https://g.co/kgs/AFawC3 I can see a lot SciFi I like going the Orbis Tertius way. It was a retro-Hugo finalist in 2016. Someone should write a Buster Crabbe kind of version of it

First pass at Exhalation: A scientist’s journal from a member of a race of air-driven mechanical beings. The race obtains air from swappable lungs filled with pressurized air (argon) from underground.

He realizes that clocks simultaneously appear to be running fast but they’re not malfunctioning. Why is it that everyone’s brains are computing slower? He then dissects their own brain and discovers that it operates based on how air moves through gold leaves???

It seems that brains are processing slower because rising atmospheric pressure causing air to pass through at a slower rate. He further concludes that their civillazatiok is past peak argon and will eventually be depleted, equalizing the pressure between the two atmospheres

The Lifecycle of Software Objects”

Ana Alvarado over a twenty-year period, during which she “raises” an artificial intelligence from being essentially a digital pet to a human-equivalent mind.

“Zoo trainer, is hired by a software developing company to assist in the training of digital creatures, “digients”, that are designed with a learning capacity similar to human children. Ana forms a close bond with a designer in charge of creating the digients visual appearance”

Digients are released in a virtual reality platform with initial success, but digients popularity diminishes and startup closes. Several of the employees form a group to keep the digients active and learning; Ana keeps one named Jax and Derek keeps two named Marco and Polo.

After a few more years, Data Earth closes and merges with another digital platform named Real Space. Ana, Derek maintain a flow of learning activities for the digients, but they are unable to provide enough social interaction for them unless they can port them to Real Space

Ana receives an offer from another digient manufacturer, that wants her to train their digients to become personal assistants but the job offer has the downside that she would have to get her brain chemistry altered to reinforce her commitment to her work.

The group receives an offer by a marketer of virtual sex dolls, that offers to pay for the port of the digients to Real Space in exchange of copies of the digients to train them as sex partners for their clients.

Marco and Polo want to be able to edit this reward map and are intrigued by the offer, but Ana is against it. Derek allows himself to be convinced by Marco to accept the offer. In the final scene, she is working on the education of Jax. No climax, life goes on

“Dacey’s Patent Automatic Nanny”

Dr Dacey finds out that working class nannies often aren’t educated enough, and upper class governesses are too expensive. This lead to his great invention of a robot nanny that watches your children, don’t beat them and don’t overpamper them.

Can we raise a child purely through a piece of technology? There are social experiments of children without human caring – e.g. the prominent Kaspar Hauser. Chiang thinks that even an AI may need 20 + years nurturing before allowed to be fully formed beings.

“What’s Expected of Us”,

Predictors demonstrate that there’s no such thing as free will. An invention called a “Predictor” where a small hand held device flashes light mere moments before one presses the button.

The central argument is this: if one resorted to not pressing the button at all, the light wouldn’t flash to begin with. But when light flashes, it compels the person to press the button. In crude terms, the light knows if a human will press the button or not.

The Predictor sends a signal which navigates through time in the past, thereby determining if one would push the button or not. The heart of each Predictor is a circuit with a negative time delay — it sends a signal back in time

“Some people, realizing that their choices don’t matter, refuse to make any choices at all”

“People used to speculate about a thought that destroys the thinker, some unspeakable Lovecraftian horror, or a Gödel sentence that crashes the human logical system. It turns out that the disabling thought is one that we’ve all encountered: the idea that free will doesn’t exist”

The Tiv (an ethno-linguistic group or nation in West Africa) also encounter a new technology. Young Jijingi is among the first to learn the new technology, writing, introduced by Europeans. Writing permits keeping detailed and permanent records, used to establish truth.

The Truth of Fact, the Truth of Feeling

Written from two perspectives: one story about the journalist and his daughter, and one of an oral-only west african people making first contact with European missionaries.

Remem is a Google for your personal memories. Powered by shared social lifelogging video, a 24/7 Instagram that captures most moments of most people’s lives. Shows detailed video recordings of any scene of your life that you try to recall.

The Tiv (an ethno-linguistic group or nation in West Africa) also encounter a new technology. Young Jijingi is among the first to learn the new technology, writing, introduced by Europeans. Writing permits keeping detailed and permanent records, used to establish truth.

“Where you or I would see nothing but disturbed grass, he can see that a leopard had killed a cane rat at that spot and carried it off. This art of the Europeans must be similar: those who have the skill could hear a story even if they hadn’t been there when it was told”

“Our language has two words for what in your language is called ‘true.’ There is what’s right, mimi, and what’s precise, vough. In a dispute the principals say what they consider right; they speak mimi..

…The witnesses, however, are sworn to say precisely what happened; they speak vough. When Sabe has heard what happened can he decide what action is mimi for everyone. But it’s not lying if the principals don’t speak vough, as long as they speak mimi.”

When the narrator begins to explore his own memories and finds, shatteringly, that he has been lying to himself for years about his parenting, this comes full circle

There is a thread in the story of the difference between the practical, exact truth and the emotional, functional truth, particularly in Jijingi’s narrative. This is key: the idea that perhaps the exact truth is useful and vital, but that emotional truth should not be disregarded

For the Tiv, value is often more important than factual accuracy. Back to the main story, Remem can “authenticate” personal memories. No more bitter disputes over who said what, now that everyone can immediately and effortlessly enter total recall mode. Isn’t that great?

Our memories are not detailed records of facts, but work in progress, changing at every act of recall. We edit and re-write our memories all the time, adding and taking away to support our personal narratives, which are also work in progress.

So we don’t really have direct memories, but memories of memories (of memories) mixed with myths, wishes, and fears. This story is very good and threads on some the stuff I’ve been musing on lately https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eric_A._Havelock… https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Walter_J._Ong#Orality_and_Literacy_(1982)…


Eric A. Havelock – Wikipedia

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