Friday, June 29, 2007

"for hours I've worked on this one, but I can't figure out the puzzle. This device is maddening. There are these series of puzzles, and if you solve them then you are given access to some kind of information: information that the device had deemed us worthy of having access to."

"Well then, perhaps it is time we let others take a shot at solving some of these puzzles. After all, it's only a matter of time before other research teams discover how to interpret the output and begin solving he puzzles themselves."

"I suppose you are right, but I really wanted to unlock some of the arcane knowledge that whomever built this must have lodged inside behind all these puzzles. who do you think it was that made this anyhow? I mean, it's almost 100,000 years old."

"For me, I have no idea. But it is so inhuman in it's design, so unlike anything we know. It can not have been made by a person. It must have been something else."

"Something else, from somewhere else perhaps?"

"Perhaps we will find out. I think I know how to solve this puzzle for you."

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Information Storm

I sit here awaiting my turn to descend into the cloud, the swarm. It's time for me to think about things. To think about the past, the present, the future, whatever that is. It is time for me to reminisce.

Now the swarm reaches out for me, forcefully. I descend into the heart.

Monday, June 25, 2007

most people have something happen to them that doesn't happen to most people

Sunday, June 24, 2007

The End and Begining of an Age

"Look, it really is happening. There is no denying it now. Winter is not leaving this time." The experīrī emphatically pointed to the 10-year chart of weather patterns. "You can see right here, the temperature has in fact dropped even further than the last freeze 20 years ago. not to mention that freeze only lasted 5 years, maybe 7. This is a full 10 years we are talking about right now - you can't believe what the leaders are telling you. It is time to leave."

The experīrī stared flatly at the student. Inside his heart, the student felt something shift suddenly. This shift then transformed into a dull sick sensation in the pit of his stomach. It was time to leave, the student no longer had a shred of doubt left in him. It was time to head south, time to leave the city of a dozen pyramids - the city only 100 years old. It was a pity, so much knowledge, so much potential. All of it was going to be frozen under ice for thousands of years.

The student wished that his people had a god to which he could pray; it would be false comfort, yes, but any comfort in this bitter winter would be welcome. This frigid winter of millenia.

In his heart he prayed to his ancestors for their children; In his soul he merely hoped; in his mind he layed plans for the hasty, dangerous journey, the escape he was about to make.

A mad dash south for thousands of miles until they would return to the civilization his people left only 200 years earlier. His people had not forgotten where they had come from, or why. The student wondered if the civilization they left had not forgotten as well.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

An Object of Affection

I remember that very moment when I realized that robots were not human after all.

I was at the mall, staring at a beautiful female robot. When I walked closer to the robot she knelt down to pat my head. I looked into her eyes and caught a slight reflection from the back of her retina - it was in reality not any different from a reflection one might see from a regular human's eyes. But in this case I was armed with knowledge I had attained earlier that day.

...The movie theater had darkened and I eagerly ate my popcorn. On the 3D view screen in front of us appeared a magnificent spectacle - a documentary on robot manufacture.

The next 40 minutes were filled with wondrous imagery. Then, at the end, the fully-built robot winked at the camera and the audience is suddenly projected into the pupil of the open eye. This ended the presentation. A stylistically-rendered animation of the robotic eye's systems was faded slightly behind the rolling credits...

There was nothing human about this beautiful creature in front of me.

But still, I knew she was something more than mere matter and energy as well.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

One Love, Many Times

I typed in a prompting for more information, "tell me more about this single love of your species." I was intrigued.

The terminal began to type-out,"for you earthlings, love is a mutual thing, often monogamous. For us, we meet and if the time is right we will mate right then and there. It is not uncommon to see two individuals suddenly become enraptured and erupt into a fierce lovemaking act regardless of location: public parks (very popular); street corners, in the street, while crossing the street; in transport vehicles; at work - why this just happened to not long ago.

You see, for us our chemistry is much more volatile than yours. We constantly shift our genetic structure around and this modifies our pheromones. When two individuals arrive at genetically compatible states they will exude the proper chemical attractant. If this attractant is sensed, the chain-reaction to these individuals is deeply instinctual will result in the mating act.

When the moment is over a genetic shift signals the end of the interlude and the individuals part ways.

Would you like to hear more about our society?"

The cursor blinked back at me. I thought yes, but typed, "no".

My 10 minutes with this society had expired. What did I have left, 50 more societal contacts to make before the end of my shift. How could something as remarkable as contacting alien societies have become so tedious?

Making love in the street: I couldn't stop thinking about it on the way home that evening - I suspect no man could.

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Camera Hogs

lost it: something about meaning, and machines asking " what does it mean" and humans wondering what it means themselves.

it is surveillance cameras. intelligent ones that require people to update its visual database daily.

at the end of a shift a worker, a security guard decides to take care of a month's worth of machine questions.

"Damn annoying machines," thought the guard as he sat down at the security camera terminal. A friendly voice greeted him.

"Hello Stephen, I have 1,345 anomalous instances that I wish for you to review." The machine was care-free-sounding, it presented him with a screen of options.

Stephen mass-deleted hundreds of instances that the machine considered only mildly interesting. Probably things it had never seen before, like a new balloon, or some crazy car or costume; the machine was designed to report when it saw things it didn't recognize completely.

Finally Stephen was down to only 10 short videos, he began to review them.

The first was a night-time video of an open shopping center's parking lot. On the nearest sidewalk two crows were fighting. That was it.

"That was it?" balked the security guard.

"that is it," confirmed the machine. "I found it 73% of interest and was only 25% confident in what it was."

"It's two crows fighting," he hit the 'next' button to review the second video.

The second video was a daytime shot of the same parking lot. A square zeroed-in on an upper-right part of the screen. The picture zoomed in on a store front, but the picture was fairly blurry which made it hard to discern detail. Suddenly the doors of the store burst open as some large, amorphous form emerged violently. Items which looked perhaps angular were falling to the ground from this surprising object pulsating and lurching about on the screen in front of him.

"What the hell is that!?" he thought, then remembered. "I know what that is. It's a minor scuffle between a very obese woman in skin-tight clothing and a very skinny woman who was on some kind of drugs or something. Watch, you can see me and Gary come into frame here and break up the fight."

Indeed, two gray forms moved along what was probably the sidewalk and merged with the torrential white blob in the center. The blob divided into two parts and the video stopped.

"I found that of merely 12% interest, but was only 5% certain what it was." the machine placed the 'next' button over the last frame of the video.

"you only found that of 12% interest, eh?" asked the guard.

"Yes," answered the machine.

"OK, then," the guard clicked the next button.

Videos 3 through 8 were of this same bazaar fare, Stephen remembered how much he used to enjoy these sessions with the machine. It found the strangest things.

But nothing was as strange as videos 9 and 10.

At first Stephen noticed nothing strange about video 9.

"What is this? What don't you understand about this scene?" As far as Stephen was concerned, this was a regular daytime shot of that same damn parking lot. There was nothing surprising or out of the ordinary. He watched the video twice more looking for that hidden strangeness that these machines could find. "Dismiss this video, show me 10."

Stephen didn't want to just dismiss that video, it had an interest rating of 100% and a confidence of 1%, but Stephen couldn't for the life of him see anything anomalous. The next video was the same parking lot on a different day. Again, it was boring and not unique in any way to Stephen's eyes. The fact, however, that 10 and 9 were similar in scene piqued his curiosity just a bit.

"Show me 9 again please," commanded Stephen politely.

"You wish me to undelete it?" asked the machine in what struck Stephen as a somehow off-handed way.

"yes, yes," Stephen was greeted with video 9 playing in front of him. Suddenly a strange, cold, sick feeling appeared in his stomach. "Show me 10 again," he gasped. "It's the same woman and child. They are exactly the same, aren't they?"

The machine answered back spryly, "They are the same, pixel for pixel. Very high 99.999 range adjusting for signal noise and entropic loss."

"This is what you had guessed, but you were only 1% sure that you were right? You had guessed that in two videos on two different days a woman and her child would walk across a parking lot and then out of frame. And that they were so identical as to follow the exact pixel paths of each other on the different frames. Exactly as though they were clones

You guessed this, but were only 1% confident? What else could it have been!? And what does it mean?"

The machine was silent.

Monday, June 4, 2007

The InterUniversalNet

I sent the first message after waiting for days and realizing that no messages were going to come through.

I got a reply immediately. It was myself from the past, however I had never sent a message from the past so this struck me as odd.

I called the future and they began a steady download of scientific and engineering information.

I hadn't really created a time machine after all. Rather, it was a universal communication bridge.

Construction of a state of the art universal communicator began instantly when the designs finished downloading.

Love, 3130.

"You are willing, then? I am willing," through the glass panel of his environmental suit He looked at her. She raised her eyes slowly to meet his.

Directly, she told him, "Yes."

Emotion welled up inside them as for the first time in their lives they prepared to remove the suits in the presence, and well within the contamination perimeter, of another person.

This was not an unusual way for classic humans to first expose themselves to another, nor was it an unusual way to die.

Sunday, June 3, 2007

the tortoise and the hare

His hat underneath his helmet slung low, the bill covered his eyes completely. Days of caked-on dirt and mud splotched about his unshaven face. The squad leader slowly inched up the dirt mound in the brown, high grass.

The squad leader raised the bill to allow a half inch of viewable area to glimpse through. He saw nothing.

Over the hundreds of meters of fields and mounds ahead. Somewhere over there, on the other side of this field was the other.

He and his men were looking for them, as they were looking for them.

A light upset stomach greeted the SL as he slid back down to the safety of the grass below. He extracted from his right breast pocket his viewer - a small projection device the size and shape of a classic writing implement (a stylus, pencil or pen). He turned it on. A small, translucent holographic 3D display scrolled out. The SL extracted a psycorette and a lighter from his left breast pocket.

AT that moment a sudden flurry of projectiles snapped, buzzed, whizzed and popped angrily at the far side of the dirt mound being used for cover by the SL and his men.

Without so much blinking the SL lit the psycorette and inhaled deeply.

As the psycorette took hold, the SL's focus altered and he looked more deeply into the holographic map lying on the ground in the dirt and tall grass.

The hail of bullets stopped as suddenly as it had started. The SL absently thought: Must be covering fire for a flanking move.

The SL closed the holographic map and took a last, long drag on his psycorette. He closed his eyes and exhaled through his nose; Inhalation next greeted him with the smell of combat as his eyes opened. Fear dulled by the psycorette was a distant memory - fading with his upset stomach.

Somewhere, over there, hundreds of meters away was the enemy SL. His fear would not be dulled by a psycorette. Rather, his fear would be piqued. His eyes would not be the stoic, empty eyes of he, the psycorette smoking SL. His eyes would be alight with a fearful fire and a maniacal intent.

He would be fierce, the enemy SL, but he would be rash.

The SL squinted in the noonday sun and spared one last glance over his mound of cover; over the dry, brown wheat and grass.

He was out there.

He was coming.