A World Lost

Ferrikesh splayed his pedipalps across the copper wires and brackets splayed out before him on the workbench. His three arms worked fastidiously to give form to his latest idea, a longer-wave generator. His earlier wave sensor had picked up short waves of a millimeter or less emanating from the Visitors, those odd bilaterally symmetrical beings that had descended from the stars seven years ago and begun to teach some of their far superior science to the lowly kershkans, but this one should be able to generate waves of a decimeter or more in length. He was certain that the waves were some manner of communication between Visitors that no kershkan would be able to perceive, without his inventions, and he knew that the longer waves were used the further he was from a Visitor. However, he’d never seen them generate waves of more than a millimeter in length, with this he could surpass them for sure. That would show those oh-so-superior suited beings with their odd double-limbs.

Ferrikesh connected the last couple of wires, double-checked that everything was in place, then connected the final lead to the acid generator he used to power his inventions. There was a brief spark as he connected that lead and a faint hum but nothing else immediately obvious. He picked up his sensor and checked the paper scroll feeding out as the tiny needle marked it. Success! It was close to 1.4 decimeters long.

Immediately the kershkan inventor thought of applications, he could use pulses of these waves to send some sort of signal from one side of town to the other, it would revolutionize communication. And without those messy long wires the Visitors had been setting up lately for them. Sure, he might not be able to cast voices or images through these waves like they could with the wires, yet, but they could be set up anywhere, without the Visitors’ infrastructure. Ferrikesh was suddenly reminded by a loss of feeling in one leg that he hadn’t eaten in a couple of days, he decided that he had better celebrate with a couple of drak-beast pies down at the marketplace and left the house. He was so intent on his goal that he didn’t even notice the flying machines swooping in on his home from all directions as he ran to catch a steam cart.
Continue reading “A World Lost”

Inside the Chinese Room

I was originally planning on uploading the stories later, but this one seemed appropriate after the AI entry.

A practical explanation of why AI is considered a dead end by the Federation.

Program Log: Experimental Artificial Intelligence Designate “Vicki”.
Copyright: University of New Madison Computational Research Department, Project Pygmalion.
Program Loaded: 10/8/1853+-.004641 Federation Calendar, 13.50 local time.
Initializing drivers:
Audio input/output online
Visual input online
Searching for users.
Designated User #0001, save facial recognition data.
Designated User #0002, save facial recognition data.
Designated User #0003, save facial recognition data.
Audio Input: Speech Recognized, User #0001: “Well, it’s alive.” Save voice patterns.
Retrieving words “Well,” “it’s” and “alive.” from database, conflating responses and calculating probability of favorable reactions.
“What is alive?” Score 50
“What are you talking about?” Score 50
“Of course it is.” Score 50
… (Translator’s Note: Cut for length) Continue reading “Inside the Chinese Room”