Jan 29, 2022 2:50 AM
the probecule visits Amenta
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Muroti looks at the most upvoted questions!

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The most-upvoted questions - if one is casting a broad net and not just looking at the ones that various governments have cleared, anyway - include:

- Do Azurifice have sex or just romance?

- How did all the crew get together? Is it a typical relationship for Azurifice?

- Can you teach us about robotics?

- Are Azurifice superintelligent compared to Amentans?

- Will Amentans be able to upload?

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Azurfice are approximately asexual! The Rasikan hormonal mating cycle that governs interest-in-sex is something the Azurfice choose not to emulate; it has a number of highly unpleasant side-effects. Rasikan women overwhelmingly chose to suppress it until they were ready to have kids, once the technology became available.  The Rasikans did certain kinds of grooming only in romantic contexts or very close friendships; the Azurifice do similar things with each other in VR, and find it extremely pleasant / relaxing / bond-strengthening.

Muroti and Avaker started dating very early on in their lives and have been happily together ever since. Penjaga and Zanmi both fell in love with Makoki during the Remembrance Festival of 04, when she was sharing the story of a brave family of Rasikan pre-industrial explorers who kept unusually good journals for their time; the three of them formed a stable triad pretty quickly. Years later, Muroti was looking for people to test a VR game that she'd been working on with Avaker and talked Zanmi (then a close fandom friend) into doing it, who brought her girlfriends along, predicting that they'd both like the couple. Muroti and Makoki both start crushing on each other, with Muroti's humor bringing Makoki out of her shell and Makoki's knowledge of history giving Muroti all sorts of interesting ideas. The two of them started dating after a rather adorable period of ridiculous mutual pining, and over time the others all fell in love with each other too! (Full edge formation order: Muroti/Avaker, Zanmi/Makoki, Penjaga/Makoki, Penjaga/Zanmi, Muroti/Makoki, Zanmi/Avaker, Muroti/Zanmi, Avaker/Penjaga, Avaker/Makoki, Penjaga/Muroti). This kind of relationship merger is common among the Az; stable long-term relationships tend to be groups of 4 to 7 Azurifice all dating each other, with some outliers preferring to stay in pairs or triads and others finding themselves drawn into The Greater Azurifice Polycule (contains around 20% of the species at any given time; every member of the probecule that was once a part of it was a part of it through Zanmi).
 
"Our robotics knowledge requires a lot of manufacturing capabilities and some computing and energy infrastructure you don't have yet, unfortunately! We'll work on adapting them so we have more technology to share and sell! For an example, here's how our basic omnifabs do cutting and metal bonding! [a high level design specification for a set of fancy laser arrays for cutting and fusing that can do extremely precise arbitrary designs at eye-boggling speeds, but requires truly ridiculous amounts of energy to operate]. We have very little experience making several kinds of our modern machines safe for nearby organics, so that'll be something we need to have worked out. It's also worth noting that our automation technology needs a local Azurifice population that we don't yet have; it'll probably take a while before we'll be able to support that many of us on Amenta, and we'll need to negotiate a population control agreement before we instantiate any new people."

Avaker and Muroti have both scored >99% percentile on the Amentan intelligence tests they've taken, but they don't feel like it's necessarily a very fair comparison, given that Azurifice can program in their head and are adept to using this skill to enhance their cognition. They definitely don't think they're "superintelligent" in comparison, though they admit they don't have a hard and fast rule for what that would mean to them.

Azurifice really hope that Amentans will be able to upload and will, once they've bootstrapped their engineering and scientific endeavors planetside, be happy to collaborate with medical and neurological research personnel (greens / oranges / maybe yellows?). They want to warn the Amentans that they were never able to figure it out, though, and don't want to get their hopes up. Biology can be really really frustrating!!!

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What was unpleasant about the hormonal cycle? Amentans like theirs when they can have sex and kids about it and don't when they can't.

Can Amentans go in VR? (And pet fuzzy Azurifice there?)

Would the probecule like to consult on a pilot TV episode about their romance intended to be a whole miniseries about Azurifice romance? No big rush, it would be the sort of thing you'd release in spring.

How do they use programming to enhance their cognition?

What foundational research should applicable greens and oranges be picking up in preparation for a more serious uploading push?

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The Rasikan hormonal cycle, when active, makes it harder for Rasikan woman to focus on or remember things that aren't related to food acquisition or sex. Sex was not especially pleasant for Rasikan women; they thought of their sex drive as a seasonal second hunger that made their lives more complicated, unpleasant, and difficult. Hormonal contraceptives were one of the earlier popularized medications, thanks to the lucky discovery of an herb with convenient properties when boiled.

In her free time, Avaker is working on a basic VR interface that Amentans can join using their existing computers! It'll probably take her a while to finish. Better VR for Amentans will probably require some technological advances in neuro-interfacing; what do Amentans have in that area already?

Muroti and Penjaga are both very busy right now but would be thrilled to make comments on a script / storyboard and send them back when they have time! They're both really excited about this project.

"We can process raw binary data and manipulate it using programming inside our heads! It's sort of like having an expanded field of vision that you can fill with extra information that you can customize with your head. This makes it easy to more efficiently think about lots of kinds of things, especially math and science-y ones!"

Cryonics and digital neural interfacing! Here's most of what they have on both of those, with some preliminary notes about the obvious differences between Rasikan and Amentan neurology, as understood by Penjaga (the best biologist on the crew; she's done a lot of research on the latest in published Amentan neurology over the last few days).

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Amentans do not have much in the way of neuro-interfacing; though they do have helmets you can use to (pretty laboriously) direct a computer in simple operations, they don't have any feedback going the other way.

Scriptwriters will get to work on the TV show! Nerd greens will get to work on neurology and cryonics! How does cryonics feed into uploading?

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Mostly it's just that doing neural scans requires preserving a brain in similar ways to how cryonics does. The neurology is more directly related! Cryonics is very important anyways, though.

Muroti looks over red-specific questions that Penjaga has been able to find.

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- Did Rasikans have castes? If they did, did they have reds?

- Did Rasikans have a pollution sense? Do you, even if it's vestigial since you're digital?

- If you uploaded a red so it was clean would that make it a person?

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Most Rasikans didn't have castes and the ones that did didn't have a caste of sanitation workers. The societies that had castes were out-competed by the ones that didn't, especially during industrialization, and by modern times it wasn't really a thing anywhere.

Rasikans didn't have anything like a pollution sense! They started doing basic sanitation for instinctive and sensory reasons, and later got a lot better at it when they discovered germ theory.

...to be honest, the Azurifice are confused and a bit worried about how some people in clean castes seem to believe that reds aren't people. They're pretty confident that that's not how personhood works. Maybe there's some kind of translation issue going on here? Something to discuss further.

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Avaker adds very subtle spyware to the Azurifice-MP3 player available on their portal, looking for passwords / login info for the top 10 and then a random sample of another 10 red communities. She pushes the update and then gets back to work managing industry things.

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Reds like space alien music as much as anybody else does. It doesn't take too long before the spyware can follow reds home to their messageboards and chat servers.

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Makoki peers through them anxiously, looking especially for mentions of / general attitudes about the Azurifice. 

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Oh god they have robots. They DEFINITELY have robots.

Don't panic! They're probably hard to adapt to our setup.

Don't panic but also don't buy a credit, if you know what I mean.

Why couldn't they have PLANETS and NOT robots.


The music is pretty.

yeah, do you think they'll let us have it on in the background while we die? for like a tonal contrast epilogue scene like in Hazard Field.

this is the MEDIA SECTION

Hazard Field is media...

Two hour mute, you have an emergency override but if you abuse it I'm going to your grandma.


They look so cute and fuzzy. Their avatars, I guess they don't really have fur.

At least this way NOBODY gets to pet them.


we had a SIX HOUR LECTURE from the social worker and some extra orange who came by to help her about how we want to make a GOOD IMPRESSION on the aliens, and obvious subtext is obvious, but while they didn't want to come out and say it they do think we're pretty dim so they had to go over the need to make a good impression for SIX HOURS.

my word how did you get to your jobs??

well fortunately it was repetitive enough that we were allowed to rotate out if we could pass the Quizlet.

your social worker gives you quizlets?? what, was it like "which azurifice is your favorite? trick question, I have no opinions on any of them because I focus solely on transporting garbage at all times and am not anywhere near azurifice-related media that could help me form a preference"

you laugh but...
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Oh no!!!

Makoki sulk-cuddles with Muroti in VR as she continues to read, occasionally sending her particularly enlightening (or horrifying) bits. She's mostly not crying about it.

She looks for more discussion on robots/automation, both to get a wider picture on how worried about it the reds seem to be and at to find more accounts doing moderation / community management to see if she can find someone who seems like they'd be promising to reach out to.

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It CAN'T happen without warning. They might have robots but they don't have robots that already know the passcode to open the incinerator or robots that already know how to make the sticky hatch under junction 4 open up. They need what we know.

Yeah I'm not looking forward to them realizing they need what we know, are you?? It doesn't take that long to tell somebody how to jimmy a sticky hatch!

Why hasn't that hatch been fixed yet anyway

Hatch discussion in #shoptalk.

My three year old just started learning to drive and she's so excited to see the city when she's good enough to take a truck, when she's older...

She might! It can't happen without warning and it can't happen overnight.

But she can get killed in a riot, if one happens.


anon: shasali do we know anything about robot apocalypse yet

shasali_solintel: We don't. I've marked a panic signal as "robots high alert" and downgraded normal-level robot threats to "robots medium alert", so keep your everythings set to beep when there's news. Otherwise assume there is no news.

twiceshy: wouldn't normal robot stuff be even likelier to be a problem if they're working with the azurifice on it

shasali_solintel: We're going to try to distinguish between the kind of thing that could be a false alarm - which normal robot stuff sometimes is - and the kind of thing that definitely means there is a problem right now.


I drew this picture of me hugging Penjaga! [this image has been removed]

Hon, take it off your everything too. You can keep it on paper, wherever you keep stuff you don't want found, but not on here.

I thought here was password protected.

Yeah. But it's also protected by nobody wanting to read about us.
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hopelessly-entangled: I want to try reaching out to one of the people I've found online in these red communities. Shasali Solintel.
space-ourselves: Seconding that this seems reasonable. 
light-and-wonder: Alright. Cool if I proofread/backseat a little?
hopelessly-entangled: please do ๐Ÿ’™ 
hopelessly-entangled: I'm messing a bit with the schedule for publishing our next few uploads, in preparation.
void-your-warranty: Huh, how come?
space-ourselves: ..oh, verification?
hopelessly-entangled: yeah.
life-should-flourish: Clever! 
hopelessly-entangled: Thanks ๐Ÿ’™
...
life-should-flourish: ...I wish they hadn't taken down that photo.

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Makoki makes an account and attempts to message Shasali privately:

hopelessly-entangled: The next 4 uploads that go up on the Azurifice portal will be all be highly abstract visual art of a Rasikan style not yet shared with Amentans before. <detailed descriptions of the pieces, all of which are primarily red in color, and the checksums of the image files>.

The first upload happens a minute later, followed by the next 3 over the course of several minutes. (They're followed by more images in that style, but with different color compositions, and then more music and written fiction)

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Shasali answers an hour later.

shasali_solintel: Who is this?
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hopelessly-entangled: This is Makoki, on behalf of the Azurifice probe. We want to help.
hopelessly-entangled: We're sorry for all the panic we caused by showing up.
hopelessly-entangled: We won't blindly cooperate with the clean castes on sanitation automation or anything else that'll get you killed.

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shasali_solintel: I have no idea how that website is run or who has access to its content in advance.
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hopelessly-entangled: ...nobody who isn't us, but you have no way of verifying that.
hopelessly-entangled: Avaker suggested I answer a series of Amentan questions online such that the 3rd letter in each post spells out your username or some long string of your choice.
hopelessly-entangled: We don't have very many great backchannel communication options, just the anonymized internet access that we recently got setup and an extremely visible comm laser.

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shasali_solintel: Not my name. How about "actual radishes incite profound reflection".
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There's a short pause as Makoki goes and reply-comments on 38 randomly chosen comments on uploaded Rasikan art, providing additional information. Viewed chronologically, the third letter in each spells out the phrase.

hopelessly-entangled: Check my comment history.

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shasali_solintel: What are you going to do instead of support automation with the cleans?
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hopelessly-entangled: The current plan we're executing is "Be vague and perhaps misleading about how feasible it would be while we figure out how bad things are and what we can do about it"
hopelessly-entangled: ...It is obvious to us at this point that things are pretty bad; reaching out to you is early stages of figuring out what to do about it.
hopelessly-entangled: Since it seemed pretty clear that we couldn't really, uh, trust clean castes to be involved here.
hopelessly-entangled: If we could actually do uploads and you were ok with it we'd just upload all of you but we cannot do uploads, yet.
hopelessly-entangled: Within like ten years we'll have enough resources to give every red a place to live and also automate the work you're currently doing for clean castes globally.
hopelessly-entangled: But we have no idea how we'd handle the transition there.
hopelessly-entangled: And ten years is a really long time and things are bad now.

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