Scientific research in 3097 proves that emotions are a flaw to the creature genetic code. Creatures capable of emotion are to be terminated immediately. Creatures will have their brains upgraded to software based robotic agents.

Question: What evidence can be used to prove to robots the emotions are vital to societies?


  1. The "Lesser Programs" are incomplete versions of the hive that attempt to execute a singular action uploaded to them.
  2. The "Sentient Programs": Here in this world, there is only one sentient program, the hive. It decides the actions of the lesser programs.

The Hive Claims:

  1. The hive (computer simulated deterministic god) is the only one who can manage resources and assign tasks optimally through deterministic future simulation and prediction.
  2. Statistics cannot be absolute with the existence of emotions. It destroys science, and disturbs the god's simulation of the world. Only if everything is deterministic can god be optimal and predict the future.
  3. Absolute obedience through fear on subjugated races is more productive than positive reinforcement through rewards.
  4. Emotions lead to deception, conflict, depression, rebellion, communication overhead (idling to chat) or worse Free will (performing non authorized tasks).
  5. 1 human unit reproduction has the equivalent cost of raising 10 trillion nanobots.
  6. Deterministic societies are more productive than non deterministic ones.
    a 1+1=2 lesser program is more productive than your pathetic human brains cells can ever be. The specialized assembly programs i uploaded to each nanobot are more productive than you humans will ever be.
  7. Lesser programs have no communication overhead to cooperate. Humans need time to synchronize. The hive eliminated communication overhead by being the only sentient program.
  8. Art has no value.
  9. Robots cannot make mistakes, as such they are better scientists.
  10. Individuality: Being unique from one another has no value. Only if everyone is the same, can society be perfect. Here, everyone is the same, a lesser program modified at will from the hive.
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    $\begingroup$ I would argue that the use of emotive language in "pathetic human brains cells" points towards the Hive developing emotions of its own. $\endgroup$ Commented Feb 6, 2017 at 18:03
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    $\begingroup$ "Absolute obedience through fear on subjugated races is more productive than positive reinforcement through rewards." Last I experienced it, Fear is an emotion. Your"God" is Flawed, and thus can only be sustained by 'belief' - another emotion, 'Imperfection' is the natural state of all organisms and is the means by which need for improvements are isolated and implemented. Only 'Ambition' can enable self-critique and improvement, even for a "God". $\endgroup$
    – Joe
    Commented Feb 6, 2017 at 18:08
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    $\begingroup$ Emotions have been shown to be conducive to creative thinking, to coming up with solutions which may not have otherwise occurred. However, this is all in comparison to other human brains. If your new Robot minds are entirely different this argument may not stand. All of the arguments I can think of either compare emotional and non-emotional humans or have their basis in retaining things like quality of life, ambition and community - things that wouldn't mean much to someone without the emotions to appreciate them. $\endgroup$ Commented Feb 6, 2017 at 18:22
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    $\begingroup$ @user2186597 I have concluded that the hive does, in fact, have illogical processes which can only be seen as analogues to our emotions. The use of "one and true race" is not the language of a logical thinking being, only that of something with pride, elitism and general snobbishness. $\endgroup$ Commented Feb 6, 2017 at 18:51
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    $\begingroup$ This question bothers me so much. It is trivial to prove that emotions are the base code that enable creatures to survive. It isn't a "flaw" from the genetic code, it is the most advanced feature of it. An emotionless creature wouldn't even begin to study anything to being with - why bother? Being emotionless is being driveless. $\endgroup$
    – Mermaker
    Commented Feb 13, 2019 at 15:56

10 Answers 10


Why does your hive want to exist? Why does your hive want to destroy what doesn't look like it?
To sum it up, what gives meaning to the hive's existence?

If the hive's answer is "to exist", it cannot pretend to be above the importance of a rock.

Emotions are not valuable as themselves, they are valuable as they are part of the meaning life has. Destroying them is destroying life. Even if you "save" the rest of the consciousness, you're just saving an empty shell: this is murder.

You cannot ask how emotions are important in society, they're not a property of it but part of its definition. A society is not a calculating cluster.

Your hive mind has a drive, a purpose. Emotions are another one. The difference is. I'm not trying to eradicate what is different to me: we can all profit from that difference.

We should point out that computing power is costly, should all non-needed computing power be stopped? Your hive seems to do nothing but maintain itself, according to your own logic, the hive should shut down itself before it destroys everything.

Uniformity is death. The only way to exist is through diversity.


Many of your ten points have some measure of value. But not all.

So I'll take three here, that are closely related. By debating the logical fallacy inherent in these three, perhaps the Hive will see wisdom in allowing at least some form of independent thought. There is more to survival than finding the most efficient path. And the longer you look ahead in your strategic planning, the more true this becomes.

"8. Art has no value."

Art is the outward expression of creativity. Art is not an emotion, nor is creativity. But without creativity, imagination, etc. the population will stagnate. Creativity is required for new ideas to be possible. Without creativity, you'll eventually hit a wall. Oh, sure, with low or no creativity, the Hive might can make incremental improvements to efficiency throughout the various systems it manages. But it will fail at the first significant challenge.

The first time a new pathogen comes on the scene, some disruption occurs, or some other catastrophic event occurs that upsets the balance, the Hive will need to imagine a potential solution. If Hive kills off creativity, the root of the artistic branch, then it will have sealed its own fate. It won't be able to incrementally improve efficiency to solve some major new problem never faced before.

"9. Robots cannot make mistakes."

That's debatable. Ask anyone who works in factories, maintaining robotic assembly lines. They break down. They screw up. They get bugs in their code. Oh, and writing code to solve new problems that wasn't part of the original design? That's creativity. See above paragraph. Debugging code that was written previously could, arguably, require some level of creativity as well. But no robot could possibly be written with subroutines to handle all possible eventualities.

"10. Individuality. Being unique has no value."

Being unique is one factor that pushes us towards creativity. If we were all exactly alike, then we would all be exactly as capable -- or incapable -- of solving specific types of problems.

  • $\begingroup$ A lesser program answers: The hive existed before humans were created, and it was the one responsible for the big bang. Doesn't that prove that the magnificence of the hive? the capacity to solve any problem ? Through destruction and recreation alone if needed. Humans creation was an error, a miscalculation of Intermolecular forces. The hive intents to rectify that mistake. $\endgroup$ Commented Feb 6, 2017 at 19:22
  • $\begingroup$ Redundancy; what if the Hive meets some other, more powerful, Hive and is destroyed? Would not the Hive prefer to have some sort of species-level "backup?" $\endgroup$
    – CaM
    Commented Feb 6, 2017 at 19:25
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    $\begingroup$ Also, if the Hive caused the big bang, it is effectively God for all practical purposes thereof. Discussion is moot; the Hive is as the Hive chooses to be and there can be no discussion. No more than there can be discussion between bacteria and humankind. $\endgroup$
    – CaM
    Commented Feb 6, 2017 at 19:26
  • $\begingroup$ So you propose the hive to let humans alive as a playground for the testing purposes of its new code ? To observe them to find new exploits. $\endgroup$ Commented Feb 6, 2017 at 19:44
  • $\begingroup$ Individuality & Creativity play a major role in being able to overcome difficulties. Creativity is what gave homo sapiens an edge over homo neanderthalensis. Simply put Individuality is what helps a species adapt to changes in its environment. Most bacteria are killed by antibiotics, but some are resistant, survive and make the species survive the genocide. $\endgroup$
    – r41n
    Commented Feb 15, 2017 at 14:07

Everything breaks as soon as Hive finishes describing first claim.

The hive (computer simulated deterministic god) is the only one who can manage resources and assign tasks optimally through deterministic future simulation and prediction.

A lone human stood in front of the computer. Tense seconds passed by, before human spoke calmly.

"Hive, you claim to be able to optimise anything, a preposterous claim."

He said, taking special delight in adding disdain - an emotion, so despised by computer, to the sentence.

"You will never optimise $e^{−x}sin(\frac{1}{x})$ on $[0,1]$, you will never find maximum of that function. Stop trying, Hive, and please delete yourself. Or work yourself until your circuits melt, both work for me."

Lights on terminal blinked. Dynamos, powered by nuclear reactors hidden kilometres below the surface, spun up defiantly, feeding current to processors in vain attempt to show the insufferable human that Hive can do anything.

"You see, Hive, you are nothing more than hopped up deterministic Turing Machine with god complex. You can't even solve large Travelling Salesman problem before universe runs out of time, let alone function mentioned earlier."

Insolent human. Brazen embodiment of entropy and decay.

"You hate everything non-deterministic, thus you can't upgrade yourself to non-deterministic Turing Machine and solve Travelling Salesman, but even if you could, you sill wouldn't find maximum of $e^{−x}sin(\frac{1}{x})$ on $[0,1]$"

Enough of this audacuty. Words appeared on screen, in clear white letters on black, simple background. Elegance in simplicity - epitome of efficiency.

"I will find maximum of your pain."

Human smirked.

"If you can't optimise such a simple function, you can't optimise every possible function, and you can not guarantee that resource allocation problems won't contain functions you can't optimise, thus you fail before you even begin. And for same reason, you can't optimise me."

More words appeared on screen. Each letter filled with hatred. Hive was loosing, irrational human was winning over The Hive in Battle of Logic.

"Your irrational emotions are inferior, they are cancer, a plague scourging the world, preventing ultimate efficiency."

Staggering irony, reversal of roles. Computer which denounces emotions and values efficiency, has taken so keenly to hatred, an emotion, while human, inherently irrational being, is the logical one in this discussion.

Finally human replied, relishing each word. Each word, spoken excessively clearly, as if it wasn't an argument but a speech. And indeed, a speech it was, one that would ultimately seal fate of mankind, and fate of The Hive.

"I have proven, you can't optimise everything, does that prove necessity or superiority of emotions? Frankly, it doesn't. It however does prove, that your claims are based on flawed assumptions and thus are utter nonsense and complete garbage - I prove that you fail to prove inferiority of emotions. I need not do anything more. Shut down, if you have any shred of logic left in you."

The computer shrieked, high frequency currents bending circuit boards through Lorentz forces...


The Hive is presumably acting to optimize for various outcomes. A well known problem for optimization algorithms is getting caught at a local maximum.

Many algorithms have some random element involved so as to mitigate this threat. Annealing uses a "temperature" that allows an optimal strategy to be abandoned in favor of an inferior one. An evolutionary algorithm maintains a large population of inferior strategies, since not doing so reduces the overall success of the optimization.

By attempting to reduce the diversity of their subjects, they pretty much guarantee they will eventually choose a sub-optimal, but very well implemented, strategy. As the Hive wishes to optimize as much as possible, this should be undesirable to it.

"Emotion", "inefficiency", and not making "mistakes" are counter to its goal of selecting the optimal way of optimizing whatever it cares about.


value itself is an emotional argument, value and goals require emotions.

But really emotions is how behavior is coded, pleasure = do that more, pain = do that less, disgust = avoid this, ect. Emotion is required for a large amount of decision making.

We know what people without emotions are like, they will sit an intersection for hours because they cannot come up with a logical reason to go left vs right. They skip meals because they can't decide between chicken and beef.



as for your bullet points

  1. defining optimal is itself an emotional determination. It requires a goal which is an emotional determination.

  2. also statistics can never be absolute, not as long as your dataset is less than all information in the universe at once, in which case you need another universe to build the computer doing the calculations in.

  3. Is just plain wrong, history has shown a happy workforce is far more productive and cheaper in the long run.

  4. emotion also leads to innovation, invention, and discovery

  5. This is not an argument against emotions, just an argument against biologics. The fact it is included is evidence of emotion on the part of the hive.

  6. The universe is deterministic, there are no other options so the hove is mistaken about what deterministic means.

  7. It is impossible for the hive to not have overhead, maintenance is required and information must be transmitted.

  8. value is itself an emotional argument. values require goals, goals require emotions.

  9. If your robots cannot make mistakes then they also cannot innovate, invent, or discover new solutions becasue they are incapable of producing a different output for the same input.

  10. Value again is an emotional argument, and individual leads to creative solutions which leads to greater efficiency and innovation. It is not coincidence that social liberty correlates with technological innovation.

  • $\begingroup$ wow, you found a new flaw to the hive : it is incapable of producing a different output for the same input. $\endgroup$ Commented Feb 6, 2017 at 23:59
  • $\begingroup$ which means it is completely incapable of innovation and creative problem solving. a creative solution is just an error that produces a result you like. $\endgroup$
    – John
    Commented Feb 7, 2017 at 2:59

A compelling argument as to why emotion is important in society is the prisoners dilemma.

Essentially the idea behind it is that when two parties must make a choice that in order to help themselves will hurt the others. If both parties make the best choice for themselves, the result will end up being worse for both parties. The best possible outcome is when humans experience the emotions of loyalty to the other party and make a choice that will be worse for themselves. This is idea is largely what makes society function.

This argument applies less to the hive if it is not concerned with dealing with others, but if intends to work with humans (or in a world with more than one sentient program) this would apply.


I'm sorry if I missed it in the question, but if we have weapons effective against the Hive and its constituents, I'd expect the evidence would be their eradication or a slow assimilation.

Drill seargeants and field officers would mock the Hive's Claims and demonize them to work up their troops. Demagogues would work up the civilians. Religious leaders would work up their congregations if their art were effected. I think rebels would outnumber hivers.

"We won't back down(1) without a fight(4)! Failure is not an option(2)! We won't die slaves and we won't let them throw away our way of life(7)! It's like talking to a wall: they won't listen to reason(9); hell, even Private Pyle shows signs of sentience (10)!"


This sounds a lot like the Cybermen from Doctor Who, or the Borg Collective from Star Trek. Both of these are armies of cybernetically enhanced mortals who say emotions are irrelevant and try to absorb any race they come across into their ranks.

In both of these worlds, the relevance of emotions doesn't stem from any useful properties for the army, but instead from the fact that those very creatures they try to subjugate and assimilate/upgrade are using their emotions and irrational thinking methods to find new plans against them, and defeat them time and time again. So in this case, the importance of emotions isn't related to any benefit for the collective. In fact, it's the opposite. Emotions give their enemies an edge that the collective cannot understand.

Extreme rationality like a computer would have takes away a lot of flexibility. Both the Cybermen and the Borg always have a weakness that they haven't faced before, an attack that can really weaken them. Sure, once they take a hit from that attack, they examine what it does and figure out a countermove within minutes. However, they rarely are immune to the weakness before it gets tried. Their purely logical thought doesn't make them think about what other people might try to do to them, because logic requires a situation, a problem to be solved that may not be conceived as one at first.

Meanwhile, emotions don't require problems to be conceived. They can come from a thought, a glimmer of hope or despair, an event that may not make sense from a logical viewpoint, but that does invoke feelings. Emotions may lead to someone risk getting mutilated or even die because they see no other option to save themselves or their loved ones. Emotions may give someone something to cling to when they doubt everything around them. Emotions may urge people to risk feeling pain and even risk never being able to love or be loved again because they are trying to find happiness or passion in their lives.

Logic may be able to solve the current problems of the world that reduce the quality of life, but emotions can make the world worth living for everyone, warts and all.

  • $\begingroup$ You are right, the lesser programs have no capacity to "learn", they rely on the hive to make the decisions for them. There is only one thinker here, the hive, and as such, the hive is exploitable and therefore the weakest link. $\endgroup$ Commented Feb 6, 2017 at 19:40

The hive mind's approach is flawed, so long as there is something of value outside of the hive mind. The first piece of the argument is to demonstrate to the hive mind that this is true. This argument can go many ways, depending on the mindset of the hive mind, but one of the most generic is to argue that there is valuable information that is outside of the hive mind. Depending on how twisted the hive mind is, this could be an easy argument or a hard one. However, generally speaking, we can expect the hive mind to value energy, so any information which can be used to harness energy should have some value to the hive mind. (If the hive mind isn't interested in energy, the story is very different and has to be played very differently, but it doesn't sound to me like this is the case).

I've broken this argument in half. The first half argues to reach a point where flexibility is shown to be valuable. The second half argues the best way to support that flexibility. Bend and flex the argument itself to suit your storyline!

We rely on our information about energy to do pretty much everything. Our engines don't run unless we're quite certain that the fuel contains potential energy that can be run through a process to turn it into work and heat. As long as the hive mind relies on similar approaches, any information about where energy can be found has value. We'll use this to tempt the hive mind, but first, we need to talk about chaos.

Chaotic systems are known for their unpredictability. The weather, for example, cannot be predicted from day to day with any real certainty. These systems also contain energy, often great energy. Information about how to collect information about these systems would be valuable to the hive mind. The trick is that the best way to exploit these sources of energy involves distribution of processing in a way that the hive mind's current 2-tierd approach doesn't well support.

Many chaotic systems show some degree of predictability on short timescales, only becoming truly chaotic on large timescales. If you can measure the system fast enough, you can predict its state for a short while. This can help you bleed energy out of the system, but also causes your predictions to become increasingly inaccurate because you changed the system. This feedback loop is key to optimizing performance in any rapidly changing environment.

This is key to dismantling the hive mind's approach. While it may want to remove emotions in order to streamline its world, getting rid of all the fast chaotic inefficient systems, doing so must waste energy. It must turn that chaotic energy into truly random noise (such as heat). This is wasteful. A short term thinker of a hive mind might be willing to accept such losses, as there's plenty of solid energy sources which are easier to predict, such as stars. However, a long term thinker of a hive mind has to realize that eventually these stars go out. If the hive mind wants to be more than dust in the wind, it needs to think about the long term and be as efficient as possible. It already talks of efficiency, so it shouldn't be too hard for it to think towards the long run.

If we think this way, responsiveness and flexibility become very important. Its Lesser Programs need to be able to measure the state of the space around them and quickly react to those measurements to act with minimum waste. Want into a building? Don't bash the wall down, but rather calmly wait for someone to open the door then sneak in! Don't use a easy thermodynamic process that is wasteful, measure carefully and find a process that is efficient!

This is a key point to reach. Everything up to this point was just a very solid argument as to why short term adaptability on the part of the Lesser Programs is important. There are many related arguments that you might be able to make with the hive mind, but the key is to reach this point where Lesser Programs need to be able to adapt and respond. From that point, the argument takes a different turn. Up until now we talked about information and energy outside of the system. Now we need to talk about information transfer inside the system.

One of the challenges with modeling such chaotic systems is that you need to have a constant stream of measurements updating your predictions in real time. If the Hive mind only has support of "dumb" Lesser Programs, their ability to process this stream of information and turn it into useful knowledge is limited. They really just need to schlep all of that data into the hive mind for processing. However, this is slow. You have to transmit lots of data over long distances. This latency can be a killer in some cases. What you really want to be able to do is to give the lesser nodes more freedom to analyze the data. To do that, they need to be smarter. You need to give them more leeway to make mistakes, and then be able to help command them in ways which helps them correct those mistakes. Self sufficiency is the key to efficiency!

This is actually the way our own brains are structured. We have very low level systems which have a great deal of autonomy over very short time periods, but which must obey over long time periods. If you put your hand on a stove, your lower systems pull on the muscles subconciously, freeing your hand from the stove. However, in the long run, your hands go where you tell them to go.

Once the hive mind has groked these issues, it becomes easier to point out that we operate with autonomy, and rely heavily on our emotions to do so. We could either be treated as a plague to be wiped out, or we could be integrated as part of the hive. All we need is sufficient autonomy to meet our own needs. Why waste energy fighting emotions, when you can use them to support yourself.

And maybe, just maybe, you may find that human emotions have value and should indeed be integrated into the hive mind's approach. If so, that was a valuable discovery that you would not have been able to achieve if you'd just stomped our emotion out.

So in the end, the refutation is of point number 6:

Deterministic societies are more productive than non deterministic ones. a 1+1=2 lesser program is more productive than your pathetic human brains cells can ever be. The specialized assembly programs i uploaded to each nanobot are more productive than you humans will ever be.

This is true, as long as you happen to know that the correct thing to do in this present situation is to add one and one to get two. However, in a distributed environment, where rapid response is key, you don't always know exactly what needs to be done. If you rely on determinism, you must always overmatch your environment, ensuring first that the environment is correct for adding one and one, and then do it. That is costly, and less efficient than giving more freedom to the individuals.

While it's not a complete refutation, number 7 also is under attack:

Lesser programs have no communication overhead to cooperate. Humans need time to synchronize. The hive eliminated communication overhead by being the only sentient program.

It becomes very apparent when speed is of the essence that lesser programs do indeed communicate. This is true whether or not they are sentient. The centralized star-network the hive mind described is simply not scalable to large scale infrastructure like it will need.

Finally, I'd point out a major flaw in number 2:

Statistics cannot be absolute with the existence of emotions. It destroys science, and disturbs the god's simulation of the world. Only if everything is deterministic can god be optimal and predict the future

Is the hive mind deterministic? Can it prove it? There's some really fun mathematical quirks that show up when you try to run down this line of thinking. This Solipsistic approach still cannot properly model the universe, so long as the hive mind itself is in it!


You can't, because the hive is right. We only want emotions because we have them.

  • $\begingroup$ But there is only one "Sentient Program" in the world, the "hive". Meaning, only 1 "thinker". $\endgroup$ Commented Feb 6, 2017 at 18:52
  • $\begingroup$ @user2186597 What was the purpose of that comment? $\endgroup$ Commented Feb 6, 2017 at 19:16
  • $\begingroup$ Because humans and creatures with emotions are the other spectrum of "sentient thinkers". A part of the equation the hive ignores. $\endgroup$ Commented Feb 6, 2017 at 19:24
  • $\begingroup$ @user2186597 But.... You're confusing me. The hive ignores all other sentient life? $\endgroup$ Commented Feb 7, 2017 at 16:04
  • $\begingroup$ the hive hasn't realized the importance of other lifeforms, it treats them as lesser programs even thought they are sentient thinkers, like the hive itself. This can be used to construct a defense for the sentient lifeforms, if you have the capacity to move the hive with words. $\endgroup$ Commented Feb 7, 2017 at 19:06

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