Chat log for June 09, 2004

System: davek joined us. Cheers!
anneliese: Hi Dave!
davek: Hi Anneliese.
System: camidon joined us. Cheers!
davek: Hi CM
anneliese: Hi CM!
camidon: Hiya faithful chatters!
anneliese: Well, I've downloaded TWiki, but that is as far as I have gotten on that end.
camidon: Well, the initial email has brought Joe G onboard, and Herbie too. That's all so far I'm afraid
davek: Good. Did you read my long post?
anneliese: I think it is better to start small. That way you can get ground rules established firmly and early.
camidon: That's a start, Anneliese.
camidon: Yep, the one with your 4 categories?
anneliese: Which long post?
davek: Yea, the one with the four catagories.
camidon: I went through that one an organized it numerical, inserted a few more thoughts, and a fifth category entitled: Story Construction.
camidon: Not on the bboard yet, but that list was great Dave.
anneliese: I believe that I did, but I'm looking for it now.
camidon: Great starting point.
davek: What is "Story Construction?"
camidon: Things to iron out about the actual "anthology". Is it a contonuous story vs seperate stories? How do we break up the timeline as writers. Do we choose? Just more thoughts.
anneliese: I think that is a decision for you as the leaders of this project to make.
camidon: With your list, (I basically just tinkered for my own benefit) we can proceed fairly organized through a lot of the initial details that need to be worked out.
davek: CM, I think you and I have a bit different ideas of what this is about. I think of it as building a universe in which the E ship is a major event. You (I think) have a more focused concept of the backround for the E ship anthology.
camidon: I think that's true. This is why we get to iron things out together?
davek: I missed at least one major area - medicine.
davek: They are not exclusive.
camidon: Dave, I will send you my "rendition" of your first list at some point.
davek: Great CM. Annaliese that TWiki looks great too.
anneliese: TWiki looked like the best one to me.
davek: And easy too. No database or version problems with php.
anneliese: I'll put it up on the SFWW site with links from the SFWW homepage, I think.
davek: Will it be protected?
anneliese: If that doesn't work, I have a server running in my office.
anneliese: It will be protected, one way or another. I envision a login step in order to use the software.
davek: I've heard that one of the problems with fiction based on Star Trek, for instance is that publishers don't want to take the chance on copyright voilations.
anneliese: I think we will want a page on the SFWW site to describe the project, but only registered participants can actually get to the working areas.
davek: That is why I started the Open SOurce idea.
davek: And Wiki has some kind of license too.
anneliese: I don't see those kinds of problems.
anneliese: It is a GNU license. Should be fine for our purposes.
camidon: Sent it to you, Dave. Crossing the virtual realm as we type.
davek: Think of it from the publishers viewpoint. If different authors are writing in the same world they may worry about infringments.
anneliese: I think you guys have come up with a good beginnings of a rough draft.
anneliese: I don't think so, Dave, there are collaborative projects like this all the time.
davek: Not the Wiki stuff the E ship universe.
davek: Not the Wiki stuff the E ship universe.
davek: Are they published? Can you point me at one?
camidon: That's an interesting idea, Dave. Hadn't thought about that.
anneliese: My hubby got hooked on 'Thieves World' which was honchoed by Lyn Abbey and Lyn Asprin ( I think)
anneliese: Very successful fantasy series.
camidon: I can think of think of "The PLanet Pirates" by Moon, Nye, and a third author. Each basically wrote a book, but it was in the same "world"
anneliese: Bunches o books.
davek: I heard it said that "worrying" comes from being a programmer. Programers have to think of all the thing that can go wrong and take care of them. Drives my wife nuts.
camidon: I don't think it's common., though
anneliese: Yep, and there's the Catfantastic series edited by Andre Norton.
anneliese: Ours will be somewhat different in that most of these things that are published have well-established writers behind them.
camidon: Would we need something like, everyone that writes a story needs to sign some waiver or release form? (working for the government, my life is filled with these, even in my lowly position)
davek: And the Kzin books started by NIven. BUt did the authors have explicet permission before they started.
anneliese: We might want to draft something, but essentially what we are talking about is assignment of copyright.
davek: I think we need to use one of the public licenses out there- Gnu, wiki....
davek: I think we need to use one of the public licenses out there- Gnu, wiki....
anneliese: Basically, you two become editors for a project. You will 'invite' authors to participate. But you retain editorial control.
davek: We can even write a book about the universe, time lines, technologies and invite anyone to write in it.
camidon: Hmmm, it sounds like you 2 know a whole lot more than I do.
camidon: That's a cool idea, Dave.
anneliese: Wiki is simply an authoring tool. Really, it isn't absolutely necessary, but should be helpful.
camidon: I guess, I can look at it as if Dave and I are editors. Gosh that9;s a strange feeling.
anneliese: We all know a little bit, but the pieces of our knowledge come together nicely.
davek: There is some kind of wiki license. It has to do with multiple people editing something but the work belongs to all. I'll try to find a reference.
anneliese: You have to be editors. Someone has to control, coordinate and organize.
camidon: You are right, Anneliese.
camidon: What did we get ourselves into, Dave?
anneliese: The wiki license is going to relate to using wiki, modifying it and distributing wiki-like applications, not the stories we create using it.
anneliese: gotta love those smileys!
anneliese: Think of it this way, CM. You get to write the rejection slips!
camidon: It will be good to get a communal site for this projcet. Then we';ll be able to do that "outline" As we step by step, make decisions about the world, we'll need a place to put them so that all who are interested can see them and discuss them (for those that can';t attend the chats).
anneliese: I should be able to dedicate time this weekend to getting the site up.
camidon: Oh boy!
anneliese: So, what was it we were supposed to accomplish tonight?
davek: I'm being my usual too terse self. The has been a license written for users of a wiki. It refers to the text posted on the wiki. The idea is that if you post it you are assigning your copyrights to the public.
anneliese: My brain is mush!
camidon: Well, it doesn't appear that anyone else is going to make it on time. Do we actually want to begin delving into our "world"?
camidon: I figured we'd meet, and at some point we have to jump into this word to make it "reality".
anneliese: I don't think we will be using the wiki to produce the stories, but to park ideas for the stories. And it is going to be a private collaboration. From the little I read, that is one of the purposes of TWiki.
camidon: So if there aren't anymore overarching things to talk about (i.e. copyrights and setting up WIKI, etc)
anneliese: If it isn't, then I have other authoring collaboration software that we can use to the same purpose.
camidon: are there? When it comes to these things, I think you two do know more than I!
anneliese: GA, CM
anneliese: Hazzards of being a programmer...reading the documentation!
camidon: Dave, do you want to jump into the "world" tonight? Are we ready for that?
davek: We can start. I had those questions posted. We can pick a few of those.
camidon: I would say let's start with the "tech" section of your list Dave, as that will affect many of the other sections.
camidon: It will affect the ship
camidon: and the first "launch date"... Etc...
anneliese: Do you want to set up some organized launch effort, with mission control, long range plans, etc...or think more organically?
camidon: Vell, In your list, you have FTL? WIth a NO? For the three of us here. Do we agree that there should be NO FTL within this world?
davek: I started this once but I didn't have a story in mind so it was too much work for just playing around.
camidon: More organically? As to FTL: I say NO.
anneliese: I don't think it matters a whole bunch, but no FTL is fine...I think your premise might work even with instantaneous travel.
davek: If we allow FTL the either the ship gets passed in flight or we just move the target planet out so that the travel time is still very long. I say no FTL>
davek: Was it Elizabeth who said no FTL communication?
anneliese: By organic, I mean that there might be more than one kind of evolution...there might be one for life in a vessel, and another for life on a planet.
anneliese: Yep, I think Elizabeth said that.
davek: Someone said no "ansible" which is an Enders Universe instant communication device.
camidon: Perhaps it would work with FTL. But to start with. No FTL. (perhaps there can always be a future story about this.) But there's decision 1. No FTL.
camidon: Ah, I see, Anneliese
anneliese: Organic evolution depends upon isolation.
davek: WIth current physics it would be hard to justify FTL. But there is enough wiggle room for FTL comms.
anneliese: FTL makes isolation more difficult.
anneliese: (some of us have problems with current physics)
camidon: Ah, so, based on the idea, it makes logical sense to exclude FTL, as evolution depends on isolation. Also, current physics would make FTL hard to justify.
camidon: I'm for sticking to current physics as much as possible, at least in the first interation of this world.
anneliese: At least as our current scientific understanding allows, isolation is important.
camidon: So, how about something a little more difficult: What about the advent of AI? It's a common SF theme, but in the near future how feasible is it?...
anneliese: As a computer programmer, I don't believe in AI at all.
davek: I think in fifty years it will be real.
camidon: To me, you still need that moment of "awakening" as like the moment life first came into existence--from nothing, into life.
camidon: If we have AI, how do we justify that moment, when we don't even understand our "moment" of sudden life.
camidon: Second, there's the "moment" of "awareness" stacked on top of that.
anneliese: I think knowledge bases will get very good, machines will get smart, but AI is not much more than a smart machine to me.
davek: How smart is that? Too smart and it's like superman. He is so powerful why does he have any problems?
camidon: By "smart," do you just mean super fast? Capable of solving complex problems instantly, but not "knowing" that it's doing it?
anneliese: Intelligence and awareness are not the same thing.
camidon: Dave, Why fifty years?
davek: I'll be dead then. You can't collect on any bets.
camidon: lol
anneliese: What is the purpose for AI?
anneliese: Beyond an intellectual exercise, that is?
davek: t is a problem solver.
camidon: Don't know Anneliese. I would probably say NO to AI initially. But who is to say someone couldn't write a story about a ship9;s computer becoming "AI"/aware.
anneliese: That is still a machine.
davek: If it is so smart then all problems become tell the AI what we know and it picks the best choice of action. A real conflict killer.
camidon: WOuld your AI Dave, be "aware" Know that it exists? And that it can "die"
anneliese: Folks can write stories like that, but I haven't read one yet that really makes a case for self-awareness.
anneliese: You only need a good computer with a good knowledge base for that, Dave.
davek: If we can come up with a way to limit the AI. Niven started his Known Space series without AIs. He had to explain why and he postulated that AIs go insane--comatose really--after a short time of operation.
anneliese: Don't get me wrong! I can make a case for machines being the same way that rocks are.
camidon: or is it just a really fast "problem solver?" I do believe in extrapolating current computing trends into faster and smaller machines that allow us to do many things. However I don't ascribe to "awareness"
anneliese: <==agrees with CM
davek: I can't prove that I am aware. How can I test a machine?
anneliese: You don't hang with psychics, Dave!
camidon: I'll vouch for you, Dave.
davek: And I have my suspicions about you Chris.
camidon: But, I do see your point
anneliese: I think that if you want to include AI, then you have to define what AI means in your world.
camidon: <we're really just a bunch of comedians posing as writers, and the smileys don't help!>
anneliese: Otherwise, use some social/political reason for eliminating it.
davek: Bummer A. I hate it when someone uses my own ideas against me.
anneliese: lol, CM
davek: You're right we need to define what we're talking about.
camidon: Good point. Dave, what is your definition of AI?
camidon: Anneliese? Yours?
davek: Smilelys are the laugh track. But they started as a way to tell the other person that you're not serious. There is no body laungage oin a chat room.
anneliese: My definition of AI would be a living being not created out of a procreative process.
davek: To me AI is a mechanical intelligence that passed the Turing test.
anneliese: That kind of AI is likely pretty close.
davek: Does that mean organic?
camidon: To me, "AI is a machine that "knows" it can "die". If it is turned off/destroyed, that it will no longer "be"
anneliese: I think CM and I are coming to a similar viewpoint.
davek: That's the theme for the first story I ever wrote.
anneliese: From different directions.
camidon: ====> Agree with you Anneliese
anneliese: Except that awareness of death is not a valid definition of self-awareness.
davek: I would like to have AIs but to be able to limit how smart they are.
davek: How does it die if you just reload a backup?
anneliese: I want really smart machines, not necessarily AI.
davek: How smart is that?
camidon: How would you limit it, Dave?
davek: Human smart?
anneliese: What is human smart?
anneliese: That is going to evolve too, I think.
davek: That's my problem. I'm not sure how to limit it. We can say no AIs smarter than an IQ fof 150. but WHy the limit?
davek: Maybe if we make them too smart they go autistic.
anneliese: That is way to artificial of a definition, and I want my navigational computer to be 'smarter' than that.
anneliese: lol, Dave.
anneliese: What I don't want is a machine that can determine my destiny. I want to do that...even if I as I ask the machine to genetically modify me and my descendents.
camidon: I think my def, basical comes from Ellison, beacuse "I Have No Mouth and I Must Scream" influenced me greatly.
camidon: I agree with that last comment, Anneliese
anneliese: That is where I would limit AI, I guess.
davek: What is the limit and why is it there?
camidon: So, here's a tangent question. If we don't come to a consensus about an issue. What do we do? Do we shelve that issue to later, for more discussion? Do we take a vote?
davek: At this point we shelve it. BUt at some point we need an answer.
anneliese: Good question, CM. Again, as editors...that is an important issue to decide.
davek: We need an odd number of editors.
anneliese: Questions like this might become 'homework' for us all to think about, research, and consider later.
davek: NOt odd editors.
anneliese: I like odd editors (wish I had a goofy smiley here).
camidon: However, I also think nothing is 100% set in stone. maybe 98%. Because someone who goes to the WIP page, who hasn't come to a chat, may suddenly have a great insight.
anneliese: Until contributions come in that define/require an answer, it can be left open.
anneliese: After that, a ruling has to be made.
camidon: Well, Dave. If we tack on Mike, he can be the third Editor, it times of indescion, when we finally have to go one way or another.
davek: Good to me.
camidon: Good point, Anneliese. Once stories come in, there's NO changing the "laws" of the world.
davek: A trilateral commision.
anneliese: Sounding pretty official here.
camidon: Splendid.
anneliese: Want to try another question?
camidon: Why don't we temporaily shelve the AI discussion, we can all think about it, and perhaps at another chat session, if we have diffent people we'll bring it up again?
camidon: However, this discussion is fantastic.
anneliese: When the Wiki gets up, that will be a perfect place to explore AI.
davek: On the WIP page we'll have an AI section and people make their recoomendations. At some point if someone is writing a story and needs an answer we vote.
camidon: How about Nanotech?
camidon: (independent of AI, that is)
anneliese: Inevetable, I think.
anneliese: Unless a group outlaws it for religious reasons.
camidon: I agree. Things are getting smaller and smaller... The trend will continue in my mind
camidon: The only things that won't get smaller or things we have to physically interact with, i.e., touch.
davek: I'm not too sure what nanotech is. Is geneticly created bacteria that excrete diamonds nanotech?
anneliese: I agree.
anneliese: My definition of nanotech is the miniaturization of machines to molecular sizes.
camidon: Oh, here we go again! First, let's everyone give a quick nanotech def.
davek: Does nanotech only include small mechanical machines?
camidon: I agree with thta def, Anneliese.
anneliese: A machine (my definition) performs a mechanical function.
anneliese: The machine itself can be composed of anything.
anneliese: Go back to the 7 (?) basic machines: wheel. lever, etc.
camidon: I say, yes, Dave, beacuse of the root "tech"
anneliese: A bacteria or virus could be a machine if it produces a useful function.
camidon: However, we are using bacteria and things today in the application of the planet. THings such as biological remediation. Sending in bacteria to eat nasty materials and turn them into benign things
davek: At very small scales mechanical gets close to chemical.
anneliese: Yes, there is good research on 'chemical' machines going on now.
anneliese: In other words, creating specifically shaped molecules to do work.
anneliese: So, if someone wants to use nanotech in their story, I would think it has to be allowed.
davek: I'll believe in microtech but nano as usually portrayed in SF -- no.
anneliese: <==agrees with Dave.
anneliese: Most of what is in SF as nano is just plain silly.
camidon: So,the nanotech, just needs to be rooted in current scientific trends correct?
davek: Part of the problem has to do with control. How does it sense its environment and change its behavior.
camidon: extrapolated to the future?
anneliese: Why do you think it does that, Dave?
davek: What was Criton's latest book. Swarm or ...
davek: We have this little machine. What is its job?
anneliese: Let's eat some and find out!
camidon: I see nanotech as a "field". Therefore each little machine, or bacteria, or whatever, always has a specified purpose.
davek: Let's pick one.
anneliese: <==agrees with CM
camidon: I.E. Bacteria altering one chemical to another.
davek: So it has to sense the correct chemical on which to act.
camidon: Therefore, as long as "nanotech" ascribes to current scientific trends, it can do MANY things.
camidon: Perhaps, we could make a little machine, or alter a bacteria, to "eat" cancerous cells.
camidon: stuff like that
davek: How does it tell a cancerous cell from a normal cell?
camidon: I would argue against rigourously defining "nanotech" except that it cannot go against current scientific trends. It cannot jump into the realm of fantasy.
davek: I guess I think of nanotech as "machines" that go around and physically do things. Too much Star Trek Borg nanites.
camidon: Lol, Anneliese.
davek: This is teh fun part.
anneliese: Those are broaching fantasy. IMO. The editorial control might come in here.
camidon: The is fun, in exactly the way Anneliese is portraying. Intelligent minds clashing, but respectably, and civilly!
davek: CM, you're right we are staying in a logical extrapolation of current science.
camidon: I agree, Anneliese.
camidon: So, does this work, for "nanotech". YES, but "ept that it cannot go against current scientific trends. It cannot jump into the realm of fantyas" d
anneliese: Works for me.
camidon: And, as newly coined editors, we can always say, "that's" too unrealistic.
anneliese: With our known universe of writers, I doubt you'll have any problems with this.
camidon: I don't envision too much easier.
davek: WHo was it that said - When an expert says something is possible he is usually right. When he says it is immpossibel he is usually wrong.
anneliese: Good one, Dave.
camidon: Anything created as "nanotech" must have a specified purpose to it. See above examples.
anneliese: Where do we go from here?
davek: Home? Getting late.
anneliese: Next steps?
camidon: Good steps. Good steps.
anneliese: Yep, kind of getting late for you two can continue all night!
camidon: I can stay longer, if you can, Dave. I knowit's late for you Anneliese.
anneliese: (you'll just have to figure out how to do your own logging)
davek: Let's get the wiki going. We need to promote it to the group.
anneliese: You were right, CM, this is also very fun. I wish we could work out a mutually convenient time to do it more often!
davek: This will succed or fail based on participation. Maybe we can use a critique date to send out the univere to the group and ask for critiques.
camidon: As long as I don't crash, I'll just cut and paste this log. (I've been doing that every so often)
anneliese: That's how I do it. Just don't cut and paste into Word. That crashes everything for me.
camidon: "This will succed or fail based on participation" I agree. BUt we've got a good start. Joe, Herbie, Dave K, CM, Anneliese, Elizabeth, are all onboard. It's a good start.
davek: I hope they're not here because this was a "special" chat.
anneliese: Yes. A very good start. Would it make sense to have everyone write their answers (with opinions) to Dave's questions then circulate that for discussion.
camidon: I hope for more, but right now I think we have enough that we can really do something fun, and darn right cool.
anneliese: I probably should have sent another reminder...thought yours would be enough.
davek: I'm for anything that improves my odds of getting published.
anneliese: Good point!
camidon: I thought about that, Anneliese. Perhaps I'll do that tomorrow. Once we get the new communal site up, we may not need to circulate them
anneliese: Until we get everyone on board, and in the habit of using the tools we put into place, we should depend on sending frequent emails.
camidon: Random time, people are busy. We'll just keep tossing out chat dates, and try to get more people here.
anneliese: Next Monday is the AOL chat date. I don't think we can be discussing this there...don't know if I can host two chats simultaneously...hmmm.
camidon: Sounds good. Tomorrow, I'll send out another email (with Dave's list attached) and with what we've discussed tonight.
anneliese: I'll certainly plug the project with who ever shows up.
anneliese: And I will post the log in the forum.
davek: Don't make the email too long.
camidon: I'll try not to.
camidon: My last one was a little on the long side.
anneliese: Maybe just start with the tech questions as the first round.
camidon: Dave, do you want to try meeting BEFORE the AOL chat for an hour? Set that up as our next World building discussion?
camidon: I'll do that, Anneliese. Then I don't have to even attach anything.
anneliese: Is that too early for you?
davek: NOt too early to participate but maybe too early to remember.
davek: I should be able to make it.
anneliese: I'll include it in my chat reminder (hopefully I'll remember!)
camidon: I'll send out the time, and I'll show up in the chat room at 7:00pm MDT (9:00pm EDT)
davek: It's a date.
camidon: in this next email that is (I will try to keep it short, I will!)
anneliese: Sounds great.
camidon: Excellent.
camidon: <writing myself numerous post it notes>
davek: Anneliese, I'll send you what Iwas trying to describe about that license.
davek: WHat's the AOL topic?
anneliese: Do that. I believe that I understand the license and we can get around it (or it will not be applicable).
anneliese: I believe that the AOL chat will be an open chat unless I invent something else
anneliese: I believe that the AOL chat will be an open chat unless I invent something else.
anneliese: Shall we call it a very productive night, then?
davek: If it's open then why not make it a WIP intro.
davek: Or will that scare off some people?
camidon: Sounds good to be, Anneliese. It's late, late for you!
anneliese: I can try to do that. You'll have to feed me material.
davek: Yes, time to say goodnight.
camidon: I don't see why it would scare off people. It's not like tons of folks show up anyway, right?
anneliese: Aww, I only have to be back up in 7 hours!
anneliese: True, CM. And most aren't SFWW members anyway.
davek: Bye. See you Monday.
camidon: Thank you, Anneliese, your support and help is greatly motivating me. So thank you.
anneliese: It's a date.
camidon: Have a good night all
anneliese: :::blushing::: you're welcome!
anneliese: Niters!