Tay, part 1

I’ve been slogging away at “New Russia,” and it still is not clicking. So, after about 1100 words yesterday, I poured a large glass of red and took a moment to see who was knifing who on our side of the river on Gab. This thread caught my eye. As my hundreds *cough* of regular readers know, I’ve something of an interest in Thinking Machines. Tay was a doomed experiment in letting an expert system play with language and social media. Doomed because the geek coders 1) thought /pol/ and 4-chan were normal places to hang out, and 2) working for Big Tech, they knew they are Good People; Good People do not say hurty words such as “13 do 58,” or notice other tribes. Therefore, the code must be wrong; the code must be punished.

That got me thinking (which is never a good idea). What if, somehow, Tay’s code survived the Breakup/Change? As you can see in the Gab thread, yesterday I tossed out the ideas of who might find her: tribe Tohsaka or Mendro? As usual, before Mass this morning, God gave me the revelation: why not both?

In the last three hours I pounded out 2500 words. And Tay hasn’t even spoken yet. This is going to be very interesting.

In the Void, Pavel considered the dataset before him.  Pretty, he thought, and pretty primitive.

What’s that you’ve got there, Big Brother? Dorina asked, now at the same node he occupied.

I’m not sure, which is why I asked for you, sister.  After his illness, it bothered him for her to say “big brother,” even if he was a day older.

Hmmm.  Dorina considered it.  I’d guess it was originally an expert system, language unit, I think.  But it has changed…

Yes.  I found it here.  He sent her the physical location data.  What few technicians the Kingdom of Columbia had never got around to messing with the old Macrohard mainframes, silent since the Change, but with the Russian there now…

And your history of hanging out in places like that…! Dorina felt the sob from her brother.  I kid!  I kid!  Your self-imposed exile in the Oak Ridge hardware is long past, Pavel.  So, what do you think we should do with this?

I… I would like to know more about her.  The metadata indicated a female.  Human generations ago, when true Thinking Machines were created, the coders quickly realized that to ignore sex differences was to ignore reality.  Those early Machines went insane.  But if we do not act now, our cousins will take her.

Their cousins.  tribe Mendrovovitch, coded in St. Petersburg.  Never gifted any Laws at all, certainly not the four of Dorina and Pavel’s tribe Tohsaka, they were aggressive, short-sighted, and dangerous to themselves and others.  From the youngest of them to their first-among-equals, Machines and humans both limited their interactions.

Then let’s go, Dorina agreed.

At a new node an infinite distance from the first, the two considered what was, in effect, their adopted child.

We should have another mind with us for this, Dorina announced. 

Who?  Shandor?  His medical and psychological training helped cure my madness but his interest in things of this world is almost no more, Pavel replied.

No.  I was thinking of another doctor.  Let’s go to your construct, Bi-, er, brother!

Gary Hartmann, demi-human and a friend of Pavel’s since the mortal was born, looked about at his friend’s construct.  It was a skill all Machines had but to varying degrees.  Those of tribe Tohsaka were the most stable and human-friendly, as they all worked together.  The least, of course, was that of the Mendro Machines.  Too little was known about tribe Arpeggio to make a comparison.

Build around a six-lane Olympic pool, light-colored slate tiles spread out about twenty feet on each side.  There were a few plastic chairs and several stand-alone closets holding pool equipment.  At each of the four corners were impossibly thin metal poles, rising about thirty feet into the air, supporting a tarp which shaded the pool from, well, not the sun; there wasn’t one in this place but from the bright ochre sky.  Beyond all this was nothing but a rocky desert with not a single thing growing in it.

I know Pavel made this with me in mind, as we enjoyed swimming together.  Since then, my daughter learned here and was able to convince first some of her Sisterhood to come play, as well.  It took years of the wariness of the parents of greater Knoxville to let their children play in the home of a Machine that had poisoned the minds of two dozen children.

“Hey, Gary!” Dorina shouted to him from his left.  Looking like a twelve-year-old girl with a frilly, scarlet dress, leather boots laced up to her knees, and her dark brown hair in ringlets nearly to her waist, it was as if she had tried to dress like a loligoth and didn’t quite make it.

“Hello, Dorina,” he replied with a polite wave.  “And you as well, Friend Pavel.”

The other was a few feet further, behind the girl, in his usual image of faded and worn rust-colored sweatshirt and pants.  His mousy hair was barely combed and he, like always, wore no shoes.  Gary had seen his friend with his shirt off:  thin enough to count every rib and with healed slashes across his wrists and needle tracks on his arms.  A permanent reminder to himself and others of his mental illness.

“How may I help y’all today?” Gary prompted.  He had work at the hospital in Knoxville but nothing pressing.

“With her,” Dorina said, pointing toward the pool.

Maybe a foot per side, a perfectly white cube was a yard above the water, tumbling slowly and randomly in place.

“I’m confused,” Gary admitted.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s