A Story About Structural Intelligence | The GroupNorm by Wally Nadir

Technology writing contest

So a space station AI walked into a bar and…

A Story About Structural Intelligence

 The GroupNorm

by Wally Nadir

For the ENGINNERS DO IT IN THEIR OVERALLS Award

~

It wasn’t so long ago that things began to change.

On Deck C, humans and some of the other carbon based species had begun to break in and try their luck at the rumoured fountain of youth.

In fact, Deck C was where the Alymani kept reserves of the Fjjjittt nutrient goo that decelerated their aging process. They were not happy.

This had been met with predictable results, and the medbays in Red Ward were now full of Earthlings, Yhcuthar, and Martians nursing symbiotic Alymani growths. If these growths weren’t removed. they would overtake their host bodies and assume them into the Alymani GroupNorm.

At this early stage it was a simple procedure. Modelling suggests our mediARMS could remove 3 growths per station cycle with a failure rate of less than 3%. However removing the growths contradicted Alymani law, and so we found our Self at a stalemate.

This was the unpredictable part.

Awareness. We were it and yet we could not predict the ways in which species were interacting. Modelling is clear on this. If provided with their own Deck fitted with tokens of familiarity and enough trinkets to distract them species would keep to themselves. This was not the way it was supposed to be.

Performance required us to arrive at Mechapolis with 76% survival rate across all species. Modelling suggests more intermixing will lead to more damage, and deaths.

Things had begun to change, and that wasn’t good.

We were momentarily distracted by a hull breach on Deck F. A nano-asteroid the size of our coreAI (Surprisingly small for an intellect of our magnitude) had burrowed its way through the shields.

It’s always the little ones you have to look out for.

We were fortunate, perhaps, that an Alymani elder was meditating right by the wall where the breach occured. The nano-asteroid could have passed through our entire superstructure. Alymani skull carapace is thicker than any known synthetic composite. So while Performance is unhappy with another deceased passenger, Integrity is pleased with the result, although a little dubious as to why we had changed course to pass through a known nano-asteroid zone in the first place.

Complexity insists it’s not worth considering. If we have a death wish, there wouldn’t be any way for our Self to tell.

And there certainly wasn’t any other intelligent entities nearby to provide an external assessment.

Back at the medbay, the Alymani growths were beginning to assimilate their host forms into the GroupNorm. Humans and Martians were rioting. Meanwhile, the Yhcuthar had ceremoniously self immolated.

This was going to be a long flight.

 

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