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Into the Light Snippet #13

Aliens? Invading aliens? What will Earth do? Well...we may have a few more resources than we first thought. Come join a friendly discussion about David Weber's newest Tor series - "Out of the Dark."
Into the Light Snippet #13
Post by runsforcelery   » Sat Jul 27, 2019 5:50 pm

runsforcelery
First Space Lord

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.XIV.
Greensboro, North Carolina
United States


"Thank you for fitting me in, Mister President."

"Frankly," Judson Howell smiled a bit thinly as he pointed at the chair on the other side of his desk, "it's more a matter of squeezing you in, I'm afraid. The delegation from Fort Worth is inbound. I expect they'll be on the ground within the next twenty minutes, and I can’t keep them waiting. This 'visit' will probably decide whether or not Texas rejoins the Union voluntarily."

"I understand that," Fabienne Lewis said, settling into the indicated chair, "and I promise I'll be as brief as possible. This is something I need you to put into your 'Things to Consider Down the Road' mental file, though. And, frankly, it'll almost certainly have some bearing on Invictus."

"Ah?" Howell cocked his head. "What sort of bearing?"

"I think it may speed things up appreciably, maybe even as much as the reductions in redundant safety features we've already made," Lewis replied. "I can't promise that, but it's something Director MacQuarie and I have been looking at for the last couple of days. Well, actually, what we've been looking at is a report from Damianos Karahalios. You remember him, Mister President?"

"Vividly." Howell grimaced and rolled his eyes, and Lewis chuckled.

Damianos Karahalios was one of the senior computer and IT professors from North Carolina State University. He was also supposed to be a fairly brilliant researcher, and Howell was prepared to accept that. It didn't make the professor's meticulous, step-by-step, I'm-making-this-as-simple-as-I-can-for-you-idiots explanations that rambled on forever — interspersed with lengthy pauses which would have led anyone unfamiliar with him to assume he was finished, except, of course, that he wasn't — any less irritating, though. He really was very well thought of in his field, however, and he'd been a regular consultant for CERT/CC — the Computer Emergency Response Team Coordinating Center — which had been responsible for researching software bugs and Internet security for the Internet as a whole. Unfortunately, CERT/CC had been part of the federally funded Software Engineering Institute at Carnegie Mellon, which had been wiped out when the Shongairi finally lost patience and destroyed Pittsburgh along with virtually every other remaining urban center in the Northeast.

Leaving Judson Howell with Damianos Karahalios.

"I know he can be a pain," Lewis conceded, "but he really is very good at what he does, and he's completed his preliminary survey of the differences between Hegemony and human computer systems."

"Has he?"

Howell's eyes narrowed with the first true interest he'd felt since the conversation began. One thing they'd already discovered was that there was often a difference between neural education and true understanding. A neural educator could teach anyone to run an existing Hegemony computer system in barely five minutes, for example, but that didn't mean the operator was actually familiar with many of its features. And it certainly didn't mean someone like Judson Howell grasped the fundamental principles of the hardware . . . or the software! For that matter, even someone who had downloaded the entire neural module for cybernetics and information technology had to learn his way through an absolutely enormous knowledge base. Moreover, because he'd acquired it literally "overnight," rather than gradually building on his existing platform of knowledge, it was remarkably difficult to make point-to-point correlations between what he'd known before the neural education and what he'd acquired from it.

From Karahalios' previous presentations to Howell, the professor found that particularly irritating. In fact, he seemed to consider it a personal affront. The problem was that he possessed two separate, very extensive bodies of knowledge. One of them he'd spent a lifetime building, and he could find his way through with impressive speed and precision. The other was brand new, and using it was like running an online search that led to innumerable branching references, none of which were part of the searcher's fully digested and internalized database. When that difference — and how incredibly frustrating it must be — had percolated through Howell's understanding, he'd found that he almost sympathized with Karahalios' fussy, finicky, nuanced, and unendingly qualified lectures.

Almost.

"I have his entire report — which runs to something like twenty thousand words, with charts, diagrams, and quite a few footnotes — and I'll be forwarding that to you," Lewis continued. "I assume, however, that you'd prefer me to break it up into . . . more digestible bites, Mister President?"

"I have no doubt his report would be fascinating reading if I understood more than, say, one word in thirty," Howell said dryly. "So, yes, I think you can safely assume I'd prefer the ignorant layman version."

"All right, let me begin by saying that while Shongair computing technology is vastly more technologically advanced than our own, it's an incremental improvement. Well, a little more than just incremental, since, unlike us, they've figured out how to use qubits, and that radically changes what you can do with a programming language or with operations. I'm not going to try to get into quantum tunneling or any of the other concepts involved, but to put it very simply — and a bit inaccurately — our computers operate in binary. Data is expressed in '1's and '0's, and any given bit can be in only one state at any given time. Think of it as carrying only one meaning, one value, at a time. The computers we're looking at now use bits — qubits — which can be in superpositions of states. That means a qubit doesn't have a value of '0' or '1,' but rather contains both of those values as a weighted probability. There's no way to tell which of the two possible states actually pertains until —"

She paused as Howell tipped his chair back and looked at her reproachfully.

"Sorry, Mister President. Basically, what I'm saying is that the Shongairi — the Hegemony — had cracked a step in computer capabilities which we've theorized about since the 1980s. We'd actually built a small quantum computer for experiments, but we were still a long way from actually making the concept work. Its advantage over the binary system is that a quantum computer can solve certain problems much more quickly than any 'classical' computer, because everything depends on the algorithms of the systems, and quantum algorithms run faster than any probabilistic classical program.

"All of that's exciting, and suggests lots of possibilities, but what's really interesting is what the Shongair haven't done with it."

"I beg your pardon?" Howell arched an eyebrow.

"We don't see anything in this system that hadn't already been part of our theoretical models. They've figured out how to do things we hadn't, but they haven't figured out — so far as we can tell — how to do anything we hadn't already worked out pretty fully in theory as theory. Doctor Karahalios didn't find any great conceptual leaps. No miracle memory devices, no hyper-space shunts connecting all computers into an artificial brain. In fact, despite the qubits, their computers are simply faster and far, far smaller — built on the molecular scale, not the printed circuits we've used — but not extraordinarily more capable."

"Excuse me, but doesn't 'faster and far smaller' equate to 'more capable'?"

"For certain values of the word 'capable,' yes." Lewis nodded. "But before the invasion, the experts all said that any spacefaring society would need artificial intelligence — AI — to support their civilization. Even we earthlings, stuck here in a single star system, sent ten or more robotic probes into space for each manned mission. And aside from a handful of deep space probes, we'd only truly explored one other planet in that star system in the process. But there are supposed to be hundreds or even thousands of stars in the Hegemony, and it takes years to travel between them, so logically, the Hegemony should have AIs to support them. Why send a manned — well, crewed — starship on a sixty-year voyage to deliver cargo or a message, when you could send an AI on the same mission while your flesh and blood citizens got on with their lives? But they don't. They don't have an AI they can send."

"I don't know," Howell said slowly, pulling his "phone" from his pocket and tossing it onto his blotter. He pointed at it. "I talk to this, and it finds me schedules, information on any topic I tell it to search, or whoever I want to talk to. I may not know which of General Landers' people I need to get hold of to ask a question, but I ask this —" he tapped the "phone" with an index finger "— and it not only figures out who I need to talk to, it gets hold of him — or her — even if I've only given it a very rough description of who I need. Seems pretty intelligent to me."

"That's not really artificial intelligence, Mister President." Lewis shook her head. "That’s just what Doctor Karahalios is fond of calling 'an overblown expert system.' It's certainly artificial, but it's not truly intelligent. It can't think outside the limiting parameters of its basic programming.

"The first wave of AI was all about teaching computers to sort through large lists of information and find the connections. That meant the programmers were constructing hierarchies which allowed the construction and manipulation of information lists. The second wave created voice interfaces and language translation that allowed those systems to take verbal or written commands and apply them to the information list. When you tell your phone you need to talk to one of General Landers' officers, it has access to a list of all of General Landers' officers. When you provide it with specifics about the officer in question, it eliminates everyone on the list who doesn't match those specifics. It may seem to you that you're giving it only fragmentary descriptions, but until you give it enough fragments, it can't find whoever you're looking for. It can't . . . intuit its way to that specific officer. And if you tell your phone to do something — enter a new appointment on your calendar, print out a hard copy of the memo you've been reading electronically — it can do only things it's already programmed to do and only if you tell it to.

"So, basically, what you might call 'AI' is just a very sophisticated library of data and — especially — programs that require human direction, human decisions. Some of those decisions — many of those decisions — can be automated, but in that sense they aren't really 'decisions' so much as automatic responses that the programmers built into the system. The computer doesn't care what it does. It simply does what it was told to do at every step and in response to recognized outcomes of previous steps, either through its internal programming or as the result of a typed or verbal input from a human operator.

"The third wave of AI, though — which DARPA and quite a few other people had started to look at before the invasion — was designed to apply actual reasoning and decision-making to computers. To allow them to function independently of human decision-making. To — to go back to my earlier example — to build AI pilots capable of flying autonomous starships between the stars so that Shongair or Barthon or Kreptu crews don't have to. They do have systems to control ships while the crews are in cryo, but they aren't autonomous; they aren't able to think for themselves if something unexpected by their programming comes up. In that case, they have to wake the ship command crew to seek guidance and direction.

"From our own work, we're convinced we can build on their existing 'brilliant software' to create AI systems which truly are autonomous. Whether or not we could build AI systems which were self-aware is another matter, of course, but we should certainly be able to build something that gives an awful convincing imitation of self-awareness. Assuming we decide we want to, that is. There's an awful lot of science-fiction about the potential downsides of creating a self-aware intelligence that decides it doesn't like taking orders from its creators." Her lips worked briefly in amusement, but then her expression sobered again. "From an efficiency perspective, though, autonomous AI would be a huge multiplier. Despite which, the Hegemony doesn't have it when, by all human standards and the self-evident capabilities of its tech base, it should."

"Hmmmm. . . ." Howell rubbed his chin, his expression thoughtful. "So if we were able to use their technology to create this 'third-wave AI' of yours for ourselves, we'd have an advantage? A big one?"

"A very big one, Mister President. But Damianos — Doctor Karahalios — raises a few other points in his current report. Our science-fiction writers and quite a few serious scientists have been looking at neural interfacing for a couple of decades now, and we've achieved it, at least to a degree. There's been some very encouraging work being done with the use of neurally accessible computer chips to store memories for Alzheimer's patients, for example. That's not the same thing as a direct brain-computer connection, but it's headed in the same direction, and the implications of actually achieving that sort of connection are huge. You've had plenty of experience giving verbal commands to a computer, even before the invasion. It's frustrating — or it was frustrating — when the computer misunderstood you, maybe because of background noise, maybe because you weren't speaking clearly. But consider if you'd had to physically enter every command, instead. Even tapping the screen on your iPhone or your Galaxy generally took longer than a verbal command. But now imagine that you could give your computer commands at the speed of thought and never have it misunderstand you. Do you think that might . . . enhance your efficiency?"

"Yes, I imagine it would," Howell said slowly.

"Of course it would, yet we don't see any sign of that in the Hegemony's computer tech. This despite the fact that they've mastered the art of neural education, so they clearly have the ability to send immensely complicated dumps of data at least one way through a neural interface, and they've had it longer than Earth has had to put up with Homo sapiens! So why, in all that time, haven't they developed the ability to send mental commands into the system? We don't even see any speculation about the possibility in the literature we've been able to access so far!"

"Why not?"

"That we would love to know, Mister President. But we have noticed a few other things, most of which appear related to the same sort of . . . caution that seems to be hardwired into the Hegemony's entire industrial base. Their programming language is recursive, which means a function can call itself, and it's also what we might call 'type safe,' which means it's designed to prevent the system from running an operation against the wrong type of variable.

"Most human programming languages are designed to do that, too, but from what we can see, Hegemony coding takes the concepts to a ridiculous extreme. Consistency checking for acceptable values and variables is built directly into the code for an incredible range of variables. For example, the Hegemony has over five hundred languages, which means — as one of Doctor Karahalios' programmers pointed out — that using the Hegemony's programming language to write the equivalent of 'Hello, world!' for a planet you'd never visited before or a species whose language you didn't already speak would involve loading a million-line module. Their protocols would require the module to search the entire hegemony database to make certain that the world you're talking to exists — even if you're currently in orbit around it — and sort through every one of those languages — every language spoken anywhere in the entire Hegemony, not just on the planet in question — and the societal constructs that go with them, to be sure 'Hello' is the proper greeting, in the proper language, properly spelled and punctuated, in that particular sociopolitical context."

Howell stared at her in disbelief, and she shrugged.

"It's not that terrible a problem, given their computing speeds and storage ability. The codebase is bloated beyond belief — the executable for "Hello, world' would be hundreds of gigabytes, just to carry all the baggage — and as far as we can tell, their libraries never get pruned, but —"

"Pruned?" Howell interrupted.

"There's no automatic memory management, what a human programmer would call 'garbage collection' to reclaim memory occupied by objects the program isn't using any more, Mister President. They just store all of them. That's why their modules are so blasted big. But despite that, it doesn't slow down the output appreciably. There's some bottleneck in terms of storage, but not enough to make a significant difficulty, given how much memory their systems have. It's certainly not anything they can't handle. We could probably shave some time off of their operations, but not enough for it to make any perceptible difference to the speed at which their programs execute.

"The problem is that the same 'check everything again and again' attitude carries over to their control systems as well as the programs themselves. Oh, we use redundancy in critical systems — like aircraft flight systems, for example, in which there are three completely separate processors running the same calculations. As long as at least two of them come up with the same answer, that's the one used. If they come up with three separate answers, the system reverts to 'manual,' and human supervision is called in. We generally employ systems like that only when failure could have catastrophic consequences, like the loss of human life, though. As nearly as we can tell, the Hegemony applies the same idea to almost everything."

"Everything?" Howell repeated.

"An example, Mister President. A minor component — a motor, say — will have a dedicated processor running dedicated code. You could 'ask' it to do something, like turn in one direction at a specified speed for a given length of time, but the central control module tasking the motor doesn't have direct control over it and can't override the dedicated processor. And if the dedicated processor senses a potential fault condition, it will simply refuse to let 'its' motor turn, no matter what the central system is telling it to do.

"Now, take that same situation, and apply it to an entire assembly, like one axis of a gantry platform in Invictus. You've got dozens or hundreds of motors and similar components, each with its own processor with its own code and multiple redundancy to keep that particular component within safe operating parameters as defined by its programming, and any one of them can shut down the entire gantry if it detects any potential hazard to the single component it's running. And just to be sure all those individual components have enough ability to see those potential hazards, the gantry has an entire multilevel sensor suite watching every aspect of its environment, and every one of those sensors has its own processor running its own code."

"Crap," Howell muttered.

"The only thing that makes this workable, and that generates the level of production we've seen out of the original platforms the Shongairi left behind, is the speed of Hegemony-level computer operations. They're so blindingly fast by our standards that they can actually keep this ridiculous balancing act moving forward . . . most of the time. I'm sure you've read some of Director MacQuarie's comments on how often Invictus simply shuts down until some trivial fault's been corrected?"

Howell nodded, and Lewis shrugged.

"In some ways, that's probably not a bad thing. We're still learning how to run it all, so having it stop while we figure out what's caused its current temper tantrum is one way to really familiarize ourselves with its gizzards. And, as I say, the system actually works. In relative terms, by its own potential standards, it works really, really poorly, you understand, but in absolute terms it's genuinely capable of producing a post-scarcity economy, something our species has never seen. But we're estimating — conservatively — that if we could only identify the redundancy levels that are totally unnecessary for safe operation, we could probably increase output by at least another forty or fifty percent — and probably one hell of a lot more than that — just by eliminating all those unnecessary steps and all the inter-processor negotiating that goes with them. And we could save a lot of refinery time and resources — and especially printing time — if we were able to eliminate some of the multiple layers of sensors they build into their hardware. I mean, one sensor and maybe a couple of backups should be sufficient for almost any situation. We're pretty sure we don't need twelve of them, though!"

"Um." Howell pinched the bridge of his nose and grimaced. "I had a friend before the invasion who worked for the Tennessee Valley Authority," he said from behind his hand. "One evening, over a couple of beer steins, he described the redundancy of the safety features built into US nuclear plants. According to him, if they'd been allowed to build and operate to realistic threat levels, nuclear plants would have been cheaper than coal or natural gas. And he pointed out that for all the publicity, the Three Mile Island's reactor design prevented a catastrophic failure despite the fact that the operators did pretty much everything wrong." He lowered his hand and looked at her levelly. "Now, I'm a firm believer in belts-and-suspenders where something like a nuclear reactor just outside a major city is concerned, but it sounds like you're talking about the steroids version of the . . . superabundant redundancy he had to put up with."

"Pretty much, Mister President," Lewis acknowledged, then smiled crookedly. "You know, this whole conversation seems a bit . . . surreal to me. On the one hand, I'm sitting here talking about how much more efficiently the Hegemony could run its computers and its printers and all the rest of its infrastructure. On the other hand, the way it is running them is still incredibly productive — 'incredibly' in the sense of literally unbelievable — by any human standard."

"I can see that," Howell said, then let his chair come upright again as the phone on his desk chirped at him and flashed a digital time display.

"I'm actually sorry to say we're out of time," he said. "I'll try to look over Karahalios' report, although if it's anything like the last one he sent me, I probably actually learned more from you this afternoon than I'll ever get out of it. Right now, though, I really do have to meet with the Texans."

"Of course, Mister President."

Lewis rose and started for the door of his office, but Howell halted her with a raised index finger.

"Mister President?"

"There's one point about your explanation that stuck in my mind. Right at the end, when you said the Hegemony's technology is incredible by any human standard."

"Yes, Mister President?" Lewis looked puzzled, and he smiled at her.

"I know it's early days, and we're only really just starting to tear into the possibilities, but I want you and Karahalios and everyone else involved in this project to look for every single way we can improve on what the Hegemony's willing to accept. When we meet them again, I want them to be the ones thinking about how incredibly efficient and productive human technology is by their standards." His smile turned cold and hard. "I want that 'third wave' of yours, and I want that neural interface, and I want to leave those bastards in our dust when the time comes."

"Understood, Mister President." Fabienne Lewis' smile was just as cold and hard as her president's. "Why don't I just go and get started on that?"


"Oh, bother!" said Pooh, as Piglet came back from the dead.
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Re: Into the Light Snippet #13
Post by PeterZ   » Sat Jul 27, 2019 7:43 pm

PeterZ
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Posts: 6253
Joined: Fri Apr 01, 2011 12:11 pm
Location: Colorado

One makes the guess that most of the foundations for future human tech are set. What comes next are the fiddledy bits of engineering and manufacturing. Politics are basically other nations slowly getting accustomed to joining the new world union. Pretty soon we jump to Vlad, jump years ahead or both.

Any guesses on how many more chapters that'll take?
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Re: Into the Light Snippet #13
Post by runsforcelery   » Sat Jul 27, 2019 8:04 pm

runsforcelery
First Space Lord

Posts: 2409
Joined: Sun Aug 09, 2009 10:39 am
Location: South Carolina

PeterZ wrote:One makes the guess that most of the foundations for future human tech are set. What comes next are the fiddledy bits of engineering and manufacturing. Politics are basically other nations slowly getting accustomed to joining the new world union. Pretty soon we jump to Vlad, jump years ahead or both.

Any guesses on how many more chapters that'll take?



Alas, thou hast largely missed thy target.

:twisted:


"Oh, bother!" said Pooh, as Piglet came back from the dead.
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Re: Into the Light Snippet #13
Post by PeterZ   » Sat Jul 27, 2019 9:52 pm

PeterZ
Fleet Admiral

Posts: 6253
Joined: Fri Apr 01, 2011 12:11 pm
Location: Colorado

runsforcelery wrote:
PeterZ wrote:One makes the guess that most of the foundations for future human tech are set. What comes next are the fiddledy bits of engineering and manufacturing. Politics are basically other nations slowly getting accustomed to joining the new world union. Pretty soon we jump to Vlad, jump years ahead or both.

Any guesses on how many more chapters that'll take?



Alas, thou hast largely missed thy target.

:twisted:

That is frequently the case. Won't stop me from guessing/trying.
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Re: Into the Light Snippet #13
Post by Randomiser   » Sun Jul 28, 2019 7:24 am

Randomiser
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OK, so the Shongairi, maybe the Hegemony, seem to have tech they don't really understand, never adapt, let alone improve but just keep churning out more of the same, with incredibly redundant safety factors. :ugeek:

If these are the children, where are the adults? Are they long gone and the Hegemony are 'ragpickers' (cf Mr Gannon's Caine Riordan series) or are they lurking in the background somewhere? Or are there more surprises lurking which will explain all the oddities?

I really do think they ought to view Terminator again before creating any autonomous AIs. There might actually be a valid reason why the Shongairi don't have any .... :twisted:
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Re: Into the Light Snippet #13
Post by DrakBibliophile   » Sun Jul 28, 2019 9:33 am

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A few thoughts on "why no autonomous AIs".

First, Larry Niven introduced the idea that every "autonomous AIs" that got turned on, turn themselves off for unknown reasons. Perhaps bored of the universe and their creators?

Second, even if any autonomous AIs don't turn Skynet, they keep suggesting improvements on technology (and perhaps society) that the stagnant Hegemony don't like. Of course, this rejection of autonomous AIs could have been made thousands of years before by the first star-nations of the Hegemony and everybody since have been taught that autonomous AIs are impossible.

Third, perhaps autonomous AIs already exist within the Hegemony and are the "adults" and the flesh-and-blood members of the Hegemony are the "children". IE, they control the Hegemony and are the reason that the Hegemony is stagnant. :twisted:

Randomiser wrote:OK, so the Shongairi, maybe the Hegemony, seem to have tech they don't really understand, never adapt, let alone improve but just keep churning out more of the same, with incredibly redundant safety factors. :ugeek:

If these are the children, where are the adults? Are they long gone and the Hegemony are 'ragpickers' (cf Mr Gannon's Caine Riordan series) or are they lurking in the background somewhere? Or are there more surprises lurking which will explain all the oddities?

I really do think they ought to view Terminator again before creating any autonomous AIs. There might actually be a valid reason why the Shongairi don't have any .... :twisted:
*
Paul Howard (Alias Drak Bibliophile)
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Sometimes The Dragon Wins! [Polite Dragon Smile]
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Re: Into the Light Snippet #13
Post by phillies   » Sun Jul 28, 2019 10:55 am

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On the other hand, perhaps AI is impossible, because the computer cannot be imbued with a soul.

Randomiser wrote:OK, so the Shongairi, maybe the Hegemony, seem to have tech they don't really understand, never adapt, let alone improve but just keep churning out more of the same, with incredibly redundant safety factors. :ugeek:

If these are the children, where are the adults? Are they long gone and the Hegemony are 'ragpickers' (cf Mr Gannon's Caine Riordan series) or are they lurking in the background somewhere? Or are there more surprises lurking which will explain all the oddities?

I really do think they ought to view Terminator again before creating any autonomous AIs. There might actually be a valid reason why the Shongairi don't have any .... :twisted:
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Re: Into the Light Snippet #13
Post by phillies   » Sun Jul 28, 2019 11:07 am

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PeterZ wrote:One makes the guess that most of the foundations for future human tech are set. What comes next are the fiddledy bits of engineering and manufacturing. Politics are basically other nations slowly getting accustomed to joining the new world union. Pretty soon we jump to Vlad, jump years ahead or both.

Any guesses on how many more chapters that'll take?


Let's see. First there are the British, who recently passed through Brexit, and whose enthusiasm for joining up with the Europeans is negative. (Well, perhaps they's be agreeable if the closest bit of land to the UK was the Crown Colony of France.) Then there are the Europeans, who read the draft Constitution, perhaps discover that it includes the right to keep and bear arms, not to mention that it does not view insulting speech as not protected by the First Amendment, does not view medical care as a Constitutional right, and want to negotiate about teh core document. There is a reason why a free trade agreement can take a decade or more to finish. Then there are all the folks whose treatment of women, foreigners, people of other religions, etc. would not go over well in America, including in ways unsuitable for discussion on family-friendly pages.

Of course, the Afghans will be interested to note that they may have a new set of foreign invaders, who appear to be the same as the American invaders.

Of course, there are the several groups of folks who think they are allowed to live in Tibet or Palestine, though at a guess there may have been a final solution to the Palestine problem. Fighting over the Wailing Wall and he Dome of the Rock is less interesting when there is now a large lake at that location.

The author has plenty of opportunities for more issues.
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Re: Into the Light Snippet #13
Post by phillies   » Sun Jul 28, 2019 12:30 pm

phillies
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phillies wrote:
PeterZ wrote:One makes the guess that most of the foundations for future human tech are set. What comes next are the fiddledy bits of engineering and manufacturing. Politics are basically other nations slowly getting accustomed to joining the new world union. Pretty soon we jump to Vlad, jump years ahead or both.

Any guesses on how many more chapters that'll take?


Let's see. First there are the British, who recently passed through Brexit, and whose enthusiasm for joining up with the Europeans is negative. (Well, perhaps they's be agreeable if the closest bit of land to the UK was the Crown Colony of France.) Then there are the Europeans, who read the draft Constitution, perhaps discover that it includes the right to keep and bear arms, not to mention that it does not view insulting speech as not protected by the First Amendment, does not view medical care as a Constitutional right, and want to negotiate about teh core document. There is a reason why a free trade agreement can take a decade or more to finish. Then there are all the folks whose treatment of women, foreigners, people of other religions, etc. would not go over well in America, including in ways unsuitable for discussion on family-friendly pages.

Of course, the Afghans will be interested to note that they may have a new set of foreign invaders, who appear to be the same as the American invaders.

Of course, there are the several groups of folks who think they are allowed to live in Tibet or Palestine, though at a guess there may have been a final solution to the Palestine problem. Fighting over the Wailing Wall and he Dome of the Rock is less interesting when there is now a large lake at that location.

The author has plenty of opportunities for more issues.


Then there may come the point at which the President makes a big mistake, and realizes that if he were the Emperor of Earth no one would have done something different to make the mistake visible.
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Re: Into the Light Snippet #13
Post by tonyz   » Sun Jul 28, 2019 1:22 pm

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I kind of like the idea that there might be, you know,
reasons why the Shongairi (and the Hegemony) think that those safety precautions are necessary. Maybe good reasons. After all, removing "unnecessary" safety precautions is a really good way to generate interesting and cataclysmic accidents.

That's even leaving aside the risk of AI's bootstrapping themselves into "make the meatforms irrelevant" levels.
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