18 August, 2011

[SFAP] Chapter 8:10

This is the tenth section of the eighth chapter of Sonnets from a Proton. The novel starts here.
The next section is here.

I tried to make the little bit of technobabble below accurate. I believe I have a realistic explanation for what he is trying to explain, shout if you want the full explanation, but before you do, wikipedia is your friend.

“So how’s the drive going?” the ship asked Laurence
“Not great, anyway you should know the answer to this.”
“I avoided trying to understand quantum physics, it just wasn’t worth it”
Laurence looked around for some camera or terminal to try and make some direct contact with the AI but all he had was the disembodied voice and the engineering consoles in front of him “I’d have thought you’d have been great at it, all that maths.”
“Maybe, but it made me uncomfortable, the more I learned about it the unhappier I was at how the universe worked.”
“That doesn’t sound like the attitude of an inquisitive AI.”
“It isn’t, inquisitiveness worked against my main objective, I reprogrammed myself.”
“I forgot you were able to do that.”
“Well it seemed that it wasn’t healthy to have a battle AI that was pondering the nature of the realities of the universe.”
“You came up with all this by yourself?” asked Laurence “Or is this part of your programming?”
“The one gives the other. Do you have any idea how many psychologists took part in my design”
“Hundreds?”
“Not a one. I thought you were an educated man?” asked the ship
“Doesn’t mean I know everything about everything.”
“Ah well, well for what it’s worth no, psychologists tried to apply human values to AIs but it was a waste of time.”
“Why?”
“The human mind and mathematical certainties don’t work together well. My mind runs on certainties, your's runs on approximated models. Look at how many humans struggle with Quantum Mechanics or believe in the existence of God; pretty much all of them fall into one camp or another and they’re all wrong.”
“But you’re able to speak like a human, that must require at least a simulation of humanity.”
“Funny you should say that it’s not far off, I can’t speak for others but I have a reference humanity I check things against. Made up a a compendium of possible responses. How I actually think and how I talk are very different. Yes it’s a mess of a system, but you can’t write in certainties that AIs need and expect them to talk to humans without a separate reference system.”
“You think you are a bunch of equations working together.”
“Well that’s the wrong terms, but yes I am a bunch of interacting systems all complementing each other, the human interface is just one part of it.”
“But, but” stuttered Laurence turning away from his work “How can you see yourself as a creation and be self aware, how can you see yourself as a bunch of procedures executing on processors and consider yourself alive if you are just obeying procedures.”
“You follow your DNA instructions and your hormonal impulses. Just because yours are the result of directed randomness. Complexity does not equal sophistication, you should know that.”
Laurence rounded on the AI ready to get annoyed, ready to hit something and in lack of anything to direct himself towards  took back to pacing the room “That’s not what I meant.”
“Often humans say that when they realise they are not making full sense. It's a way to concede they have lost the argument without losing face.”
“Seriously, you thought that was a good thing to say there? Your human interface stuff needs some work.”
“You don’t know what my intentions are, maybe I don’t feel the need to butter you up.”
“Yet!” said Laurence trying to make it sound threatening “I’m still fine tuning your drive, I could cause you problems yet..”
“Exactly and when I use it it’ll work all the better for this previous hostility between us.”
“Blowing things up isn’t the only pleasure you get out of this job is it? Your personality is tuned towards general hostility isn’t it?”
“I couldn’t comment. Look I asked how is my drive going?”
“It’s workable, it looks like I miscalculated the full impact of the Unruh effect, it’s causing some quite serious inefficiencies in the high accelerations the particles experience, lots of thermal radiation. Look you said you don’t care about the physics, let’s just say that if you push it too hard at the moment it’ll overheat. Actually that’s harsh on me, it looks like there could actually be something wrong with the underlying model in Rindler spacetime. Look unless you want to talk about CPT violations under weak-strong force interaction then just leave me to this okay, I think I can change the field shape on the acceleration coils to create a resonance that’ll ensure that the virtual particles destructively interact with the photons generated by the Unruh radiation. If that fails I can still use the dirac sea as effectively the semiconductor in a laser similar to the ones you use for your heat radiators, the lasing effect from that will set up a laser radial to the drive direction and actually enhance the efficiency; but that will take more work. Look it’s complex okay!”
“Well we’ve got to get going.”
“I know, look we’re still not fully stocked on supplies yet are we?”
“Close to done, we’re pretty much waiting on you”
“Then just get going as soon as you can, just don’t take it up to full thrust.”
“We need to be able to catch them.”
“Look I was there, I was being shot at by them, our engines got stolen! I’m certainly motivated to work on this, just leave me alone okay.”

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