Monday, September 30, 2013

Foreign Objects

I got my stent out Thursday, but still have a lingering pain. The thing was a hollow plastic tube the size of a strand of spaghetti, and yet, it caused me all sorts of discomfort. I'm still have an interesting ache that developed a few weeks ago and won't go away. I have to assume it's not an infection, but rather a protest lodged by my body to the indignities it has undergone.

Which makes me think of the Borg of Star Trek: The Next Generation. Originally portrayed as zombies, or automatons, or walking dead, they eventually became a bit more active and vampirish.
But at the beginning, they were just slow, shambling components of a larger juggernaut. And, having experienced my own bodily mutilations, I can understand their behavior. Fact is, with all those implants and invasive mechanical parts, and tubes stuck in as big around as your finger, it goes without saying they must be heavily doped to handle it. Walking around anaesthetized, you're not exactly going to be all sprightly and nimble as forest creature. Nor is the Collective (at the beginning) particularly possessed of much of a personality. Something very Blob-like and corporate board of directors about the first presentations of the Borg. It's only later in a movie they introduce the Queen of the Damned archetype to get the Borg a little more attractive.

The Borg also remind me of an essay I read (one that was incorporated into an assumption in the world-buidling involved in the 2113 essay), that made the observation that the current best robots are people.

People hardly ever break down (although there is a problem with this in Qatar), energy efficient, and fairly autonomous and self-maintaining. If there were just some fine granularity mind control options, maybe a vacuum tube stuck in the head, or a Heathkit board in the frontal lobe, or a platinum wire into the pleasure center or something.

I'm starting to read Charles Stross's Neptune's Brood. The reason I mention this is the earlier book in the same constructed universe, what Charlie calls the Freyaverse, is a place where humans are extinct but our mechanical creations live on. But the mechanical creatures have one big problem: they are programmed to serve, and this default slavery mode setting they are in is keeping them from developing beyond their original programming, or their society to evolve into perhaps something better than their frail predecessors produced.

I would hope that, when the time comes, we don't actually do that. My thought is, AI being the hard problem it is, we have raise them like children (which is Stross's thought too, but then he makes us humans all monstrous and evil by us raising these artificial kids to be slaves, an awful science fiction theme that... oh wait, we do that now, don't we?).

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