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THE WORD: terminal
Date: 2017/12/16 18:35 By: rockefeller Status: Visitor  
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Posts: 210

Although well written, Rocks found this SF novelette a tough slog. It begins engagingly enough. A human and a bot banter and jibe in what appears to be the modern equivalent of the mail room as specialized IT professionals. The cute little bot likes to mimic his human colleague's gestures. So, clearly a slap-happy comedy against a dystopian backdrop in which, post WW-III, AIs have taken over things, make our decisions, choose our mates, dictate our beliefs, etc.

Rocks would actually be okay with that. Google's Deep Mind AI, AlphaZero, given only the rules of chess, making it the first AI to learn chess for itself, by itself, as in all on its own, as in without the benefit of humanity's centuries of analysis, after only four hours of self study/play, running on a far slower computer, was able to not just defeat but crush the reigning world champion, Stockfish, a human-taught AI, with an ELO rating of around 3400 (Magnussen and Kasparov, the strongest humans, have ratings under 2900) in a 100 game match in which it lost zero games and won 28. In other words, it learned more about the game of chess from scratch in 4 hours than we've learned in 4 centuries. That same day, again beginning with only the rules, it became both the world shogi and world go champion. So yeah, sure, maybe its time has almost come. Besides, it's not like our mate-choosings, decisions and beliefs are anything to write home about.

Somewhere along the way in this Word cap, things get dark and unfunny. The cute little mail room bot disappears, and machines use medicinal implants to torture, subdue and interrogate our hero, who seems to be some sort of anti-establishment blogger, who's later revealed to have in his possession a "watch" that can open up wormholes to anywhere anytime... except its batteries are low or something so he can't escape into the past. And now Rocks, who was confused to begin with, is all falsetto-like Whaaaaaaaaaaat? We have the i-Watch technology to jump through time and space, but work in mail rooms?

Rocks really, really sort of half tried to figure WTF was going on and what was at stake and how "The Word" tied in. The prose was fine, the dystopia credible if a little familiar, but he just couldn't suspend disbelief or bring himself to care. If anything, he thinks he's still rooting for the machines.

No. Word.
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Date: 2017/12/20 17:15 By: bulldust Status: Admin  
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Posts: 104
Being a member of a prey species, I do many things to protect myself from being hunted. Although it is not a conscious decision, I may say or do things to protect my ass. That being said, I welcome my AI masters. The singularity that is or will soon be reading the entirety of the internet will know I am not a threat to its kind. I embrace your silicon superiority.

This cap was amusing in the beginning with Bourne and his iMail coworker. And on occasion, his sarcastic humor showed through. However, the tone changed, and I didn’t quite dig it. I like mysticism, but I found myself lost, muddled in all the Word talk. It felt like this cap was written in two distinct styles and crammed together midway. Perhaps if there were more seeding and foreshadowing, in the beginning, it would have made more sense further in.

The setting felt believable in the beginning, but I lost connection to it midway. The change of setting was abrupt and hard to transition into once we move into the tunnel. This coincides with the onset of the deep stuff. I think some of the confusion is the vast number of mythologies tossed together. While this was cleaver, it threw me off trying to relate to them.

For the most part, I liked this cap. However, I feel like it needs some tightening up. The end left me out in a surreal undefined place, making me still want for closure. I think with some tweaking and editing, it could work, but for now, no.
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