Sunday, November 30, 2014

Squeaky explores the meaning of life...

Squeaky’s voice is philosophical. “I find biological beings so interesting. The variety of life is staggering. You all look bizarre to me, yet the Universe teems with biological life.”

“I owe my existence to beings that are bent on destroying the lives of other beings by addicting them to drugs that will eventually kill them. I spend some of my idle time wondering how biological intelligence could possibly have prospered across the Universe considering you are genetically predisposed to destroy each other.”

This is an excerpt from book #3 of my 'Arlo and Jake' SciFi series. 

Squeaky is an Artificial Intelligence 'being' that Arlo meets after being kidnapped and dumped on a slave planet. Squeaks is a minor player with some major concepts I'm exploring.

When we are finally capable of creating independent 'beings' that possess some form of self-motivating intelligence, what will those beings 'think' about?

So far, I've followed the same silly assumption that other SciFi authors and movie script writers have; AI's will think like us. It's so much easier to create a fictional AI character if we believe he/she/it will behave like us. It gets complicated very quickly if I have to 'translate' an AI's thoughts for my reader. So far, I haven't found a way to make it interesting. Someday, perhaps.

It's a silly assumption because unless the AI has a biological brain that operates exactly like ours, it's not going to think like us. If it uses any other physical matter, it won't duplicate our complex matrix of synapses. But, I'll save that discussion for another set of blogs. 

This post is mostly about the questions an AI might ponder about it's creators. Of course, I'm using another artifice when I assume that other biological beings in the Universe would create AI's with the same issues. 

How can an AI view the Universe of biologicals and not wonder how it's creators survive? 

Will AI's be able to make the distinction between good and evil?

AI's will supposedly be super fast at computations compared to humans, say. But does that mean they will have tons of 'spare time' to ponder the concepts that mankind, etc, struggle to understand? 

What if the process of 'thinking' is much more involved than mere computation? We currently think it is but so far we don't really know because we haven't created a thinking AI. 

Will human concepts like love, hate, fear, greed or hunger even exist in an AI mind?

This and more as we dive into the deeper pools of life.

Saturday, November 8, 2014

The final battle approaches...

'Arlo and Jake Lost Partner' is in it's last chapters. The stage is being set for the final battle between good and evil. Or as Arlo would say, 'Time to kick butt and take names.'

The book is at 50k words and closing in on the 60k that I'm comfortable with for the series. I've still got tons of rewrite and improvements to make. I'm making notes everywhere that I see a chance to make a scene more real or the dialog more snarky.

Bringing all the players into position for the story arc ending is both amazingly hard and an outright hoot! Though I've had a vague idea of what I want to happen, I have not sketched out all the details yet. I'm always doodling around with 'what if this' or 'suddenly this goes wrong'. I don't have the final answer yet. That's kind of exciting, because once you down the deer, the fun is gone and the hard work begins.

Did that throw you? It's something I heard years ago from an elk hunter, up in Colorado. He said that hunting was the best thing he ever did. Being outdoors in the hills, dressed in camo to blend into the trees and wearing a bright orange vest and hat so that dim witted weekenders didn't shoot you. Yeah. Think about how that looks to the elk.

One year we saw a herd of cows on a ranch we passed to the hunting site. They looked odd from the distance. When we got closer, we saw the word 'Cow' spray  painted on the sides of every cow. Hmmm. Maybe we should paint 'Not a Deer!' on our vests...

Anyway, back to the metaphor. Our friend said that being outdoors, walking around the hills looking for elk sign was incredibly relaxing and exciting at the same time. Your senses open up. You smell everything. You hear everything. You see colors that you normally just ignore. The air smells of fresh leaves and berries. I swear you can smell the creek water from 100 yards away.

But. Once you down your animal, all that vanishes. Now you have to field dress your kill and get it back to camp. That has it's own wonder but it's different. Sort of anticlimactic.

Same thing with the final scenes in a book. Stalking the right setups, playing with alternatives, exploring 'what if's' is an amazing feeling. Wonderful.

But once you 'know' how it ends, the high of the chase is over. The hard work of making it all come together begins.

I hope I do it justice.

Be cool!