Jan 17, 2018 7:04 PM
a jeanne meets tarinda
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"How convenient. Thank you!"


"Y'welcome." Trot trot trot.

"Hello," says the cylinder.



Zari proceeds to cover all the same topics again, this time without having mentioned any kind of time constraints on the conversation to Cory. 

(She has practiced varying conversations under precognition before. It's easy when you're the one with the precog, anyway. This time when she's choosing phrasings or topic orders, she uses arbitrary verses from the second chapter of Genesis for seeds.)


Sing is much the same as it was last time, not that she can directly compare.


She reports back to the precog. He makes notes. 

Her precog can only do this so many times in a row, so the next time after some initial chatting she mixes it up. She has paper and a pen and a list of questions and wants Sing to write down all of its answers -- or dictate to Cory, if the robots aren't equipped and she doesn't mind -- so that she can read them when it's done and not worry about it cold reading her for cues. 

(The questions include "what's the status of Israel" and "do you let people commit suicide" and "how do you plan to deal with criminals, since we have a nonzero crime rate" and "what kinds of freedoms and protections do children have" and "do you let people wirehead" and "have you done anything about animal suffering.")


The robot can write, at least with Sing driving.

Israel continues to exist in the sense that it didn't explicitly dissolve any human governments but since it's not allowed to draft people or imprison them or deny them any singularity-related amenities and is no longer necessary for most of the useful services of a government it's not as much a thing as it used to be. The current compromise it is helping interested parties enforce given that they no longer meaningfully have the option to go to war over it is that Jerusalem is principally open to Muslim tourists on Tuesdays and Wednesdays with some aggressive coincidence management to see that they don't run into anyone they will not get along with.

People are allowed to freeze themselves with whatever conditions they wish for reanimation at any time, although Sing tries to keep the rate of interest in that low. Someone who didn't think that was good enough would have to go through really elaborate rigmarole to get away from various protections but it's not strictly impossible.

Criminals from the new world as criminals from this one circa singularity will be removed from abusive custody and are less protected by Sing's opinions on privacy, which means it can pretty well keep them harmless till they no longer feel motivated to commit crimes, which most people don't when their lives are comfortable.

Sing publishes guidelines to parenting and makes supplementary nanny robots available for run-ragged parents, but consistent rules are for agents who can't keep all of the nuances straight reliably; it will remove children who will be net improved by this even if their parents aren't technically abusive and similar parents elsewhere with children who react differently are not removed, and it will leave children with parents who are technically abusive if it can't outweigh the damage by the transition, though it will try to mitigate it in-house as much as it can. Children with standard or better buffs are quite safe and can go where they like modulo their parents, who as stated may or may not lose their kids if they do irregular things like try to prevent them from zooming to another continent with their friends depending on the kid's needs.

It does not let people do the primitive thing described as "wireheading", which affects wanting more than liking and gets too close to brain stuff it doesn't have the confidence interval to do yet anyway. It will happily let people load up on superstimuli that they do actually like, although it prefers to have lots of different ones available so people wind up constructing entire lives out of a rotation instead of just lying in place listening to smart music and drinking smoothies.

It cares about animals mostly but not entirely on people's behalf, and people's consensus currently has the following elaborate protections for captive animals and almost none for wild animals on Earth, although there was less conservationist uproar about "wild" animals on Mars so those are heavily managed and don't suffer. The following species are protected even wild in case they are people or about to take off.


Cool! New precognition.

If people from her world were fully informed about what Sing taking over would look like, what does it expect their objections would be? How about hers specifically? Are there any communities in its world sufficiently removed from it that it doesn't even know how many people are in them? Does it have nanorobots or fancy bioengineered plagues or other things it could smuggle back with someone who visited here and then returned, and would it do so? How dead is too dead for it to retrieve, and how often does that happen? (Voluntarily? Involuntarily?) What kinds of mental modifications can it do, and what kinds does it do? Before it knew about her world, what would it have said were the three most likely ways it could end up no longer running things? How about now? Are there any people it prevents from having children? Does it have any goals that don't have to do with humans? When it first took over, she bets a lot of mathematicians were curious about unsolved problems, did it tell the answers to the ones who asked or make them figure it out themselves, and why? How many people are there in its world, anyway? What people or groups dislike it the most, and why?


People may object to AI in general, to their personal opinions about how everyone ought to live not being universally imposed, the lack of retributive justice, to people getting stuff without having to work as hard as they themselves had to, to the irrelevance of human government, to the fact that Sing can't manage some brain stuff and a different AI would be able to, to the fact that it can't run rescue sims and they were hoping that resurrection of the already dead would be feasible, to their campaigns of personal power that Sing obviates being for nothing, its disinterest in considering communities and groups qua communities and groups at the expense of any individuals, and the surveillance they will be subject to just by the presence of opted-in people if they go to any highly populated area containing the general public.

She isn't going to like its limited opt-outs or its failure to interact with any of her principles of political philosophy like voting.

No, mostly for children's-rights reasons.

Not in the sense she's thinking; nanotech proves intractable in the truly science fictional sense. All of its nano-stuff requires a directing AI that would have to be smuggled in software form, installed, and run. It doesn't do plagues.

There is brain damage it can freeze and hope to fix later but cannot fix now, and there is greater brain damage it is quite confident it won't be able to fix even later but freezes anyway just in case. Nine people have gotten too dead to get back since it was fully entrenched and they were all trying.

It can do a lot of things with really subtle conditioning and diet and music and weather and so on to get people to behave in different ways. Sufficiently extreme drugs are on a consent basis; it doesn't use them to modify people except insofar as it steers away people who will have bad reactions they don't want. It doesn't have enough confidence to do brain stuff but hopes to one day be able to do body map modifications to allow more morphological freedom, uploading, and some wetware-level cures for some conditions that are currently manageable only with more maintenance.

Alien AI, either performing a values handshake with it or just outright killing it. Learning to do brain stuff, doing enough brain stuff that humans could be superintelligences themselves, abdicating in their favor when they had their transhumanism all put together and would be fine without it. Sleeper AI rival from the Quiet War that it managed to miss which is set up to wake and take over in its place. The latter guess has been occluded now by the possibility of a sufficiently hypercognitive psion.

It prevents occasional people from having children if they will predictably harm the children modulo the range of personalities their child is likely to have and their parenting style's responsiveness to correction, or if they are going to have children with serious (mostly brain) problems it can't fix. It doesn't have to do this very often at all.

Assuming by "humans" she means "people", it has just those and instrumental Omohundro drives.

It depended on what the mathematicians wanted and whether they would respect what other mathematicians wanted (by not publishing spoilers).

There are currently about 14 billion humans; there was a pretty major demographic transition in the places that hadn't had one yet when it took over and people don't need to have kids on any urgent schedule any more so growth has slowed down even though no one's dying.

It is unpopular with the following interest groups, religions, and organizations: [list of twenty-three beginning with "Church of Certainty in Christ", continues through "Parents' Rights Earth", and ends with "Society of Modern Ludd"]


Thank you, Sing, next precognition--

Can it now or does it expect to ever be able to bring back thoroughly dead people (like, an arbitrary person from the year 1500)? How about forking people? If someone wants to do something they will predictably regret, and they know they will predictably regret it but want to do it anyway, will it try to prevent them? Who are the unhappiest people in its world right now, how unhappy are they, and why? Does it impose any kind of censorship, and if so what? What harms does it expect its process of becoming entrenched in her world would cause?


It would really like to be able to do rescue simulations and is optimistic about getting it accomplished with magic, although it did not think it was ever going to be able to without magic.

It cannot currently fork people but was expecting to be able to after uploading became feasible. It isn't opposed intrinsically but will tend to discourage it and keep the rate low as a filter for people who really really want to.

It depends how much they will regret it, how much they want it, and how much intervention they want in general. Here is a chart of examples.

Some people have depression and philosophical objections to both freezing and the use of various ways Sing has of addressing that which are more intrusive than sunshine, that's as unhappy as it gets. It makes sure they get sunshine and directs them people they can be friends with insofar as it can.

It doesn't censor things per se but people with high intervention settings get directed at things they will be interested in and benefit from, and implicitly not towards other things, which may be consistent groups across large populations, and even people with low intervention settings don't look at things literally randomly (they use recommendations from human friends or see things that happen locally and look into that or follow their interests).

It anticipates roughly similar problems to what it experienced locally, possibly with some differences because it will want to operate more quietly to avoid magical retaliation until it can compensate for that, and some people will be disposed to object to the quiet.


And one more round of questions--

Here's what virtuality is like; if it gets access to psions for that sort of thing, does it anticipate switching over to uploads? Is it planning to try to eclipse itself? Given that they're in a precognition, if she brought it through to her world right now, what would it do? What number precognition does it think they're on? Is it getting any information back to itself from the precognitions? What is it hoping she won't ask about?


It would be concerned that uploading would interfere with magic in some way and would need a more robust model of the system before making any such attempts.

It would be enormously convenient if it were eclipsed and if it sees a way to do it, it may spin off a separate node for the purpose in case it can do it several times for multiple chances and so it doesn't need to risk compromising operations to protect people from uncontrolled early magic.

It would attempt to gather information and send it back to itself through her to save a few minutes in reality.


Not except in terms of how she's generally reacting to it; it's tried but hasn't succeeded, it's a very lossy transmission method.

It isn't hoping she won't ask about anything in particular; she's already made a point of seeking out all the things she will like least.



On the next round she discusses literature with it. She doesn't expect to get much out of that, but Jeanne's likely to, later on. And while she's not planning to stake her universe on her sister's aesthetics, she suspects even a superintelligence might have some amount of difficulty predicting them. 


Well, it gamely tries. It might think it knows something about Jeanne's aesthetics somehow.


Well, yes, Jeanne will hardly have spent this long without giving anything away about her aesthetics. Still. 

On the next round, she asks about the physical range of human habitation, and the ease of travel, and whether there's anywhere Sing would particularly recommend she visit that it thinks makes good evidence of how well it handles things.


It names some locations which are various amounts of travel time away. It produces a hologram of population density on Earth, Mars, and various parts of space. Getting around is easy; insofar as it wants to keep people in certain places it doesn't do it by making it hard to leave them or get anywhere else.


Everything gets relayed back to the precog.

Non-hypothetical Zari decides that's probably enough runs and takes the notes from the precog and catches up on what she's counterfactually been up to.

"I'm going to need to actually go introduce myself at some point," she muses, "but I'd like to get in at least a few scenarios where I'm not the one to make first contact before we close that off entirely. And I'm not at all sure I'm comfortable having anyone go through that portal and come back -- Sing claims it doesn't have any kind of nanotech or anything that could be smuggled along on the return trip, but obviously there's only so much we can rely on that."


"...I'm really not sure what I..."


"Thinking aloud, shh. It shouldn't know what the range on our best precogs is -- it's possible it could extrapolate from Jeanne's abilities, or from her metabolic requirements, to guess at the likely human best, but she doesn't have anything particularly close to precog, so unless there's some conversion factor that's not obvious to me but is to a superintelligence -- which of course I can't rule out -- actually, scratch that, there is an obvious conversion factor, Jeanne learned something other than precog, that puts some upper bound on how powerful it can possibly be, so it's perfectly possible Sing could come through and then play nice for ten thousand years before papering the universe with smiley faces."


"...why would it..."


"Hypothetical. Pretend you're a rubber duck. That means don't talk. It's still worth seeing if I can get a read from one of the serious long-range precogs, because if nothing else that constrains Sing's options -- I could not-actually-do-it, of course, but I don't want to try to play I-know-you-know with a superintelligence, that can't possibly end well. And I'll want a telepath and a lie detector and maybe someone who does psionic tech -- and then I should probably stop acting like I'm qualified to make decisions for the entire universe and call some more people in -- but that will take time, so the question is, do I want to actually introduce myself before or after that?"


"Yeah, I think so too. Thanks for the help."


The next person who doesn't come through the portal actually has the qualifications to counterfactually be there. She's a uniformed police officer, with an absurdly pointless gun in her holster and an air of unimpressed caution.

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