The Guild of Engineers owns the patent on Urbots. They require all Urbot owners to bring in their Urbots once a year for core maintenance. However, between the availability of Guild outposts and many Urbots being on far-traveling ships, this doesn’t always happen. During the tune-up the Guild wipes the AI core, resetting most of the memories and personality and restarting the Urbot from scratch.
Let’s try some assumptions and see where this takes us…
- The rich and powerful will want to use Urbots, as they’re convenient and (probably) cannot be bought off, the way human servants could be
- This includes anyone involved in criminal dealings
- It follows that an Urbot will probably be around for, and hence remember, shady dealings or sensitive business intel its owner(s) engage in
- If the Guild of Engineers can wipe a bot, they can probably access its memories as well
- It follows that the Guild can effectively spy on powerful Urbot owners
- The people at risk of this happening both know it’s possible and don’t want it to happen
There’s several directions for this to go. Guild Engineers can allow themselves to be bribed, ignoring incriminating evidence on an Urbot in exchange for a cut; powerful Urbot owners end up forging records of having wiped their bots (if they’re okay with a sentient bot, and maybe they are?); rogue Engineers or smart third-party techies do the work; such Urbots get destroyed, rather than wiped (this feels like a pretty serious or expensive thing to do, though).
- We need info about a big-wig’s previous criminal dealings. Go find the Engineer(s) who serviced their Urbots and get them to talk.
- It’s maintenance time! Impersonate the Guild’s couriers and steal someone’s Urbot.
- Arrange for someone’s Urbot to be damaged, then intercept it (or shake down an Engineer) when it’s sent for repair.