From The R and R Station: Day 4

Huzzah! I made it through the store with a majority of my vices intact! I got the last minute things I am going to need until I can get to an open grocery store on Friday. If you’re going to a store on Thursday, I consider you part of the problem. Stay home. You don’t have to be with your family (I’m not), but I am sure that there are people who will have to work tomorrow who want to be with their families. Everything will be there Friday, I promise.

As I was getting ready for tomorrow, I didn’t have much time to do anything constructive. Tomorrow isn’t going to be any better, frankly. All day football, turkey pizza and apple pie, and you want me to do what? Seriously?

I am still working on the I/O Error outline on paper and I keep wondering about the concept of robots being able to see and interact with ghosts, so I am just going to babble aloud here and let me know if this is going to be too irritating. So – here it goes: the whole notion about robots seeing the ghosts aboard the doomed ship The
Shepherd goes back to the notion that machines can pick up more information than people can – whether or not you want to chalk that up to a filter that living people have versus the genuine non-bias of a machine, or just that ghosts use the electro-magnetic fields to lend them more energy to overcome that barrier enough to make some sort of mark (I am going with a little from column A and a little from Column B) – and I am running along with it as well as the notion of Asimov’s Laws of Robotics. In particular, I am looking at the first two: Rule one: a robot must not allow a human to come to harm, either by action or inaction. Fairly straightforward, right? CL4-TP, as irritating as he is to some people, can’t do anything to you under this broad definition even if you merit it. However – in the story, there is a corollary. Human is defined as a person on board The
Shepherd by the invitation of the captain and is designated under three classes: guest, crew and officer. If you have an invitation (permission) – oh, if there is an official nautical term for this, please let me know what it is – by the captain, then you are considered a person and the robots that are part of the crew will do everything they can to see to your safety. If you are not there by the invitation of the captain… then you’re out of luck. They’re not going to kill you, but if you’re stuck in something and about to die…sorry, dude.

Rule two: A robot must follow the instructions given to by a human so long as they do not go against the First Rule. Now, here’s where we’re getting a little complicated. Going back to our corollary of what defines human, there were two classes of people: guest and crew. How do the robots know which one to follow? Simple – officers are the top of the food chain, followed by crew and finally guests. So far, no real problem – the orders trickle down from the top. If the Captain says jump, you jump so long as it’s not into a vat of molten steel. Now, the protagonist’s issues come with the problem of not knowing which member of the crew giving her orders is one of the real crew members, or a ghost. Since all input is equal to her coming from the crew, the protagonist can’t make an effective call and acts in what it considers a logical mode. Everyone else thinks she’s going nuts. Now – here’s my problem: how is it that one robot can see the ghosts and interact with them, but all of the others can’t? I have an idea and I will further explain it to you Friday.

Two words: Quantum Computing.

Thanks for reading, and as always – feel free to drop a comment.

Happy Thanksgiving.



Seething Apathy

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