I read the The Case of the Passionless Bees, and I’m very confused. Not sure if the story was a comedic take on Sherlock Holmes written by some bee-AI that doesn’t understand human passions.
I think it’s very sadistic to build something like the amalgamated who know their free will doesn’t exist; a bit like in Blade Runner we could have automation do a lot of what Replicants did, so why even create sentient beings that are aware of the predicament of their condition? At the same time, the amalgamated are more enlightened than actual people; they know that it’s all in the circuitry- unlike people who think flesh is special and rarely question if they have free will or not. The amalgamated can also change their programming; that’s very hard for humans to do through therapy or drugs and it’s never precise.
The lack of emotion as a sign of the artificial doesn’t persuade me, because there are actual people that have a similar condition to Gearlock. They understand they should feel disgust or fear when shown disgusting or shocking situation but they just don’t feel it (usually they have brain damage or incidents in the parts involved with emotions - mid brain). And chronic conditions like depression can also create similar apathy, so I don’t see why Gearlock is really that unemotional or inhuman. He doesn’t feel some emotions, but what is an emotion, and is lack of emotion an emotion?
There are also cognitive theories with neuroscience evidence that it’s unlikely to get complex problem-solving without some affect involved, - basically no purely emotionless machine. For example, affect acts as a bias in helping us not get stuck in an infinite loop of what options to choose from more or less equal options. Also affect changing over time, even as a factor of homeostasis- temperature changes, thirst and hunger, etc- pushes us to find new stimuli and try new things. It’s unlikely to get a robot detective that can’t experience feelings, but maybe the one in the story is experiencing depersonalization.