How it started

Most of us have have that “what would make a great movie scene” moments, where we had an idea about how something could or should happen on the big screen. Sometimes we even see them in movies. The problem is that they need to be strung together in a way that is coherent, and there is a reason for the actions you see to be, well, reasonable. There are FAR to many movies that are little more than an excuse for special effects and random events, with plot holes you could park a small mountain in.

I had a lot of these ideas, it seemed. I sort of started writing them down. I thought they were neat. But there was no pattern, no framework. Then one day I was talking to a neighbor that does some high-end software research and asked the question “what’s the biggest problem with Artificial Intelligence?”

His brief answer was “How do you shrink them?”

Um, huh? He clarified: how do you shrink, psychoanalyze, deal with mental problems, in a solid state, software-algorithm-based intelligence? When people have “mental breakdowns,” we give them drugs and/or send them to a psychiatrist. Maybe we lock them up if they are dangerous. But what do you do with an AI that freaks out? Pull the plug, switch their AC with their DC, give them more data or less, overclock, low-voltage them, reformat and reinstall, or…. what? And, what could an AI take that humans couldn’t, or vice-versa? From that came the idea of a PTSD military AI. Suddenly, a lot of possible pieces fell into place, and I started writing more seriously.

6 thoughts on “How it started

  1. I’m reminded of James Hogan’s story “the two faces of tomorrow”, which involves an AI being tested to see if it can be controlled. And the answer, at least for most of the story, turns out to be “no”.

    1. Yes, I vaguely remember reading that long ago. Most of Hogan’s books were pretty good as I recall. Good SCIENCE fiction.
      The theme of “defective” computer AI is an old one, as is AI in warships, but I’ve never come across one that was PTSD.

  2. I just turned the last page on the finished work. I enjoyed it immensely. I believe it to be better – tighter and more polished – than when I first read it in serialised form.

    Even better, I earned serious cool points with my teenage son when I showed him my ‘net persona in the foreword. Thanks for that!

    1. You are welcome. Glad you liked it, hope you thought the ending worthy of the read, and hope your son likes it too. Thanks for your support. Now get cracking on that review! 🙂
      I wrote it, but a lot of people had valuable $0.02 to toss in, whether proof-reading, criticizing plot points, or whatever. And part of the polish is definitely due to hiring a professional editor; as frustrating and painful as the experience was, it was definitely worth it. If I recall correctly, you had a problem with the “open an airlock un-noticed” part of things, and that definitely DID lead to a better layout of that scene. Honest criticism is helpful, and quite welcome. (Or was that someone else? I know there was something that you had raised a red flag about that I changed things to address). Saying thanks to them was the least I could do. Even stuck Ubu in there, possibly much to her chagrin, for some valid criticisms she made.

      1. Yes, the airlock thing was me.

        I’m glad you found my comments useful – the changed scene with extra detail was excellent.

  3. I’m reading the as-published edition now (I’m just past power restoration right now). It certainly is significantly smoother than the review copies. Nice.

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