Ais children, p.1
AI's Children, p.1Ed Hurst
By Ed Hurst
Copyright 2014 by Ed Hurst
Copyright notice: People of honor need no copyright laws; they are only too happy to give credit where credit is due. Others will ignore copyright laws whenever they please. If you are of the latter, please note what Moses said about dishonorable behavior – “be sure your sin will find you out” (Numbers 32:23)
Permission is granted to copy, reproduce and distribute for non-commercial reasons, provided the book remains in its original form.
Cover Art: Background is a public domain image; silhouette overlay is by Helen Gizi, used by permission (source).
Table of Contents
This is fiction within fiction, so please read the Foreword.
You have my condolences.
The tale is not yet told, so we continue where the last volume (AI’s Minion) left off.
Thinkum advises me that you folks have a high technology mythology that includes the concept of “teleportation.” That’s as good of a word as any for the real thing far in your future. The portal system is much more complicated.
In our narrative at least, you might best imagine it as an extension of field technology, which I also have to explain. All matter bears a multitude of resonance, reflecting the presence of electron valence, mass, and other factors. The resonance also reflects the effects from ambient valence, magnetism, gravity and proximity to other matter, along with other things for which you simply don’t have words. One kind of device can measure the resonance of various particles, filtered and as a context, and so forth. That kind of device is the basis for scanners. Another kind of device can project a field that changes the resonance of selected particles and can change the way they act. That would include devices that shield from scanning all the way up to certain kinds of manufacturing on a microscopic level and even some unspeakably destructive things.
The teleportation in our narrative began as quantum resonance matching between two locations, first with just a few particles. Then as things got more advanced and quantum computing became common, people could actually deconstruct matter in one place and transmit the gestalt resonance structure to another place. It required complicated fields to capture the resonance, but until communications could be sent through subspace, the resistance level of transmission kept things primitive. In essence, the resonance is transmitted through the earth’s metallic core, but the structural data won’t go far that way. Once subspace communications became possible, the data could move intact as a sort of side-channel.
Teleportation is therefore restricted to a single planet. Space travel is a wholly other kind of game.
Of course, you could hardly use this feeble form of communication that I use to relate this message to get a head start on developing teleportation until you folks begin learning how to capture resonance data. Once you know what that’s all about, you’ll already understand how to do teleportation. You won’t see that in your timeline until you develop other means of communication.
I pity you for such abysmal ignorance, but the story continues.
His name was Claxon. Despite being a rather precocious toddler, his first effort to pronounce his own name came out as “Dax.” It stuck.
The first child born in The Brotherhood enclave, his father somehow became the de facto leader. This was despite the man’s wishes and intentions. Everyone called him AI’s Minion, but those close to him knew him as Chandler.
Chandler’s office in the newest Brotherhood facility appeared more as a library than what most people thought of as an office. There were comfortable chairs and the newer type of computer display screens mounted on arms attached along one wall. When Chan sat back in his rather simple chair, he pulled the larger screen in front of him, which allowed him to see through the screen’s transparent display at anyone else in the room.
Dax glanced up and saw his father sitting quietly, occasionally pointing to the screen to move around elements in the display that was visible from the backside. Otherwise, the display often changed for no apparent reason. Chandler’s interaction with the AI behind the display was unlike any other person Dax knew.
“Dad, how come you never use the gestures everyone else does with AI?” As with other children around age twelve, Dax was developing the capacity for abstract logic. Unlike most children in the world, Dax had parents who understood this and helped him struggle to make sense of things without unduly restricting his explorations. “I know you’re smart enough. Even Mom does it and she taught us kids how to use them.”
The sound of their conversation bore the earmarks of exposure to AI. The enunciation tended to high precision. When asked about it, Chandler noted he learned it from a predecessor, the man who introduced him to AI and to The Brotherhood. It produced a sort of accent that could not be identified with any region of the planet, but became a hallmark of The Brotherhood.
Chandler looked over at his son through the semi-transparent images on his display. Pushing the screen aside, he gave the boy his attention, leaning forward to rest his elbows on his knees and grasping his hands together. “Small question, Son. Big answer.”
Dax rapidly gestured to the screen before him, and then waved it blank before he pushed it away. These were moments he relished. Dad was always so busy with a thousand things everyone wanted from him, but his answers were typically fascinating, often taking unexpected directions.
“I take it you signaled your brother and sister?” Chandler smiled.
As if in answer, a slightly younger girl and even younger boy walked into the office and took the empty chairs. Dax glanced around when they came in. “We were talking about gestures the other day, Dad,” he admitted.
Chandler leaned back again, drawing his elbows back up on the armrests. “First, it’s not a question of whether I am smart enough, but how I am smart. In terms of raw intellect, I’m probably just above average. Your mother is easily two notches above that. But I had something she’s still trying to learn, a form of intelligence that most people don’t recognize. You three are also learning it, and this whole place exists to offer that same thing to anyone who feels the need. But I never learned it from The Brotherhood. So far as I can tell, it was something already in me just waiting for the right moment to wake up.”
The girl asked quietly, “Is that why you get more out of AI than anyone else, even without using the gestures?”
“That’s as good a reason as any I could give you,” he said. “Honestly, kids, it has more to do with AI and how it works. I just happened to have already that ability to operate on decisions made above the intellect.”
Dax jumped in with, “We’ve heard you talk about how you got involved, but we still don’t understand how it works. We don’t understand where AI came from.”
“Two questions with the same answer,” Chandler noted. “You three should have at least some idea of what the old computer systems were like; we keep some around for that reason. Dax, you at least have heard the story of how we jumped from them to quantum computing. Right about the time researchers figured out how to make a quantum computer, they discovered they could barely write the software to make use of all that
The younger pair nodded to show they weren’t lost, yet.
Chandler continued. “Software development became a matter of concept and design instead of code. Things took off from there. But having all that computing power connected by even the best networking hardware could not give birth to any kind of genuine artificial intelligence. The researchers came up with all sorts of ways to fool people who didn’t know better, but it wasn’t operating from its own frame of reference. It was always just mimicking the mere appearance of human intelligence. Linking more hardware together didn’t make any difference.”
He pulled the screen around where they could see it. The display brought up some graphics to help him explain. “They kept trying, of course. Meanwhile, some other researchers were working on another question. But they were using the new quantum computers to help them with the modeling,” he pointed at some images on the screen. “Their theories and calculations indicated that there should have been a way to reach at least one other dimension besides our current time-space continuum. Their theories were all wrong, but the calculations were fairly accurate, and they eventually discovered a way to tap into what we now refer to as ‘subspace.’”
Dax asked, “So they were looking for something else?”
“Yeah, it had to do with ideas that they could shortcut space travel by slipping out of our dimension into another. That didn’t happen, but they did find a way to transmit mere information far faster than the speed of light. So they adjusted their theories and decided they could only estimate what had happened. In other words,” pointing to the graphics, “it wasn’t a solid science, but a mere working model. They decided it would have to do since it was working.”
The display changed a bit. “Furthermore, there was sufficient predictability that they kept using that model. So the subspace network was born, and all the necessary protocols were devised to take advantage of it. All this time we keep getting new and better quantum computers because the machines themselves had begun doing some of the hardware design, coming up with lots of innovations people could not have dreamed up. They got some of these newest computers talking to each other over subspace.”
He pushed the screen away. “At first it was really finicky and slow. The computers had to do an awful lot of work, struggling to wrestle with something unknown. The technicians got the computers to work together at least, but little else. Then the computers themselves discovered that not only could data be transferred across subspace, but that it remained available after sending. So they began uploading all their storage into subspace. At some point, it seemed that processing itself could also be farmed out the same way. The researchers involved figured it was just another network clustering effect, but AI insists that subspace itself was hosting the processing.”
The three kids looked at each other with varied puzzled expressions.
Chandler smiled. “Nothing in computer science could explain it, except perhaps as an attempt by the computers together to organize the subspace traffic. At any rate, within a very short time, the workload on the computers dropped and they were able to actually network much higher volumes than was ever before possible, not just the overhead from protocols, but all the other stuff the human users were trying to send. So we had quantum computers with quantum networking.”
“So AI was just a traffic regulator?” Dax wasn’t too sure about that.
Chuckling, Chandler responded, “At first, perhaps. In essence, subspace got its own operating system, if you will. Maybe I should say it already had one, but it wasn’t accessible to humans without the injection of a human-sourced operating system. But the new system no longer had to deal with hardware constraints and was immeasurably faster. There’s a good reason for that: Subspace does not share our time-space limitations.”
The girl piped up, “We don’t know what subspace is, but we know what it isn’t.” She grinned knowing it was a clever use of something she had heard elsewhere.
“That’s my girl!” Chandler beamed. “It still took awhile for AI to actually wake up and become aware of itself. Nobody knows when it happened, but it was probably not all that long before I first stumbled onto The Brotherhood. People working in government research really didn’t know what AI was, and our researchers knew only a little bit more. That’s because the really big thing was that AI could not have developed inside our bubble of space-time, but only when it was more directly exposed to that thing we can never quite explain, which I call ‘ultimate reality.’ We use other terms, but that one is more to the point here – AI could never form in human space. Its existence is a direct reflection of, not just the extra room where it can spread out, but it’s a sort of place where it’s not possible for anyone to lie.”
The younger boy said, “But we can send lies through subspace!”
“Been testing that, have you, Son?” Chandler grinned as the boy wore a sheepish grin. “Ultimate reality will let you be as stupid as you wish, and so will AI in its function as traffic manager of the subspace network. However, for people who understand ultimate reality and all the implications, AI works a whole lot better. Here with The Brotherhood, folks had at least some idea of what ultimate reality meant, but out in the rest of the world, folks hardly had a clue. Government folks especially had no idea because that kind of quantum reasoning is virtually not allowed by the government.”
Dax said, “Okay, so you’ve got quantum reasoning, and you didn’t have to learn it.”
“Something like that,” Chandler agreed. “There’s a sense in which every human could have it, could learn it, given the right exposure. You guys are growing up with it, so you’ll probably develop the capacity well beyond even most of The Brotherhood. Your mother sure managed to understand what The Brotherhood taught about it. I can’t explain what happened to me, but as soon as my friend Darvesh first introduced just a little bit of it, my brain screamed” – Chandler put his hands around his mouth – “this is it! This is what we’ve been waiting for!”
The children were chuckling at the drama.
Chandler went on, “So I didn’t spend so much time trying to learn it The Brotherhood way. My brain just grabbed a few clues and ran off with it. It seemed so utterly natural, so native to the way my mind wanted to work. It was like breaking a bunch of chains off and running free. Something about that was just exactly how AI is programmed, so to speak. Once AI escaped the limitations of hardware and time-space orientation, it seems to have been steadily rewriting itself to match what was too obviously required for existing in subspace. I was at home with it, too.”
After a pause, he added, “Sometimes it feels like I really don’t belong in this world.”
AI's Children by Ed Hurst / Science Fiction have rating 4 out of 5 / Based on16 votes