Posts tagged Artificial Intelligence

Overture (Part Two of Three)

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Galactum Year 139

She didn’t reach the landing pad until almost dusk, having had to wait at the placement office all day or risk losing her spot in the rota for a new temp assignment. As much as she hoped this new ship would be the one, she couldn’t risk missing out on further short term placements if it didn’t work out. Thankfully, the captain had understood and accommodated her schedule.

Despite the late hour, the day’s heat still lay heavy over her as she stepped down from the tram onto the landing pad’s apron. In the distance, the sun dipped low toward the horizon, lighting the sky with the colours of flame. She felt a tickle of sweat down her back under the starched, formal shirt, but she knew it had nothing to do with the heat. The back of her neck itched where her hair had been freshly shorn down to the skin. She fought the urge to touch the place where the braid she had grown since childhood no longer lay.

As the shuttle tram moved off behind her, she saw the ship in the centre of the landing pad. She felt a whiff of disappointment and made an effort to push it away.

It seemed small to her, not much noteworthy about it. But even as the thought came to her, she knew that, compared to the ship where she had been born and raised, anything would have seemed so. The clanship would have dwarfed most of the port, far too massive to ever have made planetfall. She knew she would likely never see a ship like that again, let alone serve on one. She didn’t want to settle into any of the barges she had been temp-crewing on, but this one might very well be her future. (more…)

Overture (Part One of Three)

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Galactum Year 138

Jaim Somro’s life ended in the burnt, angry glare of a dying star, the ship his only companion.

The Maverick Heart hung in the fading light of the aged sun, as close to the raging shockwaves and radiation as ey could without risk, held there by constant adjustments to es drive field. Waiting for the end to finally come.

Meanwhile, the human lay small and frail on one of the couches, wrapped in a well-worn blanket, waxen skin bathed in ruddy light. Each breath the man took ever more laboured.

The ship remembered that blanket and the world it had come from in perfect detail. Ey remembered the moment the human had picked it up in the shop, remembered knowing the moment he had decided to buy it.

In the end, nothing more than time had killed the vibrant, vital man who had joined the ship a few months past his fiftieth birthday. They would spend another six decades together, until the latest advances in anti-senescence treatments could do no more. And the man had wanted to die where he had lived, in the black, lit by the light of a million stars. (more…)

Queering AI (Part Three of Three)

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“I’m sorry, Dave. I’m afraid I can’t do that.”

If you know your Science Fiction, and maybe even if you don’t, you recognize the iconic line from the HAL 9000 in Stanley Kubrick’s masterpiece, 2001: A Space Odyssey. HAL was the artificial intelligence who, while incredibly smart, was driven to violence by the directives provided by his human creators.

Artificial intelligence is a staple of science fiction, and it’s a trope that enables writers to examine what it means to be human, what it means to create life and what our responsibility to that life we create actually is. And further, it enables us to tell stories about what that life might want to do to us in return.

There have been brilliant examples of stories in the AI genre. Colossus: The Forbin Project is a terrifying vision of what could happen if the tools of war are handed over to a machine intelligence designed to make war more efficient. The Terminator, with all it’s lean savagery, is another take on what happens when the machines come online and want control. (more…)

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