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Doctor Who (and Captain Jack) sometimes made use of Psychic Paper as a plot device. Could the paper be used against Artificial Intelligences? It was used as an Oyster card in Planet of the Dead.

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  • I don't think the psychic paper, nor AI, have been sufficiently well defined in the Who cosmos to answer this, unless there is an instance of the paper having been tried on AI which I am forgetting. I suspect that the answer would depend on the nature of the AI - does telepathy work on it? – Politank-Z Jun 10 '16 at 17:30
  • Honestly there's no mention of psychic paper ever being used on robots.. Psychic Paper in essence is a form of psychic manipulation. In Doctor Who there was never any mention of Artificial Intelligence using psychic powers.. The closest thing is machines using similar forms of psychic abilities such as The TARDIS creating a psychic field and telepathy circuits. – DoctorWho22 Jun 10 '16 at 19:06
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    @DoctorWho22 Seems like you have an answer, which should go in an answer. – user31178 Jun 10 '16 at 19:58
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    This answer provides a nice summary of the ways psychic paper can be defeated. If an AI fits any of those categories, then the psychic paper would have no effect on the AI, If the AI does not fit any of those categories, then the psychic paper could be effective on the AI. I'll leave it to you to decide whether you think an AI fits any of those categories. – Waylan Jun 10 '16 at 20:30
  • I would have argued that a machine that reads an Oyster card is pretty dumb on the AI scale (with a liberal definition of AI) and wouldn't have much imagination, but apparently was still fooled. – user66716 Jun 10 '16 at 21:51
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Probably, with caveats

According to the wiki, in “Kill the Moon,” Courtney is described as using the Doctor’s psychic paper as a credit card. In addition, in the episode “Army of Ghosts,” the Doctor employs his psychic paper against a computer system, by using it instead of a keycard.

Since the psychic paper works on computer systems, there seems to be no reason it would not work on somewhat more advanced AIs as well. Either they are like computer systems (in which case the paper could work on them) or they are closer to conscious entities (in which case the paper might work on them).

That said, the psychic paper can fail against specific AIs, much as it has failed against specific humans, such as George from “Flatline,” William Shakespeare, and even trained Torchwood One employees.

For example, the Gatebots from Attack of the Gatebots were immune to psychic paper:

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That the Doctor considered it “worth a try” to use the psychic paper suggests that it is not ineffective against all robotic entities.

That said, for an AI with advanced reasoning abilities (not a mere computer system), any one of the caveats that prevent use of psychic paper on humans might come into play:

  • The AI is too creative or intelligent (like Shakespeare).
  • The AI is trained in resisting psychic attack (like the Torchwood operatives).
  • The AI is too literal (like George).
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  • The use of the word "these" gives the possibility that it does work on some robots. – Rogue Jedi Sep 11 '16 at 23:33
  • I like how they give Eleven fish lips and dark eyebrows in the comics. Two things he lacks in person. – user40790 Sep 12 '16 at 15:09

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