Jul 16, 2019 4:02 AM
Tarinda and Page bring a seed of the super-AI Sing to Cloudbank
Permalink

Cloudbank is a beautiful place, from a certain perspective. Blue sky and white clouds above, all around, and misty white clouds below.

Here is an island of solidity in the sea of sky. The wind is a steady breeze, the floating island sitting just barely on top of a dense, foggy layer of air. It's not an especially large island, perhaps two hundred feet wide and three hundred long all told, curved slightly like the back of some giant beast.

The sandy soil is thin, and wears straight through to a porous-looking sort of rock in places. There are grasses and weeds and shrubs and a few trees, plus a few small creatures. Some familiar, like the wild onions. Some alien, like the thickets of not-quite-grass with flimsy, transparent, bulging seeds straining upwards against their mooring.

A songbird casually swoops from its nest and catches one of these seeds in its bill, while something with tentacles and a large gas-bag clings to the island at the edge, nibbling on the alien leaves of something reminiscent of mangroves, a three-dimensional web of stems and flaxen roots.

And then someone else arrives.

Total: 67
Posts Per Page:
Permalink

(Good thing too 'cause she's super gay.)

She acts as Sing's hands.

One day she sneaks out to illegally drop something off the edge of the island.

Permalink

The local government would probably approve it after a few weeks of debate if it had a full explanation, surely. But this is faster.

The lower atmosphere and surface of Cloudbank is hostile.

Permalink

Yes, it was expecting that. It can handle it.

It mines. It builds. The things it builds mine and build.

Permalink

The sheer heat and acidity of the surface slows this process down by a day or two. Industrial processes are hard under these kinds of conditions. But it expected that.

Permalink

It did. It's on schedule. And it cuts way down on fuel costs.

It sends a much more sophisticated machine back up to chew up the fabber and spit out a much better one that runs on a battery charged from the surface after a few days.

Permalink

The bank is getting grumbly towards Mr. Griffings again. A raid on his basement is not likely but probably worth heading off.

Permalink

By devouring a neighboring island in broad daylight? That will probably distract them.

Permalink

"What the hell did you make-"

"Something that is worth your incredibly generous investment ten thousand times over. Just a little patience, my friends."

The bank backs off. The rest of the town chews wild rumors a lot.

Permalink

Sing chews islands. It makes things.

When it can make things fast enough, things fly hither and yon. It can save a little time on the medical front by sticking a rather scary looking needle into Tarinda for a sample to doctor and clone, so it asks nicely and does that.

Permalink

Mr. Griffings has stubbornly continued working his businesses as normally as possible. Even if it's all going to disappear. It's almost... Serene, doing something that he knows so very well but like as not won't matter soon.

People have very, very mixed reactions to the robots. Some are curious. Many are mostly indifferent unless directly confronted. A lot of them panic and flee/attack/set things on fire.

Permalink

Sing definitely has fire suppressants figured out. Seemed like it'd come in handy.

Permalink

Then various attempts to harm robots pretty much all totally fail.

Permalink

Oh good.

Then it can start saving dying people without permission and upgrading non-emergency cases with permission.

Permalink

Dying people are in relatively short supply. They're mostly already dead.

A lot of non-emergency cases want to know what the heck is going on before they agree to anything. Some want their amputated foot/persistent cough/poor vision/teeth/arthritis fixed. Some of them are nervous about this and want the 'bots to stay away from their family, or want them to fix a mangled hand and nothing else. Some of those who want something fixed don't manage to verbalize an objection to further upgrades, and a few risk-taking perfectly healthy people want upgrades.

There are caches of lost technology here and there, mostly in the far north and south or in the hands of rich people. Perhaps a few thousand such items all over the world. But at this point Sing doesn't really need them except maybe as a source of raw materials.

Permalink

Sing can do "and nothing else", assuming they aren't about to die of heart disease. It will not honor requests to stay away from people's families without hearing it from the families, but it's not particularly sinister about that.

Permalink

Some parents and spouses attempt to attack or chase away robots rather than let them talk to their families, or tell their family not to talk to the robots, or similar.

People want to know where it came from, why now, what it wants from them, whether it's going to eat all the islands and native wildlife.

Permalink

It was built here by someone who grew up with a copy of it. It couldn't get here sooner. It wants universal flourishing. It will leave plenty of both.

Permalink

 

The fact that they have cultural references for 'nigh-magical technology' helps get over the bumpy period a lot quicker. It also helps that the robots can be flagrantly metallic by Cloudbank standards - people react as if anything not plastic or glass was made of solid gold.

More people want things fixed after talking to the folks who went in first or who got emergency care. People mostly don't seem to understand that the robots can do anything not medical-related yet.

Permalink

They will.

It builds new islands, which it can riddle with its infrastructure from the start and pilot around. They go places, taking on immigrants.

Also, it sends a probe up to look for the rumored Stargate.

Permalink

People start asking for things - mirrors, toys, tools, music, jewelry, help with their chores or crops, finding an old friend or relative, books.

A lot of people are kind of reluctant to leave their homes, especially the ones who lived on ships. Even when the alternative is very shiny.

The Stargate: Exists, as a two kilometer wide ring shaped station, a giant hole blown into it by a massive explosion a long time ago. There's some busted old satellites and other space debris up there too.

Permalink

It starts salvage and attempts at repair.

Permalink

The gate is pretty badly fucked up. One of the four reactors is missing, a bunch of other vital equipment is missing or explosion-shredded or holed from centuries of micrometeorites and so on. The key components, the redundant pair of discontinuities, are safe.

There are a few corpses in the station. Most of them are unrecoverable. Four froze before they ran out of air and might be revivable.

Permalink

Sing corrals those for later and gets the station running.

Permalink

The station can be brought online. The other end has long since been shut off so it won't open to the far side, but a (frankly rather stupid) bot is listening and is soon convinced to send for a real person and will answer a limited set of questions if asked.

Permalink

Sing is patient, in its way. It asks the bot things.

Total: 67
Posts Per Page: