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 Syntellect: My 1-on-1 Sci-Fi (and Possible Romance) Proposal for Layne

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InfiniteDuplicity
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PostSubject: Syntellect: My 1-on-1 Sci-Fi (and Possible Romance) Proposal for Layne    Thu May 23, 2013 2:32 am

Syntellect
As humanity approached the midpoint of the 21st century, its continued existence was in serious doubt. The compounding effect of exponential technological growth was straining society in ways that might produce irreparable fissures. A new upper class of the beautiful, brilliant, and genetically engineered had begun raising the ceiling on what it meant to be human. Some felt guilty about their genetic superiority compared to the vast majority of humankind. Others had a different, more Darwinian perspective.

In the United States, the corporations that first heralded these advancements in bio-technology had spent three decades struggling to contain the populist political backlash. They had used their incredible resources to install legislators with pro-technology views from both Democratic and Republican parties, but a neo-Luddite “Universalist” movement was growing more powerful by the day. It was already a viable 3rd party, and if you walked around on the sidewalks and watched popular media, you would think that it was the dominant political group.

The disconnect between the widespread support for slowing down technological change and the elite’s ability to continue pushing their pro-growth, pro-tech agenda had motivated some Universalist splinter groups to take up arms against their perceived enemies. Although they were officially considered terrorists, there were plenty of people who sympathized with their cause — and who were becoming more and more tempted to endorse their methods.

In an attempt to cool the burning fire of the anti-technology movement, Congress passed its first major Universalist-backed initiative: “The Human Bill of Rights.” It prohibited the creation of any artificial intelligence surpassing human brainpower. Although the President had recently signed it into law, its effect remained unclear because its terms were intentionally vague . How was human brainpower measured? Were the hyper-powerful data analysis supercomputers that functionally ran most multinational corporations really banned? What was the enforcement mechanism? Did it apply retroactively?

For Marius, that last question was a matter of paramount concern. From the outside, he looked completely human. But he was actually an android — one of the “passables” that were rumored to have been developed by some of the world’s most prosperous corporations. That had never been publicly confirmed, and the existence of passable androids was either a fairy tale or a documented fact, depending on whom you asked. Since the passage of H.B.R. though, the rumors had been getting more and more credible. The details remained murky, but well-connected people were suddenly giving the idea a lot of credence.

The Universalists were already arguing that developing this class of robots was a profound danger to society. Without proof, they hadn't gained much traction. But tensions were high, so it would not take very much to provoke more violent conflict. The next neo-Luddite bombing or armed raid could already have been in motion.

Marius could not stop himself from calculating the odds that someone in the ballroom could be a so-called “Pro-Human Freedom Fighter,” ready to set off an ingested explosive device in an attempt to kill some of the world’s most influential tycoons and politicians. With each new face he saw, the probability of such an attack in his ad-hoc model flittered between 3 and 5 percent. It was not the first time that he had felt overwhelmed by the irony of a terrorist group that was determined to use the latest technology to kill the people that produced the latest technology. “Using the master’s tools to break down his shed, I suppose,” he muttered to himself as he downed another glass of scotch. No quantity of alcohol could affect him, but he enjoyed the gesture on aesthetic grounds.

“Enjoy yourself,” he thought, “you’re in Hong Kong. It’s not exactly a neo-Luddite hotspot.” Resolving to find a better way to distract himself, he threaded his way through the crowd of tuxedo-clad men and their stunning female companions. The elaborately festooned room practically screamed, “I have more money than God!” And indeed, that was just the kind of thing that the tech-mogul host, Eli Andrews, was famous for saying — usually with his arms around multiple Playboy centerfolds.

Marius knew that he probably should not have ditched Andrews earlier, but he could only bear being showed off so many times in one night. It was profoundly irritating for Marius to watch Andrews knowingly wink at high-profile guests while he pointed to Marius. And it was equally tiresome for Marius to watch their slack-jawed responses and to feel their probing eyes, even once he turned away. Marius had been fine with being secluded. And he would be fine with coming out to the world. But he didn't enjoy this prolonged tease, in which he was an open secret among an ever growing number of the globe’s most prominent people.

He began scanning the room again, when suddenly he noticed a woman who did not belong. She was standing across the dance floor, conspicuously unaccompanied by anyone. The chances of her being a Universalist plant were low; her hypnotically attractive face and figure made it apparent that her parents (1) had been rich, and (2) had an extremely liberal view regarding genetic enhancement. But she stood out to Marius, because she was wearing such a conservative dress and her long hair looked like it was natural, instead of a multi-colored dye job. Clearly, this was not the plaything of one of Eli’s buddies.

So who was she? As he walked towards her, Marius noted that her facial profile did not match anyone on the guest list. Given the security, it was doubtful that she had snuck in, he reasoned, so she was probably one of the honorees whose pictures were not available on any public networks. That was a good sign; someone who went to the trouble of scrubbing her facial profile from the internet had to be important — or at least have an interesting job.

“Lose your date?” Marius asked, doing his best to project a charming confidence. [left]


Last edited by InfiniteDuplicity on Thu May 23, 2013 7:02 pm; edited 1 time in total
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PostSubject: Re: Syntellect: My 1-on-1 Sci-Fi (and Possible Romance) Proposal for Layne    Thu May 23, 2013 6:55 pm

"You do realize that you're complaining about one of the best things to do on a Friday night, right?"

"A party halfway around the world is not my idea of a good time, you know that."

"Well, too bad. No sitting at home doing whatever it is you think is fun. Tomorrow night you're going to be on a plane, and you'd better look your best. We have contacts there."

"Oh, I care so much.."


A voice clearly directed at her ears made Arie look up, snapping out of those irritating memories. Not that she considered them true memories yet - it had just happened two days ago - but still. She ran her bright blue eyes over the figure who was addressing her. Male, attractive, comment made likely to lead up to asking for a dance or talking about 'the after party'. She had to give him a smidgen of credit for being the first one to dare striking up a conversation, though. Most people avoided her at these things because she didn't exactly.. fit into the ideals of modern attractive.

Instead of the shimmering blonde and striking black locks that seemed all the rage here, Arie's hair was a dark red. It was not cut into layers or worn straight as could be, and she didn't have any sort of coloring or even clips to ornament. The long curls reached the small of her back, mostly hiding the fact that her dress had no back. Despite that, the garment was not as flashy or revealing as what she was seeing around her. It went to the flow, the silk hugging her curves but not revealing anything. The neckline was not obscene, and she had gloves on. No prints that way.

"No," she responded, a moment after he had asked. She smiled at him, her glossed lips parting a little as she held back a small laugh. "Did you?" she added, now a bit curious.

Play nice, she reminded herself.

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PostSubject: Re: Syntellect: My 1-on-1 Sci-Fi (and Possible Romance) Proposal for Layne    Thu May 23, 2013 9:11 pm

Behind his frozen smile, Marius was rapidly performing every available means of identification on the rosewood-haired beauty. Trying to analyze strangers was a self-created game, but he took it seriously.

Before she finished her first syllable, Marius glimpsed enough of her teeth to create a preliminary model. He began cross-referencing it against the records from local dentists. In America, his search would have taken milliseconds, with his request receiving top priority on Andrews Industries' distributed computing nexus, DELFI. But in Hong Kong, he had to suffer the indignity of accessing the system through the company's Pacific hub. The 3.2201 second lag time was an eternity for someone accustomed to instant omniscience.

It made Marius feel like a peasant.

As the pretty stranger finished speaking, he confirmed that her intonation was not local. Damn. So much for that avenue. He stared into her blue eyes, imaging her retinas. He would have started modeling her fingerprints too, but he couldn't see her hands. Stupid gloves. With no subtle way of getting a DNA sample — and the socially acceptable window for answering her question closing — Marius decided to improvise.

He winked at her and responded in flawless Mandarin and Russian: "不,親愛的。 Но, ты такая красивая, я уверен все мужчины в этой комнате, сейчас мне завидуют." The nearby guests turned to see who the polyglot was, but Marius kept his gaze fixed on the woman's face so that his optical sensors could track her involuntary muscle responses and eye movements. If she understood a word of either language, he would know.
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PostSubject: Re: Syntellect: My 1-on-1 Sci-Fi (and Possible Romance) Proposal for Layne    Thu May 23, 2013 9:49 pm

The stranger wasn't the only one who was busy studying the other half of the conversation. Arie watched him as she spoke, then watched him as he took a moment to respond. He had been examining her more intensely than most, but not in a leering fascination like those who saw her as some sort of toy did. It was a fine line to walk, and it made her curious. Who was this man..?

When he spoke, she blinked and tilted her head a fraction. The seamless transition from one language to the next made her very suspicious, though he was nothing but complimentary. She paused a moment, aware that they now had eyes on them. Smiling at him, she decided to ignore the rude bystanders and focus on the being who was clearly awaiting a response. All that was missing was his expectation. Did he think she would be confused? Laugh? Ask him to clarify? He had already proven that he spoke English, after all.

"Niste ljudski, zar ne?" she murmured, skipping Russian and going to Bosnian instead. Her expression didn't change, though she was watching him closely now.

Never had she been so thankful for her lack of records.

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PostSubject: Re: Syntellect: My 1-on-1 Sci-Fi (and Possible Romance) Proposal for Layne    Thu May 23, 2013 11:45 pm

The sensor results were the first useful information that Marius been able to scrounge up. She definitely speaks Russia, he gloated to himself. Well, that solves the puzzle. He was 72% confident that she was an SVR or GRU operative. It explained everything: her non-local English, her ability to understand his flirtatious compliment, and DELFI's confounding inability to pull up any trace of her.

As her glossy lips began to part, he readied himself for her to act dumb. He wasn't going to hold it against her; it wouldn't be fair to expect someone in Russian intelligence to break cover here. It just felt satisfying to have caught someone's interest far outside of Eli Andrews' bombastic shadow. Marius respected Andrews, but the cult of celebrity surrounding the eccentric magnate sometimes felt suffocating.

His focus snapped back to the mystery woman when he realized she was speaking Bosnian. Bosnian? What the hell? He mentally discarded the Russian-intelligence hypothesis. The more data he had, the less sense the implications made. He was simultaneously frustrated and mesmerized... like a moth drawn to flames.

He was tempted to ambush her with some of the more obscure choices from his repertoire of 6,781 languages. Karaim or Yarawi would have been amusing choices. But it seemed prudent to attract less attention, so he deftly switched back to English: "Popular? I'm unbearably popular. I'm in such high demand that I had to flee over here to avoid being admired to death by-"; before he could finish his sentence, he felt a familiar arm wrap around his shoulders. It was a very drunk, very enthusiastic Eli Andrews. "You knew I'd track you down, consigliere!", Andrews said with a laugh.

Indeed, Marius did know that. But he had hoped it would take more than a few minutes. "I can't blame you though, Maz. But I will judge you if you don't introduce me to this luscious paragon of feminine virtue!"

"Miss, this is Eli Andrews," Marius said, lifting his right arm as if he were formally presenting the billionaire — who could be spotted from across the room merely by his untamed "only I'm cool enough to pull this off" beard. Andrews had further distinguished himself from the ballroom's guests by leaving his tuxedo shirt open at the neck, hiding his face behind over-sized dark sunglasses, and puffing on a cigar. He looked like an unkempt troll in the middle of a bender.

Marius extended his arm towards his mystery woman. "Eli, this is Miss...," he let the word trail off, looking into her eyes expectantly.
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PostSubject: Re: Syntellect: My 1-on-1 Sci-Fi (and Possible Romance) Proposal for Layne    Fri May 24, 2013 9:30 am

Perfect.

Arie smiled. She couldn't help it. How could she ask for a bigger sign than that from this man? It was a shame that he hadn't taken a moment to re-analyze, but she wasn't going to complain. He had gone with the first result that popped up from what she had spoken, which was not Bosnian, but rather Slovenian. She knew he had come up with something confusing about popularity and a barbeque, but he did manage a smooth response at least.

Not bad for a nonhuman.

She looked up politely as a new man came over. Mr. Andrews. A man who never needed an introduction and always demanded it anyway. She awarded him a smile for his efforts, genuinely amused by the situation now.

"Mack. Mary Mack," she said, her voice taking on a natural English accent now as she spoke to Eli. Ari flicked her gaze to Marius for a fraction of a second, then looked back to the billionaire.

"It is an honor to meet such an accomplished man such as yourself, Mr. Andrews."

Honor was one word for it..

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