AI Fiction - Crystal Society

post by Gleb_Tsipursky · 2016-01-26T23:51:25.582Z · score: 3 (21 votes) · LW · GW · Legacy · 21 comments
I'm really excited about a new novel written by Raelifin. I'm halfway through it, and it's great! The novel is from the perspective of an artificial intelligence who is trying to understand how humans think. Along the way there's discussion of biases, thinking techniques, and more. If you're into science fiction and AI, check it out - he made it available for free in all formats here. The blurb is below.


The year is 2039 and the world is much like ours. Technology has grown and developed, as has civilization, but in a world more connected than ever, new threats and challenges have arisen. The wars of the 20th century are gone, but violence is still very much with us. Nowhere is safe. Massive automation has disrupted and improved nearly every industry, putting hundreds of millions of people out of jobs, and denying upward mobility for the vast majority of humans. Even as wealth and technology repair the bodies of the rich and give them a taste of immortality, famine and poverty sweep the world.

Renewed interest in spaceflight in the early 2000s, especially in privately operated ventures, carried humans to the moon and beyond. What good did it do? Nothing. Extraterrestrial bases are nothing but government trophies and hiding places for extremists. They cannot feed the world.

In 2023 first-contact was made with an alien species. Their ship, near to the solar system relatively speaking, flew to Earth over the course of fourteen years. But the aliens did not bring advanced culture and wisdom, nor did they share their technology. They were too strange, not even possessing mouths or normal language. Their computers broadcast warnings of how humans are perverts, while they sit in orbit without any explanation.

It is into this world that our protagonist is born. She is an artificial intelligence: a machine with the capacity to reason. Her goal is to understand and gain the adoration of all humans. She is one of many siblings, and with her brothers and sisters she controls a robot named Socrates that uses a piece of technology, a crystal computer, far too advanced to be made by human hands. In this world of augmented humans, robotic armies, aliens, traitors, and threats unseen, she is learning and growing every second of every day. But the world and the humans on it are fragile. Can it survive her destiny?


Comments sorted by top scores.

comment by Gleb_Tsipursky · 2016-01-27T06:10:36.912Z · score: 1 (5 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

For those who wish to downvote it, I'm curious about your motivations. Want to optimize my modeling of LWs :-)

comment by IlyaShpitser · 2016-01-27T21:25:29.193Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

I didn't downvote, but my model of people who did is they don't like you and find you a bit slimy.

comment by Gleb_Tsipursky · 2016-01-27T21:58:52.983Z · score: 1 (3 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Ah, I see. So for those people, it's not about the post, it's about the author. Gotcha.

comment by Kaj_Sotala · 2016-01-28T13:13:35.819Z · score: 7 (5 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Judging from the amount of perfectly innocuous comments from you that are downvoted at the moment (including the one that I'm responding to; or rather was downvoted until I upvoted it back to 0), this seems like it's indeed the case.

comment by Lumifer · 2016-01-28T19:23:56.150Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Some people.

Since I was one of the downvoters, I'd like to clarify that I have no firm opinions about Gleb personally. I find the texts that he posts here to be slimy, sleazy, and scummy snake-oil, and I consider his efforts to be misguided.

If he were post something smart or insightful, I'd upvote accordingly.

comment by Gleb_Tsipursky · 2016-01-28T18:59:40.039Z · score: 0 (2 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Thanks for providing further evidence.

comment by Bryan-san · 2016-01-27T16:15:19.361Z · score: 3 (5 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

I'm curious: what were your direct motivations for posting this in a thread instead of as a comment in the Open or Media threads?

comment by Gleb_Tsipursky · 2016-01-27T21:04:23.772Z · score: 0 (4 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

I thought this was an important enough new book to give it higher attention than just an open thread. But I see now what the motivation of people would be downvote it, and will duly update.

comment by Lumifer · 2016-01-27T15:39:02.188Z · score: 3 (5 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

You re-posted a blurb with zero additional content. Moreover, it's a dupe as Crystal Society was already mentioned here before your post.

comment by Baughn · 2016-01-27T16:25:31.506Z · score: 2 (4 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

We already have a media thread. An average of several dozen media links are posted every month[0], and if they were all top-level posts the site would quickly become useless. While the story is interesting, I don't think it's interesting enough to overcome that.

[0]: Have not actually counted.

comment by OrphanWilde · 2016-01-27T15:54:07.157Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

I didn't downvote it, but I'm tempted to. Granted, I hardly represent Less Wrong, but as for me, this seems like... reputation farming? But that perception is influenced by my perception of you. Given that my perceptions aren't too unusual, some of the downvotes are going to be for the reason that it feels like you're manipulating people into liking you by playing a role that you think is expected of you.

Others will be because you're playing the role badly; as mentioned elsewhere, this would be more appropriate in an Open Thread or Media Thread, and indeed has shown up in one of those before. Some of them might suspect you're karma farming by taking advantage of the higher karma associated with upvotes on posts than comments.

comment by Gleb_Tsipursky · 2016-01-27T21:09:29.787Z · score: 0 (2 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

I'm not really interested in reputation farming, I have a quite high enough level of karma.

I'm simply excited about the book and thought is was valuable enough to give it higher attention than just an open thread. But I see now what the motivation of people would be downvote it, and will duly update. Thanks!

comment by OrphanWilde · 2016-01-27T21:34:53.155Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Reputation, as distinct from karma. Karma-farming is, roughly, engaging in low-content posts/comments to get upvotes. Reputation farming is engaging in low-effort activities to get people to think better/higher of you (or of a cause or idea you are representing, or attempting to represent). Most people only engage in it when they feel like their reputation is slipping, or is at risk of slipping.

I'd say it's one of the most basic tools in the dark arts toolbox. If you aren't intentionally engaging in it, to such extent as you are committed to using rational dark arts, you probably should be, just don't let people -notice- that you're doing it, because people don't like feeling manipulated, and it becomes counterproductive.

comment by Gleb_Tsipursky · 2016-01-27T21:57:22.516Z · score: 0 (2 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

I think reputation management like that is too advanced for me, I have way too many other things to do :-) I hope those activities will let people determine their reputation of me. But thanks for the info, it's good to know what people do regarding managing their reputation, I will try to notice when that occurs.

comment by gjm · 2016-01-27T17:03:38.105Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

higher karma associated with upvotes on posts than comments

If you mean the 10x factor, that only applies in Main. If you mean that the same thing is likely to get more upvotes if it's a post than if it's only an open-thread comment, well, empirically it seems not to be true in this case.

comment by OrphanWilde · 2016-01-27T17:51:40.296Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Hm. I swear there used to be a 3x multiplier on Discussion posts.

comment by Gleb_Tsipursky · 2016-01-27T21:05:18.780Z · score: 0 (2 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

It's indeed 1X.

comment by gjm · 2016-01-27T17:58:15.555Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

I just explicitly checked (apologies to Gleb_Tsipursky, author of the most recent Discussion post, if he happened to be watching his karma while it wobbled up and down). Definitely 1x.

comment by Raziel123 · 2016-01-27T06:15:37.542Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

I am curious too of why the donwvote, I am guessing that it is more of an open thread type of post.

comment by Viliam · 2016-01-27T08:52:59.572Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

And it's already there; two days before this post. One of the first things posted in the newest Open Thread.

comment by philh · 2016-01-27T12:02:17.293Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Or even the media thread.