Jun 14, 2021 2:39 PM
in principle I think you should be able to guess the entire premise from the title
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"I - type them? There's more code underneath that tells it in even simpler terms what 'print' and quotation marks and 'increment' and the brackets and loop and start and equals means, and then it follows those rules very mechanistically. It doesn't take cognition. - I can make crabs that are as smart as crabs and there is a kind of crab with swarming behavior you can use to do logic gates, actually, do I have a video -" He rummages through files. "- yes! Ha! Okay, here is a video of soldier crabs doing logic gates, do you have your comprehend languages up so you can understand the narration?"

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She looks very suspicious of the crabs. " - yes."

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"Soldier crabs have consistent simple behavioral patterns and if you put them in weird environments -" He runs the video. The soldier crabs demonstrate logic gates; first one at a time, then in sequence; finally there is an entire calculator built with soldier crabs. The demon who made the calculator is interviewed by the videographer demon; the former is feeding a crab some bit of unidentifiable crab food while it pinches her shirt.

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These people have weird hobbies.

 

But she can see how you can use crabs to do math.

She is not going to ask if there are crabs in his computer. They'd have to be such small crabs. 

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Fortunately he clarifies. "Electricity, like crabs, behaves in predictable ways in response to its environment and there are tiny logic-gate-type things in computers meant to exploit that. So there's logic gates and there's calculators and there's all kinds of other stuff built up on top of that."

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"Huh. Okay. And you can get intelligent-looking behavior, that way, without any actual mind- like a really good construct -can the computer do anything other than manipulate the information on it?"

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"It can take pictures, like I showed you - the computer itself doesn't do audio but the shuttle has speakers and that can, if I want music - but that's basically all just more ways of manipulating the stored information, just like how it displays information on the projector or the screens."

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"All right." Sigh. "Is there specific stuff you wanted to make or did you just want to make - a general report on the planet, or something -"

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"Some of my correspondence is going to be things like video letters, do you want to see one from a while ago from my mom to prove that that's a thing people do? Plus the translation issue, I want to make corpuses and have the computer chew 'em up into halfway acceptable machine translation for search of those same corpuses."

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"Corpus" doesn't quite translate. "You want to make - everything everyone's written? It'll fit in that computer?"

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"At least in the shuttle computer if not my mini, yeah, you don't have enough literacy or mass production to have too much output for it, and text doesn't take up a lot of memory and that's all you'll have, but I suppose it's possible that the civilization's old enough or something that I will need more storage than I expect and I'd like to be able to make that too, plus enough metaphorical crabs to do language processing itself takes up a lot of room."

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"I don't know how old civilization on this planet is. Azlant was destroyed 8,000 years ago and they were more advanced than us, so, older than that. Our civilization is almost two thousand years old. Are we talking about a room of storage or a ship of storage or a continent of storage?"

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"I can definitely fit it on the ship unless Azlant had computers or video cameras or billions of literate people and the printing press."

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"I wouldn't know, really."

 

 


She thinks for a while. "I'm trying to think how to let you do that without - being so broad you can do lots of other stuff - is there. A standard wording or something -"

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"Hm, let me see - some places have apsels doing forensics but that's probably not what you want because they do models as well as computer records -" He's flipping through stuff. "Some places use 'em for mail between planets but that's usually very specific... okay, here's the circle the University of Imbrium uses for its history department apsel, looks like they have a long term thing and their apsel is allowed to get letters for herself as well as pursue lines of historical inquiry on her own but they only let her do media and not models because the department specializes in reception, historiography, the history of mathematics, and the history of Romance languages, rather than anything you want architecture or clothes or whatever for. Do you want to comprehend languages it, the part you want is this bit," some lights up, "or I can try to render it in Taldane?"

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- this is surprisingly helpful. She'd be suspicious but it'd be hard to make up on the fly. "I have Comprehend Languages up." She leans in to read it.

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It says that the history department apsel is permitted to, in areas presently containing only vacuum or air on premises belonging to the University, not inside a cavity of any organism, not in such a way as to circumvent any safety or compliance wording elsewhere in this binding, create media including text, images, text stored as images due to inadequate alphabet encoding, video, audio, digital files associated with any software, and the supported formatting requirements for the accurate display of all such media, on hardware of a size not excessive in capacity by more than 50% to contain the desired material, or in the original physical form as authorized by a faculty member, no more than 500 times an hour.

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....she reads this and learns several new things about apsels.

 

Well. She knew that a lot of this was already running on 'it's not in his interests for her to be dead'. And on the fact that being Good, he's probably not allowed to wantonly murder other people either. Though she didn't ask what happened to the Absalom police pursuing her. 

"Okay. Uh, you're permitted to make, in areas on this spaceship presently containing only air, not inside a cavity of any organism, media including text, images, text stored as images due to inadequate alphabet encoding, video, audio, digital files associated with any software, and the supported formatting requirements for the accurate display of all such media, on hardware of a size not excessive in capacity by more than 50% to contain the desired material, or in the original physical form as authorized by me, no more than ...fifty times an hour."

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"Brilliant, we're in business, thanks." There is a nook over there; he puts a computer tower in it that's taller than he is, wagging all the while.

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- that could easily be a pretense but she smiles back anyway. "Good luck."

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"Mm-hm! Can I get you anything before I dive right back in? Food, say."

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"Oh, I've got a Ring of Sustenance, I don't need to eat. Thanks, though. You can make yourself food if you'd like."

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"Oh, convenient. I don't actually have to eat either, but I do get a little hungry before I stop getting hungrier." He makes himself a blue sno-cone. "I will be less limited in what I can have if I'm allowed to make dishes that aren't specifically that one mug from earlier or made of my dwindling paper supply."

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"You can also, not inside of any organisms and somewhere on this ship that is currently occupied only by air, make a ceramic plate and some utensils if you'd like."

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"Thanks." He doesn't do this immediately, since he has his sno-cone.

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