Oct 21, 2019 11:02 AM
Tarinda and Page bring a seed of the super-AI Sing to Cloudbank
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"That sounds great."

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"Excellent. Now, I already mentioned placement and signage changes... I'm interested in introducing organizational ideas into my teamster division, or into workshops and industries. I'm interested in any advances of chemistry, since my most stable ventures all involve processing chemicals and materials. I'm interested in useful things involving electricity," (He almost definitely has lost technology lying around somewhere, but can't power it, Page can guess.) "-But large quantities of metal seem to be required, which may be a challenge. I have money to invest, I have some talented people on payroll, many books, and the ability to get at least some of more or less anything produced in the city on short to medium notice."

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"Electricity does require metal or very precise chemistry and I'm not actually sure which is harder. I'll need to know what your resources are to know where to start with any of those problems."

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He can describe everything he has access to in some more detail.

Plastic/rope/canvas/paper/leather/ceramic/starglass makers. A chemist/pharmacy/doctor's office. She should meet the chemists and doctor for details but Mr. Griffings assures her they are competent - they can make a reasonable variety of plastics and medicines and dyes. An engine-building company that makes ships' engines and sells them to the shipyard. A smith, a maker of precise tools and instruments, a lens-crafter. A weavers' workshop with powered looms and other machinery. A botanist that grows herbs, medicinal plants, and flowers in steam-heated greenhouses.

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"I might be able to make you an electrical generator out of that! It could get pricey, what's your budget like and local prices of things?"

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"I'd like to keep the budget modest for things that don't have an obvious short or medium term goal. Maybe consider electricity a hobby project. I can't justify spending more than a few hundred coppers a month on it. But for things we can predict will be useful and profitable in the medium term, as much as you need, unless you need more than a percent or two of the entire economic output of Harven."

And as a merchant magnate, he knows all about local prices, of course. He has tables.

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She - well, Page - memorizes it all at once. She has ideas.

"I heard you have some lost technology," she mentions, when it seems like an opportune time.

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"Tch. Rumors," he deflects without hesitation and not-quite-perfectly. "I think some people want to see a reason - any reason - for others' success compared to them."

(He doesn't actually deny it.)

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"Are you saying you don't have any?"

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"If I had any lost technology, it would be extraordinarily rare and deserving of extreme caution. People will die and kill for lost technology. I couldn't discuss it with a recent acquaintance, as delightful as you have been so far."

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"I bet it doesn't work and you don't know how to fix it."

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Look how much he doesn't know what she's talking about! He's not a great actor. "As I said, if I had anything like that, I couldn't discuss it with a recent acquaintance. Martian or not."

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"You're gonna feel silly when I fix it."

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"It's very convenient that an ancestor or traveler from outside Cloudbank just so happened to be particularly interested in my lack of queues."

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"As you like."

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"I think considering hypothetical situations such as lost technology will be much more interesting in a week or two when all the obvious kinks in my businesses have been under the magnifying glass and you have a nice chunk of silver in your pocket for services rendered, don't you agree?"

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"I can tell you some of the things I know in that time, certainly."

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"Then perhaps we can revisit this. In a week or two. Can we go back on topic, please? Consumer psychology or teamster logistics or some other theory."

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She talks a little slowly through a logistics concept.

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He asks insightful questions and takes copious notes and eventually pays her for her time and wants to know whether he should arrange for her to meet various people involved in his businesses or not.

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"If they have more detailed information, or need to ask their own questions to implement things, sure."

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"Perhaps the weavers and engine-makers and the doctor and the chemists. They'll have more detailed information, certainly. Inventory management is a consistent problem for the engine-makers and chemists, and I think queuing and traffic theory will help the weavers. And for some reason I suspect you have relevant medical knowledge, but do tell me if I'm mistaken. Does that sound good?"

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"Sounds great."

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"Excellent. Thank you for your time. If you give me your address I can mail you the details - otherwise I'm afraid you'll have to come back tomorrow."

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"I'll just come back, I'm not familiar with the mail system here yet."

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