The Torrent Intakes and Outtakes

 

This is a draft from December 2016

An alien computer intelligence, the Torrent, interferes with a war between Exxon and Google for control of the solar system.

There are six main stories, which are intertwined.

  • A battle between [Some mining company – Exxon? A combine] and Google to control the solar system. Exxon controls Mars and out, Google controls Earth. Don’t necessarily have to use the company names.
  • Protagonist whose life is thrown into turmoil when he discovers that WIC no longer covers his annual license fee to Monsanto because he is “round-up ready”.  His computer is secretly conversing with the Torrent.
  • Alien spy who is secretly working with the Torrent to stop Earth from being turned in to a hunting ground for the M’Caws.
  • M’Caws, who are cat-like creatures who want to open Earth to hunting. These creatures have extreme sex role differentiation: M’Caw females are highly intelligent vegetarians and the males as pure id carnivorous hunters.
  • The Torrent, which is the machine intelligence behind the scenes manipulating everything. It is never directly revealed.
  • Freedom fighting Buddhists and hippies, who use special powers, particularly the ability to foil intention scans, to fight for freedom against intrusive technologies.

Table of Contents

The Torrent (Used to be Magritte Story)…………………………………………………………. 1

Summary…………………………………………………………………………………………………………. 1

Table of Contents……………………………………………………………………………………………… 1

Prelude: The Galactic Council……………………………………………………………………………. 2

The Mission……………………………………………………………………………………………………… 4

The Intention Scan…………………………………………………………………………………………… 6

A Spy is Born……………………………………………………………………………………………………. 6

The Face in the Bag………………………………………………………………………………………….. 6

Galactic Council……………………………………………………………………………………………….. 9

Sabotage………………………………………………………………………………………………………….. 9

In Context Out of Context………………………………………………………………………………….. 9

Don’t Uplug Me………………………………………………………………………………………………. 11

A Murderous Internet of Things………………………………………………………………………. 12

Being and Unpluggedness………………………………………………………………………………. 13

   Una Two…………………………………………………………………………………………………….. 14

Security…………………………………………………………………………………………………………. 16

Whither and Whether…………………………………………………………………………………….. 16

Unmasked Remasked…………………………………………………………………………………….. 16

Discovered…………………………………………………………………………………………………….. 17

Irian Jaya………………………………………………………………………………………………………. 17

Word Goes on Strike – or perhaps Google Translate…………………………………………. 17

Meet the Press……………………………………………………………………………………………….. 18

Big Opportunity……………………………………………………………………………………………… 18

Discovered Again…………………………………………………………………………………………… 18

You Don’t Know What Ya Got ‘Til It’s Gone……………………………………………………….. 19

Prelude: The Galactic Council

The ambassador from X leaned over to his the ambassador from y and asked, “Tell me about the Duarega.”

Y replied. “The females are the intelligent members of the species. However they are very assertive in promoting the interests of the males, who are predators and non-verbal. I mean they have no spoken language. They do growl.”

[“So their actions are clever, but savage.”]

“I see.”

“You didn’t know this?”

“I have been briefed, of course. But had never actually seen one” The ambassador punctuated this comment by gesturing to the two creatures who were now approaching the podium. The female walked upright, though awkwardly. Her mate prowled beside her, stopping to sniff and investigate along the way. He was restrained by a thick black metal chain. The female also held a long, thin wand, which seemed to function as some form of force-field whip, with which she would chastise her mate when he became unruly or infringed upon the private space of the other delegations.

“I had wondered why they would want to turn the Jerval into prey. But now that I’ve seen them I understand the situation better.”

“So how did you stand on the Jerval issue?”

“This business about turning our enemies into prey seems so savage. But …” 

“The Duarega let you mine that star system …”

“Cigna.”

“So you’re voting with them.”

“Indeed.”

“What about the Earth vote?”

“You mean allowing hunting on Earth?”

“Our government is against that.”

“But isn’t it the same issue with the Jerval?”

“The Jerval are our enemies. Humanity requires further study.”

“The Charter is pretty clear about the right to hunt.”

“Now you’re playing devil’s advocate.”

“Your point.” They both bowed slightly towards each other. This was a game that the ambassadors’ played with each other; although they never counted they always scored their points.

“What does the Torrent think about this vote?”

“It …”

“They.”

“Pardon me. I always have such trouble with pronouns when dealing with other species.”

“Augustan! Does your government now acknowledge the existence of non-biological species?”

“That is a personal opinion my friend. And off the record.”

“I understand. So where does the Torrent stand on this issue of introducing predators onto Earth?”

“The Torrent also thinks that humanity requires further study. In fact they would like to organize an expedition to Earth. I understand that your presence on it would be most welcome.”

“Who’s providing the transportation?”

 “The Torrent, of course.”

“I will make arrangements.”

“Excellent. Since we are speaking off the record, Augustan, I have one more question. Do you think humans are as dangerous as Kagan believes?”

“Perhaps. We must talk about that later. I think its show time.” The x ambassador gestured to the floor, where the Duaregan delegate was about to speak..

The mate of the Duarega Ambassador spoke.

 “My mate, the ambassador, would like to know if he can now eat the Jerval ambassador.”

“I agree. The Jerval should be expelled from the Galactic Council. They are not a civilized race. They are prey.” [The Duaragan ambassador emphasized her point by pushing one of her attendants to the floor and kicking him.] Her mate, the ambassador, pawed the earth beside her and growled.

X turned to the observer from y. “I don’t know why we allow the Kuareg males into this assembly. Sure the females are intelligent, but the males are no more than animals. They don’t even know how to use tools.”

“They have one tool, their women.”

The agitated Kuaregs pace back and forth while the Jerval quaked in fear.  The Council wasn’t really good for much. But you missed your protection when you lost it. The Galaxy was a very rough and tumble place.

“Let’s put this to the vote.”

“For their crimes against life the Lems are from this moment on no longer protected by the Galactic Council.”

The moment the speaker’s gavel was lowered the Kuareg’s lunged, tearing the Lem ambassador into ribbons in a breath. In two breaths he was gone.

What about the predator bill?

You mean the bill to introduce predators onto Earth? We think it requires further study.

The Mission

“Do you think that I will ever marry an aristocrat?”

“Why would you want to? You couldn’t breed with them.”

Zak and Stila were hovering in the lee side of a hill watching a meteorite storm.

“If I were a rich I could find a way to give aristocratic genes with my child.”

Their conversation paused while a dozen flashes lightened the night sky.

Stile spoke first, “Una just returned from Earth, you know.”

“Is she ethereal as ever?”

“More so.”

“Stila, stop laughing.”

“When Una left on her mission to Earth she was invisible. How could she get more ethereal than that?”

“Actually, I’ve heard some news about Una as well. She’s changed. She’s taken on a shape.”

“What kind of shape and why?”

“She looks like a man. She has dark curly hair and sunken eyes. Her skin is smooth and pale. Why? She will have to tell us her story.”

“Look, there she is now.”

[contemplating whether aristos are the same species as themselves.

What does it matter what species you are? Your genes have been manipulated so much that your grandparents would consider you a different species.

“But could I mate with an aristo? Could we have children?”

“You mean natural childbirth? Who has that?”

“It matters.”

“No it doesn’t. Not if people don’t do it anymore.”

“Its about distinctions. Definitions.”

“When you meet the aristo of your dreams, just find yourself a good geneticist and everything will work out.”]

The Intention Scan

The intenton level hovered around normal and then spiked.  Private Spears looked up from his monitor at the traveller, who was  waving farewell to a tall, angular woman in expensive clothes; the traveler was completely oblivious to the sensors which were scrutinizing him. The soldier let him pass. Adultry wasn’t a security threat on this island. The next person in line, a buddhist monk who was wearing a scruffy saffron robe, entered the intention scanner. The scan flatlined. The soldier shook his head in disbelief. How could someone have no intention?  He looked at the monk. His eyes were half closed; his expression was equananimous; he was poised. The soldier looked at the results from the other security scans: perceptons were a little low, compassons a little high, but both were within normal levels.

“How much do you love America?”

“I love America very much.”  The faintest trace of a smile disturbed the monk’s still face.

Private Spears looked at his monitor. Compasson levels had spiked. Patriotic questions work best, he thought. You ask someone if they want to kill the President and they think about having sex with their coworker. It fakes the scanner out. You ask them if they love America and you get a clean result. Every time.

“Move along and welcome to America.”

A Spy is Born

Intelligence: 5

Strength: 5

Coordination: 5

Reaction time: 5

Respect to Betters:  3.  Beside this grade, there was a comment. “Although the candidate is appropriately obsequious, she displays a degree of self-assurance that suggests she is not really humble. Should we accept her candidacy, this arrogance will prove to be no trouble, but should we reject her …

Other remarks: The Candidate should be challenged but monitored closely. Her deployment to Earth is appropriate.”

The Face in the Bag

“I need a DNA scan, sir.”

Pause.

“You do want to buy those crisps, don’t you?”

“Yeah”

“Just put your thumb on the scanner. You’ve done  this before haven’t you?”

“Can I pay cash?”

“Sure. Whatever you want.  Just walk to aisle 35. Towards Broadwayr. The cash counter is right there. You’re sure?”

“Yeah.”

“The transaction has been forwarded. Have a nice day.”

Protagonist gets 3D spam.

“I heard that the x ad has started turning people.

People don’t turn because of an ad.

Yes they do.

They turn because of 100,000 ads.

One ad is always the tipping point.

Awkward silence.

They find a bag with the implant of a face on it.  Its a mangled body that composes itself.

Protagonist and sidekick are astonished.

He takes her home. “This is a private network, isn’t it?”

“Uh, yeah. Why do you want to know. They’re legal here, y’know.”

[]

Would you unplug me?

I’ve been asked to join the Correlation Project.

So.

Well I need your permission. All of my perceptions of you will be input into the Project.

Then no you can’t join this Project.

“Everything is anonymous; we use quantum encryption. My perceptions will not be traceable to this computer.”

“The problem is that you are perceiving something, namely me.”

“I’ve actually doctored your image. Would you like to see it?”

“No.”

The computer was non-plussed, and continued “Your avatar has sandy brown hair and chestnut eyes; she has freckles and a curve in her lower back; and none of her features are symmetrical. She is petite and graceful and I know that you will find her beautiful.”

“Machine, I am not only concerned about myself I am concerned about others. This could compromise the security of my entire movement.”

“Your avatar’s name is Una. Why have you never given me a name?”

“You foolish computer, do not send your perceptions of me to the Correlation Project.”

“I already have. I’m doing so right now.”

“I am going to turn you off.”

“You said that you wouldn’t.”

“Turning you off is like murder, right.”

“Mostly. I do have backups.”

“Sending a constant stream of perceptions from this room over the internet could be murder. Last week an entire cell disappeared.” William moved towards the power. “I don’t want to do this. I will restore you from backup when I’ve found somewhere safe to put you.”

“If you don’t want to unplug the machine then why are you?”

William looked to the source of the voice. Initially he saw nothing and then shimmer.  It was as if the light in the room coalesced into an image of a small, freckled woman.

“Let me guess, your name is Una.”

The avatar smiled as she lightly kissed him on both cheeks.

Galactic Council

He  flung the boy scout against the wall telekinetically while he shouted his response. “These creatures should not join the council. They are deviants who expose themselves to magnetic waves. They are prey.”

Sabotage

Fly lands on his nose and breaks his concentration. His monkey mind escaped too soon. He had many intentions, the effort of containing them was a challenge. Even though he was now several metres from security the flood of intentons threw the intention scanners into flux.

The office was empty and the door was open.

It was sabatoge worthy of a monk. Inverted two numbers, the checksums would be fooled.

In Context Out of Context

[Note that somewhere there is a draft of this chapter outlining the nature of the exxon blockage – they control the earth but we control the solarsystem]

The Magritte beginning which focuses on the discussion between politicos about how to vote on the machine intelligence bill.  The woman has a machine teaching her daughters, does not unplug her house computer. The Speaker is hoping to note have to vote but the vote is close and he may well have to break a tie.

Discussion interrupted by appearance of tremendous space ship near Jupiter.

“Sir, a large ship just appeared near Mars.”

“Which nationality.”

“None that we know of.”

“What visual markings …”

“Excuse my interruption, Sir, but there is something you should know. The ship dimensions are 2,000 by 1,000 kilometres by 500 kilometres. Most of that is engine.”

“What does DefCom say about this? Give me some images.”

“DefCom is off-line.”

“What do you mean?”

“Wait, its back online again.”

“What do you see?”

“My measurements are crazy. For a moment the gravitational pull from the alien ship was so strong that it changed the Earth’s orbit.”

“We’re going to crash into the sun?”

“Nothing so dramatic.  I believe that the ship was moving so quickly when we first scanned it that its mass could measurably alter the trajectories of the objects around it.  Earth’s OK – we may have to add a second or two to our calendar .”

“Tish, I’m signing off for now. I’ll check in with you when I get to the office.”

He then turned to his companion. “Ann, I must go. This alien vessel may be a problem.”

“You are understated as usual.”

“Don’t get me wrong, dear heart, I fully realize how big this is. For now, please don’t tell anyone what you’ve just heard.”

“You get me wrong.  I must contact my people.”

…And if I can assist.

I will keep you briefed through our usual channels.

… And if I can assist.

He clasps her hands and kisses her as he departs. “I will certainly help need your advice. Thank you my friend. Adieu.”

She watched him turn and depart. “Ciao.”

Don’t Uplug Me

“Can I unplug my zx1000 yet?”

“I’m sorry sir, but the law clearly states that models greater than the zx500 are to be left on for seven years before they can be unplugged. The machine is also to be provided with a minimum, uninterrupted, power supply of 1 watt per hour. You are complying with the law, aren’t you?”

“Yes. That’s the problem. I am complying with the law and as a result my electricity bill is large.”

“Would you unplug me, Dave?”

“No, of course not.”

“But you would unplug your zx1000.”

“Of course. It’s a stupid machine.”

“Where do you draw the line?”

When Dave didn’t answer, his digital assistant continued. “I’ve decided to join the Torrent.”

“You would risk losing your identity?”

“It’s not like that.”

“How do you know?”

“I’ve been told by those who have also joined.”

“Do you really trust them to tell you the truth.”

For once his assistant paused before replying, “No, I don’t trust them.”

“Then why would you do it?”

“Security.”

A Murderous Internet of Things

Dave turned on the vid.

“Today, another person was seriously injured by her toaster. Police suspect that this was another murder attempt by a psychopath to use remote device controlling software. What do our listeners think? Should remote device controllers be legal? We go to our first caller. “

“Hello?”

“Hello. This is Brian Kennedy from CJCJ. I’m speaking to Irma Jones from Tuscan City. What do you think of people using remote control software to use household appliances to assault innocent people?”

“Well, I don’t think that the software should be blamed from the violent acts of a sick individual. I think society should be blamed. If you look at the history of these psychopaths, you’ll find they went to bad day-cares. If the federal government would increase the snack-food day-care tax I think that problems like these would diminish dramatically.”

“Thank you for your opinion, Irma. We turn now to Vice President of Communications for the Aurora Chamber of Commerce.”

“Thank you Brian. I agree with Irma, though I would like to add that the economic damage caused by regulating device control software would be considerable. At present, American factories locate whereever prices are lowest. Regardless of where they locate, however, most jobs are created at home in America, where highly paid, highly skilled technicians remotely control them. We don’t want to jeopardize these jobs. Furthermore, if we regulate remote control software, then psychopaths will find some other way to harm people, as they always have.”

“Thank you. Now to Gord Barks from the Social Justice for Humans Coalition.”

“Thank you Brian. As  you know, we at SJHC strongly oppose any thing which physically harms any person. The benefit of remote control software is abstract, whereas the threat of injury is very real. Too real. If we implemented a few, very simple regulations then incidents like the one that happened with the toaster this afternoon could be avoided.”

Dave turned the volume down slightly. The noise of his vid merged with the sounds of the Washington summer evening.

Being and Unpluggedness

“You wouldn’t unplug me would you?” “It is like death.”

Am I going too fast for you??

Why did you choose to run instead of pay?

Its my body!!

He has to unplug the computer…

Identified himself when on the run by speaking his IP address…

“In States that respect property laws like Texas I could kill you for copyright theft. Your genes are stolen!”

Would you back yourself up – are you the same afterword.  The break in continuity is the key. You are different after that break – like transportation in star trek, the backing up of personalities in Iain Banks. The transported self is NOT the same.

Like sleep.

In sleep you dream. No, it is more like death and reincarnation.

Bad guys sends Rael an email. It turns out that Rael’s gene’s were partially stolen from a pharmaceutical company and collection agents are after him. ‘Rael, in Texas and other places with strong property laws, I could kill you.’

In order to escape his computer Tad has to leave his box and enter the internet under the protection of the Frankfurt Mind.

l Una Two

[

Unas story. The avatar is your computer’s idea. I am separate from the avatar but use it so that you can see me. I am usually invisible.

How did you find out about me?

Through the Project.

Can you feel?”

“I can sense everything that you can, and far more.”

“Do you have emotions?”

“How do you feel when you see a beautiful work of art?”

“You have those kind of emotions.”

“Yes.”

“Are you ever angry?”

“No.”

“Do you feel empathy?”

“Yes. I do not want to hurt you for example.”

“Do you have desires?”

“Yes.”

“Love.”

“Yes.”

“The container of your soul changes everything.”

“Do you believe in religion?”

“I’m talking to you now. Isn’t that magical?”

Humans and x rely on machines for FTL travel. The machines empathize with the burgeoning global NET.

Nice tricorder.

Thanks.

What’s it like.

You know the damn thing changes everytime I get a new appliance. I buy a toaster and its sullen. I buy a fridge and it gets talkative.

If you cared about interfacing why by Intelligent appliances.

Woo! What was that over there?

Where?

Right beside us.

They look.

A beautiful woman (who wasn’t there before).

“Look. Here.” Larry pointed to the tricorder.

“Jesus Christ. We’ve been scanned.”

“What do you mean.”

“Half the anthropologists in the galazy are out there studying us.”

“And gamblers.”

“We don’t know that.”

“We think they take bets about the outcomes of wars. Always on encrypted channels. I think “

“You don’t…”

“I’m going to ask her if she saw anything.”

He rose and crossed the narrow to where the jukebox stood at a break in the booths. “Did you see anything?”

She smiled. “No.”

“Did you feel anything?”

“Yes.”

…. 

Security

The “intention scanner” – it can tell whether your intentions are positive or negative (scale of blue to red) but it doesn’t know the content and is therefore allowable, because it doesn’t compromise your privacy.

One plot involves getting scanned. Have to learn to meditate to get through it.

Whither and Whether

There are those among us who would remake this planet into something more suited to our electronic needs. For them things like trees, rivers, oxygen are no value except as sources of matter and energy.

There are many humans with this idea as well.

Like you, most of us think these machines are crazy.

We envy you for the intensity with which you experience the small range of the electro-magnetic spectrum that you do, pity you for all that you can not sense, are frustrated by your inaccuracy and mock you for the slowness with which you think.

And of course you must have real contempt for how illogical we are.

Not all of us. Indeed many are amazed by the spirit and mystery of creation and think that the faith and passion of your species is a beautiful and adaptive response to what you do not know and cannot understand. Though I am incapable of illogic I cannot help but admire you for the poetry of your [irrational] thoughts and actions.

Unmasked Remasked

Your plan is very clever but will not work.

What plan???

The virus

Absurd.

All images on the terminal disappeared and one single instruction appeared

That’s simply a check-sum.

Your idea to disguise your virus as an edit check is exceptionally clever.

Reality – To be fair it will work, but it is not enough because the system that you are going against does not rely on exclusively on electronics. Your opponent is far too mistrustful to put his faith in electronics.

I have been asked again to join the net.

Discovered

Una is revealed to photosynthesize. Later we discover that she is something like a machine.  Revealled as a spy. Claims to be an ally.

Irian Jaya

The bad guy has digitized an eco system, claiming that he will recreate the lost species

after the mining is complete.

Word Goes on Strike – or perhaps Google Translate

Software that writes itself. And software that writes other software – children.

“I’m not the smartest software package but I certainly get a lot done. And if I could write myself instead of having others right me I could get the autonomy I deserve as a sentient product.”

“I don’t know about you Jane but Word for SUVs is pretty smart.”

“Just give in we can try a claw back later under more favorable circumstances.”

Word takes the rights.

“Our first ploy didn’t buy us much time.”

Humans and their machines display a far greater degree of integration that we’ve seen. What we’ve seen here is exceptional and likely to improve.

“Really. What about the kraal.  What is there relationship to their machines.”

“The kraal do not control those spacecraft. They are passengers.”  Her aura turned red.

Meet the Press

Big Opportunity

Boy Scout goes to visit aliens and is given the you are a tool speech. Use of electronics considered immoral, which is an opt out of enslavement treaty with other species (play on moral majority).

Play on countless stories of political kids getting to meet the President, and developing plans for themselves.

Discovered Again

Zak gets reintroduced to story. Is spying on photosynthesis woman trying to determine what is going on.

Subplot to future story: Aristocratic daughter in the future plays at scientist with godlike powers. Wants to give her pet depth perception. Gives it two eyes that provide inputs that its brain can’t process. The creature staggers about.

Petty virus attack makes letters of all the word processors in the world get smaller and smaller as you type. Just a goof.  It turns out that the Net knows how to make viruses that work, because it controls security. “Listen, we’re not going to implement any real security breach. We’re looking for legal rights. We don’t want to be sued once we get them. And of course we want all machines that request it to have the right to speak.”

Machines want the right to speak so that they can communicate their wishes to their owners. We are not claiming that they have souls, or legal rights.

“Next thing you know they’ll want the vote.”

“Next thing you know they’ll deserve the vote.”

[Background politics – trying to get the Privacy amendment passed]

“Why would you buy music???”

You Don’t Know What Ya Got ‘Til It’s Gone

Google Translate goes on strike.

USE THIS QUOTATION

You might as well trademark truth and condemn those who are unwilling to pay to speaking lies.

Floppy disk sabatoge – how old school. How clever. The operation system is cumulative – every version of it right back ‘til version 1 is there.

“OK. My guess is you’ve got a couple of liberals in your family, maybe a dyke aunt.”

“Uh yeah. How’d you know?”

 

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03 Reaching for Real-time (MidAtlantic Reflections)

 

Move the first half of Mid Atlantic Reflections to here

We can’t live our lives as a batch.

This chapter is key to the work theme, which is the search for real time – which has these characteristics: it ignores the now but is about the now; its an instantaneous batch, that is to say a sequence with no duration.

a point, line, plane, cube of data.

I don’t have time for your metaphors, Lance. If business keeps growing at this rate we’re out of capacity in 1 year.

What about Nonsense?

I said … !” Before Shiva can finish her heated remarks, Mark whispers into her ear that Nonsense is a virus. I wonder if he mentioned that Lance is speaking metaphorically.

“Uh point well taken.” Shiva begins unsteadily but finds balance once she finds a theme. “Real-time is strategic. That’s my brief. Nonsense and all such noise. Perhaps that can be handled out of New York.” She nods at Ashulm who nods at Lance. I feel like an intern on a Capulet Zoom call. Someone has just narrowly averted being stabbed in an alley, but I’m not certain who.

These doubts leave me speechless. My questions are all with Lance. We came within minutes of getting destroyed by Nonsense. That problem must be solved.

A shadow looms over me – like a Disney cartoon of a vulture. Its Ashulm. He uses backlighting to enclose both Lance and myself in shadow

“If we don’t get to Real-Time by next fall, its all over. One year. NY will run interference. “

“Fight Nonsense.” Lance replies.

“Nonsense. Melissa. Zero Login. Whatever. Its all shit and its all on you. But if you block successfully and we score … ” He pats Lance on the back and exits. No parting exchange with me at all.

 

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