Synthetiks-related news (Dec 2009): Prelude

typed for your pleasure on 7 December 2009, at 12.55 am

Sdtrk: ‘Geraldine’ by Glasvegas

You lot have been warned: the December instalment of ‘Any Synthetiks-related news…?’ will be a veritable freight train. So as a bit of an hors d’œuvre (or, if you like, a plateful of hushpuppies), we have ‘Sex Slaves, Polls, and Ethics’, courtesy of the Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies (found via Alice Keenan):

For now, it seems clear in the not-too-distant future a leading commercial application for personal robots could be as “companions” and/or sex toys. So, we thought it would be amusing to post a poll asking our readers what specialty they would find most useful in a robot they might own someday.

Here are the results:

the rest of the article is here

On two separate occasions, fellow blogscribes veach and SafeT had put the question to me about whether having an Android or Gynoid companion constitutes a form of slavery, as although they might have artificial intelligence that’s complex enough to simulate an Organik personality to a reasonable degree, the fact that many technosexuals would have it so that our artificial partners would never even think of being with someone else might carry a whiff of slavery issues. Obviously, answering that sort of question properly would turn this post into a full-blown essay, but personally, I’d answered it once as no, it wouldn’t be slavery, as slavery implies that a person (Organik, Synthetik, you get the idea) was living a life of contentment, until the point where they were taken out of that contented life against their will. Now if you have an artificial person that hadn’t even existed before they were shipped off to live with whomever had them assembled, then it’s not slavery. It’s more of a 21st century version of an arranged marriage, if you think about it. Like I said, it’s a bit of a sticky issue — not completely, but somewhat.
Interestingly enough, in the comments for that IEEE poll, a Michael Bone of Toronto wrote

What bothered me was not the inclusion of ‘sex slave’ as an option, but the fact that it was the only case that explicitly included ‘slave’. This would be considered an inexcusable methodological flaw if you meant for your poll to be taken seriously.

That said, I was rather surprised by the percentage of ‘sex slave’ respondents. I just hope it is because they were able to see beyond the rhetoric.

At any rate, I’m sure groups such as the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Robots, among others, will be on the case…

In a similar vein, Everhard, Stepford-on-Sea’s most famous iDollator, has written a short but interesting essay about perceptions of people, particularly Organik females, to men who have chosen the iDollator lifestyle, with the rather Ballardian title of ‘Impact of Distress from Perceived Infidelity with a Doll‘.

It is assumed that, because of the realism of these dolls, people react to them much as they react to real women, at least in terms of sexual jealousy and related emotions. That such emotions arise from the assumed fertility of a sexually attractive female—while a doll is infertile—is no contradiction because the dolls are made specifically to appear fertile and to arouse associated instincts.
the rest of the article is here

Somewhat related: I was once in a brief debate with someone — we were firing comments at each other on YouTube — who said that although she liked the idea of Dolls and Gynoids in general, she wasn’t keen on the concept of men having them as romantic and / or sexual partners, as ‘for every man that chooses andriods [sic] over a real women [sic] is one woman that doesn’t have that man as a partner,’ unquote. She seems to believe in the school of thought that ‘there’s someone out there for everyone if you just look hard enough’, whereas I believe there’s someone out there for everyone if you have them assembled and programmed for you. Her standpoint is an idealistic one, based on the premise that even if Organik people screw you over, you can simply try and try again to find a mate, which is great for some people, but unfortunately isn’t the solution for all people. And not to be antagonistic, but her standpoint is also a bit short-sighted, technology-wise. If your Synthetik partner has enough ‘draw’, meaning, enough physical appeal to attract you and keep you attracted, and enough behavioural programming to simulate what you want out of that partner, then what more would you need, really?
To be honest, her comments had an underlying tone of ‘if men choose Gynoids over Organik women, where will that leave Organik women?’ That’s always rankled me, cos it assumes that all men, once Gynoids become available on the consumer market, will suddenly stop dating Organik women forever and go for the affictitious option. Isn’t that a silly way of thinking? On the contrary, she should instead consider that those men who want Synthetik female partners will go after them, thereby reducing an Organik woman’s dating prospects to just men who specifically desire an Organik partner. And everyone’s happy! You simply have to think of it in the context of the long game, that’s all…

It seems the Good People at KnightHorse had a modest little celebration back in October!

[October] marked a big date for us, and for Yvette. On October 27th we celebrated Yvette’s birthday. The very first Lovable Doll was pulled from the mold on October 27th 2008 and has enjoyed a year of actively modeling her many looks.

Not only did Yvette hold a party with her friends (hey, where were our invites??), but Matt K and Bronwen will be retooling their website very soon, to mark the company’s first anniversary. Onward and upward, KnightHorse!


Ten bucks says they’ll eat those cakes using just their hands

Also, they’ve just kicked off a pretty fab contest for a worthy cause that you might want to look into. Especially if you have any interest whatsoever in bOObs…

And in the Sad Stories With Happy Endings front, my poor wee Shi-chan had some rather important surgery done this past Saturday. Sometime during the latter half of the summer, her back broke. Keep in mind that her body is several years old, and Entropy unfortunately affects Dolls almost as much as it affects Organiks. I figured she’d be in slightly less danger, as she pretty much spends her days lounging round in bed as a matter of course, but eventually, the bottom end of her spinal column wore a one-inch wide slit through the silicone at the base of her back. Yeah, you can pretty much imagine the look on my face when I discovered that.
So this past Friday, whilst driving home with Mari from my father’s house, she rang Euchre to let him know we weren’t stopping round that eve, as we’d been at my dad’s for like 4+ hours and were knackered. But she’d mentioned Shi-chan’s predicament to him, and Euchre almost immediately handed the phone to Mahtek, who just happened to be round at his that night, and he agreed to stop round the next day to see what he could do.

Luckily, the Missus’ spine wasn’t broken, but the bolt that held it in place into her pelvis had worked itself loose — her body’s several years old, y’know — but Mahtek, with Euchre’s salient help and the pervasive sense of worry that I provided to the whole ordeal, was able to reattach one joint to the other after about three hours’ worth of labour. Now she’s lying on her stomach in bed, hogging the electric blanket and complaining that it’s impossible for her to read in that position. She’s on the road to recovery!


Reminds me of when Mick Jagger put his hand through that plate-glass window back in 1975

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again — thanks, gents, from both of us!

Right; I’ll draw a line under it here. Look for the actual ‘Any Synthetiks-related news…?’ post relatively soooooon

Random similar posts, for more timewasting:

Any Synthetiks-related news, Davecat? (May 2013): Part II on May 23rd, 2013

Definitely pressing the right buttons on February 5th, 2013

18 have spoken to “Synthetiks-related news (Dec 2009): Prelude”

  1. veach writes:

    Once knew a lass who had a kidney operation and her scar looked almost the same.

    Your YouTube debater’s point of view seems to be painted with the same brush as those on the ‘legalizing gay marriage will undermine our old fashioned non-gay ones’ bandwagon. Their non-logical thinking makes my logic itch.

  2. Kat writes:

    Ouch! I suppose the good thing is that you dont have to have the repair job you had that one time where you had to ship her off to someone else.

    Kat

  3. Mahtek writes:

    The same argument against relationships with Gynoids could be used (just as ineffectually) against gays, interracial relationships, religious celibacy, and marriage in general.

    Any of these activities potentially reduce the pool of her available mates. This, of course, assumes that every person whom she would be interested must remain available until she makes her choice. A very selfish requirement on her part.

    I’m happy to have been able to help Sidore. It certainly isn’t my prettiest work, but Sidore’s silicone has gotten so soft it’s hard not to get unintended tears when digging in deep. Any more problems, please tell me before they become critical! I’ll schedule more time.

  4. Davecat writes:

    veach –
    Well, chicks dig scars! O, wait. 🙂

    And yeah, the illogical logic behind the lass on YouTube was getting on my wick. She had made disparaging comments on other videos featuring Gynoids, and yet she has this laundry list of freedoms that she supports on her profile, such sex, sexuality, gender, colour, science, speech, etc. She was contradicting herself! I’d put forth my case in an even-handed fashion, but when your audience actively doesn’t make any goddamn sense, then you have to move on before your brain boils like an egg. Gah; people.
    I’m not opposed to debate, but hey, can you not be a hypocrite??

    Kat-chan –
    It was pretty fab to actually have the doctor make a housecall! In fact, I’d suggested to Mahtek that he buy one of those old-timey physician’s bags. It would totally work! But somehow I don’t think it’d contain the exquisite collection of torque wrenches he’d had. 🙂

    Mahtek –
    ‘Any of these activities potentially reduce the pool of her available mates. This, of course, assumes that every person whom she would be interested must remain available until she makes her choice. A very selfish requirement on her part.’
    THANK YOU. THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU. Yeah, it’s like: ulterior motive much? That’s some pretty screwed-up thinking. But it’s kinda par for the course…

    And the Missus and I thank you again! Don’t worry about the tears; the structural repair was the most important. Better tears on her back than tears on her front, right?
    Thanks again again, sir! *bows deeply, strikes head on dresser*

  5. Lauren writes:

    In response to youtube female:

    Apparently girls are still reading Chobits on the planet of copper colored ponies and ribbons. Seriously though, I understand where she’s coming from as person who is generally paranoid, but that seems to be an almost selfish projection of loneliness on the general population of male-kind. Maybe when our intensely high population crashes, we’ll consider that option.

    Do you have like a secret “for weird internet people so they still don’t know past my secret identity” post box where I could mail you something? I crocheted a little something for Sidore. 🙂

    I’ve been really into My Fake Baby. I am less skeptical than I was initially, but I think this ties in with the slavery aspect of this post where this forced manifestation of helplessness makes me uncomfortable. Not to make unprecedented value judgments, but it’s hard to watch someone trying to replicate a person with a doll rather than seeing the doll as it’s own being.

  6. PBShelley writes:

    Hallo DC and the still-and-ever-exquisite Sidore-chan: *reminds self to shorten my greets*

    Great post and suspenseful too! We’re happy that the Missus pulled through like the champ she is, with Mahtek and Euchre’s able assistance. I’m sure that your pervasive sense of worry helped speed things along as well 🙂

    As for your happily lengthy post, I hope that I haven’t become a bad influence on you 😛 Well, I guess any influence is better than none, assuming that I’m not assuming too much! ‘Cos my posts are LOOOONNNNGGGG :-O I figure that if somebody’s going to bother to drop by the Blog, it’s far better to give them something meaty than yet more scraps off the bone. So to speak.

    (I’d comment more on the poll and the Knighthorse Party and Ev’s perceptive comment but I’m trying to keep this short *cough*)

    Speaking of which, and indirectly connected with Ms Lauren’s reply above, I JUST did a post on Dolls and Chobits. Whoa, synchronicity in action! Actually, I think it would do some girls good to watch Chobits; perhaps they’d come to a conclusion that didn’t equate to Synthetiks = Bad. Of course, for one young woman it was just that. (Hideki’s teacher, whose husband literally forgot about her due to his exalting his own little piece of synthetik-heaven.)

    Infatuation/obsession with technology can be a negative thing, but a balanced and positive outlook can negate the negativity, as evidenced by “The Town With No People”, Chi’s picture book. Both sides were presented in Chobits thoughtfully, I felt, just like any good debate ought to be. UNlike YouTube duels 😛

    Oh, and I found it fairly amusing to note that the poll’s #1 position was “house cleaning”! Although the ill-advised use of “slave” probably put more than a few voters off. Actually, I think that a lot of people take a lot things a bit too seriously… a lot.

    Politically correct disclaimer not ‘cos I am but to illustrate my point: AND YES I KNOW SLAVERY IS SERIOUS!!! Okay. We are living in the age of the too-easily-offended-and-outraged. I’m just sayin’.

    Please give our recuperative regards to Sidore, with gentle hugs if you’d please,
    ~PBS, with the help of Lily, Eden, Soony, and Pennie 🙂

  7. Marco Martillo writes:

    I just feel like replying to the question of female jealousy and perceived competition.
    OK? I read Everhards little article, and that really hit a bell in my tower because I am sterile. (By the way, I am an Organik Male)
    So, the whole breeder based psych-theory seems moot to me, but not irrelevent. I have very little sex drive as compared to the standard issue breeder, but women percieve me as sexy.
    Sexy I am NOT! Also, I am a musician, and not one of the ones who took up the guitar ‘to get girls’. I love music, and I love the intimacy of playing music with other musicians.
    This occupation however truly does have the percieved effect on the opposite sex. Now, after many years of disappointing Organic Females, by not impregnating them,
    and also not turning out to be equivelant to her fantasy, I have come to understand something very important about the O.F. breeder.
    These women DO NOT perceive men for the true nature of the man, but for the imagined traits that they expect to be endowed upon their offspring, based on their own fantasies.
    So, regardless of how sincerely I might care for the needs of a woman who has fallen in love with me, the fact that there is no way of providing for the most imperative will always result in a failed relationship.
    I have always had a love of dolls, and dreamed of being able to create very realistic dolls as play things. I have never thought of an O.F. as a plaything, but at this point in my life a plaything is all that interests me.
    When I recently discovered what excellent dolls are now available I became totally fascinated with them. My choice of dolls are the 4woods dolls, one of which is featured on Doll Coffeshop.
    They are expensive, but I have spent as much on musical rigs. I am determined to get one, and I will truly enjoy it. I am not sure if I will be aroused by it, and won’t be disappointed if not.
    But I will really have fun dressing it up, and cudling it, and posing it, and photographing it much in a similar vein of love that I have for my musical instruments. (which is pretty intense)
    I have experienced an O.F.’s jealousy of musical instruments in musicians’ relationships. So where does that leave breeder theories? I don’t know what to think of that.
    Marco

  8. Everhard writes:

    About women (“O.F. breeders”) being jealous of Marco’s musical instruments; somebody on the doll forum posted a similar experience about his wife or girl friend being jealous of his new sporty motorcycle (whereas she was not jealous of his old clunky motorcycle). I suspect this is a case of indirect jealousy of (organic) rivals: The future rivals she (unconsciously) fears the new bike or musical instrument is likely to attract. Jealousy in advance.

    The sun is out today, although it is very cold, and I plan to take an outdoor photo of Laura, my 4woods doll. Especially for Marco!

  9. Everhard writes:

    Update: The sun is too low to get an outdoor pic and, when I tried a sunlit indoor photo, the contrast was too great (as it usually is with my digital camera). So I closed the blinds and took this photo:
    http://www.dollcoffeeshop.com/LauraGallery7/Laura4woods2009_12_12-81webS.html

    Larger version:
    http://www.dollcoffeeshop.com/LauraGallery7/Laura4woods2009_12_12-81web.html

  10. Annie writes:

    Love ya Shi-Chan. Hope your man treats you to some B & J’s Ice Cream and a back massage 🙂

  11. Davecat writes:

    Lauren –
    Why yes, I do happen to have an address for packages and the like! I’ll send it to you through the usual channels — and thank you, from both of us! 🙂

    Yeah, My YouTube Rival appears to have not only serious issues with the concept of artificial people, but also seriously groundless fears that artificial women will render ‘real’ women obsolete. Did she not realise that that ‘Don’t Date Robots!’ film from ‘Futurama’ was satire?
    I mean, it’s one thing to say ‘woe is me, no men will go out with me’, but it’s another thing to say ‘woe is me, no men will go out with me cos they’re all going after robots’. You’re entirely right; it’s a selfish projection, and being blunt, Gynoids are the last thing she needs to be blaming for her being single.

    One of these days, I’ll get round to viewing ‘My fake baby’. I’ll make sure the Missus is with me when I do so, as that’d be entirely appropriate. 😉 Maybe I’ll hunt down a download as I’m typing this! MULTITASKING RAH
    Despite the prevalence of affictitious beings in that documentary, I’ve not gone out of my way to see it cos… really, I’m not too keen on babies. Drool factories. Although if I’d ever want a baby, that’d be the only option I’d consider, obviously. My father has always said he’s wanted a grandson; perhaps I should buy him a reborn baby! 😉

    ‘It’s hard to watch someone trying to replicate a person with a doll rather than seeing the doll as it’s own being.’
    Not to go on about this, cos you’re actually raising an interesting idea for a possible future post, but you’re familiar with Astro Boy/Tetsuwan Atomu, yes? In the original manga, Astro Boy was created as a replacement for Dr Tenma’s son Tobio, who died in an auto accident. Astro of course went on to subsequent fame and fortune, etc. The story ‘L’Ève future’, aka ‘Tomorrow’s Eve’, written by Auguste Villiers de l’Isle-Adam, tells of a man who’s disconsolate over the shallowness and capriciousness of his Organik fiancée, so his buddy Thomas Edison (!!!) builds an improved Gynoid replica of her. One of the Heisei-era Ultraman series (can’t remember which one) had a team member who was killed in action, and replaced by a Synthetik clone. I’m fairly sure there are other examples of this sort of thing. Is it better to have a Synthetik replacement of a person that already exists, or is it possibly objectionable on moral grounds? I’m not entirely sure. Maybe when I write that post I’ll be closer to an answer…

    PBS and da ladeeez –
    I’ve honestly no idea why these posts are getting longer! Apart from attempting to stuff multiple posts into a single post, that is. It’s like Voltron, but with words! No, what I need to do for next year is break that sort of thing up. I mean, really. I look at October 2005, and that had a staggering twenty-one posts?? I mean, how did I manage that?? Less words per post, more than likely. 🙂

    Y’know, I’ve never seen more than the first episode of Chobits. One day I’ll get round to it, and it’s not like I didn’t like what I saw, but it just came across as too twee and too moe for my tastes. I’ll make an effort to read your recent post, and to check out that ‘Town with no people’ episode, though! Man, I am running behind in ev er y thing.

    And as regards the IEEE poll, I wonder how many people ticked the choice ‘housecleaning’, cos they didn’t want to be caught ticking ‘sex slave’. To make the poll less loaded, they really should’ve had ‘partner / companion’ as a choice, instead of ‘sex slave’. Or, at the very least, ‘love poppet’. 😉

  12. Davecat writes:

    Marco –
    ‘[Organik female breeders] DO NOT perceive men for the true nature of the man, but for the imagined traits that they expect to be endowed upon their offspring, based on their own fantasies.’
    THANK YOU. THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU. After reading that particular sentence, I’m reminded of a quote I’d read on 4chan… at least, I think it was on 4chan:

    The use of a doll is just about the same as the use of another person, for many people, and I would bet, for most of the single people here. Relationships can be when two people relate with each other, or they can be a case of two people using each other but having no actual connection.

    You date, find someone, and each of you begins having a relationship of your own imagination, for which the other is the object of your affections and illusions. That is the same as a doll. That your ability to resemble each other’s ideal lasts a while is fine, but as soon as you are forced to deal with the person as they are, and be yourself in turn, it creates conflict and you bail. Then you go online looking for another person to do it all again. In the case of real people or dolls, the relationships exist entirely within your own mind, but with the doll, it’s one-way, and you don’t fight.

    Hundreds of people get into relationships, and they start out wonderfully, but at some point, each person involved — or maybe just one of them — sees their partner for who they actually are, as opposed to the idealised person that they fell in love with. And that’s when the carcrash occurs. Not everyone dies in a carcrash, but the average result is serious injury. One of my main reasons for being an iDollator and promoting that lifestyle is to avoid the metaphorical carcrash. Why court disaster?

    Marco, you certainly seem to be approaching things in the correct fashion! Thanks for your input, and if you need any advice regarding an artificial companion, do get in touch with me again, or you can also consult…

    Everhard –
    That’s a valid point that the TDF poster made, I think — pre-jealousy. I mean, I understand the dating scene is extraordinarily cut-throat, but a lot of that sort of ‘suspicious of any other female’ type of thinking frankly borders on the paranoid. But what can one do? Apart from consider the Synthetik option, of course…

    And as always, Laura is a luscious wee lass! With her hair the way it is, plus her shoes and eyeliner, she kinda resembles my first New wave crush, Joanne Catherall of the Human League. *tongue-rolling noise*

  13. PBShelley writes:

    This is pretty late in replying but I’ll DO IT ANYWAY!!! Not that you’ll likely be having the time to watch Chobits, but…

    I should mention that “The Town With No People” picture book is not seen in only one episode, but is a running “mystery” in the series. Chii comes across the first volume in a store and is quite taken with it, so Hideki buys it for her. Many times when she’s left alone she’s seen reading it (and its sequels) to you, the viewer, and those sequences really do add another layer to the show… It’s deeper than it looks, especially for doll-owners (among others), which is probably why I saw it mentioned at TDF in the first place 😉

    Still, I do highly recommend it, even if for some reason you can’t stomach the CLAMP designs. The STORY, or stories, are what matters here. Many of those anime fans interested in the series were, unfortunately, put off by the infamous “pantsu” episode number four, and dismissed it thereafter as fluff, which (aside from that episode LOL) wasn’t the case. Just that ep 😛

    While not a masterpiece, to lovers of synthetiks it does take on significant meaning, and for that I’d say MAN UP AND GET PAST THE PANTSU!!!

    Oo-er!:-D

    I mean, sheesh, she only says it ONE HUNDRED AND SIXTEEN TIMES :-O Anyway, once you’re past that the story does begin to pick up pace, and the buildup to the Baker’s story that concludes around ep 12 will impress you in terms of sheer emotional impact. I think you’ll be hooked from that point on, if not before!

    And moe or not (she is), Chii’s a real darling 🙂

  14. Davecat writes:

    PBS and silicone sexpots –
    Chii’s picture book (as a plot device) sounds like a much-less unsettling version of ‘The Nameless Monster’, the book that helps shape a young Johan into an amoral sociopath in the anime / manga series ‘Monster’, which, is, of course, a taut, psychological thirller. As I am naturally allergic to spoilers, I’ll not say anything more, but it, much like ‘The Town with no People’, makes more sense in the context of the story the further along you get in the series.

    And I keep forgetting CLAMP had a hand in the character designs on ‘Chobits’! CLAMP is EVERYWHERE. I’m not averse to their art, although I would have to say that my favourite interpretation of their style would be the characters in ‘Code Geass’, but I would say that *coughnon-stopmechaactioncough*

    Like I said, I have to make time to get some a’ dat Chobits, but it’s on The List. 🙂

    PANTSU

  15. PBShelley writes:

    O hi there!

    I almost missed this old Post/Reply Sequence what with all the new News and such! BUT LET ME JUST SAY:

    “Monster — OMG!”

    I finally found a place from which to get all SEVENTY-FOUR eps (plus two soundtrack items), and today just finished getting the last three. Since the aforementioned Place only allows leechers to get 3 eps in any 24-hour period, it’s really been slow going. But, in the meantime, I’ve gotten through 61 episodes, and must declare (already) that this anime is truly a masterpiece.

    Only the most anal of critics could criticize it for (as an example) a drab palette, pedestrian animation, and similar-looking secondary characters… but really, these things don’t matter! What an awesome story, and full of twists, surprises, detours, and chills!

    It’s a pretty damn good “gateway” anime too, for introducing those less fortunate (i.e. “anime-less) to the art-form. In fact, Anime News Network just reviewed the just-released DVD partial (15 eps) and it’s all “A”s! Fitting for a series that consistently has been in the Top Ten all-time great animes 😉

    Here: http://www.animenewsnetwork.com/review/monster/dvd-box-set-1

    There.

    Back to “The Monster Without a Name” *cough*

    Johan… *shudder*

    OH. And Code Geass: NOT QUITE DEAD YET??? 😉

    ~PBS et al

  16. Davecat writes:

    Isn’t ‘Monster’ absolutely mental? 🙂 You’re right about it being a ‘gateway’ series as well; last year, I was reading it at my workplace, and one of my coworkers, who’d never read a manga in her life, or consistently watched any anime, enquired as to what I was reading. I told her, and as I was bringing two volumes with me per day, I let her look over the one I wasn’t reading. Despite the fact that the first one she’d seen was like vol.6 or 7, she was hooked. Now, I had all of the volumes with the exception of the one before the final one, cos I was having trouble finding it, but she was so engrossed in the story that she offered to just buy it off Amazon.com, so we could read all the way up to the thrilling conclusion!…

    I should let her know that it’s out officially on DVD now, as that should please her immensely! It’s a taut psychological thriller. 🙂

  17. PBShelley writes:

    Well, it’s 3AM and I just finished the final episode 74… what an incredible ride and journey’s end! I will definitely be buying this whenever I get some money, as it’s a MUST for any collection. Too bad the U.S. release omits the David Sylvian ending theme though. Oh well, can’t have everything!

    That ending… wow. Just… yeah. Since spoilers suck, I’ll just say it was well worth getting to 😉

    I do loves me some taut psychological thrillers 😛

  18. Davecat writes:

    *points slowly at own forehead*
    🙂

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