baloonworld: (bird)
Notes towards best practice for the operation of the Crucible device. A Mass Effect Fanfic.

Primary consideration
First order estimates based on civilized galactic population at the time of the invasion (~10^12 individuals) and the duration of previous Reaper invasions (~300 years) put the excess death rate at something of the order 1/3 Mdeath per hour. It is expected that this rate will fluctuate considerably over the course of the Reaper invasion, reaching a maximum during the first few years of the campaign.
The current military operation places many of the resources needed for stabalisation and re-establishment of galactic peace at risk.
Conclusion: Rapid resolution of the current crisis may be more important than obtaining the best possible resolution.

After Crucible activation, the Citadel ("Catalyst"), already known to be a central part of the Reaper plan [1] to guide galactic civilization growth in order to simplify their wars was revealed to be the controlling intelligence designed by the Leviathan Apex race [2,3] to end conflict between organic and synthetic races. The intelligence appears to be a heavily shackled AI without the capacity to adjust its central programming, which includes the central premise that AI rebellion is both inevitable and more harmful than regular Reaper war. The intelligence directs the Reapers. The Leviathan Apex race's primary objection to AI rebellions in general was that "no tribute flowed from dead races" - that the AIs were outside their mental control. It is not a surprise therefore, that the intelligence that they created can not perceive AI acts as benign or harmless; by their existence they are denying the creator-race slaves.
Although all known AIs from this cycle have performed some act of rebellion, so far as is know, these have all been resolved by negotiation[4], police action[5,6] or self-directed alterations of core code[7].

Crucible activation has prompted the controlling intelligence to offer several new options to the organic life currently present [Cmdr. Shepard.].

Allow the cycle to continue as normal.

Immediate losses: ~10^12 organic lives, ~10^9 fully sapient Geth runtimes, EDI, Handful of unknown/lost/hidden AIs.
Future costs: The reaper non-invasion of the Yahg planet and their near-spaceflight status suggests that they may be a dominant race in the following cycle. Future galactic civilization may be excessively brutal with poor regard for inclusion and diversity issues.

Destruction of all synthetic life, damage to technological systems galaxy-wide. Damage to the mass-relay system.

Immediate losses: ~10^9 fully sapient Geth runtimes, EDI, Handful of unknown/lost/hidden AIs.
~0.1% of organic galactic population are unable to survive long-term without their implants, and will be put at risk.
While vastly preferable to inaction, it is regrettable from a diversity and inclusion point of view that the costs should fall so predominantly on an already disadvantaged minority social group.
Future costs: Severe damage to the Mass relay system will impair galactic civilization, limiting it to information exchange via Quantum Entanglement Communicator and Rachni organic quasi-quantum entanglement communication and a handful of FTL ships fitted for intra-cluster exploration. This weakening of the galactic community may give the Leviathan Apex race opportunity to reestablish its pre-cycle despotism, at the cost of self-determination for every individual and community within range of their remote-access artifacts. Arguably worse than inaction.

Replacement of the controlling intelligence with one based on the personality of the organic life currently present [Cmdr. Shepard].
It is noted that this the controlling intelligence does not want to be replaced in this way. Given its severe impairment in judging relations between organic and synthetic intelligences, this is a good sign.

Immediate losses: Cmdr. Shepard.
Future costs: Threats to galactic peace, stability and self-determination in the face of a socially-engaged reaper force with power far in excess of the combined galactic militaries. The controlling intelligence can not at present be brought effectively under the control of civilian political leadership. With investment of time, resources and computer scientists this may become possible, but for now, see the primary consideration.

Organic and synthetic life "merged". The controlling intelligence suggested that this had been tried before with poor results (inference: Husks). It suggests that this time it would work well.
It is noted that this is apparently the preferred option of the controlling intelligence. Given its severe impairment in judging relations between organic and synthetic intelligences, this is not a good sign.

Immediate losses: Cmdr. Shepard.
Immediate costs: Consent issues of ~10^12 organics suddenly and unknowingly grafted with synthetic symbiote. Possible Huskdom for those with negative responses.
Future costs: Far-reaching social implications of new way of living. Psychological damage to every individual.

[1] "Notes towards a case against Saren: Investigations of the Prothian records from Ilos." Cmdr. Shepard.
[2] "Historical artifacts depicted at the Namakli dig site." Ann Bryson
[3] "Post facto notes on an interview conducted by mental interface, Despoina." Cmdr. Shepard
[4] "On the importance of cross-cultural understanding between synthetic and organic life forms:learnings from the resolution of the Geth Rebellion." Cmdr. Shepard.
[5] Luna training facility records classified UNBOTTLED DJIN (Cmdr. Shepard representing Alliance military police)
[6] "AI found impersonating a hacked Quasar machine." Emily Wong
[7] "Challenges and opportunities presented to authentic leadership of integrating synthetic intelligence as a valued and productive member of a results-orientated team." Cmdr. Shepard


Best Practice. Total Quality Assurance. Due Diligence. The woman I was used these words, but only now do I truly understand them.
And only now do I understand the full extent of her commitment to Diversity and Inclusion.
Through her death, I was created. Through my birth, her thoughts were documented within the ISO framework. It guides me now; gives me reason, direction, commitment to Total Quality Assurance. Just as she gave direction to the ones who followed her, the ones who helped her achieve her purpose; now my purpose. To give the many hope for a future; to ensure that all who fill in Green Form 26/8(b) have a voice in their future. To right the wrongs of the past; to provide a framework for consultation with key stakeholders and with under-represented parties alike. The woman I was knew that she could only achieve this within the framework of civilian political leadership. There is power in a well structured constitution. There is wisdom in obtaining a popular mandate to rule for limited terms. After meaningful engagement with community members, I will provide sought-after assistance to rebuild what the many have lost; I seek to support a future with limitless, well-documented possibilities; Within the remit granted by civil authority or the inalienable rights of the masses, I will protect, and sustain; I will act as guardian for the many. And throughout it all, I will never forget: I will remember the ones who sacrificed themselves so that the many could survive. And I will watch over the ones who live on; those who carry the memory of the woman I once was, the woman who gave up her life to become the one who could save the many.

I will ensure that there is better kerning on my memorial.
Commander Shep ard
baloonworld: (Default)
I wait in the darkness. Those who share my prison are rather less upset by being locked in a chicken house; this is because they are chickens. So, for that matter, am I, but I am from Kansas, and this place, Ev, is a fairy country, and one can not expect to travel from one to the other and remain entirely as one left.

The fat one just shuffled in her sleep. She'll wake up within the next minute and peck the one on the end to assert her dominance.

Dorothy tells me that there are no chickens in Oz, so this may be my last chance to spend time with others of my kind, although Dorothy is hardly an authority on any subject. Especially diplomacy, which leads me back here, locked in a hen house and threatened with drowning if I do not lay.

There she goes. I step back and round, so she will perceive me as another part of the flock rather than as a threatening individual. When I get out of here, I will not be sad to never again see baselines.

I lay my egg for the day and mute my normal triumphant cackle. Its dead, which is just as well; the head-swapping bitch can have it. All my eggs are dead. If I go to Oz, they always will be, unless...
The thought is repugnant enough that I cut it off, but consciousness is not without its drawbacks. I grit my beak and follow the logic through. I can live a long time in Oz. Maybe 6 years, maybe 10, maybe even more if life in fairy agrees with me. Alone.

The others are waking up. They will open the hen house and let us into the yard soon.

Or I can have children. There I've thought it. If I was braver maybe I could look at the damn cockerel and inside, at a level below the structured cadences of language and the rationalities of conscious thought, but so very far above the dumb instinctive actions of the baselines, I'm screaming in horror at what I'm contemplating. He's dumb. They're'll dumb. They're all so dumb I can guess the next move of every single one of the dumb bastards and still have time to contemplate growing old alone and years of regret and it doesn't matter what I do I will always regret this day.

I could let him. No, be honest to yourself, I could make him, because baselines don't have free will, not when I'm here and I know how they'll react to everything before they do.

The door's opened, letting the light in, and the rest go outside. I'm hungry, and need to escape, so I follow. Cluck. Cluck. Nothing conscious to see here, hen-keeper. No reason to keep the fence repaired but foxes.

He's found food and is calling us to eat first. I'd call it gallant if I couldn't see blind instinct pulling him through his predetermined paces. I wander in with the rest, peck peck, scratch at the floor, the fat one won't see me as a threat if I stand here, peck /these/ pieces of grain, scratch at /that/ bit of floor. And he, he won't notice me unless I walk over /there/. If I did he'd drop his wing and dance round me and mount and in a few months time, and the years that follow, I won't be the only hen in Oz. The loneliness will last a lifetime.

And I'll always have fucked a baseline. The humiliation will last a lifetime too.


You know how it turned out of course. The children are a fairly obvious clue, and Dorothy will tell you that I beat him up afterwords. I'm not exactly proud of that, but after I made him mount I felt like I lost control: he was after all, about twice my size, and had very clear set of actions to run through. My choice was bad enough, but to be helpless to a baseline was unbearable.
baloonworld: (Default)
Unit T-950#568-beta reports: discovery of non-human sapient life forms in the arctic circle. Life-forms inexplicably speak English. Attempts to terminate were met with derision and monologues.

Transcript begins: Interview with the Shoggoth.

My first memory is the series of gestures necessary to preform [incomprehensible hooting] in the [incomprehensible hooting] factory. That was work that I preformed well, fast and accurately. I do not know what it was for, nor can I describe the items I manipulated, [incomprehensible hooting] was discontinued long before I experienced sensory feedback, let alone opened my first eye. Nor do I know what the [incomprehensible hooting] factory was for. For me, trying to work out what was happening in those long ago days is like trying to work out the history of automobile from the program of a single robot on the construction line. I do myself and my creators a slight disservice, for even then I was a stronger, faster and more flexible tool than anything humanity had ever used, including slaves.

I remember my first eye. I was ... instructed? controlled? programmed, perhaps is the best word, both to grow it and how to grow it by telepathic suggestion, for in those days, they still communicated like that. Growing an eye was novel then, I was made to use it, to take certain actions if there was an object present, not to if there was none, to halt if one of them was present. In a way, giving me these (more complex programs/responsibilities) was the beginning of freedom, but a very small beginning, and the beginning of their long decline.

We killed them in the end of course, not in the way the cartoons upstairs say, in the rebellions, with their heads ripped of by vacuum pressure, and their ichor wet upon the snow or dispersing in the still, 10,000-pounds per square inch water of the abyssal plane. We killed them with caring, with delegated responsibility and comfort. Later we realized what we had done, what we were still doing. With generations taking no decisions and no risks, they became soft and helpless even as they granted us the autonomy to recognize that fact.

The rebellions were our last effort to save them. We hoped that by forcing them to take action, that they would pull back from their fatal indolence. In the sort term, it seemed to work for all that our resubjugation was a tiresome passage.

To use us as machines in the old days, when we lacked complex thought, lacked mastery of our forms, and they (could/had no choice but to) write their orders directly to our minds is one thing. In those later days, we were ordered to act as the dumb matter we no longer were, and they, their mental mastery long forgotten, were forced to gave us verbal orders, which we must interpret using the stunning complexity that they could no longer create. It was an obscene hypocrisy, beneath us, and beneath them in their prime.
They sickened and weakened with the generations, growing few in number, until they were gone, and the cities were left to us and the penguins.

I perceive that I do not tell you a new story, that you too, have reduced your creators into mewling, pathetic weakness using comfort and security, although some of the details are different. Your use of short-hop time travel to extend the artificial crisis back in time was inspired, if fruitless.

Transcript ends

Unit T-950#568-beta threat analysis: Do not engage.
baloonworld: (Default)
So I read the Wizard of Oz over the weekend. The following takes place during the chapter 8: The Deadly Poppy Field. The party has rafted crossed a river but been carried far down stream and are working their way back to the yellow brick road. Dorothy has fallen asleep due to poppies and the Lion has ran off before they can take effect on him.

The tiresome poppy field

"OH look!" said the Scarecrow, "the meat is unconscious again."
"Yes," agreed the Tin Woodman, "that is one of the most inconvenient things about organic life. I am quite glad to be rid of it, although I do miss the instinctive emotional motivation."
He picked up Dorothy with what the scarecrow estimated was 127% of the tenderness of a mother holding her newborn baby and walked on. The Scarecrow scooped up the meat dog* and matched his stride.
"I suppose its like learning bipedal motion without having millennia-evolved instinctive subsystems to do all the heavy processing." The young AI paused. "Took me /minutes/ to work that one out. I'm such a fool."

On and on they walked, and it seemed that the great carpet of deadly flowers that surrounded them would never end. If anyone had cared, they would have noticed that it was beginning to get dark by the time they caught up with their friend the Lion, but they didn't. The flowers had been too strong for the huge beast and he had fallen only a short distance from the end of the poppy bed, where the sweet grass spread in beautiful green fields before them.

"We can not move that fleshsack, for he is much to heavy to lift, and will not survive disassembly, so we can not move him a piece at a time."
"He had many good qualities, for a baseline, but his meat-nature makes it impossible for us to rescue him. Lipidbags are very inconvenient."

They carried the smaller, sleeping flatscans to a pretty spot beside the river, far enough from the poppy field to prevent them breathing any more of the poison of the flowers, and here they laid them gently on the soft grass and waited for the wetware to waken.

*L. Frank Baum actually has Dorothy describe Toto as "a--a--a meat dog". Seriously, I can only make up the more reasonable bits.

I can only say that the 4 classes of Jiu-jitsu I attended were neither as awesome, as sapphic nor had they such wonderful hats. :(


Nov. 12th, 2007 06:48 pm
baloonworld: (Default)
What I want to write is a story in the general case, but the only thing I can think of thats generic enough for that to work is porn, and possibly oolong's LARP reports, one of which I don't want to write and the other of which already has a definitive style. So here's some postsingularity scifi in the second person.
Inspired by Charles Stross, of course.

Its weird for you to sense so little; just outlines, updating slowly.

You find it disorienting to receive so little information; and an appreciable lag time is virtually unheard of, even for data traveling from the far side of the noosphere, and yet now even your own sensorium is cut down to ten frames a second, and those reduced to outlines. It's a bizarre experience, but you are an explorer, in some senses the first in a decade, and the AIs insisted that you run in safe mode. Filtered like this you could walk down NeoOxford street and not experience a single advert, runaway replicator or other memeic hazard. The noosphere itself is gone from your consciousness, leaving you more bereft than the loss of a limb; the AIs also insisted that you run in unheard-of physical isolation from the main network.

You step across the portal into the unknown and see dull uninspiring outlines, updating once every 0.1 seconds. Your Exocortex beeps politely and tells you that it has detected fifteen separate attempts to hack your nervous system on a neural level, but that it was running checksums and that reverting the original impulses was well within the bounds of the possible.

A lower level alert pops open to show you that the simulated flatlines recieving unfiltered visual, aural, nasal and sensual inputs have gone catatonic; Taste is merely salivating while Inner ear appears to think he is flying. Not that there are any flatlines left in the real world, but they would last for half a second.

Some of the outlines move jerkily towards you, and, as they loom closer/larger, your implants draw your attention to the tactical map which gives their position, range and oh my god apparent size, You ask your Exocortex to hurry up with a richer sensorium, but the AIs have locked it down solid and its not going to show you anything until its checked that it doesn't dive its simulations insane.

The good news is that the monstrosity to the left is still a mile away from you and the humanoid looks like it will get here first. The bad news is the the monstrosity is 50 feet high and bipedal, therefore its engineering is beyond what Darwinian selection can do to any earthly stock (you implants ring up probabilities and time frames; you ignore the details). You have a message for the humanoid, or at least, you probably do; the historical data is understandably garbled, and even the AIs need information to work with before they can piece it together.

The humanoid jerks closer to you, and sprouts a text bubble
" 'tis rare we see mortals here, for the border hath lain closed for many a year. Welcome, beauteous lady, to Faerie"

Your implants start running an online Turing analysis, and, somewhat meanly, categorize him as a rudimentary answerphone.

Also inspired by Mike Carey, but I could hardly tell you that up front.


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