Chat log for April 17, 2006

[17/04 20:59] I looked at some of the gen stuff from 04 since I'd forgotten about most of it
[17/04 20:59] hi
[17/04 20:59] Hi Anneliese
[17/04 20:59] Evening, Anneliese
[17/04 21:00] That's cool, Bob. That's probably more than most have done in a long time
[17/04 21:01] Yeah but it's still a blur. I'm not sure what was actually decided. Does anyone recall?
[17/04 21:01] I have to admit that I haven't looked at it too much since moving it to the new site.
[17/04 21:02] Dave, you see the acrtivity on the post boards, from the new joinee, Boris?
[17/04 21:02] I was just looking at that before the chat.
[17/04 21:02] where is Boris? Is he coming?
[17/04 21:02] Um, as I recall, there really was no decisions. I got busy, it kind of went into hibernation.
[17/04 21:02] Got siodetracked looking at some of the links he posted.
[17/04 21:03] *** EHardage has joined the chatbox
[17/04 21:03] hi there!
[17/04 21:03] Hmm, generally I think we decided that the spacecraft was an asteroid.
[17/04 21:03] what did you think of them?
[17/04 21:03] HI Elizabeth
[17/04 21:03] hi
[17/04 21:03] Hi Elizabeth!
[17/04 21:03] Evening, Elizabeth.
[17/04 21:03] is the power source also part of the asteroid?
[17/04 21:04] Also, no AI
[17/04 21:04] Bob, that was never specifically decidied
[17/04 21:04] I had suggested a power source based on a mini black hole
[17/04 21:04] no AI no FTL
[17/04 21:04] Yes, no FTL, that's an important one.
[17/04 21:04] isn't a black hole a bit hard to control?
[17/04 21:05] why is no FTL so important?
[17/04 21:05] I remember that, Dave. Also stuff about planetary slingshots.
[17/04 21:05] Just a matter of technology
[17/04 21:05] ok
[17/04 21:05] *** EHardage has left the chatbox
[17/04 21:06] IMO, Bob, if a ship can fly faster than the speed of light, it creates a whole lot of time issues...
[17/04 21:06] No FTL because those with FTL get to the destination before those without
[17/04 21:06] ok
[17/04 21:06] *** EHardage has joined the chatbox
[17/04 21:06] Did we really say no AI?
[17/04 21:06] The point of GenE is generation evolution--to evolve over extended periods of space travel to fit the specific requirements of a new home world.
[17/04 21:06] Took a quick look at the GenE discussion. Some interesting stuff.
[17/04 21:07] I'm pretty sure, Dave. At least at the beginning, would have to scour the wiki stuff to verify though.
[17/04 21:08] That's nice, Elizabeth. Interesting is better than boring! :smt110
[17/04 21:08] Or perhaps the evolution takes a different direction than was planned--space radiation and such. Smiling
[17/04 21:08] I don't see a real resolution to the AI issue.
[17/04 21:09] I think you need some AI. It could be rudimentary
[17/04 21:09] I suspect that by the time you had enough technology to outfit and fly one of these ships, you'd have computing power way beyond our present capacities.
[17/04 21:10] In looking at the WIki, I should update stuff as I've started trying to write some stuff.
[17/04 21:10] Who knows what form it might take.
[17/04 21:10] maybe the AI evolution conflicts with human evolution
[17/04 21:10] Or you could outfit crew members with their own AI and create a hive mind.
[17/04 21:10] I wonder if the decision should be AI, per se, or how much machines/computers control the destiny of the ship?
[17/04 21:10] True, but where does predicting AI cross the line between science fiction and fantasy? Hmmm.. Made it doesn't.
[17/04 21:11] what if the AI is alien
[17/04 21:11] I'm not exactly again AI, but the space ship AI/computer is rather cliche. Anyone want to try and write a story including an AI of some form and see what happens.
[17/04 21:12] (that should be against, not again)
[17/04 21:12] Perhaps by the time the GenE ships are built the human/AI divide has been bridged.
[17/04 21:12] I'm not a fan of AI, so I'd have a problem writing that story, I guess.
[17/04 21:12] Or the entire ship is built of "smart" materials.
[17/04 21:12] so the humans merge with the ship? Or is that too cliche?
[17/04 21:13] It's a degree of interface. If you look at how our interactions with computers have changed since the 1940s,
[17/04 21:13] I'm really all about: "write a story and see what happens". If it breaks are rules so what? It just won't be included in a larger volume that may or (may never) come of this.
[17/04 21:13] If you consider that the ship is the AI, I could probably go with that.
[17/04 21:13] how both the machines and the people have adapted to the interface...
[17/04 21:13] There are four catagories of intelligence: Pure biological, pure mechanical, mechanical downloaded to bio forms and boi inteligence uploaded to hardware.
[17/04 21:14] That might ring of "Hal", however.
[17/04 21:14] so
[17/04 21:14] But one also has to think about how far technologies have gone. Some have advanced far beyond belief--places, space travel, computers, other's have not evolved from ther origins--like the wheel.
[17/04 21:15] I'm thinking that the colonists might be as comfortable talking, or switching biofeedback levers, or whatever interface they come up with, as we are with keyboards and mice.
[17/04 21:15] I don't like Hal plots either.
[17/04 21:15] I agree with that, Elizabeth.
[17/04 21:15] To me, extrapolating from my computer experiences, the danger isn't of a malevolent AI so much as a misprogrammed one.
[17/04 21:16] or one that gets zapped by radiation
[17/04 21:16] I do, think, however, for a multi-millenia project to occur, there has to be some machine intelligence to keep the human population to the mission.
[17/04 21:16] Or one which has, over time, become so complex, such a mishmash of technologies and protocols, that nobody really knows for sure how it works.
[17/04 21:16] that sure does sound like HAL
[17/04 21:16] I haven't been able to come up with a new AI plot, just use the AI as a character.
[17/04 21:16] In my first story attempts, I added neural net connections, some implanted into the body, others outside the body in the form of glasses or gadgets who don't wish to alter their bodies. Admittedly, this is the first whack.
[17/04 21:17] clark used a brain cap in 3001 the same idea as in spock's brain
[17/04 21:17] Or, after long enough, people will no longer be familiar with the protocols used in the original programming.
[17/04 21:17] I don't see why they wouldn't know how it works, as lons as the ship is big enough to train a range of scientists and engineers. In my mind, the ship is plenty big enough.
[17/04 21:18] I'm more inclined to use psychic connections... I don't think humans will have to have mechanical interfaces.
[17/04 21:18] They'll have built subroutines on top of subroutines and increasingly "friendly" interfaces between them.
[17/04 21:18] psychic connections are electro magnetic, aren't they?
[17/04 21:18] They could be.
[17/04 21:18] Heaven help the programmer who has to figure out the core program. Smiling
[17/04 21:18] LOL!
[17/04 21:19] The programmer ia an AI
[17/04 21:19] I love these ideas,even if I don't agree with everything. Write some stories people!
[17/04 21:19] works 4 me
[17/04 21:19] I feel the germ of a tale beginning to fester... Laughing out loud
[17/04 21:19] Could someone explain "psychic connection"?
[17/04 21:20] (need a better smiley, though)
[17/04 21:20] electro magnetic waves
[17/04 21:20] There's already software out there that uses a joystick manipulated by mouth, or eye movements, to control a computer.
[17/04 21:20] There are theories being developed that relate psychic phenomena to quantum mechanics.
[17/04 21:21] You could ostensibly use certain brain waves, or facial movements, as an interface.
[17/04 21:21] let's not get so lost in theory that we lose story
[17/04 21:21] But relating to eye or mouth movement is still based on movement, not brave waves.
[17/04 21:21] Absolutely, Bob!
[17/04 21:22] There are interfaces for amputees that read nerve impulses
[17/04 21:22] The problem a computer would have, I think, would be syncing with the proper time/space.
[17/04 21:22] (I'm not being clear here...if I can get my thoughts together on this, I'll add it to the wiki)
[17/04 21:23] I don't understand that Anneliese
[17/04 21:23] If one is saying, they envision being able to manipulate obects by only "thought" or "brain waves" without some kind of interface, that doesn't fly.--Yes, Davem but that's still based on a physical connection to those nerves
[17/04 21:23] neither do I
[17/04 21:23] In this case, I may just not be imaginative enough.
[17/04 21:24] Not physical, picked up by sensors on the skin.
[17/04 21:24] But this is a minor point. If someone writes a damn good story with psychic connections, I'm really not going to complain! Smiling
[17/04 21:24] Psychic information comes from a non-localized space. Psychic protocols train the observer to be able to focus on the desired time/space information.
[17/04 21:25] But that sensor is still connected to the skin.
[17/04 21:25] As I said, I need more time to express this clearly. ...and I ain't happening tonight.
[17/04 21:25] which is connected to the body.
[17/04 21:25] Perhaps, with enough biofeedback or meditation training, a user could focus on images or commands for the computer.
[17/04 21:25] it need not be. It only needs to be close to the skin
[17/04 21:25] Maybe touching, but in a few years it can be remote. Think of PET scans
[17/04 21:25] That's okay, Anneliese, that's what the WIKI site is for! Create a thread! Please. I'm interested. It's clearly not something i've thought about,
[17/04 21:26] Generate brainwaves at a set frequency.
[17/04 21:26] does any of this remind you of forbidden planet
[17/04 21:26] Biofeedback is a pretty simple interface, easy to train.
[17/04 21:26] Not until you mentioned it.
[17/04 21:27] Just to jump back to the overarching idea behind this GenE: What I love about this basic premise is that it can go a million directions...
[17/04 21:27] I encourage stories to do so, and I don't think any rules we "set" are unbreakable...
[17/04 21:28] Anyone can build their own ship, so whatever you want, just write it.
[17/04 21:28] I suspect that after a few stories are created, a defacto universe will come into being.
[17/04 21:28] However, ideally, I would like to create some kind of linear anthology that starts from the beginning of the GenE world, i.e. leaving Earth, and follow it through until this ship reaches its desination planet.
[17/04 21:28] We should all commit to producing something.
[17/04 21:29] In this anthology, stories would have to follow these basic rules we create about no FTL, etc.
[17/04 21:29] I agree, Dave.
[17/04 21:29] Stories that don't fit this linear anthology are still perfectly good stories.
[17/04 21:29] I agree Anneliese.
[17/04 21:30] wait. Is it one ship, many ships or what?
[17/04 21:30] I don't think we decided that, Bob.
[17/04 21:30] Who would like me to agree with them next? :smt038
[17/04 21:30] LOL!
[17/04 21:30] i do i do
[17/04 21:30] I think putting all the stories in one ship would require a referee so that the storiy lies don't conflict.
[17/04 21:31] Shouls be story lines, but lies works too.
[17/04 21:31] IMO, bob, this "anthology" will have "one ship". But again, stories of different ships are inevitable. I don't think just one ship would ever be sent, if people could make it work.
[17/04 21:31] so it's a group of ships, not a fleet
[17/04 21:31] Exactly, Dave.
[17/04 21:31] I think that we should all create our own ships to begin with. There could be cross-over later on.
[17/04 21:32] Hmmm.. Anneliese, that very well may be a good idea.
[17/04 21:32] I agree w/Anneliese.
[17/04 21:32] That would be much easier to run, especially at the beginnig.
[17/04 21:32] yeah. So do I
[17/04 21:32] It would take considerable refereeing to keep the story line for a single GenE ship straight.
[17/04 21:32] We all had different reasons for creating the ships in the first place...
[17/04 21:32] Perhaps a first exercise would be to create a story/brief outline...
[17/04 21:33] Well, great, we reached some kind of consensus.
[17/04 21:33] of the motivations and groups involved with launching the project.
[17/04 21:33] pirates?
[17/04 21:33] Therefore, all that needs to be created are the "launching" parameters...
[17/04 21:33] Consensus! Wooohooo rolling and laughing
[17/04 21:33] Once a ship is in space, a writer can do anything they see fit--ai, aliens, coups, etc
[17/04 21:34] You could have several reasons for launching: scientific exploration, looking for God, refugees who want to get as far away from Earth as possible, so on...
[17/04 21:34] So, for example, at the launching time, in the near future, a hundred and fifty years or so, there's no AI yet, etc. Those kinds of things. That make any sense?
[17/04 21:34] Not all ships are going to make it. The stories about failures might be very interesting.
[17/04 21:34] corporate greed
[17/04 21:35] Oh, oh, oh! Now I agree with Elizabeth!
[17/04 21:35] failure always seems more interesting
[17/04 21:35] A government's desire to get rid of all of its "undesirables" at one go.
[17/04 21:35] And with Anneliese!
[17/04 21:35] What were the reasons for the settlement/exploration of the Americas? All of those
[17/04 21:35] Propectors hoping to strike it rich in space.
[17/04 21:36] OK, undesireables was Austraila
[17/04 21:36] So, the reasons for a ship launch can be varied. (must make sure to save this chat so we can use it to update wiki site!)
[17/04 21:36] prospectors would require small ships. no?
[17/04 21:36] A lot of the early settlers of the U.S. came from debtor's prisons in England.
[17/04 21:36] America had penal colonies also.
[17/04 21:36] Sure.
[17/04 21:37] Depends on what kind of mining they hoped to do, Bob.
[17/04 21:37] Could be anything from metals to noble gases.
[17/04 21:38] Prospectors are corporate-backed scouts.
[17/04 21:38] Compounds that wouldn't survive very long on Earth.
[17/04 21:38] So, I think we'll create, or try to create a basic introductory Wiki page that sets the basic "unbreakable" rules about the general society before "lift off" That sound okay? For example:
[17/04 21:38] 1) Evolution of ship passengers is a must. 2) No FTl. etc, etc,
[17/04 21:38] Utopian types hoping to create their ideal society and tailor the people in it accrodingly.
[17/04 21:38] Limits on communication w/Earth?
[17/04 21:39] After that, anything can fly?
[17/04 21:39] I agree with CM
[17/04 21:39] yes
[17/04 21:39] artificial gravity?
[17/04 21:39] Elizabeth, I think that is limited by distance.
[17/04 21:39] Utopian types might be all about the journey, and never actually interested in landing anywhere.
[17/04 21:40] Weren't our asteroids massive enough to create some gravity?
[17/04 21:40] The father you go, the longer the communication time. In the beginning, where the ground rules apply, I say of course, after the ship leaves the solar system, anything can happen.
[17/04 21:41] Probably, but I don't think it's a significant gravity field.
[17/04 21:41] Can't create gravity internally, and AG had been thought impossible by current physics. But there have been some new developments.
[17/04 21:41] After a certain point in time, no matter what the distance, our travelers will have so little in common with Earth that communication will be pointless.
[17/04 21:41] I can't think of too many asteroids, even the larger ones like Ceres, that produce a significant gravity field--but I could be wrong.
[17/04 21:41] then don't we have bone loss issues?
[17/04 21:41] Just spin the asteroid.
[17/04 21:42] That would be part of the evolution, I suspect. The humans would either 1) adapt to a low-g existence or 2) have to tweak their ship considerably to get the environment that will facilitiate their evolution.
[17/04 21:42] would there be enough time for them to evolve
[17/04 21:43] No teleportation, ansibles, or anything that allows the crew to break the laws of relativistic physics.
[17/04 21:43] They might be able to exploit some quantum foibles, but those have to be quantum--random and unpredictable.
[17/04 21:43] I agree with Dave. I assumed spinning the asteroid.
[17/04 21:43] what's an ansible?
[17/04 21:43] I agree with Elizabeth.
[17/04 21:43] I've had it up to here with God-like computers that can fling people through spacetime without losing an eyelash.
[17/04 21:44] Ansible: instantaneous communication device, even across vast interstellar distances.
[17/04 21:44] oh
[17/04 21:44] I don't want one of those either
[17/04 21:44] Here's a popular scifi trope--cold sleep? Why don't people just go to sleep for two million years and wake up at their new planet?
[17/04 21:45] I don't want any godish computers
[17/04 21:45] Anneliese, if they become so different that comms are unreasonable why are we expecting to hear from ET's?
[17/04 21:45] I don't like the cold sleep idea at all, even if possible--it destroys the entire concept around using the distance and time it takes to cross space to evolve to fit a destination.
[17/04 21:45] corpcycles...I don't know about that
[17/04 21:46] Good question, Dave.
[17/04 21:46] Dave has a point.
[17/04 21:46] There are a whole lot of questions like cold sleep, terraform the destination that we just have to say no to for some made up reason.
[17/04 21:47] There's a story idea--Have Earth receive a strange transmission, ala contact, only to decipher it's one of their own generation ships in the future
[17/04 21:47] The problem is that somebody's gotta do maintenance, steer the ship, make sure to defrost the other crew members, etc....
[17/04 21:47] I believe my point had more to do with the fact that as a species, the travelers won't have much in common with their earth-bound ancestors.
[17/04 21:47] I like that answer, Dave.
[17/04 21:47] Perhaps cryogenics aren't sufficiently developed at the point in time when our GenE ships take off.
[17/04 21:48] And do you really think there is a technology to preserve organic matter for 2 million years?
[17/04 21:48] need some frog genes
[17/04 21:48] The point of the GenE ship is to evolve to survive at the destination.
[17/04 21:48] genetically engineer treavelers with amphibian genes so their cells won't freeze
[17/04 21:48] Yes, someone has to do it, and if they don't, we're relying on computers to do it for us--which I don't like, and I think is shaky in the long run. If we're talking thousands of years, or millions of years--when the parts breakdown, bye bye humans.
[17/04 21:48] Good point. Even if the crewsicles arrive at their new world, and are successfully thawed, they're completely unprepared.
[17/04 21:49] I can see cold naps, but not an extended sleep.
[17/04 21:49] Yay! I'm glad we're finding easy rationalization for some of these standard scifi tropes.
[17/04 21:50] And keeping people in that state would require a great deal of energy. Energy that could be put to better use.
[17/04 21:51] It's cold sleep because the occupants are frozen, Cold i cheap in space
[17/04 21:52] Okay, so looking at a basic starting block for our ships here are some of the definite "nos" Again, I envision an introductory WIKI page with a list of these basic parameters with links for explanations behind them..
[17/04 21:53] good
[17/04 21:54] :smt023
[17/04 21:54] (no particular order) 1) No Cold Sleep, 2) No Terraforming, 3) No FTL, 4) No grossly breaking standard physics laws) 5) No AI. 6) No alien contact Others? Some of these only apply at the very beginning, and then can be altered by writers once there ships leave the solar system
[17/04 21:54] Cold is cheap, yes. Controlled cold? Might be harder to manage.
[17/04 21:55] no aliens? Yelp
[17/04 21:55] There'd be a fine line between optimum cold sleep and permanent tissue damage.
[17/04 21:55] Arguments?
[17/04 21:55] THoughts?
[17/04 21:55] I like it!
[17/04 21:55] I want aliens
[17/04 21:55] No alien contact at the beginning. Once you're a few thousand light-years along, aliens might just be out there.
[17/04 21:56] Good start, CM.
[17/04 21:56] Bob, only in the very beginning, i.e, as the ships leave Earth. Once in the voids of space, take your ships and evolve them as you see fit. Perhaps we'll meet the Moose people again?
[17/04 21:56] ok
[17/04 21:56] I would say no AI's smarter than humans. It is up to the author to come up with the reason why.
[17/04 21:56] Nothing like a man with demands! Smiling
[17/04 21:57] Sounds reasonable, Dave.
[17/04 21:57] Physical alien contact to radio messages
[17/04 21:57] I'm thinking no Terminator Ai, No Hal, Ai. It can "think", But not "think there for I am"
[17/04 21:57] I ment physical contact or radio contact?
[17/04 21:57] The computer cannot tweak space-time, and you cannot resolve a mechanical crisis by reversing polarity.
[17/04 21:58] LOL!
[17/04 21:58] Can I reverse the phase?
[17/04 21:58] Explain "resolving crisis by reversing polarity"! Is that Star Trek jargon?
[17/04 21:58] scotty's dead
[17/04 21:58] You do know the magnetic polls of Earth shift every few thousand years.
[17/04 21:58] Actually, it's Buck Rogers jargon, isn't it?
[17/04 21:59] It is used in Young Franekstein
[17/04 21:59] What's a couple a thousand years in a generation ship? Reverse them poles!
[17/04 22:00] Reversing the polarity is a cliche from the early days of SF.
[17/04 22:00] Elizabeth, explain "no tweaking space-time". I'm not compltely clear.
[17/04 22:00] time travel?
[17/04 22:01] Bob, are you answering "tweaking space time?
[17/04 22:01] Time travel, not initially, but once in the voids of space, I suppose so
[17/04 22:01] sort of. I'm suggesting no time travel
[17/04 22:01] Time travel violate our no FTL rule
[17/04 22:01] unless that violates "space time"
[17/04 22:02] I've always hated time travel--never could fully wrap my brain around it.
[17/04 22:02] I'm thinking of Jane in the Ender series. By the fourth book she's God-like.
[17/04 22:02] I have: "No FTL" but only a beginning. Do we believe, this rule should apply through all phases of GenE?
[17/04 22:02] She sends people across vast distances just by thinking about it, and never makes a mistake...and then she chucks it all and becomes human so she can become a mommy. Bleargh.
[17/04 22:03] I tink of time travel like Niven - it's fantasy
[17/04 22:03] for all writer creations?
[17/04 22:03] me two, Dave.
[17/04 22:03] it's fact. One direction. One speed.
[17/04 22:03] oops, too
[17/04 22:03] If you're several light-years away from your destination, you can't get there unless you find some way to make a stable wormhole.
[17/04 22:03] That old carrer or family choice.
[17/04 22:03] I think FTL may be explored. Ultimately, however, most of our ships would reject it as not serving their needs.
[17/04 22:04] And keep yourselves from being picked apart molecule by molecule.
[17/04 22:05] Baby sitting a four year old once a week, I would thnk teleportation would be a desired trait.
[17/04 22:05] So, definitely no FTL in beginning--but after tha, let author's play, like with AI potential, and aliens.
[17/04 22:06] Any other definite No's at beginning at least, that i did not mention that anyone can think of?
[17/04 22:06] None here.
[17/04 22:07] (as we wrap this up for the evening?) My gut tells me we should do this again, and soon. This created a nice and productive chat.
[17/04 22:07] I think we've got a good starting list. Good work, everyone!
[17/04 22:07] It was more active than most. Or maybe I'm just more awake todaay.
[17/04 22:08] I agree. A topic for another chat is whether we know at the outset what will be the destination.
[17/04 22:08] Anneliese, Elizabeth, perhaps you can look at the schedule and see when another chat like this might work best, depending on submissions.
[17/04 22:08] Or the destination of each ship is a government secret
[17/04 22:09] Only the government-sponsored ships Smiling
[17/04 22:09] I'll try and reinvest time in Wiki to set up these introductory definite decisions with explanation. Then we can peruse them and make sure everything is kosher at a future chat.
[17/04 22:09] I'll post this chat log in the forum.
[17/04 22:10] Great, Anneliese, Thanks. Any other pressing thoughts?
[17/04 22:10] Sounds good. Good night, everybody, and good chat!

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4-17-06 chat

Hi all,

I was planning on dropping by, but got sidetracked.

I'll see if I can visit the next chat.


"Fiction is a lie. Good fiction is the truth in a lie."
-Stephen King

"Compelling characters and writing transcend category."
-Boris Layupan

"You must kill your darlings."
-William Faulkner