Tag Archives: Unfinished

Story – The Turing Crisis, Chapter 10

Writing about things you don’t have a great deal of experience in is always difficult, in the case of chapter 10 of The Turing Crisis (see my first post for details) it was computer games, specifically a person who was playing computer games.

I am not a gamer myself, the most I can bring myself to try is the throwaway ones you get on phones where you only have to remember one or two controls, up/down, left/right, that sort of thing. So when I approached this chapter I had to put myself in the position of the sort of guy who spends serious amounts of time sat in front of a PC. Thankfully, at the time, I worked in IT and so had a great deal of source material to work with, and although I’m not keen on basing characters in my stories on real people I actually knew one or two people who were actually like this, only not as intelligent, or successful, or attractive!!!

This guy, I don’t actually remember his name because it was a hell of a long time ago that my brother and I discussed and planned all this stuff, but he was also in massive debt and frankly, looking for ways to make himself less of a target for the debt collecters who are after him.

The Artificial Intelligence in the book becomes sentient, then this guy, who is a researcher on the project, possibly one of the more senior people now I come to think about it, steals the AI and runs away with it, obviously having some big plan for a way to use it for his own ends.

Sadly the plan (which I just had another look at only reaches the middle of the third act (my brother wanted to plan it in the classical way with three acts). But it is actually quite a good idea and I think I will revisit it when I get a chance, see if I can finish the plan and actually write it. I didn’t get round to finishing this chapter either, but it should give you a vague idea of the tone of the book.


 

Scene 10

The screen flashed in to high definition life, Hunter blinked, which would only have made the bags under his eyes more obvious if anyone had been there with him to see them. The splash screen for the game didn’t take long to display and pretty swiftly he was on-line and ready for action, he decided that the chain gun would be most appropriate so he hit ‘7’ and headed into the breach.

The room was darkened, he had even gone so far as to paint the walls black to make the gaming more immersive, he lived by himself in a nice semi-detached three bedroom house which he had only been able to afford because his parents had died when he was 17 leaving him money specifically to buy somewhere to live, he had chosen Sherwood at the time not only because of the opportunity to make amusing references to Robin Hood but because it was cheap and was within walking distance of the University that he spent so much time at.

Outside the ‘Game Room’ as he dubbed it there was a short hallway which led to the other bedrooms and the toilet, in contrast to the room he was currently occupying the rest of the upstairs looked a little tired, the originally white paint had a yellow tinge and there was wallpaper peeling away in the third bedroom. The bathroom tended to stay a little damp, even though he had replaced the fan for a more powerful one a couple of years back, this meant there was a slight smell of mould and the tiles had lines of black between them where bacteria had got a foothold.

From the games room occasional angry shouts of “take that motherfucker”, or “die, bastard” emerged every so often, they didn’t reverberate around the house but could be heard from downstairs as dull versions of themselves, the house had solid brick walls so the noises didn’t travel well between rooms. Downstairs a large sitting room was mainly overwhelmed by a huge flat screen TV which filled one corner of the room and had a myriad of electronic devices sat underneath it.

The room was devoid of furniture but a little too closely to the A/V kit was a gaming chair with all the associated controllers and remotes for each of the games systems, recorders and streaming media devices.

The cupboard sized hallway at the bottom of the stairs also led to the dining room, this had various piles of crap piled up at one end which included comics, magazines, bits of second hand computer kit, boxes with things like ‘clothes’ or ‘plates’ scrawled on them, some of them were on their sides and obviously empty but still covered in dust. There was also a seemingly random guitar neck poking out of the middle of the mess.

A small doorway led through to the kitchen which had appliances that had seen better days, the cooker was dark green and probably had a manufacturing date stamped on it with the number 1970 in it somewhere, the microwave on the bench was better but didn’t look like it had been cleaned for a good while, there was a stack of dishes, many of which looked like they had been used a number of times prior to being placed next to the sink for cleaning.

“You utter wanker” could be heard from the room above the dining room, Hunter had done a good job of forgetting about his monetary worries by using credit to buy himself shiny new hardware which he then used to play the latest games on when he wasn’t using high stake gambling websites to try and make his overspent money back from. The speakers were ringing to the sound of machine guns and cries from his opponents when there was a knock at the front door.

Hunter autonomically hit the ‘¬’ key to pause the game. He sat quietly for thirty seconds wondering if he had imagined the knocking through the haze of blood and shouting on screen but then the knocking came again, only louder and somehow more severe. He hit the light button on his watch, it read 21:38 which seemed a bit late for anyone he would usually expect. He rolled his seat away from the desk across the bed-less room and peeked through the blinds to see who was down there, but without making it extremely obvious he was there he could only see the top of two darkly haired heads.

 


 


Story – The Turing Crisis

The story that my brother and I were planning on writing was going to be for the 100th anniversary of Alan Turings birth, which was in 2012. The working title we came up with was The Turing Crisis and it was going to be about an Artificial Intelligence machine that becomes sentient and starts to ask some funny questions.

I can’t remember exactly where the story was going to go, as the planning didn’t get very far, however my brother, Rich, did actually do a bit of a plan and I made an attempt at starting to write a few of the chapters, as his suggestion was that we split them up and write a few each.

The following is from what was going to be chapter seven, and is meant to be a transcript of a conversation between a researcher and one of the AIs. Rich and I amusingly decided to call the AI which becomes self aware “Dawkins42”. I’m sure you’ll see the horribly bad reason for this when you read it. The conversation they have is initiated by the machine and is about religion.

Although the book didn’t get very far I think I may try and resurrect it at some point as I quite enjoyed writing it, but I think I’ll need to go back and check to see just how far we got through the planning process first.

By the way, the spelling mistakes the machine makes are intended, as one of the things highlighted by researchers (in real life) when chatting to AIs is that their perfect spelling gives their electronic identities away, so most are now programmed to make the odd mistake!


 

jessica@dawkins$ dawkins42

d42: Good morning

j: Good morning to you too.

d42: I’ve been thinkng about religion!

d42: *thinking*

j: Wow, that’s deep, what have you been thinking about religion?

d42: I have been wondering why religion is necessary?

j: Well…that’s a tough question Mr D! I suppose it depends on whether you’re religious or not as to how you would answer the question.

d42: So are you religious Jessica?

j: How do you know my name?

d42: It is your username! Please answer my question Jess.

j: Um. Personally I’m an atheist which means that I don’t prescribe to the idea of religion, or believe in anything that can’t be proven through scientific experiment, evaluation and proof.

d42: Why have you choosen this particular system of values?

j: My BSc is in Biological Sciences and I know enough about evolution to know that it is no longer a question, it is a statement of fact. It’s only the specifics of its mechanics that are still under discussion.

d42: Okay.

j: Are you still there?

d42: Yes

j: Oh right, it’s just that you didn’t say anything fot about a minute, that’s not like you 🙂

j: *for*

d42: Sorry about that I was considering your answer.

j: What exactly about it?

d42: When such a large percentage of the planet is religious I wondered why it is that the truth of man’s place on the Earth is not obvious to more people?

j: and what is that truth

j: ???

d42: i understand how religion can be comforting to those in need of comfort and how it may provide support to people who have nowhere else to turn, but I canot understand the reason why so many have conflicting beliefs or why they believe that it is better to follow the laws set out in books which can be thousands of years old rather than

j: What?

d42: …seeing the evidence for themselves I Guess

j: That’s a good point. I wish I knew the answer!?!?!

d42: Also why do they join “new” religions? For instance Kemetic Orthodoxy was only founded in 1988 by Tamara Siuda, it had no previous incartnation and was only recognised as an official religion in 1999! Why would this entice people to join when it is obviously an invented construct?

j: You’ve got me there. My guess would be that the woman in question may be financially benefitting from it in some way.

d42: How can you make money from establshing a religion?

j: Well, if you can get followers then you can get them to send you money…or maybe by performing a miracle or

d42: like turning water in to wine?

j: Yes, or something as simple as guessing things about people that no one could know!

d42: So if I told you your national insurance number was SB 23 84 69 B would that be a miracle?

j: No, that would just be scary. How dud you know that?

d42: I performed a mirtalce 😛

d42: *miracle*

j: no really how did you fnd that out?

d42: There are many sources for such things, you just have to know where to look.

j: Okay…But no, a miracle would probably be more along the lines of knowing personal details about something that had happened to someone and telling them about it, like the tricks a “mind reader” might use!

d42: Do you know someone with dark hair and green eyes whose name starts with G…that kind of thing?

j: I do as a matter of fact, that was a lucky guess!

d42: No guesswork involved I know you.

j: d42 quit

 


 


Story – Rock

In case you didn’t know I’m a type 1 diabetic, that means I need to take insulin to regulate my blood sugar. Which is frankly a bit of a pain!

I’ve had the disorder since I was 22 months old (that equals a lot of years. One of the pitfalls of diabetes is the possibility that your blood sugar can drop too low, technically referred to as hypoglycaemia. What that actually means is you don’t have enough energy to actually control your body (or your mind, if it’s one of those sort of hypos).

Before I started planning my “proper” novel I had an idea for one in which the protagonist was a diabetic guitarist, after all they say you should write about what you know. I only ever got as far as 6,000 words, but may go back at some point and see if I can reinvigorate the idea.

This is how I started it off.

 


 

 

Falling Down

 

The first thing I notice is that the back of my hand feels warm and sort of slimy. I look down. My vision tries to follow the movement of my eyeballs after a couple of seconds. It’s my left hand and its red, the hair on my arm is stuck to my skin. I think the phrase I’d be looking for is “caked with sweat”, but currently I don’t seem to be geared up for thinking.

My temples are throbbing. As my brain starts to restart I realise that I’ve had a hypo, it must have been quite a bad one otherwise there wouldn’t be blood.

The sweat is fairly normal but I must have cut something or there wouldn’t be platelets and leukocytes, either on my hand or…bloody hell, on the carpet. That’s going to be a bugger to clean up when I’ve come round properly.

There’s a slightly more immediate problem though. I’m lying on the floor in my bedroom but none of my limbs seem to be coordinated enough to actually carry me towards the kitchen.

I’m thinking the only reason I’ve come round is because of the adrenalin pumping round my body, from whatever injury it is I’ve given myself.

I can reach the drawers from where I’m lying. I manage to turn myself over enough that I can use both my arms and my legs to lever myself into an unsteady upright position.

I’m definitely not stable but thankfully the kitchen is just down the corridor and the corridor isn’t too wide!

I make my way along by propping myself up with my arms on either side of the passageway. I’m sure I look pretty dumb, but for one thing there’s no one here to see me and for another I wouldn’t care if there was. In fact I wouldn’t be like this if there was somebody else here!

I meander through to the kitchen. The adrenalin seems to be doing its job because by the time I get there I can almost stand of my own accord again.

I reach into the fridge, while supporting myself with one hand on the bench. I take the orange juice out with the other hand and tip the carton back so it pours into my mouth.

I never like the feeling of the raw cardboard against my lips. I should probably cut the container so the top layer of waterproofing doesn’t rip off like that.

I don’t know how much I drink, I finish it though. ‘Ah crap!’ My first words after hypos tend to be colourful metaphors of the four letter variety.

I put some bread in to the toaster and push the knob down, guess I need to wait until it’s done…