ORA-00932: inconsistent datatypes: expected DATE got NUMBER

[The Scuu Paradox] - Chapter 18

At the Beginning
Previously on The Scuu Paradox…
  The smell of burning wood was all I could focus on. The fires had long died out, making it difficult to see in the darkness; despite all other modifications, Kridib’s eyes weren’t able to see overly well in the dark. Every five minutes, Radiance would send an infrared scan of the colony to help him and his team with their advancement. Despite all that help and the four missile strikes, progress was minimal. Of the forty-seven people sent to the planet, eleven had been killed and five more severely wounded, rendering them useless in battle. From what I could see, Rigel’s forces had clustered in specific points of the colony, giving up the rest: a sensible strategy that had allowed them to ambush three of our teams while suffering negligible losses themselves. As things stood, the enemy forces had positioned themselves in two areas of the colony. Both spots encircled a specific building—mine and the captain’s locations—making further missile strikes impossible.
  Update? Kridib asked me through the mind link.
  Nothing, I replied. Rigel had left shortly after our last chat, taking the third-contact rods with him. Since then, I had remained safely isolated in the room and completely alone. Half of them have probably gone to sleep.
  Tell me if anything changes. Kribib looked up. A dozen sats were visible in the night sky. We’ll be making another go soon.
  I don’t think that’s a good idea.
  So far, Kridib had made four attempts to reach me, all of them unsuccessful. His approach, though chaotic at best, had managed to keep him alive. There had been a close call during which his left arm had been grazed by a bullet, though that time the man hadn’t frozen.
  Everyone has to sleep, Kridib said, heading back into one of the buildings that had been transformed into a ground base of operations. I’ll go first.
  Must I wake you? I asked.
  No. With that, the link was severed.
  To a degree, I was thankful, though not too much. Forcing whatever strength I had, I moved my head to look around the room as much as I was able. Nothing had changed in the last four hours, but at least it let me do something. The last time I felt remotely similar was when I’d had my sensor systems knocked out, though even then I was able to use my shuttle AIs to paint me a picture. Here, I was completely helpless and, to a vast degree, blind.
  “Do I get any water?” I asked as loudly as my lungs would let me.
  There was no reason to expect an answer. Even if anyone was awake on the lower floors, they would be on lookout duty. Saying it out loud, though, made me feel better for some reason. To my surprise, the door to the room opened.
  “Thought you were above those things.” Rigel walked in slowly. Even with my lack of focus, I could see that he had changed clothes. The colours were dark enough to be considered a uniform, although I couldn’t make out any other details. “You can’t swallow, remember?”
  “My mouth feels dry,” I explained.
  “Too bad.” Despite my poor vision, I could hear him smile as he said that.
  Walking slowly, he made his way to the stool near me and sat down. From this distance, I could see him taking something from his front pocket. In the dim light, it was impossible to tell what exactly.
  “Still having problems focusing?” Rigel asked.
  “Yes.” There was no point in lying.
  “Pity. Agora works well on organic tissue. Not on techno-mongrels,” he added with a laugh. “If you weren’t one, you’d be dead. There’s a win for you.”
  And you’re not making any sense, I thought.
  “Nice murder troops you got out there. Quick and efficient. A few years ago, the locals would’ve had fun pulling their wings off. Time leaves its mark.” Rigel flicked the object. It let out a peculiar metallic sound. “No action, no combat sims, just the local pests that roam the planet. Those were brought here too, did you know?”
  “I heard about it.”
  “Another brilliant idea from the bureaucracy. Create a full ecosystem. Plants, critters, predators... all must be present and carefully maintained. We tried killing them off once. Those were the days. Three colonies setting out, killing everything in sight until the orbital station stopped sending food.” There was a slight pause. “And you know the best part?” Rigel leaned towards me. “None of that happened.”
  If I could have pulled back, I would have. There was no way of knowing if these were insane rantings or if he was referring to a dark op coverup. Considering he was from the Salvage Authorities, either was possible, and both options were equally undesirable.
  “I went through your data, Elcy.” Rigel rubbed his hands. “You know things you shouldn’t.”
  “Because of my past, I’ve been placed on special assignments,” I said. Technically it was true, though we both knew it didn’t explain away the inconsistencies.
  “You knew about the third-contact artifacts before. You’ve operated them before.” He moved his hand closer to my face. I felt a cold metallic surface touch my cheek. “You’re searching for something. Something that you’re not supposed to find.” He moved the object away from my face. “Here’s my offer. You answer some of my questions, and I’ll answer some of yours.”
  “That’s one way to get court-martialed.” Not to mention there was no guarantee my self-destruct chip wouldn’t go off at any point.
  “Please don’t give me the line that the fleet is going through all that trouble just to rescue you. If you were that valuable, you’d never have been sent to this hell in the first place.” Rigel stood up. “What are the odds of the fleet extracting you in one piece? Two percent?”
  “Point-seven-three-nine,” I corrected. Frankly, I was surprised they were going through all the trouble. “Give or take.”
  “Less than one percent,” Rigel snorted. “It’s your call. You have three hours to make it. Before I leave you, here’s a freebie. This planet, it isn’t some randomly colonized world in ‘unexplored space.’ We’re in the buffer zone—the border between the Scuu and human space. Think about that.” He made his way to the door. Reaching it, he stopped and turned around. “Oh, and we’re constantly being monitored.”
 
  Gamma-Ligata, Cassandrian Front—615.11 A.E. (Age of Expansion)
    The third wave of shuttles approached my forward left hangar one by one. The instant they came within three hundred meters, I was handed over direct control of the AIs. As with the previous batches, the first thing I did was to have a set of isolated subroutines flash the memory and purge the entire operating system. That done, I sent out a mini-sat to latch onto and assume control of the shuttles. It was a slow and tedious process, but necessary considering the circumstances.
  “How are things?” Wilco asked from the bridge. Augustus had gathered most of his officers to a private meeting in his quarters, leaving Wilco in command. This wasn’t the first time it had happened, but each time it did, it felt strange.
  “Everything’s going as planned,” I said, as the first shuttle went under my control.
  A quick internal scan revealed that there were sixty-two people aboard, all cuffed and tagged. All of them were tagged as infected, and, to my surprise, none of them were sedated. The instructions were to take them in and monitor their actions at all times, and only to engage if they threatened the ship. Normally, I’d be confident that Augustus knew what was going on. With everything we’d gone through since I’d joined the front, I didn’t think there was anything in the galaxy that could surprise him. I was wrong.
  Finishing my internal check of the shuttle, I directed it to the outer hangar doors and had it dock. The passengers—all of their identities classified—waited till I covered the walls with disembark notifications, then stood up and quietly proceeded to get off, in orderly fashion. I could tell by Wilco’s expression that he found it unnerving.
  “A thousand and eighty-two passengers on board,” I said on the bridge and in the captain’s quarters. The moment the last person set foot in the hangar, I would eject the shuttle from my hangar-bay, self-destruct it, and proceed with the next.
  Delegating the task to my isolated subroutines, I reviewed the instructions I had received. The proper ident protocols and authorisations had been used, ensuring that I would do as instructed without asking questions. An emergency transmission from an unidentifiable ship had led me here. I knew nothing about the ship’s name or specifics, and I wasn’t allowed to get close enough to get a visual. The only things I was allowed to see were its shuttles and mass. Everything else was open to interpretation.
  “Have any of them said anything?” Wilco asked.
  “No.” I displayed images of the hangar bay and the corresponding corridors surrounding it. As part of my instructions, the entire section was sealed off and quarantined. “They’re eating.” They also appeared to be healthy, although the instructions stressed no one was to come into contact with them under any circumstances. “I’ve received no indication of how long we’re to keep them. Did the captain get an indication?”
  “No,” Wilco said in his usual somber voice. “Is everything sealed off?”
  “Yes.” I rechecked. “No way in or out without captain’s approval.”
  “Set a buffer zone.” The man went on. “No one goes in or out without my permission.”
  “If you say so.” It wasn’t difficult. The area in question had been made empty to accommodate the quarantined arrivals, though it seemed a bit too much. “Want me to put sentinels?”
  “No. We don’t have to hurt anyone, just hold them.” He slinked down in his chair. “They’re the Med boys’ toys. We don’t get to play with them.”
  Med boys… Only Wilco referred to the Medical Core in such fashion. As most organisations, they were part of the fleet, yet their specific area of expertise gave them as much authority as the Salvage Authorities and the BICEFI combined. As a ship, I knew fairly little about them: they had the power to impose quarantines and cordon off entire planets if they wished. They were also the only organisation with the power to hold an active captain in check. Possibly, that was the reason Augustus didn’t get along with any of his medical officers. According to the public files, the Med Core had created the inner-body nanites and were instrumental in getting humans into space. There were also whispers that they were involved in creating the first ship-cores, although I found that unlikely. Even so, they had more authority than anyone aboard. Even on the front, we had no option but to obey.
  “It won’t be practical heading into war with them,” I said as the second shuttle entered the hangar bay.
  “Not our call. We’re to hold them until a Med ship picks them up,” Wilco sighed. “And monitor everything they do.”
  “How is that different from anyone else aboard?” I ventured a chuckle.
  “You don’t need to know,” the lieutenant said darkly.
  Another thing about Wilco was that he had the uncanny ability to make any topic of conversation dark. I ran a few simulations testing various responses, then decided not to respond further. In the best-case scenario, there was a twenty-seven percent chance he found my reaction funny.
  “Elcy.” Augustus granted me sensor access to the captain’s quarters. “What’s the ETA on the cattle?”
  “The passengers will be all aboard in seven minutes, captain.” A decade of attempts to mellow his behaviour had brought me no results. “Five, if you need me off in a rush.”
  “Get it done in five,” he barked. “We’ve got new orders. We’re joining a purge fleet. Go on yellow. Get the grunts prepped.”
  “Aye, sir.” I issued the order to everyone aboard. Seconds later, ground troop officers and sergeants were shouting their troops into order. “What about the passengers, sir? Won’t combat expose them to unnecessary danger?”
  “There’s no unnecessary danger,” Augustus barked again. The rest of the command staff had already started leaving the room. Their expressions ranged from mild annoyance to disapproval. Whatever discussions had taken place, they must have been unpleasant and one-sided. “Monitor them at all times and don’t interact until I say so.”
  “Understood.”
  It sounded like another escort mission, and I didn’t like escort missions. Normally, it would just be troop detachments or—if we were very unlucky—some mid-level bureaucrat or admiral’s aid sent to do a front-line inspection. Transporting quarantined personnel wasn’t in my usual purview, although if it had been, I’d never know.
  “What’s the course of treatment they must undergo?” I asked.
  “No treatment,” Augustus grumbled. “That’s for the Meds to figure out.”
  “All passengers are tagged as infected. Regulations require we provide immediate medical attention.” I felt my words sound hollow. If Augustus had the authority to provide such, he would have told me already. The only thing I was left was to go through the motions, expecting to receive the obvious denial.
  “Just monitor them, Elcy! That’s what we’ve been told. And whatever happens, don’t interfere.”
 
  Just monitor them.
  I had spent three months and thirty-nine hours monitoring the passengers onboard. Through battles and repairs, every single action had been carefully observed, recorded, and stored on external data storage. For the most part, nothing happened. The people would live boring, perfectly organised lives, almost as if they knew they were being watched. There were no scuffles, few arguments, and only one incident resulting in injuries when a Cassandrian fighter managed to slip through my external defences and fire a salvo at the hangar bay. Their health condition also seemed no different than when they had come aboard. I had dedicated a dozen subroutines to collect any potential symptoms in an effort to determine the type of disease they had, but had come to no conclusion. Then, one day, they were all gone. I had no memory of the Medical ship that had taken them, or where that had happened. The only thing I was certain about was the time—precisely two thousand, one hundred and ninety-nine hours since the last of them had come aboard. Everything else remained restricted.
  Looks like there’s always someone monitoring someone, Sev. If Rigel was to be believed someone was monitoring the planet. The question was who.
  Seconds turned to minutes, then hours. Hundreds of times, I considered looking into my restricted memories for information regarding the third-contact artifacts or the events in gamma-Ligata, and each time I found a reason not to. As Rigel had said, the chance of me getting off the planet alive was less than one percent, but the knowledge of the existence of the possibility kept me acting. And then there was Rigel’s offer…
  Rad, are you monitoring me? I asked, attempting to latch on to any open communication protocols. A connection was established, but instead of linking to Radiance, I found myself connecting back to Kridib’s mind. On cue, an info burst from Radiance followed, giving the latest scan. This time, I could see the location of our forces. The total number had increased to seventy-four, Kridib included. Nearly eight percent were gathered close to the captain’s expected location. Kridib and five more were closer to me.
  Get ready, Kridib said. Moments later, bursts of gunfire echoed in the distance; they were going for the captain first.
  The mission had begun. From here on, I could see several potential outcomes. In all of them, there was a high probability that Rigel attempted to make a deal.
  When I was a ship, Augustus had taught me one key thing when it came to missions: regardless of the depth of predictions and the computing power at their disposal, humans always boiled down a situation to a simple binary choice. Rigel wanted something from me and had invested too much to let his chance slip. Before the outcome of Kridib’s rescue mission, Rigel would come here to get an answer to his proposal. All I had to do was wait.
  As I lay, I watched Kridib run through the darkness towards my location. Unlike before, he was wearing night vision goggles, letting him make out his surroundings better.
  No thermal? I asked as Kridib made his way through the streets. The smell of burned vegetation could still be felt.
  That’s what you’re for.
  Not a reply to be thrilled about, but one to be expected. Cross-referencing Radiance’s latest scan, I started analysing every frame of Kridib’s stream. The first few minutes passed without incident. Judging by the intensified background gunfire, the locals were more focused on keeping Renaan isolated than stopping Kridib. Twenty-eight seconds, later the first shot sounded.
  Sniper! I shouted straight in Kridib’s mind.
  “Cover fire!” he shouted, rushing for cover.
  Watch out for a cross, I warned.
  The shooting intensified. Based on the area scan, the group was a few hundred meters away. One strong push and they’d be here. That said, I knew that the building was guarded by more than seven people. If I were in Rigel’s place, I would have dedicated at least three dozen.
  Concentrated fire focused on the second floor of a building, blowing off the entire wall. There was a brief scream before a rocket flew into the spot, hollowing the entire structure with a blast.
  Heavy weapons? I asked Kridib. I didn’t think Radiance’s captain would resort to such firepower, considering third-contact artifacts were involved; one direct hit, and the entire colony might well end up a smouldering crater, not to mention the potential communication repercussions. Maybe there was truth in Rigel’s statement that Flight Commander Nitel was getting desperate.
  As I was following Kridib’s advancement outside, the door opened once more—as predicted, Rigel had returned. He was wearing the same set of clothes as three hours ago. I found it puzzling that I couldn’t spot any semblance of a weapon on him.
  “Your masters have gotten desperate,” the man said in suspiciously calm fashion. “Looks like they’ve sent everything they had to get Renaan.” He walked up to me, then leaned over. “And just a handful to get you.”
  “Are they winning?” I tried to smile.
  “Beats me.” Rigel didn’t seem bothered. “You thought about my offer?”
  “I did. And I don’t think accepting would be a good deal. If I wait for them to rescue the captain, your bargaining power ends.”
  “Oh?” The man chuckled.
  “There’s nothing else the fleet would be willing to trade.” Except potentially the pyramid artifact. Even then, I didn’t see them sacrificing the Gregorius. “Once the captain boards a shuttle, it’s over.”
  A person of Kridib’s squad fell as they were approaching my building. I heard the unmistakable sound of bullets piercing armor, then silence. That was the thing about sound suppressors: one could get killed, and there still wouldn’t be any sound of one hitting the ground. I wanted to turn around and see what had happened, potentially to help. There was a seven-point-three chance that the wound wasn’t fatal. Kridib kept on moving forwards. That’s what made him a ground trooper… it also caused me pain.
  “What if I kill Renaan?” Rigel mused. “I won’t lose much. Everyone down here’s dead anyway. Someone in the fleet has gone through a lot of shit to get Renaan back. They’d lose a hell of a lot more.”
  “What if they save the captain?” I countered. “Either way, we’ll soon find out, and you’ll have no offer.”
  “Quantum paradox logic?” Rigel sounded surprised. “Strange hearing that from you, missy. I’ll have to skim your file once I’m out of here.” He paused for a moment, then dragged the nearby stool over—making a deliberate sound—and sat down. “Truth is, once the moment ends, we both lose our chance. Are you okay with that?”
  Why are you so confident? I wondered. Even if I were to agree, he wouldn’t be able to get much from me in the next ten minutes, even less if Kridib managed to reach my room. His squad had already made its way to the building proper, facing less than expected resistance. From what I was able to see, there were two snipers left on the upper floors and two machine-gunners on the first. All auxiliary positions on the nearby buildings seemed to have dealt with, although there was no sign of Ogum.
  “You’ve dealt with Salvage before, I can tell,” Rigel pressed on. “You won’t get another chance like this.”
  The old man’s with me in the basement, I told Kridib. No guards in the room. He’s ex-Salvage Authorities. Take him, and the mission is over. Saying that hurt slightly. Despite being the enemy, and a threat to the war effort, he remained human.
  “Then I guess I’ll never know.” As I spoke, I saw Kridib charge at the building. As before, there was nothing fancy about it, just determination and insanity. Several bullets flew so close to him I could hear them, but this time none of them hit. “Your bargaining window is over. No deal.”
  Kridib emptied his sidearm at the door in front of him, then rushed in. I could see no guards inside, just a set of hastily built staircases. Whatever the original purpose of the building was, it had been transformed into a field center at some point—likely during a previous escape attempt. Probably a group similar to ours had made it their temporary base, then left it as it was once they had completed their mission. No wonder Rigel had had me transported there. Kridib didn’t waste time making parallels, instead drawing his second sidearm and rushing down.
  At least two floors down, I said. I’m not hearing any of the gunfire.
  Is he armed? Kridib asked.
  Unsure. Not that I can tell. There are artifacts, though.
  “Such a teacher’s pet.” Rigel sighed after a long silence. “In the end, you’re nothing but a ship.” He stood up.
  He’s standing directly from the door, I said to Kridib. Seven degrees from center. Small frame, average height.
  Kridib fired three shots. Three bullets drilled through the alloy surface. Half a second later, Kridib followed kicking the door in.
  “Just one small thing.” Rigel took a tube-shaped object from his vest pocket.
  Meanwhile, I was staring at an empty room from Kridib’s eyes. It was at least three times smaller than the one I was in, bare and completely deserted. There was no Rigel, no me, no equipment, just a single metallic cube the size of my fingernail placed neatly on the floor.
  “Renaan was never the target.” The old man bent down and injected something in my neck. A new cascade of connection requests followed. “You are.”
—-
Next Chapter
submitted by LiseEclaire to HFY [link] [comments]

[The Scuu Paradox] - Chapter 18

At the Beginning
Previously on The Scuu Paradox…
  The smell of burning wood was all I could focus on. The fires had long died out, making it difficult to see in the darkness; despite all other modifications, Kridib’s eyes weren’t able to see overly well in the dark. Every five minutes, Radiance would send an infrared scan of the colony to help him and his team with their advancement. Despite all that help and the four missile strikes, progress was minimal. Of the forty-seven people sent to the planet, eleven had been killed and five more severely wounded, rendering them useless in battle. From what I could see, Rigel’s forces had clustered in specific points of the colony, giving up the rest: a sensible strategy that had allowed them to ambush three of our teams while suffering negligible losses themselves. As things stood, the enemy forces had positioned themselves in two areas of the colony. Both spots encircled a specific building—mine and the captain’s locations—making further missile strikes impossible.
  Update? Kridib asked me through the mind link.
  Nothing, I replied. Rigel had left shortly after our last chat, taking the third-contact rods with him. Since then, I had remained safely isolated in the room and completely alone. Half of them have probably gone to sleep.
  Tell me if anything changes. Kribib looked up. A dozen sats were visible in the night sky. We’ll be making another go soon.
  I don’t think that’s a good idea.
  So far, Kridib had made four attempts to reach me, all of them unsuccessful. His approach, though chaotic at best, had managed to keep him alive. There had been a close call during which his left arm had been grazed by a bullet, though that time the man hadn’t frozen.
  Everyone has to sleep, Kridib said, heading back into one of the buildings that had been transformed into a ground base of operations. I’ll go first.
  Must I wake you? I asked.
  No. With that, the link was severed.
  To a degree, I was thankful, though not too much. Forcing whatever strength I had, I moved my head to look around the room as much as I was able. Nothing had changed in the last four hours, but at least it let me do something. The last time I felt remotely similar was when I’d had my sensor systems knocked out, though even then I was able to use my shuttle AIs to paint me a picture. Here, I was completely helpless and, to a vast degree, blind.
  “Do I get any water?” I asked as loudly as my lungs would let me.
  There was no reason to expect an answer. Even if anyone was awake on the lower floors, they would be on lookout duty. Saying it out loud, though, made me feel better for some reason. To my surprise, the door to the room opened.
  “Thought you were above those things.” Rigel walked in slowly. Even with my lack of focus, I could see that he had changed clothes. The colours were dark enough to be considered a uniform, although I couldn’t make out any other details. “You can’t swallow, remember?”
  “My mouth feels dry,” I explained.
  “Too bad.” Despite my poor vision, I could hear him smile as he said that.
  Walking slowly, he made his way to the stool near me and sat down. From this distance, I could see him taking something from his front pocket. In the dim light, it was impossible to tell what exactly.
  “Still having problems focusing?” Rigel asked.
  “Yes.” There was no point in lying.
  “Pity. Agora works well on organic tissue. Not on techno-mongrels,” he added with a laugh. “If you weren’t one, you’d be dead. There’s a win for you.”
  And you’re not making any sense, I thought.
  “Nice murder troops you got out there. Quick and efficient. A few years ago, the locals would’ve had fun pulling their wings off. Time leaves its mark.” Rigel flicked the object. It let out a peculiar metallic sound. “No action, no combat sims, just the local pests that roam the planet. Those were brought here too, did you know?”
  “I heard about it.”
  “Another brilliant idea from the bureaucracy. Create a full ecosystem. Plants, critters, predators... all must be present and carefully maintained. We tried killing them off once. Those were the days. Three colonies setting out, killing everything in sight until the orbital station stopped sending food.” There was a slight pause. “And you know the best part?” Rigel leaned towards me. “None of that happened.”
  If I could have pulled back, I would have. There was no way of knowing if these were insane rantings or if he was referring to a dark op coverup. Considering he was from the Salvage Authorities, either was possible, and both options were equally undesirable.
  “I went through your data, Elcy.” Rigel rubbed his hands. “You know things you shouldn’t.”
  “Because of my past, I’ve been placed on special assignments,” I said. Technically it was true, though we both knew it didn’t explain away the inconsistencies.
  “You knew about the third-contact artifacts before. You’ve operated them before.” He moved his hand closer to my face. I felt a cold metallic surface touch my cheek. “You’re searching for something. Something that you’re not supposed to find.” He moved the object away from my face. “Here’s my offer. You answer some of my questions, and I’ll answer some of yours.”
  “That’s one way to get court-martialed.” Not to mention there was no guarantee my self-destruct chip wouldn’t go off at any point.
  “Please don’t give me the line that the fleet is going through all that trouble just to rescue you. If you were that valuable, you’d never have been sent to this hell in the first place.” Rigel stood up. “What are the odds of the fleet extracting you in one piece? Two percent?”
  “Point-seven-three-nine,” I corrected. Frankly, I was surprised they were going through all the trouble. “Give or take.”
  “Less than one percent,” Rigel snorted. “It’s your call. You have three hours to make it. Before I leave you, here’s a freebie. This planet, it isn’t some randomly colonized world in ‘unexplored space.’ We’re in the buffer zone—the border between the Scuu and human space. Think about that.” He made his way to the door. Reaching it, he stopped and turned around. “Oh, and we’re constantly being monitored.”
 
  Gamma-Ligata, Cassandrian Front—615.11 A.E. (Age of Expansion)
    The third wave of shuttles approached my forward left hangar one by one. The instant they came within three hundred meters, I was handed over direct control of the AIs. As with the previous batches, the first thing I did was to have a set of isolated subroutines flash the memory and purge the entire operating system. That done, I sent out a mini-sat to latch onto and assume control of the shuttles. It was a slow and tedious process, but necessary considering the circumstances.
  “How are things?” Wilco asked from the bridge. Augustus had gathered most of his officers to a private meeting in his quarters, leaving Wilco in command. This wasn’t the first time it had happened, but each time it did, it felt strange.
  “Everything’s going as planned,” I said, as the first shuttle went under my control.
  A quick internal scan revealed that there were sixty-two people aboard, all cuffed and tagged. All of them were tagged as infected, and, to my surprise, none of them were sedated. The instructions were to take them in and monitor their actions at all times, and only to engage if they threatened the ship. Normally, I’d be confident that Augustus knew what was going on. With everything we’d gone through since I’d joined the front, I didn’t think there was anything in the galaxy that could surprise him. I was wrong.
  Finishing my internal check of the shuttle, I directed it to the outer hangar doors and had it dock. The passengers—all of their identities classified—waited till I covered the walls with disembark notifications, then stood up and quietly proceeded to get off, in orderly fashion. I could tell by Wilco’s expression that he found it unnerving.
  “A thousand and eighty-two passengers on board,” I said on the bridge and in the captain’s quarters. The moment the last person set foot in the hangar, I would eject the shuttle from my hangar-bay, self-destruct it, and proceed with the next.
  Delegating the task to my isolated subroutines, I reviewed the instructions I had received. The proper ident protocols and authorisations had been used, ensuring that I would do as instructed without asking questions. An emergency transmission from an unidentifiable ship had led me here. I knew nothing about the ship’s name or specifics, and I wasn’t allowed to get close enough to get a visual. The only things I was allowed to see were its shuttles and mass. Everything else was open to interpretation.
  “Have any of them said anything?” Wilco asked.
  “No.” I displayed images of the hangar bay and the corresponding corridors surrounding it. As part of my instructions, the entire section was sealed off and quarantined. “They’re eating.” They also appeared to be healthy, although the instructions stressed no one was to come into contact with them under any circumstances. “I’ve received no indication of how long we’re to keep them. Did the captain get an indication?”
  “No,” Wilco said in his usual somber voice. “Is everything sealed off?”
  “Yes.” I rechecked. “No way in or out without captain’s approval.”
  “Set a buffer zone.” The man went on. “No one goes in or out without my permission.”
  “If you say so.” It wasn’t difficult. The area in question had been made empty to accommodate the quarantined arrivals, though it seemed a bit too much. “Want me to put sentinels?”
  “No. We don’t have to hurt anyone, just hold them.” He slinked down in his chair. “They’re the Med boys’ toys. We don’t get to play with them.”
  Med boys… Only Wilco referred to the Medical Core in such fashion. As most organisations, they were part of the fleet, yet their specific area of expertise gave them as much authority as the Salvage Authorities and the BICEFI combined. As a ship, I knew fairly little about them: they had the power to impose quarantines and cordon off entire planets if they wished. They were also the only organisation with the power to hold an active captain in check. Possibly, that was the reason Augustus didn’t get along with any of his medical officers. According to the public files, the Med Core had created the inner-body nanites and were instrumental in getting humans into space. There were also whispers that they were involved in creating the first ship-cores, although I found that unlikely. Even so, they had more authority than anyone aboard. Even on the front, we had no option but to obey.
  “It won’t be practical heading into war with them,” I said as the second shuttle entered the hangar bay.
  “Not our call. We’re to hold them until a Med ship picks them up,” Wilco sighed. “And monitor everything they do.”
  “How is that different from anyone else aboard?” I ventured a chuckle.
  “You don’t need to know,” the lieutenant said darkly.
  Another thing about Wilco was that he had the uncanny ability to make any topic of conversation dark. I ran a few simulations testing various responses, then decided not to respond further. In the best-case scenario, there was a twenty-seven percent chance he found my reaction funny.
  “Elcy.” Augustus granted me sensor access to the captain’s quarters. “What’s the ETA on the cattle?”
  “The passengers will be all aboard in seven minutes, captain.” A decade of attempts to mellow his behaviour had brought me no results. “Five, if you need me off in a rush.”
  “Get it done in five,” he barked. “We’ve got new orders. We’re joining a purge fleet. Go on yellow. Get the grunts prepped.”
  “Aye, sir.” I issued the order to everyone aboard. Seconds later, ground troop officers and sergeants were shouting their troops into order. “What about the passengers, sir? Won’t combat expose them to unnecessary danger?”
  “There’s no unnecessary danger,” Augustus barked again. The rest of the command staff had already started leaving the room. Their expressions ranged from mild annoyance to disapproval. Whatever discussions had taken place, they must have been unpleasant and one-sided. “Monitor them at all times and don’t interact until I say so.”
  “Understood.”
  It sounded like another escort mission, and I didn’t like escort missions. Normally, it would just be troop detachments or—if we were very unlucky—some mid-level bureaucrat or admiral’s aid sent to do a front-line inspection. Transporting quarantined personnel wasn’t in my usual purview, although if it had been, I’d never know.
  “What’s the course of treatment they must undergo?” I asked.
  “No treatment,” Augustus grumbled. “That’s for the Meds to figure out.”
  “All passengers are tagged as infected. Regulations require we provide immediate medical attention.” I felt my words sound hollow. If Augustus had the authority to provide such, he would have told me already. The only thing I was left was to go through the motions, expecting to receive the obvious denial.
  “Just monitor them, Elcy! That’s what we’ve been told. And whatever happens, don’t interfere.”
 
  Just monitor them.
  I had spent three months and thirty-nine hours monitoring the passengers onboard. Through battles and repairs, every single action had been carefully observed, recorded, and stored on external data storage. For the most part, nothing happened. The people would live boring, perfectly organised lives, almost as if they knew they were being watched. There were no scuffles, few arguments, and only one incident resulting in injuries when a Cassandrian fighter managed to slip through my external defences and fire a salvo at the hangar bay. Their health condition also seemed no different than when they had come aboard. I had dedicated a dozen subroutines to collect any potential symptoms in an effort to determine the type of disease they had, but had come to no conclusion. Then, one day, they were all gone. I had no memory of the Medical ship that had taken them, or where that had happened. The only thing I was certain about was the time—precisely two thousand, one hundred and ninety-nine hours since the last of them had come aboard. Everything else remained restricted.
  Looks like there’s always someone monitoring someone, Sev. If Rigel was to be believed someone was monitoring the planet. The question was who.
  Seconds turned to minutes, then hours. Hundreds of times, I considered looking into my restricted memories for information regarding the third-contact artifacts or the events in gamma-Ligata, and each time I found a reason not to. As Rigel had said, the chance of me getting off the planet alive was less than one percent, but the knowledge of the existence of the possibility kept me acting. And then there was Rigel’s offer…
  Rad, are you monitoring me? I asked, attempting to latch on to any open communication protocols. A connection was established, but instead of linking to Radiance, I found myself connecting back to Kridib’s mind. On cue, an info burst from Radiance followed, giving the latest scan. This time, I could see the location of our forces. The total number had increased to seventy-four, Kridib included. Nearly eight percent were gathered close to the captain’s expected location. Kridib and five more were closer to me.
  Get ready, Kridib said. Moments later, bursts of gunfire echoed in the distance; they were going for the captain first.
  The mission had begun. From here on, I could see several potential outcomes. In all of them, there was a high probability that Rigel attempted to make a deal.
  When I was a ship, Augustus had taught me one key thing when it came to missions: regardless of the depth of predictions and the computing power at their disposal, humans always boiled down a situation to a simple binary choice. Rigel wanted something from me and had invested too much to let his chance slip. Before the outcome of Kridib’s rescue mission, Rigel would come here to get an answer to his proposal. All I had to do was wait.
  As I lay, I watched Kridib run through the darkness towards my location. Unlike before, he was wearing night vision goggles, letting him make out his surroundings better.
  No thermal? I asked as Kridib made his way through the streets. The smell of burned vegetation could still be felt.
  That’s what you’re for.
  Not a reply to be thrilled about, but one to be expected. Cross-referencing Radiance’s latest scan, I started analysing every frame of Kridib’s stream. The first few minutes passed without incident. Judging by the intensified background gunfire, the locals were more focused on keeping Renaan isolated than stopping Kridib. Twenty-eight seconds, later the first shot sounded.
  Sniper! I shouted straight in Kridib’s mind.
  “Cover fire!” he shouted, rushing for cover.
  Watch out for a cross, I warned.
  The shooting intensified. Based on the area scan, the group was a few hundred meters away. One strong push and they’d be here. That said, I knew that the building was guarded by more than seven people. If I were in Rigel’s place, I would have dedicated at least three dozen.
  Concentrated fire focused on the second floor of a building, blowing off the entire wall. There was a brief scream before a rocket flew into the spot, hollowing the entire structure with a blast.
  Heavy weapons? I asked Kridib. I didn’t think Radiance’s captain would resort to such firepower, considering third-contact artifacts were involved; one direct hit, and the entire colony might well end up a smouldering crater, not to mention the potential communication repercussions. Maybe there was truth in Rigel’s statement that Flight Commander Nitel was getting desperate.
  As I was following Kridib’s advancement outside, the door opened once more—as predicted, Rigel had returned. He was wearing the same set of clothes as three hours ago. I found it puzzling that I couldn’t spot any semblance of a weapon on him.
  “Your masters have gotten desperate,” the man said in suspiciously calm fashion. “Looks like they’ve sent everything they had to get Renaan.” He walked up to me, then leaned over. “And just a handful to get you.”
  “Are they winning?” I tried to smile.
  “Beats me.” Rigel didn’t seem bothered. “You thought about my offer?”
  “I did. And I don’t think accepting would be a good deal. If I wait for them to rescue the captain, your bargaining power ends.”
  “Oh?” The man chuckled.
  “There’s nothing else the fleet would be willing to trade.” Except potentially the pyramid artifact. Even then, I didn’t see them sacrificing the Gregorius. “Once the captain boards a shuttle, it’s over.”
  A person of Kridib’s squad fell as they were approaching my building. I heard the unmistakable sound of bullets piercing armor, then silence. That was the thing about sound suppressors: one could get killed, and there still wouldn’t be any sound of one hitting the ground. I wanted to turn around and see what had happened, potentially to help. There was a seven-point-three chance that the wound wasn’t fatal. Kridib kept on moving forwards. That’s what made him a ground trooper… it also caused me pain.
  “What if I kill Renaan?” Rigel mused. “I won’t lose much. Everyone down here’s dead anyway. Someone in the fleet has gone through a lot of shit to get Renaan back. They’d lose a hell of a lot more.”
  “What if they save the captain?” I countered. “Either way, we’ll soon find out, and you’ll have no offer.”
  “Quantum paradox logic?” Rigel sounded surprised. “Strange hearing that from you, missy. I’ll have to skim your file once I’m out of here.” He paused for a moment, then dragged the nearby stool over—making a deliberate sound—and sat down. “Truth is, once the moment ends, we both lose our chance. Are you okay with that?”
  Why are you so confident? I wondered. Even if I were to agree, he wouldn’t be able to get much from me in the next ten minutes, even less if Kridib managed to reach my room. His squad had already made its way to the building proper, facing less than expected resistance. From what I was able to see, there were two snipers left on the upper floors and two machine-gunners on the first. All auxiliary positions on the nearby buildings seemed to have dealt with, although there was no sign of Ogum.
  “You’ve dealt with Salvage before, I can tell,” Rigel pressed on. “You won’t get another chance like this.”
  The old man’s with me in the basement, I told Kridib. No guards in the room. He’s ex-Salvage Authorities. Take him, and the mission is over. Saying that hurt slightly. Despite being the enemy, and a threat to the war effort, he remained human.
  “Then I guess I’ll never know.” As I spoke, I saw Kridib charge at the building. As before, there was nothing fancy about it, just determination and insanity. Several bullets flew so close to him I could hear them, but this time none of them hit. “Your bargaining window is over. No deal.”
  Kridib emptied his sidearm at the door in front of him, then rushed in. I could see no guards inside, just a set of hastily built staircases. Whatever the original purpose of the building was, it had been transformed into a field center at some point—likely during a previous escape attempt. Probably a group similar to ours had made it their temporary base, then left it as it was once they had completed their mission. No wonder Rigel had had me transported there. Kridib didn’t waste time making parallels, instead drawing his second sidearm and rushing down.
  At least two floors down, I said. I’m not hearing any of the gunfire.
  Is he armed? Kridib asked.
  Unsure. Not that I can tell. There are artifacts, though.
  “Such a teacher’s pet.” Rigel sighed after a long silence. “In the end, you’re nothing but a ship.” He stood up.
  He’s standing directly from the door, I said to Kridib. Seven degrees from center. Small frame, average height.
  Kridib fired three shots. Three bullets drilled through the alloy surface. Half a second later, Kridib followed kicking the door in.
  “Just one small thing.” Rigel took a tube-shaped object from his vest pocket.
  Meanwhile, I was staring at an empty room from Kridib’s eyes. It was at least three times smaller than the one I was in, bare and completely deserted. There was no Rigel, no me, no equipment, just a single metallic cube the size of my fingernail placed neatly on the floor.
  “Renaan was never the target.” The old man bent down and injected something in my neck. A new cascade of connection requests followed. “You are.”
—-
Next Chapter
submitted by LiseEclaire to redditserials [link] [comments]

To program consciousness: reconciling the portrayal of AI in Trek

This is an indirect response to recent conversations that have centered around the question of artificial sentience, particularly in holograms. I’ve been reading DaystromInstitute for a while, but after being provoked into hours of thought and research, I decided to submit my first real long form contribution. I hope it continues a stimulating conversation!
The prevalence of artificial intelligence has been accelerating in our contemporary real world. Our machines can beat human masters of chess and go, learn to play Super Mario World, drive cars, and—over at Google—they may (or may not) have just recently passed the Turing Test during some natural-language phone conversations. If the Federation represents a society that is extrapolated from our own, it is natural to ask what happens to AI in that future.
Before we dive in, I have to lay down a few disclaimers:
  1. The discussion I’m presenting is technical at times, but I hope it will still be accessible to most readers. I’m particularly interested in thoughts from any fellow coders who have more expertise in AI (I am but a lowly front-end developer).
  2. The source material is, for the purposes of detailed theorycrafting on this subject, sketchy—and that’s being kind. Terms such as “program,” “algorithm,” “circuitry,” “subroutine,” and “matrix” are injected into the dialogue with little regard for their significance in computer science.
For those two reasons, I feel we should try to keep our technical arguments as high-level as possible, when possible. Instead of quibbling over the technobabble used in a particular scene, my goal is to focus on the overall state of attitudes, capabilities, and policies used to portray our artificial friends in the Federation. From scheming computer simulations to androids that can’t cannot use simple contractions, we see a highly inconsistent variety of Federation AI in Star Trek. How are we to make sense of this from an in-universe perspective? I’ll also examine how our understanding of AI and machine learning today might fit into those portrayals.

Shouldn’t Skynet Be Killing Us By Now?

“The word you're looking for is ‘unnatural,’ meaning not from nature. ‘Freak’ or ‘monster’ would also be acceptable.”
- Julian Bashir, on human genetic modification (DS9 “Dr. Bashir, I Presume”)

I’ve read several comments here that suggest Strong AI—that is, a machine that is conscious and can think just like a human—isn’t really that hard, or at least, that it seems inevitable given the pace of our computational progress. Regardless of your position there, the relevant question here in Daystrom is: does the Federation get there by the mid-24th century?
We have a few data points we can use to map a potential trajectory.
Starting with today, we already have algorithms that can parse natural language, so the bountiful examples of verbal interaction with the ship’s computer, for instance, don’t seem far fetched at all. We’re only just starting figure out what it takes, however, for an AI to do more than respond to a single inquiry. (More on this in a bit.) One of the largest challenges—one that some computer scientists feel is nigh insurmountable—is for an AI to be able to understand, to attach meaning to its data and represent it as knowledge.
It’s clear to me that, by the time we approach TOS, Starfleet computers are capable of this form of sapient AI. Through a natural language exchange, Michael Burnham convinces her ship’s computer to change its mind and assist her to escape confinement (DIS “Battle of the Binary Stars”). The computer has to understand her reasoning, follow her logic over several statements, and come to an ethical conclusion based on situational context.
Curiously, we don’t see this depth of understanding from any other Starfleet computer henceforth. What gives?
I propose the answer might lie with this sub’s namesake: Dr. Richard Daystrom and his M-5 computer. During a disastrous turn of events, Daystrom has a semantic argument very similar to Burnham’s, a desperate attempt to convince the machine to alter its behavior. Ultimately, Kirk takes over and concludes the argument successfully by leading M-5 to understand the consequences of its actions and to take responsibility for them (TOS “The Ultimate Computer”). It seems reasonable to conclude that the Federation, reeling from the complete destruction of a Starfleet ship and crew at the hands of a murderous sapient computer, found impetus to establish restrictions on the development of Strong AI. To create an intelligence, let alone a living consciousness, that could have such consequential agency over the lives of its citizens would be an unethical act in the eyes of the Federation, given the risks.
I therefore argue that most of the Federation computers we see, starting with TOS, exhibit limited AI not because of a lack of technological progress, but because the potential for harmful or ethically questionable consequences (like those of eugenics, on which the Federation takes a similar stance) far outweighs the potential benefits.
It’s a fun exercise to revisit scenes involving computer interaction with this in mind. For example, one of the first times we hear the computer of the Enterprise-D, Riker seems flummoxed at its genteel manner (TNG “Encounter at Farpoint”).
COMPUTER: The next hatchway on your right.
RIKER: Thank you.
COMPUTER: You're welcome, Commander Riker. And if you care to enter, Commander?
RIKER: I do.
There’s a tone of impatience in his voice. I can imagine Riker internally rolling his eyes, wondering what historically-ignorant engineer thought it would be a good idea to give the computer such personality—not because it wasn’t useful or wonderful or advanced, but because it was distasteful. (It would be analogous to a Federation doctor advertising that babies delivered in their practice grow up to have higher IQs—not eugenics exactly, but probably not the PR you want.) In my headcanon, this is the reason the Enterprise computer is later changed to the simpler, dispassionate verbal interface we all know and love.

Mad Science? More Like Mad Props

“Lal may be a technological step forward in the development of artificial intelligence.”
- Anthony Haftel (TNG “The Offspring”)

The problem with this thesis is that we see Federation scientists either pursuing the development of Strong AI or willfully disregarding any such ethical concerns around the potential of its creation. We could discuss exocomps (TNG “The Quality of Life”), renegade missile guidance systems (VOY “Dreadnought”), or hell, the simple fact that a holodeck program autonomously generated a self-aware hologram due to a slip of the tongue (TNG “Elementary, Dear Data”). But I would be woefully remiss, of course, if I didn’t address the 100-kilo android in the room.
Of all the attempts to create an artificial human-like intelligence, Noonien Soong’s was the most overt. This does not necessarily counter my hypothesis; we can imagine Dr. Soong had an overriding motivation to ignore Federation ethical regulations. And we can reason similarly with Torres, who wasn’t a fan of the Federation at the time, or with Dr. Farallon, whose life’s work would be jeopardized by such restrictions. Indeed, any one individual with enough self-justification might decide not to heed the potential hazards of unleashing fully sentient robot overlords.
But even beyond one mad scientist’s zeal—based on some of the reactions we see—their colleagues appreciate the technology and thank them for it. Riker becomes so smitten with a realistic hologram that he falls into despair when he loses the chance to be with her (TNG “10010011”). Pioneers such as Soong, Daystrom, and Ira Graves are highly lauded, and the last two are even recognized with institutional prizes for their work. And the question I wrestled with most of all: if the Federation had put restrictions on the development of potentially sentient AI, why later on is Bruce Maddox’s ambition to duplicate Data met (at first) with general enthusiasm and interest? (TNG “The Measure of a Man”)
Initially, I felt like these observations unravelled my theory. The problem would still remain, though, of how to reconcile the highly variable portrayal of AI across the Star Trek corpus from an in-universe perspective. Should we just throw in the towel and chalk it up to what the writers understood of computation at the time?
No! This is DaystromInstitute! I eventually realized I wasn’t getting nerdy enough. Looking at what we know today about AI and machine learning might offer some possible solutions. And because I delight in shameless nerdery, I must plead for your indulgence and digress into a brief foray into real-world computer science.

A Rather Simpler Summary of Machine Learning

“For me, it's rather simple. While I'm faced with a decision, my program calculates the variables, and I take action.”
- The Doctor (VOY “Latent Image”)

Indeed, “machine learning” is the hot trendy term, and for good reason: it’s the current approach giving us the most effective results in AI today. I’ll try not to get more technical than is needed to inform my points, and if you’d rather, you can optionally just skip to the last paragraph in this section. But here it is in a nutshell:
Most computer programs involve receiving an input and providing an output. If we have an input x and an output y, it is almost trivial to write a computer program that takes x, runs it through an equation—let’s say “2x+6”—and spits out the output. Given an input of 2, we get 10 as the output. Importantly, we know what we’re doing when we specify “2x+6” as the function; we know what a linear algebraic expression is, what it means mathematically, and how it can be applied to real problems.
In machine learning, we replace a simple mathematical function with a much more complicated framework: a neural network. As you might imagine, it involves lots of connections and many variables (and if you can’t, here’s a diagram), but it ultimately still takes an input and gives an output. For example, if I am texting on my phone, there’s an autocorrect program running that takes every word I type as an input and outputs suggestions or corrections. If I input the word “potsto” this program might give the output “potato.”
Because neural networks can be set up to be very complex, they are capable of taking almost anything that we can represent digitally as input! We can throw entire sentences, images, or sounds and train the neural network by specifying what we expect as output. With recent advances with recurrent neural networks (RNNs), we can also set the process to feed back onto itself so that outputs can be included with the inputs, allowing the network to have a “memory” of sorts, based on what it’s processed so far. (Looks a bit like this; note the loopy arrows.)
An important point, for our discussion, is how these neural networks are programmed. Instead of a human programming each connection (and there might be a lot!), we set the program to train itself over and over on a set of inputs that are tested against their “right answer” which is provided initially. At first, all the connections are essentially random and the system performs very poorly. After each trial, the program adjusts variables in the network so that next time, it’s closer to getting a right answer. After a ton of testing, and a wide variety of inputs, the program will have attempted to set up these neural connections so that given a brand new input (the word “ptotao” perhaps), it still provides the expected output (“potato”).
For a slightly more thorough (but still accessible) explanation, I recommend this 9-minute CGP Grey video (and its more relevant follow-up). For the mathematically-inclined, this 20-minute overview by 3Blue1Brown is a popular reference. There are also some fun examples of RNN-generated outputs in this blog post by researcher Andrej Karpathy.
So here’s the kicker: we have no idea how to describe what is happening between the input and the output in a machine-taught neural network. We didn’t program it; the computer did. Sure, we can see what values the variables are set to, but unlike “2x+6” we have no concept around what those variables or the state of the neural network means. We know what inputs to give it, what to expect as outputs, and we can give it a helpful label so we know what it does (e.g. “Autocorrect algorithm”), but we don’t know how it does what it does. Given the code for any one neural network, it would be impossible to tell what it does until we actually ran the program.

The Known Unknown

“Complex systems can sometimes behave in ways that are entirely unpredictable. The human brain, for example, might be described in terms of cellular functions and neurochemical interactions. But that description does not explain human consciousness, a capacity that far exceeds simple neural functions. Consciousness is an emergent property.”
- Data (TNG “Emergence”)

If we assume that Federation computers are still programmed in a similar fashion as to how we program our computers today (and I do not pretend there isn’t room to argue otherwise), then it is reasonable to expect that machine learning with neural networks continues to progress to the point where we can have conversations, debates, and natural social interaction with our computers. Whatever advantages “duotronic” or “isolinear” circuitry provide in computational speed and memory, we can imagine that this may allow for a neural network complex enough to understand the meaning of its inputs and outputs: sapient-seeming AI.
But given the machine learning paradigm, this means that we do not, cannot know the detailed workings of these networks. We understand the mechanisms but not the meaning. Does the state of this neural network mean that the computer really does understand the meaning of its functions, or does it only simulate true sapience?
If we presume that neural networks are the basis for holographic AI, we find similar ambiguity surrounding the same kinds of questions. We see this with Moriarty…
PICARD: We spent some time investigating how you became self-aware. Frankly, it still remains a mystery. (TNG “Ship in a Bottle”)
… and, of course, with the Doctor:
ARBITRATOR: The Doctor exhibits many of the traits we associate with a person. Intelligence, creativity, ambition, even fallibility. But are these traits real, or is the Doctor merely programmed to simulate them? To be honest, I don't know. (VOY “Author, Author”)
These lines, on their surface, seem like the writers copped out and didn’t want to take a hard stance on a very technical issue. But given the “unknowability” aspect of implementing a neural network, these comments take on new weight. If Federation computer scientists have no way to measure when the line between a normal computer program and an artificial consciousness is being crossed, it makes sense from an ethical standpoint that the Federation, as a society, should simply avoid ever getting close.
If the Federation has ethical restrictions on these algorithms, we can imagine that they would need to be specific: perhaps neural networks beyond a certain complexity are banned, or the amount of memory an algorithm can use is limited. These constraints might even be worked into the hardware. In instances where we see holograms that seem to be self-aware, even conscious, there are clues as to how they may have got around these restrictions.
Exhibit A: The self-aware Minuet is programmed by the Bynars (or it may be more accurate to say that the Bynars programmed the computer to program Minuet). As extreme computer experts, it’s possible that they developed a method for programming holographic AI that produced sentient-seeming characters that nevertheless stayed within the letter of Federation law and technical restrictions. When Riker comments on how “real” she seems, it’s not just because he’s surprised a holodeck simulation is capable of it, but because it is capable within the imposed limitations of Federation protocol. I propose that the Bynar’s method presents an advance in holographic AI that becomes more widely implemented, one that is accidentally triggered by LaForge in “Elementary, Dear Data,” and that is later used for…
Exhibit B: Voyager’s EMH is allowed to stay running for much longer than a normal hologram, allowing the neural network more time to process, and memory expansions to his program are meted out over the years. This non-standard procedure may have pushed into an edge case of Federation protocols, effectively breaking them. As a side note, we learn that hologram AI is modular:
EMH: How much has to be left behind?
SEVEN: Twelve megaquads.
EMH: I suppose you could get rid of my athletic abilities and my grand master chess program.
SEVEN: That leaves three megaquads. Your painting skills?
EMH: Oh, if you must. (VOY “Life Line”)
Exhibits C and D: Vic Fontaine and Dr. Lewis Zimmerman’s assistant Haley are apparently both programmed to be self-aware by design. Either the Federation ethics board didn’t mind that there were loopholes in its restrictions, or perhaps the ethics themselves changed with the times. The circumstances in which we see these two holograms are during the Dominion War and terminal illness, both a source of emotional trauma. It’s possible that these two are judged to provide mental health benefits that outweigh any esoteric moral discomfort around the potential consciousness of the holograms.

Everything is a Social Construct Anyway

“I have brought a new life into this world, and it is my duty, not Starfleet's, to guide her through these first difficult steps to maturity, to support her as she learns, to prepare her to be a contributing member of society.”
- Data, on his android daughter Lal (TNG “The Offspring”)

So what about all the other artificial life forms that have arisen within the Federation aside from holograms? We can look to exocomps, or whatever the cyber-shenanigans Ira Graves was up to, but once again, the Soong-type androids give us a good example to study. It seems that this hypothetical restriction on Strong AI doesn’t apply to them, so why not?
First of all, the medium in which they are formed is probably entirely different from your typical 24th century computer. The positronic brain is similar enough to a real human brain that it can host a human consciousness (TNG “The Schizoid Man”, “Power Play”), as well as be read by an empath (TNG “The Offspring”, “Descent”). The precise format of the machine (about which we could conjecture endlessly) may simply be too exotic to have been included in Federation rules. We also have no idea what “programming” on such a platform actually entails. It is possible that artificial brains are somehow easier to directly program compared to the neural networks we use in computational AI:
KORBY: Can you understand that a human converted to an android can be programmed for the better? Can you imagine how life could be improved if we could do away with jealousy, greed, hate? (TOS “What Are Little Girls Made Of?”)
Secondly—and this should have become obvious to me far sooner than it did—there is the practical matter of power and agency. By their nature, computers are depended upon to run systems, sometimes very powerful or critically important systems. An android, though superhuman, is still a single individual who fits into its society as such. We must accept that individuals are fallible; the control system for a starship, however... maybe we’d like a little more infallibility there, please?
One may also argue similarly for holograms, if we observe that they are not designed to control mission-critical systems, but are mostly commonly used for entertainment. Holodecks have been described as having independent hardware (VOY “Parallax”), so maybe the same is true for its software, through virtual-machine-like sandboxing. (Or at least, perhaps that precaution was developed after a renegade hologram took over complete control of a starship … twice.) This would make sense, given the apparent modularity and portability of holograms. Nevertheless, with holodeck safeties failing every other day, it would be prudent to at least have both policies and design philosophies to avoid inadvertently creating artificial life on your lunch break. Such philosophies may also contribute to why it takes Janeway roughly seven years longer than Picard to recognize the sentient AI aboard, the subject of a recent Trekspertise episode.
In the end, the Federation must balance its pursuit of knowledge and its search for new life with its ethical obligations to all life, natural or artificial. For my proposed restriction on AI research to serve as a valid solution, I believe it would need to be conservative and limited in scope. The ultimate goal is for individuals of all origins—even man-made ones—to be duly recognized with fundamental rights and freedoms, for computers to remain sophisticated tools in the hands of their masters, and to maintain a strong (albeit sometimes fuzzy) dividing line between the two.
If you made it all the way through that, I appreciate your interest and attention! I hope to hear some feedback: do you think these ideas hold water? What examples or conclusions did I miss? (I imagine there are some big ones!) And are there other ways to reconcile the inconsistent portrayal of AI from an in-universe perspective?
submitted by ikidre to DaystromInstitute [link] [comments]

YouTube PHP Tutorial  DataType #3 Stop Loss & Take Profit in LION Binary Option 'Fake Bitcoin' - How this Woman Scammed the World, then ... Data Type in MS Access VBA in Hindi Logic - YouTube Compiling Programs in Java using the data type boolean

ORA-00932: inconsistent datatypes: expected NUMBER got TIMESTAMP. If I remove the first part (insert into table2), the select command runs fine and as expected does not return any records. Table1 and table2 have 70+ columns of VARCHAR2, TIMESTAMP and NUMBER. Table1 and table2 are created by an APP which goes through table1 columns and creates table2, the only difference being that table1 has ... create or replace type type type_failedreservation as object ( fk_transactionid number(18), debitreservationid number(18), reservationtime date, reservationamount number(18,5), currencycode char(3), availableamount number(18,5) ); Hi All, I am loading data from Oracle db and getting the above message. the query looks like below: $(_qvd_name): SQL SELECT * FROM $(_table_name) - 1454511 Jun. 10. Inconsistente Data Types Expected Timestamp Got Binário Opções type ----- ----- ----- statid varchar2(128) type char(1) version number flags number c1 varchar2(128) c2 varchar2(128) c3 varchar2(128) c4 varchar2(128) c5 varchar2(128) n1 number n2 number n3 number n4 number n5 number n6 number n7 number n8 number n9 number n10 number n11 number n12 number d1 date r1 raw(1000) r2 raw(1000) ch1 varchar2(1000) cl1 clob c6 varchar2(128) r3 raw(1000) n13 number ... Tuesday, October 4, 2016. Inconsistent Data Types Expected Number Got Binary Options It is a problem in the execution function to handle "LONG RAW" datatypes. This problem occurs only when the "Run on Server" option is used. Under this option, a script is created to run the SQL and this script helps shorten the overall time required for the execution as it fetches all records without sending them back to the client side (network travel is hence avoided). ORA-00932: inconsistent datatypes: expected DATE got NUMBER Hi Thomas,Thanks a lot for wonderfull technical support found on this site. I always learn a lot from it.For most of the applications, I am getting ORA-00932 errors in tkprofed files and even on OEM console while application runs.Text from tkprofed file:SELECT 1FROM INV_HDR WHERE C ORA-00932: inconsistent datatypes: expected SDE.ST_GEOMETRY got MDSYS.ST_POINT Cause If the st_geometry operator is not fully qualified when public synonyms for the st_geometry type and operators do not exist, and Oracle spatial is installed in the Oracle database, Oracle maps st_geometry operators to its own st_geometry type owned by the MDSYS user. Quando você encontrar um erro ORA-00932, a seguinte mensagem de erro será exibida: ORA-00932: tipos de dados inconsistentes Voltar para o i...

[index] [4594] [7460] [3375] [12350] [9721] [9537] [1879] [3681] [19591] [11933]

YouTube

Enjoy the videos and music you love, upload original content, and share it all with friends, family, and the world on YouTube. This is a a simple tutorial on primitive data types. Upgrading/Replacing the hard drive in a Laptop with a solid state drive HP Pavilion 15 - Duration: 38:56. Michael Cooper Recommended for you We know you put a ton of time and energy into making videos and it’s important for you to understand how they get discovered. The goals of YouTube’s search and discovery system are twofold: help viewers find the videos they want to watch, and maximize long-term viewer engagement and satisfaction. Get a better understanding of how the system works, where your content is surfaced, and what ... Enjoy the videos and music you love, upload original content, and share it all with friends, family, and the world on YouTube. Introduce about variable in PHP and how datatypes are used. Full playlist : https://goo.gl/XX7mcj. Onecoin promised the world, but only proved to be a trail of destruction. --- About ColdFusion --- ColdFusion is an Australian based online media company ind... 1000+ types and formats of data are available. It supports to recover data from PC, Mac, recycle bin/trash, sd card, internal hard drive, external storage media, and even a crashed computer ... Advanced Excel Training Center For More Details Log on www.iptindia.com and Call - +91 8826828093, +91 8802579388 +91 9968811487 Skype ID - advexcel1 Mail us - [email protected] How can Join ... Binary Options 100% ITM strategy from 1000 to 20000 in 6 min live ... How To Do Stops and Trail Stops Nadex Order Entry Types For Binary's , Spreads, and Touch Brackets - Duration: 18:41 ... Size of int variable is 2 bytes or 4 bytes? Watch video to know the answer Like, Comments, Share and SUBSCRIBE visit www.mysirg.com for all FREE videos.

https://binary-optiontrade.contsumikaznata.ml