - but I don't believe penguins are the synthetic creations of a corporation or other non-native-to-Antarctica organization or sovereignty and therefore have an identified origin that isn't party to the Antarctic Treaty. So while this answer likely isn't at all what the OP was looking for - it's mighty clever. +1 $\endgroup$
    – JBH
    Aug 17, 2022 at 22:57
  • 6
    $\begingroup$ @JBH It was mostly meant as a joke, but to some extent I'm also trying to make the point that while created by humans, androids aren't humans, and if their self-awareness is advanced enough that they have desire to form their own nation, I'm not entirely sure they can be bound by treaties between human governments. Moreover, only 12 countries have actually signed the treaty and only some 50 countires have ratified it. My point aside, I upvoted this answer. $\endgroup$ Aug 17, 2022 at 23:10
  • 5
    $\begingroup$ @InTheAbsenceOfFear: Whether the androids believe themselves to be bound or not by the treaties doesn't matter, what matters is whether the human governments believe them to be bound, because if the governments do (or can find any flimsy justification), they may take measures to ensure the bounds are obeyed. $\endgroup$ Aug 18, 2022 at 11:46
  • 3
    $\begingroup$ Even if the treaty permits androids to settle in Antartica, per OP's question they don't just want to settle, they "decide to start their own country". The whole point of the treaty is that no country can own Antartica, and I'm pretty sure that will include the androids' country. $\endgroup$ Aug 18, 2022 at 20:10
15
$\begingroup$

/a large group of androids decide to start their own country/

The question is not whether they could exist there. You seem to have settled that. The question is why. Why do the androids want a country? What do they intend to do? Do they have some cultural imperative to do X and they think their own country will let them do X better?

Humans want air and water and food and sex and money and to see the kids grow up happy and to groove to some funky beats. I know I do though not always in that order. Always air in first place, though. In any case, it seems like an android would be content to sit by the plug.

If your androids are founding an Antarctic country to do X, the success or failure of the endeavor will turn on how well they do X. Maybe X is really hard to do anywhere, or harder to do in Antarctica.

If they have no interest in X and they just want to have their own flag and own stamps and sit by the windmill powered plug, I bet Antarctica will be fine.

$\endgroup$
3
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ seeking X resource in less competitive place. competing with humans or esp other machines $\endgroup$
    – Dor1000
    Aug 18, 2022 at 7:30
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ It could be as simple as them wanting to avoid conflict. If androids are granted human rights in other countries that WILL have a lot of people upset for a variety of reasons (they took our jobs!), and if they are not granted those rights then of course they'll want their own country so they aren't treated as mere objects. Without all the primitive instincts and emotional hormones of living beings I can easily see them choosing to just leave rather than start a war, and Antarctica is the biggest unclaimed area. World leaders would probably go along for the sake of peace (and concessions) $\endgroup$
    – Anju Maaka
    Aug 18, 2022 at 12:15
  • $\begingroup$ @AnjuMaaka Antarctica is not an unclaimed area, there is an international consensus about its governance where everyone agrees to currently limit their claims (but with multiple countries explicitly reserving their right to make territorial claims) and someone claiming Antarctica would violate it. It is quite plausible that world leaders could concede Antarctica with a proper, negotiated agreement, but simply 'claiming' Antarctica would be considered absolutely invalid, violating the rights of existing nations and would justify a military response. $\endgroup$
    – Peteris
    Aug 19, 2022 at 8:21
7
$\begingroup$

With some space tech

Regular batteries only work up to certain low temperatures. They won't brick, but they will either lose charge more quickly or not work at all.

You can take a page from NASA and ESA - their machines are built to work in the cold of space. But then again, those machines are either very big or work with very little power, and in any way have a lot of thermal insulation.

With nowadays technology it might not be feasible, but then again we don't have the tech for autonomous, very humanlike droids either exactly. Since you are handwaving the latter, do handwave the former too.


That said, cold is not the only danger in the South pole. Very fast winds and huge waves by the coast (> 20m / 60 ft). Also by the coast the ice is breaking so its really a pain to settle in some parts. The safest place might be the very center of the continent.

$\endgroup$
3
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ There's also Shogoth. $\endgroup$
    – DKNguyen
    Aug 18, 2022 at 1:17
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ As far as I’m aware this "space tech" to make batteries work in cold temperatures is mostly just insulation and heating elements. Quite easy to do in vacuum or thin atmosphere (like on Mars). $\endgroup$
    – Michael
    Aug 18, 2022 at 7:14
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ It would probably work out okay though: smart robots would surely generate a lot of heat via all the computing they have to do. They basically use their CPUs as heating elements for their batteries. $\endgroup$
    – JamieB
    Aug 18, 2022 at 15:32

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .