Drabblecast 063 - Time Shift

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AI: A good thing?

Absolutely! Intelligent machines would be the best technology ever.
2
9%
Probably. Could be problems, but the good outweighs the bad.
15
65%
Bad idea. Moral/philosophical objections.
2
9%
Bad idea!! Haven't you seen The Matrix?!
4
17%
 
Total votes: 23

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Mr. Tweedy
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Drabblecast 063 - Time Shift

Post by Mr. Tweedy » Wed May 07, 2008 3:23 pm

Sara paused the scene. She was in mid-leap over the crosswalk. Lance was flying away from her outstretched hands. His face was turned toward the bus, seeing it for the first time. Sara didn't have to wonder if he'd be safe: The physics coprocessor in her abdomen had already done the calculations and had informed her that he would be thrown clear of the bus. It had also informed her that she would not be so lucky...

Drabble - 360 Degrees by Derek K. Palmer

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Post by HokieGeek » Wed May 07, 2008 3:37 pm

I liked it! it was a pretty tame story for the drabblecast, but I enjoyed it just the same

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Post by Chivalrybean » Wed May 07, 2008 4:02 pm

What a sick person. Why would anyone dream of Mur getting hit by a bus?

Good story! Needless to say, the voices were done well, the plot was interesting and different.

To top is all:
Best bus hitting scene I've ever heard.

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good episode

Post by Kevin Anderson » Wed May 07, 2008 5:38 pm

Two good stories from two new authors.

The main story was kind of a mix of I Robot (Robot City) and Jacob's ladder. Well sort of. Maybe not.

Mur did a great job. Her podcast "I Should Be Witting," is a great motivator for writers and want to be writers.

And thanks for reminding me of that SNL skit / commercial. Can't remember the product but I think the final tag line was "... for when the metal ones come for you."

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Re: good episode

Post by Chivalrybean » Wed May 07, 2008 6:05 pm

Kevin Anderson wrote: Mur did a great job. Her podcast "I Should Be Witting," is a great motivator for writers and want to be writers.
Witting? Does she have a new podcast about clever ideas? }:0D

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Post by Kevin Anderson » Wed May 07, 2008 7:34 pm

opps - I blame the meds.

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Post by Chivalrybean » Wed May 07, 2008 10:24 pm

Kevin Anderson wrote:opps - I blame the meds.
Looks like you took more. It could be the robots though...

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Post by Kevin Anderson » Wed May 07, 2008 11:01 pm

Yes, I did. But I like the robot theory - be gone metal ones!

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Post by RG » Thu May 08, 2008 3:13 am

A thoughtful exploration of the mysterious nature of time and memory. With robots!

I enjoyed both stories. The robots came off much better than the people. The robot in the drabble was a voice of tolerance and the robot in the main story was selfless and willing to sacrifice herself for a jerk. A jerk named Lance, which makes him even more of a jerk.

So far I'm the only one who's voted against AI. Robots may be fun in fiction, but I don't really want to see too many in the future. They already exist in real life, which means that unlike zombies, you can do actual experiments with them, and so far robots are totally undropkickable.

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Post by bolddeceiver » Thu May 08, 2008 5:31 am

Great story. The characters really felt human.
...the pagoda-like enclosure, where Japanese sand-badgers disported themselves...

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Post by AynSavoy » Thu May 08, 2008 7:27 am

I second Bolddeceiver's delightful irony, and also RG's comment about the robots being ever so much more likable than the people.

I thought this was a terrific story. The direction it took was unexpected, yet simple. I liked the characters (except Lance, of course). And I thought the shared narration worked very well with this story. The only thing, production-wise, I would have liked would have been a little longer silence after the bleeps of the dropped connection. I felt like I didn't have time to enjoy the bittersweet before the (albeit cozy-by-now) theme music came on.


The drabble was well-written, but the twist wasn't too surprising. Still, fun theme! And hooray for new writers!
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Post by strawman » Fri May 09, 2008 1:17 pm

RG wrote: A jerk named Lance, which makes him even more of a jerk.
Do we really want to generalize like this? I mean, Lance is short form for Lancelot, right? Do you have to be a giant squid to pass muster?
And what's the deal with the poll? Only one person thinks intelligent machines would be excellent? Just think what an improvement in telephone answering menues it would mean. "I'm sorry, Lance is not taking your calls today. If you'd like to apologize, press 4 now."

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Post by Mr. Tweedy » Fri May 09, 2008 3:10 pm

strawman wrote:And what's the deal with the poll? Only one person thinks intelligent machines would be excellent? Just think what an improvement in telephone answering menues it would mean. "I'm sorry, Lance is not taking your calls today. If you'd like to apologize, press 4 now."
I was curious what people thought and this story seemed like an obvious place to ask. I'm the guy who voted "bad for moral reasons." My primary concern with making AI is that AI would almost certainly be used as slaves for humans. Humans are going to spend many lifetimes of work to create an intelligent machine and then... turn it loose? Give it free will? Not likely. We'll keep it the digital equivalent of a padded room and only let it out when we need it to work for us. Slavery.

And making AI that aren't slaves would be quite dangerous, since it would be impossible to predict what abilities they might have or what might motivate them to do what.
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Post by peteyfrogboy » Fri May 09, 2008 4:06 pm

I'm glad you all enjoyed the story. :)

HokieGeek: Yeah, it doesn't really fit the usual Drabblecast flavor, but honestly I'd only listened to a couple of episodes when I submitted it. If I'd gone back further in the archives I would have left in more cussing and maybe added a poop joke. :)

Kevin: Here's the Old Glory Insurance commercial.

strawman: As to whether the name Lancelot automatically makes you a jerk, 9 out of 10 Arthurs think it does.

Mr. Tweedy: Assuming that AIs were given their freedom, what do you suppose they would do with it? A computer without commands will simply sit there and do nothing; what would an AI do differently? A living creature would act to fulfill its desires; what would an AI's desires be?

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Post by Mr. Tweedy » Fri May 09, 2008 5:25 pm

peteyfrogboy wrote:Mr. Tweedy: Assuming that AIs were given their freedom, what do you suppose they would do with it? A computer without commands will simply sit there and do nothing; what would an AI do differently?
Well, if it's just a computer program, then it isn't really AI, is it? You robot in the story isn't just a program. She has her own desires and thoughts, motives and goals. She's a person. But she isn't free: She's got to serve Lance, whether she wants to or not. She's a slave. Which is part of what made it such a good story: We all feel sorry for her.

When I call my credit card company, a computer answers the phone. It talks to you, using your name. It understands and responds to your verbal instructions. It answers your questions. But it isn't AI. It's just a clever illusion created by preassigned reactions to predicted stimuli. It doesn't have any opinions or any intentions. It isn't a mind like Sara.
peteyfrogboy wrote:A living creature would act to fulfill its desires; what would an AI's desires be?
Who knows? That's my point. We have no idea what an AI would desire and no data with which to field a guess. In fiction, AIs generally have desires that closely parallel human ones, but there's no reason to think that would actually be the case.
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Post by Goldenrat » Fri May 09, 2008 5:30 pm

Loved both stories. Nice break from zombies and spattering blood (not that there is anything wrong with that). More robot stories please. Great narration. Super-dee-dooper as Barney would say.

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Post by RG » Fri May 09, 2008 5:58 pm

peteyfrogboy wrote:If I'd gone back further in the archives I would have left in more cussing and maybe added a poop joke. :)
Also, a splat. All good drabblecasts have a nice, big, wet splat.

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Post by peteyfrogboy » Fri May 09, 2008 5:59 pm

Mr. Tweedy wrote:She's a person. But she isn't free: She's got to serve Lance, whether she wants to or not. She's a slave.
Suppose you knew that your life had a Purpose, that you had been created to do a single thing to the best of your ability. Would you consider it slavery to fulfill that purpose?

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Post by AynSavoy » Fri May 09, 2008 6:27 pm

peteyfrogboy wrote:it doesn't really fit the usual Drabblecast flavor
Every time someone makes this comment, I'm reminded that one of my favorite things about the Drabblecast is that there IS no one flavor. As much as it might seem like the PoopCast to those of us who listen every week, the Drabblecast is a lot more like Baskin-Robbins* than we give it credit for. I won't deny that there are certain reoccurring tropes, but if you look over the archives we've got a nice variety here.


*This is a lame simile, but I think of it anytime someone mentions "flavor" in the non-food context. The weirdest was definitely a geology/climatology professor I had. Flavors of rock, flavors of clouds...it snuck into lecture at least once a week.
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Post by Mr. Tweedy » Fri May 09, 2008 7:00 pm

peteyfrogboy wrote:
Mr. Tweedy wrote:She's a person. But she isn't free: She's got to serve Lance, whether she wants to or not. She's a slave.
Suppose you knew that your life had a Purpose, that you had been created to do a single thing to the best of your ability. Would you consider it slavery to fulfill that purpose?
:D Well, that's the Question, isn't it? That's about as deep as it gets.

No, I don't consider it slavery to fulfill my purpose, but the purpose given me by God is distinct from that a human would given to an AI in a number of ways. I have free will, for instance. I have complete freedom to flip God the bird anytime I choose, which is not a freedom we would likely give to AIs. That matters a lot.

Another big difference is that AIs would find themselves living in a world created for humans. They would be aliens here. In contrast, I find myself in a world that is many ways created with humans in mind. (The same comment applies even if we evolved from slime: In either case we naturally match our world.)

Another big difference is that I have a huge degree of latitude in how I fulfill my purpose. The purpose is intentionally ambiguous, a general outline within which I am free to add my own unique colors. In many respects, my purpose is simply "have fun." I don't think humans would have either the wisdom or the inclination to endow their AI creations with such purposes.

And more stuff, but I think I just used my allotted rant space for the time being. :roll:
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