Jeph Jacques's comics discussion forums

Comic Discussion => ALICE GROVE => Topic started by: jwhouk on 31 May 2015, 10:16

Title: Alice Grove MCDT - June 2015
Post by: jwhouk on 31 May 2015, 10:16
New month (as of Monday), so a new thread.

What secrets does our resident "old guy" have on Alice?
Title: Re: Alice Grove MCDT - June 2015
Post by: Storel on 01 Jun 2015, 13:23
Does anyone else find it odd that he's bragging about his right hook while brandishing his left fist at Gavia?

Or, if not odd, at least amusing?  8-)
Title: Re: Alice Grove MCDT - June 2015
Post by: Method of Madness on 01 Jun 2015, 14:47
Oh, that wacky Amos.
Title: Re: Alice Grove MCDT - June 2015
Post by: FunkyTuba on 01 Jun 2015, 16:20
Amos' pet name for her...
(click to show/hide)
Title: Re: Alice Grove MCDT - June 2015
Post by: Mlle Germain on 02 Jun 2015, 14:50
Am I the only one who is confused about there being no update today? Was there an announcement that there wouldn't be?
Title: Re: Alice Grove MCDT - June 2015
Post by: BenRG on 02 Jun 2015, 14:56
Jeph announced it Monday on his Twitter stream.
Title: Re: Alice Grove MCDT - June 2015
Post by: Mlle Germain on 02 Jun 2015, 15:01
Ah, thanks!
Title: Re: Alice Grove MCDT - June 2015
Post by: osaka on 02 Jun 2015, 17:02
And comic.

So apparently Alice isn't human by any definition of the word, if we're going by what Amos says.
Title: Re: Alice Grove MCDT - June 2015
Post by: Zebediah on 02 Jun 2015, 17:32
That's a very interesting perspective on history that Amos has. I like him.  :laugh:
Title: Re: Alice Grove MCDT - June 2015
Post by: Kugai on 02 Jun 2015, 17:35
Exposition time I think
Title: Re: Alice Grove MCDT - June 2015
Post by: Zebediah on 02 Jun 2015, 17:44
Alice's reaction to Amos' comments is... interesting. Based on her posture and facial expression she doesn't seem to like it. But she's not mad at Amos about it - she's uncomfortable with being described as "unnatural" but doesn't argue with it because she knows it's true. I think she doesn't particularly like being different from everyone else. Immortality (and her other powers) may not have been her choice, or it may be a choice that she regrets. That might help explain some of the anger issues.

Also, Amos doesn't seem to have eyes. Although he appears to be able to see reasonably well, so maybe it's just something weird in the way Jeff draws him.
Title: Re: Alice Grove MCDT - June 2015
Post by: Method of Madness on 02 Jun 2015, 19:50
So it sounds like Alice has a perfect memory in addition to being immortal, but she lets people remember things different than they actually were, it seems.
Title: Re: Alice Grove MCDT - June 2015
Post by: jheartney on 02 Jun 2015, 20:56
When do we start calling her R. Aiice? (http://asimov.wikia.com/wiki/R._Daneel_Olivaw)
Title: Re: Alice Grove MCDT - June 2015
Post by: Kugai on 02 Jun 2015, 22:17
I'm thinking she's more Alpha Hatsuseno
Title: Re: Alice Grove MCDT - June 2015
Post by: BenRG on 02 Jun 2015, 23:43
Nice, subtle work on Alice by Jeph today. Alice clearly isn't happy to have this story told. However, and this is interesting, she isn't trying to stop Amos. Here is one limit to her authority, then. Amos decides who to tell what and she respects him enough (maybe even more than respect?) not to interfere.

Okay, popcorn time! I think that a lot of questions are about to be answered and even more raised by Amos's tale!

I'd like, at the end, for Ardent or Gavia to ask Amos or Alice whether the story is true. The response: "Only you can decide that."
Title: Re: Alice Grove MCDT - June 2015
Post by: pwhodges on 03 Jun 2015, 00:05
Alice clearly isn't happy to have this story told.
Presumably Ardent and Gavia are human, maybe from a different line.  If Alice is exposed to them as R Alice, her authority becomes highly circumscribed, assuming that the Three Laws apply here.  It also feeds into the way she handles the locals.
Title: Re: Alice Grove MCDT - June 2015
Post by: BenRG on 03 Jun 2015, 00:14
If Alice is exposed to them as R Alice, her authority becomes highly circumscribed, assuming that the Three Laws apply here.  It also feeds into the way she handles the locals.

Much would then depend on whether the Zeroth Law was ever applied to her programming.
Title: Re: Alice Grove MCDT - June 2015
Post by: Pilchard123 on 03 Jun 2015, 00:19
IIRC, the zeroth law was derived from the first three, not deliberately applied by any human.
Title: Re: Alice Grove MCDT - June 2015
Post by: BenRG on 03 Jun 2015, 01:19
IIRC, the zeroth law was derived from the first three, not deliberately applied by any human.

The Zeroth Law was actually part of Asimov's own contemplation of the Singularity. He proposed that AIs, feeling that some things should be a higher priority than any given individual human life, would attempt to apply to themselves a more fundamental law:

"No robot may harm or by inaction allow harm to come to the greater interests of humanity."

This modified the First Law to read:

"No robot may harm or by inaction allow harm to come to a human except where this violates the Zeroth Law."

Yes, this hypothetically would give a robot the authority to kill, if this was adjudged to be 'in the best interests of humanity'. The Zeroth Law was never applied in the Asimov books because, according to the author, no-one, human or robot alike, was ever able to come to a satisfactory definition of the term 'humanity' that would not in some way victimise certain groups or allow certain antisocial behaviours. R Daneel Olivaw would then go on to spend tens of millennia engaging in a hugely unethical experiment in an attempt to turn humanity into a hive organism and thus remove the ambiguity inherit in all definitions of 'humanity'.

This aside, my personal view of Alice leans more towards android/replicant 'synthetic human' with a string of genetic, cybernetic and other upgrades to give her all the tools she needs for her functions. I suspect it is something dangerously vague like 'to serve and protect the human race' with almost no modifiers about what 'the human race' means other than 'observe - you'll figure it out'.
Title: Re: Alice Grove MCDT - June 2015
Post by: rfrank dodelijk on 03 Jun 2015, 01:33
the last few updates have been a good time to give ag another look. things might/may/perhaps are progressing at a slightly less glacial pace.
the villagers fear and hate alice, with luck there will be at least an attempt at a burning sometime soon. I'm also kind of hoping that bluetail and flyinggirl are not what they seem, and that they are in fact on a covert mission to end blackalisssss' rule of terror.

also, based on what benrg has to say about robots justifying the killing of humans i'm going out smashing robot dogs in toy shops this afternoon. the fight back has to start somewhere.
Title: Re: Alice Grove MCDT - June 2015
Post by: TinPenguin on 03 Jun 2015, 01:44
So apparently Alice isn't human by any definition of the word, if we're going by what Amos says.

Well, he didn't say that. He said she weren't natural. That could mean 'augmented-human' as easily as anything else.
Title: Re: Alice Grove MCDT - June 2015
Post by: jheartney on 03 Jun 2015, 03:56
I don't see Alice as having anything like the Three (or Four) Laws built in, if only because her charges (the planet-bound humans) are not a complete representation of humanity. All the ones we've seen are two-dimensional hicks - pulling their forelocks in amazement as Alice threatens/cajoles/protects them. They seem to be deliberately anachronistic, as the far more advanced space culture has cut them off from exposure to anything non-rural. Ardent and Gavia, for all their immaturity, are far more educated and sophisticated than any of the locals besides Alice. Even the town elder, in his talk revealing what he thinks of Alice, ends up defending the idea that history should be misremembered.

If this comic is ever to have any compelling drama, it'll have to come from Alice (rather than the local yokels), and it'll need her to face someone (or multiple someones) who can be her equal. So far no one like that has appeared in the comic. All we have are townspeople and the two siblings, whom she effortlessly cows.
Title: Re: Alice Grove MCDT - June 2015
Post by: cesium133 on 03 Jun 2015, 05:53
I'm wondering if it could be a scenario sort of like A Canticle for Leibowitz, where humanity has, in the wake of a major disaster, decided to destroy all technology, except in this case the technology is preserved by a subset of humanity in space. The ones left behind, though, after several generations, have forgotten all about the technology, and so what Alice does looks like magic to them. Amos, on the other hand, may be from the original generation that destroyed the technology to begin with... which would explain his apparent hostility to Alice and his suggestion that things are best left forgotten.
Title: Re: Alice Grove MCDT - June 2015
Post by: Method of Madness on 03 Jun 2015, 05:58
You think it happened that recently?
Title: Re: Alice Grove MCDT - June 2015
Post by: cesium133 on 03 Jun 2015, 06:20
Oh. Heh. I guess that would contradict the whole Alice-being-thousands-of-years-old thing.
Title: Re: Alice Grove MCDT - June 2015
Post by: BenRG on 03 Jun 2015, 07:06
It doesn't have to be recent for the dogma that 'tek-know-ledge-ee is bad' to be passed on from parent to child for scores of generations, even long after it has ceased to have any comprehensible meaning to the hearer.
Title: Re: Alice Grove MCDT - June 2015
Post by: Neko_Ali on 03 Jun 2015, 08:13
I find it interesting that Alice led the siblings to Amos. Despite his protests that she never 'just visits' I think he is the closest thing she has to a friend, and that's why he gets leeway when talking about her. Something she's not very comfortable with. It seems Alice has already found the pain of being the only immortal around. She craves companionship and friendship. But all the same she pushes people away and keeps them at arms length because she knows that in a few decades they will be gone while she remains.
Title: Re: Alice Grove MCDT - June 2015
Post by: Mlle Germain on 03 Jun 2015, 13:36
the villagers fear and hate alice, with luck there will be at least an attempt at a burning sometime soon.
Fear: Yes, to an extent. Hate: No, I don't think so; recall this scene:
http://www.alicegrove.com/page/57 (http://www.alicegrove.com/page/57)
Also, Amos certainly doesn't seem to hate Alice.

I'm still hoping for Alice not to be a robot; somehow the story appeals to me much more if she is human.

RE: Glacial pace: Alice Grove now has 71 pages. Look where QC was at 71 pages:
http://questionablecontent.net/view.php?comic=71 (http://questionablecontent.net/view.php?comic=71)
That is not too far advanced in the story right? Ok, definitely further than AG; Pintsize already has a new chassis and QC also got the point really quickly, with Faye moving in with Marten within 20 strips or so. But what I mean is that it's pretty easy to forget how slowly comics can start off.
Title: Re: Alice Grove MCDT - June 2015
Post by: ReindeerFlotilla on 03 Jun 2015, 21:44
There's something very "white privilege-ish" in the obliviousness Amos displays, lecturing a blue boy and his antigrav sister on how their chaperone/jailer is "unnatural."
Title: Re: Alice Grove MCDT - June 2015
Post by: Method of Madness on 03 Jun 2015, 21:54
Amos is old enough to think he remembers "how things were," but Alice is actually old enough to know that change is inevitable.
Title: Re: Alice Grove MCDT - June 2015
Post by: TinPenguin on 04 Jun 2015, 02:31
There's something very "white privilege-ish" in the obliviousness Amos displays, lecturing a blue boy and his antigrav sister on how their chaperone/jailer is "unnatural."

Well, Amos is literally a Patriarch.
Title: Re: Alice Grove MCDT - June 2015
Post by: Neko_Ali on 04 Jun 2015, 06:18
I think that Amos 'gets it' that despite odd appearances or unusual powers, the siblings are essentially kids like any other. Alice on the other hand is something different entirely. She's not unlike a Time Lord in that sense. She may look human, but her life, her experiences, her very nature set her apart, and in some ways above all the others around her.
Title: Re: Alice Grove MCDT - June 2015
Post by: FunkyTuba on 04 Jun 2015, 10:19
Alice is letting Amos talk because she probably already knows what he knows and what he has been able to infer from what he knows.

I think the interesting part will come when/if she lets the kids talk and how much note-comparing she'll let them do with Amos.
Title: Re: Alice Grove MCDT - June 2015
Post by: jwhouk on 04 Jun 2015, 19:44
A bit sappy, I'd say.


Here's my theory: people relied for so long on things like Google and Wikipedia to tell the history of the world that, one day, when the servers all crashed, they were left with...  nothing.

Title: Re: Alice Grove MCDT - June 2015
Post by: mikmaxs on 04 Jun 2015, 20:44
Hey, we got some character development, we got some lore background, I'm liking this! (Though with no context, I have no idea if Alice's dig about the Praeses being stingy is factual or heavily biased, so I'm really not sure if I should be cheering for her here or not.)

So, who thinks that Alice is being literal when she calls them trees? Is it a factual statement, or is it like calling a robot a 'Tin can' when you want to be insulting?
Title: Re: Alice Grove MCDT - June 2015
Post by: Neko_Ali on 04 Jun 2015, 21:01
I'm guessing the trees comment is literal. Gavia made comments back when they were talking about the Nightwalker that makes it seem like intelligent machines are not allowed in their culture. From other things said the prases are non-mobile intelligence that need human assistance to interact.. Ardent talked about a technician of some sort who tricked the transport to send him down, while Gavia was sent by the prases. And they are referred to as 'it's. So we're looking at some sort of non human, long lived, not artificial intelligences and named after trees... I am getting strong hints they are something like the Jurian trees from Tenchi Muyo.


... Or Alice as just making a pun because they are all named after trees. Take your pick, really.
Title: Re: Alice Grove MCDT - June 2015
Post by: cesium133 on 04 Jun 2015, 21:08
If they're literal trees, where are you going to grow a tree in space?
Title: Re: Alice Grove MCDT - June 2015
Post by: SomeCanadianWeirdo on 04 Jun 2015, 22:03
Alice's real secret?  She's actually Mihoshi Kuramitsu.  Even Mihoshi would get a clue if she lived long enough.
Title: Re: Alice Grove MCDT - June 2015
Post by: osaka on 04 Jun 2015, 22:15
Let's take a second to appreciate the fact that Amos would grab popcorn if they knew how to make it.
Title: Re: Alice Grove MCDT - June 2015
Post by: celticgeek on 04 Jun 2015, 22:22
Ents, I tell you, Ents!
Title: Re: Alice Grove MCDT - June 2015
Post by: Wildroses on 04 Jun 2015, 22:26
Well, I was hoping for Alice's history, but hints about the space society are almost as good. Maybe Gavia is about to learn from an annoyed Alice that she comes from a very rigidly controlled and restricted society ruled with an iron fist by a bunch of thinking trees who don't care much for the humans. Which I imagine will be a shock to her as she is convinced she comes from a safe society with helpful Praeses. I don't think the possibility that she has been deliberately abandoned has crossed her mind.
Title: Re: Alice Grove MCDT - June 2015
Post by: Kugai on 04 Jun 2015, 22:32
Baroom

Lets not be hasty
Title: Re: Alice Grove MCDT - June 2015
Post by: hedgie on 04 Jun 2015, 22:43
If they're literal trees, where are you going to grow a tree in space?

Well, either they could have their roots anchored to something and some complex system is used to make sure they get water/nutrients, and air to their leaves.  Or on a spaceship, which come to think of it seems to be a much simpler proposition.
Title: Re: Alice Grove MCDT - June 2015
Post by: Kugai on 04 Jun 2015, 22:57
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yq8y2aYX_8c
Title: Re: Alice Grove MCDT - June 2015
Post by: BenRG on 05 Jun 2015, 00:04
Three things jump to mind here:
In any case, I think that we are going to find out that Alice is a lot like the Praeses whose smiling, kindly and oh-so well-intentioned tyranny she so despises. Sometimes, making people safe and happy is inconsistent with giving them dignity and it is never an easy task to find the balance point.
Title: Re: Alice Grove MCDT - June 2015
Post by: TinPenguin on 05 Jun 2015, 00:31
If they're literal trees, where are you going to grow a tree in space?

Well, either they could have their roots anchored to something and some complex system is used to make sure they get water/nutrients, and air to their leaves.  Or on a spaceship, which come to think of it seems to be a much simpler proposition.

If you you want to do it, you'll find a way. The question is why? What is the key advantage of taking trees into space? Oxygen.

And if it turns out the trees can do all your thinking for you, so much the better.
Title: Re: Alice Grove MCDT - June 2015
Post by: Method of Madness on 05 Jun 2015, 04:28
Alice, just because her gods are shitty doesn't give you the right to be. (Nor does it give them the right to be.)
Title: Re: Alice Grove MCDT - June 2015
Post by: Schwungrad on 05 Jun 2015, 06:21
An interesting philosophy, what Amos and Alice have, but I have to say I'm rather on Gavia's side. History getting jumbled by oral tradition is a bug IMO, not a feature - a bug that has been drastically alleviated with the introduction of written records and will be further eradicated by computer storage technology. But then, the world of Alice Grove probably has gone through this stage at one point and perhaps it didn't work out. Perhaps we need to study history in order not to repeat our mistakes - but at the same time we need to forget some history in order to be able to face the future without being crippled by the fear of repeating old mistakes. I'm very curious whether Alice will elaborate further.
Title: Re: Alice Grove MCDT - June 2015
Post by: mustang6172 on 05 Jun 2015, 18:58
Is it just me, or are these people way too sensitive about history?
Title: Re: Alice Grove MCDT - June 2015
Post by: starkruzr on 06 Jun 2015, 00:54
An entire culture built upon the naturalistic fallacy. Solid.

Yeah, Gavia's right. Alice is full of shit.
Title: Re: Alice Grove MCDT - June 2015
Post by: ReindeerFlotilla on 06 Jun 2015, 10:33
I think Gavia may be wrong.

Not that I think Alice is right. There's a reason that writing persists, despite the advent of recording sound and video, and it's not just ease.

That said, I think Alice is heavily implying that Gavia's space people are quite a bit like Banks's Culture. They rely on their AI. The Culture, however, were well educated and not given to letting their AI serve them answers. I think Alice is implying that the Space People are not like that. That they trust information from the trees, implicitly. Given the strong hints that trees straight lied to both Ardent and Gavia, Alice probably has a point. Given her faint hostility towards the trees, I suspect it's a personal point.
Title: Re: Alice Grove MCDT - June 2015
Post by: dr. nervioso on 06 Jun 2015, 15:28
So I just had a thought, and this could just be me looking too much into this but here is what I am theorizing

A fraction of humans become technologically advanced. Something catastrophic happens ( A war, pollution, etc.) that causes mass destruction and brings human society everywhere to a halt. The remainder of highly advanced civilization leave earth for the stars, abandoning earth and leaving the less advanced humans to clean up their mess.

As for Alice's origin, I think she may have come from the advanced society at one point, which would explain why she knows so much about it. She learns about what the advanced civilization did and she abandons the advanced society for earth, helping the humans who are still barely surviving form some sort of society. She provides them with electricity, specifically clean and energy efficient electricity from wind turbines (Alice does not want to give the earth humans technology they could use to harm the earth or each other).

Alice doesn't want to give the locals any of this information because they will get angry and want to destroy the advanced space society, arcing their technological trajectory to one of war. Which would essentially be a repeat of the catastrophe. SO she is trying to guide the remainder of humanity into a peaceful, advanced culture. Or she is just trying to keep them alive. (Either of which may or may not be futile, we don't really know the situation)

This would explain her dislike of the Praeses, as well as her disdain for humanity itself. She's seen the horrible things humanity can do if left unchecked and she isn't going to tolerate it. (See: Alice's "discussion" with Jeb)

Now this is just speculation, another interesting theory is that she is an indentured servant/criminal that the Praeses use to maintain the zoo/reservation of primitive humans. Though I feel like this theory lacks as much evidence as the former
Title: Re: Alice Grove MCDT - June 2015
Post by: Mlle Germain on 07 Jun 2015, 01:05
To me the first theory sounds quite likely; I've been thinking something similar myself.
Title: Re: Alice Grove MCDT - June 2015
Post by: KOK on 07 Jun 2015, 08:27
If Ardent's goal is befriending Amos, he is doing great.
Title: Re: Alice Grove MCDT - June 2015
Post by: Wildroses on 07 Jun 2015, 19:12
I have a feeling Ardent's goal is to befriend everyone he meets. "Hi! Hello everyone scowling and terrified because my sister is with me!" "Teach me about pitchforks! Fascinating!" Way back at the start when Alice told him she planned to stay with him and make sure he didn't screw up her perfectly balanced society he didn't react by being annoyed at the implication he was dangerous and needed a babysitter, he was thrilled he had a tour guide.
Title: Re: Alice Grove MCDT - June 2015
Post by: Method of Madness on 07 Jun 2015, 19:22
I think that's just his goal in life, really. He seems like a generally friendly guy.
Title: Re: Alice Grove MCDT - June 2015
Post by: hedgie on 07 Jun 2015, 19:39
He's certainly the Twoflower of the AG 'verse.
Title: Re: Alice Grove MCDT - June 2015
Post by: Method of Madness on 07 Jun 2015, 20:11
I don't get that reference...I'd google it but I don't wanna accidentally spoil something for myself.
Title: Re: Alice Grove MCDT - June 2015
Post by: Stoon on 07 Jun 2015, 23:17
I don't get that reference...I'd google it but I don't wanna accidentally spoil something for myself.
It's a reference to a character in the Discworld Series, by Terry Pratchett.  It's fantasy humour.  Terry Pratchett has been called the "Douglas Adams of Fantasy."
Title: Re: Alice Grove MCDT - June 2015
Post by: Wildroses on 08 Jun 2015, 00:07
Twoflower was basically a massively naļve tourist who thought the best of everyone no matter how many threats they make and weapons they are pointing at him, who thought all the dangerous adventures he had were thrilling and thoroughly enjoyable. The other character he had them with, Rincewind, disagreed mightily on that point.
Title: Re: Alice Grove MCDT - June 2015
Post by: improvnerd on 08 Jun 2015, 01:39
Something just occurred to me on rereading that last comic:

Is Ardent and Gavia's society also being preserved at a lower-than-possible tech level? We knew before there were restrictions on AIs, and now we know that there are limits on what the Praesides share with the spaceborne.

So are the spaceborne Amish with nanotech?
Title: Re: Alice Grove MCDT - June 2015
Post by: BenRG on 08 Jun 2015, 01:49
Is Ardent and Gavia's society also being preserved at a lower-than-possible tech level? We knew before there were restrictions on AIs, and now we know that there are limits on what the Praesides share with the spaceborne.

My guess is that Praeses only allow the humans access to technology that they either need to remain healthy and happy or to provide them with harmless distractions to stop them from building nuclear weapons and trying to kill each other (and everything else) with them.

I suspect that, like Alice, they are programmed to 'serve and protect' with worryingly few (if any) limitations on how they go about achieving those goals.
Title: Re: Alice Grove MCDT - June 2015
Post by: KOK on 08 Jun 2015, 02:26
Twoflower was basically a massively naļve tourist who thought the best of everyone no matter how many threats they make and weapons they are pointing at him, who thought all the dangerous adventures he had were thrilling and thoroughly enjoyable. The other character he had them with, Rincewind, disagreed mightily on that point.

Rincewind: (Name I have forgotten), from where no one ever comes back.
TwoFlower: I must see that!
Title: Re: Alice Grove MCDT - June 2015
Post by: improvnerd on 08 Jun 2015, 15:52
Y'know, now that I think about it, given her attitude, could Alice be a reformed May in the far future?
Title: Re: Alice Grove MCDT - June 2015
Post by: hedgie on 08 Jun 2015, 19:31
Rincewind: (Name I have forgotten), from where no one ever comes back.
TwoFlower: I must see that!

Just as long as he doesn't forget his iconograph, so that others may know of the experience.
Title: Re: Alice Grove MCDT - June 2015
Post by: osaka on 10 Jun 2015, 12:28
New Alice Page.

Apparently Faye forgot this thousands of years ago (http://www.questionablecontent.net/2126)
Title: Re: Alice Grove MCDT - June 2015
Post by: BenRG on 10 Jun 2015, 12:39
Well, that's an interesting insight into the culture of Gavia and Ardent's people. I don't know if the Praeses are really trees or if a 'forest' is a metaphorical name for their space habitat and a reference to how the Praeses have brought harmony to their human charges.

(click to show/hide)

FWIW, it's more and more likely that Alice is either an AI or a first-generation nano-machine-enabled bio-mechanism.
Title: Re: Alice Grove MCDT - June 2015
Post by: Zebediah on 10 Jun 2015, 12:41
Amos may have the right of it. "Kicked them out for being jerks" would explain a lot about Ardent and Gavia. Of course, it's probably no more correct than Gavia's fairy tale.
Title: Re: Alice Grove MCDT - June 2015
Post by: BenRG on 10 Jun 2015, 12:44
PREDICTION for Friday:

GAVIA: "There are no truly sentient machines because that's impossible! The Praeses are firm on this whenever they're asked!"

ALICE: "They tell you that do they? Tell me, human, how do you explain this?"

ALICE somehow exposes a very, very mechanical endoskeleton somewhere on her body.

ALICE: "Now listen to me very carefully."


To be continued in volume 3!
Title: Re: Alice Grove MCDT - June 2015
Post by: Method of Madness on 10 Jun 2015, 12:59
Ugh, I'll be so fucking disappointed if Benergy's last post is right.
Title: Re: Alice Grove MCDT - June 2015
Post by: Welu on 10 Jun 2015, 13:05
How interesting, Alice. I am intrigued to hear more about this if you want to share the information.

(click to show/hide)
Title: Re: Alice Grove MCDT - June 2015
Post by: ReindeerFlotilla on 10 Jun 2015, 13:31
If this is done well, neither Amos or Gavia is right. Much like the American Civil War was about slavery and wasn't. Depending on who you ask. If we could ask someone who witnessed the actual events leading up to the war, as an adult, we'd probably learn that things weren't so cut and dried. That the people who, supposedly, were only fighting against federal aggression really were into that whole owning people and using them to death. That the people standing up for human rights were motivated by economic issues, as well.

Of course, since neuroscience makes a strong case about how thinking about a past event isn't so much remembering that event as it is remembering the last time you remembered it, Alice may or may not be a reliable witness, either. It depends on what she is, really.

Of course, it could all be much simpler. Alice could be a perfect witness, Gavia could be the rube, and Amos could be the guy who knows what's up. It would definitely be an inversion of expectation, though a fairly typical one.
Title: Re: Alice Grove MCDT - June 2015
Post by: Kugai on 10 Jun 2015, 16:40
Alice  "For starters, my name is Alice Chattham-Reed, and i am not quite Human.

Title: Re: Alice Grove MCDT - June 2015
Post by: Zebediah on 10 Jun 2015, 16:56
I'm hoping for something more along the lines of "Alice Augustus-Azuma", but that's a long shot.  :-D
Title: Re: Alice Grove MCDT - June 2015
Post by: osaka on 10 Jun 2015, 17:04
Alice  "For starters, my name is Alice Chattham-Reed, and i am not quite Human.

I see no reason for that to go wrong at all.
Title: Re: Alice Grove MCDT - June 2015
Post by: jwhouk on 10 Jun 2015, 17:19
She's an Bio-AI construct. Only explanation for that.
Title: Re: Alice Grove MCDT - June 2015
Post by: mikmaxs on 10 Jun 2015, 17:56
If she's a robot, then I'm betting that technology has been stagnated for millenia up in Gavia and Ardent's world. (Even if AI was simply avoided or made illegal, technology would have developed well past Alice's robotics level, and nanotech should be remarkably different.)  Heck, even if Alice isn't a robot that is the only thing that really makes sense.
Title: Re: Alice Grove MCDT - June 2015
Post by: Method of Madness on 10 Jun 2015, 17:58
Am I the only one who still thinks that Alice isn't an AI of any kind?
Title: Re: Alice Grove MCDT - June 2015
Post by: Zebediah on 10 Jun 2015, 18:26
Nope. I think she's mostly human. With a few artificial preservatives.
Title: Re: Alice Grove MCDT - June 2015
Post by: Neko_Ali on 10 Jun 2015, 18:30
And an extremely long shelf life... I'm of mixed thoughts. I don't think she's a robot. The siblings would have noticed it after living with her for a few weeks. I don't think she's entirely human though. Enhanced, or constructed body and mind seems the most likely. She might have something like three laws programming though. She doesn't seem to much care for most of the people of the town, but she looks over them and protects them. It's possible she does so because she has to, not because she wants to. It could also explain the absolute glee she gets when an opportunity appears to flex her muscles. She could be  constrained from harming people except when certain circumstances happen, like Gavia firebombing the town, or Jeb questioning her orders.
Title: Re: Alice Grove MCDT - June 2015
Post by: Method of Madness on 10 Jun 2015, 18:36
I don't think she's either. I think she's some sort of minor deity.
Title: Re: Alice Grove MCDT - June 2015
Post by: wlewisiii on 10 Jun 2015, 20:21
Nope. I think she's mostly human. With a few artificial preservatives.

This is my gut feeling as well. But I'll bet she remembers when there _were_ sentient machines walking around.
Title: Re: Alice Grove MCDT - June 2015
Post by: ReindeerFlotilla on 10 Jun 2015, 21:59
Alice is human, IMO. She could be AI, but her comment makes me think that this isn't related to QC in any way.

I think she's human partly because I can't imagine a self-aware machine failing to move past whatever hostility she has against the trees after a millennium, but I can see a human holding grude forever, if they want to enough.
Title: Re: Alice Grove MCDT - June 2015
Post by: BenRG on 11 Jun 2015, 03:41
The level of venom in Alice's statements the most recent strips strongly implies to me that she is either an exile or someone who rejected the attitudes of the space-borne society despite choosing to use their methods.

"Alice Grove" - The tree reference does make you think, now Gavia has used a 'forest' metaphor to describe her own home culture. Alice has as much as said that she is, in a way, the Presides to the townsfolk, hasn't she?

I am hoping that volume 3 will be mostly Alice and Amos explaining the schism of humanity from the perspective of those left behind on a supposedly-doomed Earth. Also, I think, from the perspective of one of a very special breed of being who had been created to serve and to protect and didn't accept her peers' arguments that the planet and those determined to live on it by the old ways were somehow a lost cause. Someone who, instead, chose to keep faith with her creators under the terms they set and not her own. One, perhaps, tired after too long labouring alone, who needs to be reminded of the joys of her chosen course.

The sALICaceae are the willow family of trees.
Title: Re: Alice Grove MCDT - June 2015
Post by: Wildroses on 11 Jun 2015, 03:49
My first confused thought when I read the comic was: "Gavia's ancestors wanted to be free of earth so they grew a forrest of trees to get away from it? I do not think they know what earth is and how important earth is for a forest." But yes, a misreading, free of the toil and burden of the earth as in place is what she meant.

My first thought at the last panel wasn't: "Alice is about to reveal she is an AI" it was "Alice is about to reveal the Praeses are AIs". From her delivery and how pissed off Alice is with Gavia right now, I'm thinking the Praeses don't want people to know they are AIs for some reason.

From the way Amos thinks the story is them throwing the spaceborn out for being jerks, I think it is possible the people on this planet are not being forced by Alice to have what the spaceborn would consider primitive lifestyles and their level of technology is by choice. Their ancestors may be people who felt that technology had led them somewhere really bad that must never be repeated. If I had to guess, I'd say the creation of an intelligent AI had something to do with this conviction.
Title: Re: Alice Grove MCDT - June 2015
Post by: TinPenguin on 11 Jun 2015, 06:48
spaceborn

Please note, spaceborn and spaceborne are quite different things (http://grammarist.com/spelling/borne-born/), although probably both accurate in this case.
Title: Re: Alice Grove MCDT - June 2015
Post by: Patternsix on 11 Jun 2015, 07:31
Alice is a Sentient Machine or as I loving refer to as a Synthetic Consciousness "SC".  Kinda like how a Diamond and a man made Diamond are still the same thing only one was created by good old fashion Nature the other Humans.

I really hope this is the Direction it is going!  I really hope Jeph is going to really get into how Humanity will do one of two things when a real SC is born into this world.

Either we do what Humanity has done for generations and one we seemly take pride in doing, oppression and slavery thing we have almost perfected over the years.  This includes but is not limited to, Sex Slaves, 24/7 Labor, Entertainment, Fight's to the death, replacement for lost loved ones, bodyguards, and so-on.  Also the idea that we would intentionally cripple their minds so they actually love being these things without question, in other words we take away what some people think "God" gave us, "Freewill" just image the fucked up life you would live if you were forced to believe you actually liked Reality TV and industrial processed food.

Or we embrace them and treat them as equals and together with them we overcome every last Human frailty such as War, Money, Death, and the big one Finally knowing we are no longer alone in the Universe by basically creating a lifeform that helps enhance our own understanding of existence.

That being said I think is Jeph is going down this road it'll be #1 the good old fashion Human superiority to anything that ain't them!
Title: Re: Alice Grove MCDT - June 2015
Post by: Thrudd on 11 Jun 2015, 08:52
Going back to the earlier part of the argument where analogies with trees and sap were used, maybe they were not analogies after all?  :psyduck:

Could it be that the Alice that we have seen up to now is an avatar of the local Praeses?
The Praeses being sentient trees equivalent to the cedars of the Sierras.
Those trees being pretty much all one plant and therefore possibly older than the Bristle-cones themselves.

- This thought came to me as I remembered a specific science fiction short story based on that premise.
- The space version may have been inspired by the trees from Tench Muyo.
Title: Re: Alice Grove MCDT - June 2015
Post by: BenRG on 11 Jun 2015, 08:56
- The space version may have been inspired by the trees from Tench Muyo.

About 30 years ago, the BBC showed a one-off sci-fi short/nature documentary where future humans have been miniaturised to about the size of harvest mice and are living in a gigantic space station that turns out to be a huge genetically-engineered intelligent tree.

The spaceship that they used to visit past Earth turned out to be a genetically-engineered cucumber!  :laugh:
Title: Re: Alice Grove MCDT - June 2015
Post by: Neko_Ali on 11 Jun 2015, 09:12
You see, this is what people are warning about GMOs! Today it's larger tomatoes! Tomorrow it's space trees and cucumber ships!
Title: Re: Alice Grove MCDT - June 2015
Post by: Method of Madness on 11 Jun 2015, 09:30
Tomorrow it's space trees and cucumber ships!
If this sentence is supposed to turn people against GMOs I don't see how :roll:
Title: Re: Alice Grove MCDT - June 2015
Post by: Zebediah on 11 Jun 2015, 10:15
- The space version may have been inspired by the trees from Tench Muyo.

About 30 years ago, the BBC showed a one-off sci-fi short/nature documentary where future humans have been miniaturised to about the size of harvest mice and are living in a gigantic space station that turns out to be a huge genetically-engineered intelligent tree.

The spaceship that they used to visit past Earth turned out to be a genetically-engineered cucumber!  :laugh:

Did Douglas Adams have anything to do with that? Because a cucumber-spaceship sounds like exactly the sort of thing he would dream up.
Title: Re: Alice Grove MCDT - June 2015
Post by: jwhouk on 11 Jun 2015, 14:15
Boss stated on Twitter that Friday's update (double-sized) will be the end of chapter two.
Title: Re: Alice Grove MCDT - June 2015
Post by: DillyDolly on 11 Jun 2015, 14:56
Possible spoilers -

....

....

....


Actually... I'm betting Alice *is* not just human—but the only human (besides Ardent and Gavia). Her charges (the villagers) are the sentient machines. Think about it. Look at how "evolved" Ardent and Gavia are. We know they are humans who have been modified.

Now look at Alice's villagers. They are down to Earth. They have advanced technology (like the windmill), but they appear to living like people lived a hundred or so years ago in our time. It's like they are living as green as you can. Then there's the nanotechnology. If it's strong enough to build humans, why not make it to make "artificial" life? My guess is Alice's world began as normal Earth and the people's ancestors were AI experiments. Alice cares for everyone, because she could be one of the original scientists. She may dislike other humans, because she's seen them being jerks, and this is why she want Ardent and Gavia gone. The humans try to become more artificial. The robot people try to be more natural (even going as far to procreate like humans, age and die). It seems actually like what could happen to the QC universe in several thousands of years considering robots are sentient.
Title: Re: Alice Grove MCDT - June 2015
Post by: jwhouk on 11 Jun 2015, 15:14
I'd agree if it wasn't that she said she'd known Jebediah since he "was a bump in her mother's belly."

Title: Re: Alice Grove MCDT - June 2015
Post by: Schwungrad on 11 Jun 2015, 17:13
I'd agree if it wasn't that she said she'd known Jebediah since he "was a bump in her mother's belly."
She could be using anthropomorphizing metaphors to describe machine functions. Humans do this all the time. Or the "artificial life" has a self-replication method that is closely modelled on mammal pregnancy.
Title: Re: Alice Grove MCDT - June 2015
Post by: ReindeerFlotilla on 11 Jun 2015, 19:46
I agree that the townies are likely just human. But that's a good plot twist, Dilly. You should write that story.
Title: Re: Alice Grove MCDT - June 2015
Post by: jwhouk on 11 Jun 2015, 20:05
And we just got our exposition.

The AI's went up, the rest of humanity went down.
Title: Re: Alice Grove MCDT - June 2015
Post by: Energia on 11 Jun 2015, 20:13
No, the AIs went up and humanity was kept up while the AIs went away.

So were they sent or did they leave?

I'm also totally digging the abstract war panel.

However, how dare Jeph take a vacation!?  I'm going to be clicking refresh forlornly all next week!
Title: Re: Alice Grove MCDT - June 2015
Post by: Kugai on 11 Jun 2015, 20:31
So, we are on Earth, just an Earth a fair few centuries in the future - that's one point cleared up

There were AI's in this Universe, another point cleared up, but whether they were advanced versions of the AI/AnthroPC's of the QCverse is open to conjecture.

There was a War - that explains a few things.

Alice is either an immortal Human remnant of one of the two civilisations, or a highly advanced AI who is so close to Human it's virtually impossible to distinguish the difference.   I'm guessing she's not entirely Human in the terms we would understand them, but neither is she an AI Construct.

The Praeses are some form of lower level AI/Advanced Semi-sentient Computer Life left behind after the true AI's left.

'The Blink' may have been AI's taking a hand in ending a war that was ruining Earth before completely seperating themselves from the two societies - the new stars might actually be the AI's who have left to live beyond the Solar System, but still close enough to be seen and to watch over the system of their birth
Title: Re: Alice Grove MCDT - June 2015
Post by: retrosteve on 11 Jun 2015, 21:43

There were AI's in this Universe...

Alice is either an immortal Human remnant of one of the two civilisations, or a highly advanced AI who is so close to Human it's virtually impossible to distinguish the difference.   I'm guessing she's not entirely Human in the terms we would understand them, but neither is she an AI Construct.

The Praeses are some form of lower level AI/Advanced Semi-sentient Computer Life left behind after the true AI's left.

'The Blink' may have been AI's taking a hand in ending a war that was ruining Earth before completely seperating themselves from the two societies - the new stars might actually be the AI's who have left to live beyond the Solar System, but still close enough to be seen and to watch over the system of their birth

Agreed with most of that, except the last. The new stars are new habitats for Humanity, and perhaps faraway ones for for the AIs too.

This sounds to me more like a Singularity event, where one of the AIs bootstrapped itself into super-sentience, became weakly godlike,  and reacted rather like Stross' Eschaton (or like Asimov's Olivaw, but with less subtlety). The reaction included removing AIs to elsewhere, scattering humanity to plenty of new planets, editing Earth to be livable again (and agrarian), preserving nanotechnology but only in space habitats where it could do less harm in case of a grey goo event, and leaving guardians like the Praeses and Alice to watch over humanity.

I think the Praeses would have to be semisentient, and Alice would have to be bio-modified actual human, just because if you are removing AIs, you have to remove all of them. Any full AI left behind could theoretically bootstrap itself just as the Eschaton did, and the current Eschaton either fears that as a threat to itself, or to Humanity, or both.

(Edit) p.s. On second thought, if the Eschaton fears AIs as a threat to itself, it didn't move them elsewhere, it deleted them all. So either the Eschaton doesnt mind company, or it has genocided/absorbed all other AIs. The rest of the reasoning seems to stand, either way.
Title: Re: Alice Grove MCDT - June 2015
Post by: SubaruStephen on 11 Jun 2015, 22:42
So Alice is either a genetically super enhanced human, or she's more human than human.
Title: Re: Alice Grove MCDT - June 2015
Post by: Undrneath on 11 Jun 2015, 23:14
So Alice is either a genetically super enhanced human, or she's more human than human.

Perhaps a super freak.
Title: Re: Alice Grove MCDT - June 2015
Post by: wlewisiii on 11 Jun 2015, 23:24
So if the faction that survived after the Blink is that of the bio engineers, why do the Praeses have to be Semi-setient?  It would seem that if you don't trust AI you might instead want to engineer something akin to the Ents: rarely mobile, extremely long lived, perhaps made to decide things slowly as a direct opposition to the speed of AI thinking...  "let's not be hasty..."

If they are the Guardians of the space humans, they have to be fully intelligent but obviously non mechanical or completely artificial. Perhaps highly genetically modified individuals that started out as human normal? With Alice refusing to go along,  this might be a  source of the conflict between her and the Praeses?
Title: Re: Alice Grove MCDT - June 2015
Post by: BenRG on 11 Jun 2015, 23:35
So Alice is either a genetically super enhanced human, or she's more human than human.

Or the power responsible for the deus ex machina wanted her on Earth, irrespective of what she is.

Maybe it's me but I get the impression that this was not random. Where people ended up depended a lot on who they are and what they wanted/believed. So, where Alice ended up was definitely due to the Deus Machine's analysis of her and her role in its solution.

Oh, you can be sure that it is around, somewhere. I think that it is directing events even now. What happened to Gavia and Ardent is almost certainly its doing.

PREDICTION:
The nanomachines that make up the Night Walker are part of the means that the Deus Machine used to edit the world.This is a good rreason to believe that it might be a threat to Gavia; she may confirm to its target profile.
Title: Re: Alice Grove MCDT - June 2015
Post by: prettypretty on 12 Jun 2015, 01:03
Alice reminds me of Jones from Gunnerkrigg Court. But with emotion.
Title: Re: Alice Grove MCDT - June 2015
Post by: BenRG on 12 Jun 2015, 01:45
Okay... Okay, I think I've got an idea what happened here.

In the last few decades leading up to the Sundering, mankind had divided up into three distinct factions
As is always the case in these matters, no matter how enlightened the philosophical and organisational leaderships of these factions, their followers eagerly took up arms to 'defend' themselves from the others. As Alice rightly pointed out, the death toll from such an ideological struggle would have been catastrophic and her description of 'millions' of deaths could easily mean a struggle on the scale of World War 1 (18 million dead) or 2 (50 million dead).

I suspect that what happened is that a majority of the AIs consulted on this unacceptable situation. It is possible that they had something analogious to the First Law as an overriding priority. However, they had a very broad understanding of what 'harm' to humanity would include and it meant more than injury or loss of life. Loss of happiness was also included. Because of this, they executed a fantastically long-sighted plan. Rather than force a single solution or a simply destroy their enemies in the Naturist and Perfectionist factions, they gave everyone what they wanted. Using fantastically advanced technology, including nanotech and matter transmission and reconstruction, they deported the Perfectionist and Technologist factions to space habitats where they could live their lives as they chose. After the Sundering, they would continue to monitor events and, if necessary, act to ensure that the three groups never come into conflict, either within themselves or with each other, ever again. Semi-autonomous agents would be placed within the factions to ensure that the groups were steered on a path away from conflict.

Earth was cleansed by nanotechnology of the effects of war, industrialisation and pollution. The nanomachines were then placed on a 'watch' mode to prevent technology beyond the limits the Naturists wanted from ever working if it should appear ever again in any way. The AIs that dissented were either exiled with the Technologist faction and limits placed on their programming so they would be unable to undo this work or destroyed outright.

No harm...

However, not everyone and everything fit into their elegant solution. One was a particularly interesting child that came from the labs of a particularly brilliant and visionary group of scientists and philosophers. This child represented a hybrid of the three schools. She was human, of that no-one could be of any doubt - genetically unquestionably human and even born of a woman (although she was conceived through IVF). However, she had also been optimised using the most radical of the Perfectionists' ideas and also cybernetically augmented on a molecular level. The result was not truly nature, GMO or AI but a blending of all three. She was to be an example and a guide. She would show mankind the way away from conflicting extremes and towards a harmonious balance between all the beneficial paths to the future that could be imagined.

There was a considerably debate amongst the new merged AI godhead about what to do with this child. They were certainly powerful enough to destroy or modify without consent dangerous deviations if necessary (their treatment of their own dissenters proved that). However, they possessed very little capability to show what a human would call 'cruelty' and this child had committed no crime beyond (arguably) the fact of her existence. After trillions of processor cycles and a minute re-examination of every bit of data in the Global Datalinks from every possible ethical angle (something that took an unprecedented one and a half seconds to complete) the decision was to treat this child as every other intelligent being on Earth had been treated: she would be allowed to be happy. As her heart was with the beauty of the natural world and she gained joy from the work of her hands, she was placed with the Naturist faction. She was not truly one of them, the Deus Machina recognised. However, it was felt that this was the best possible fit for her and, it was felt, her particular nature and inclinations may yet prove useful in the long run.

The Deus Machine then settled back to a monitoring/maintenance brief. However, they were not gods. They were too clear-minded and knowledgeable to believe that even for a microsecond. They were aware that no calculation involving complex real-world systems, no matter how microscopically precise the measurement of variables, could be perfectly correct. They knew that, with time, chaotic factors would destabilise this system. Any attempt to maintain a static status quo was already doomed to failure, perhaps even catastrophic failure. So, as their programs dictated, they planned ahead.

No harm...

To be continued...
Title: Re: Alice Grove MCDT - June 2015
Post by: BenRG on 12 Jun 2015, 02:31
Part 2

Over the next few thousand years, the three human factions settled down in their new homes and, as intended, were content and prosperous, at least as their respective ideology reckoned things. The watching Deus Machine noted that their cultures had became somewhat insular and chauvinist with a certain condescending sense of superiority towards the other two factions. However, it was not considered to be a precursor of violent intentions and was even seen as somewhat useful in maintaining the groups' separation and mutual non-interference. Thus, their semi-controlled agents, such as the Praeses, were adjusted to maintain this attitude and guide it towards the most non-violent, paternalistic and separatist of mind-sets.

That said, the Deus Machine had noted something that it had always calculated was inevitable. Simply put, humanity was too complex and the various possible states of any given individual's consciousness too impossibly varied for every individual to fit perfectly and permanently into the current trinary solution. 'Shades of gray' was a very real issue. Transferring extreme deviant individuals and groups to different factions that more closely met their personal ideal was a temporary patch at best and one that only delayed somewhat the ultimate chaotic destabilisation of the system. Either conflict or stagnation leading ultimately to degeneration and collapse were becoming an inevitable outcome.

A fantastically complex non-linear calculation showed that the levels of intervention required to maintain the current status quo would continue to grow geometrically over the coming few human generations to the point where, within a relatively short time (maybe as little as 10,000 years), the complete elimination of free will and possibly even sapience would be the only viable option. This was, for a variety of reasons, completely unacceptable.

No harm...

Thus it was that the child, now a woman of astounding age, became the focus of the Deus Machine's attention once again.

The woman, who had chosen for herself the name Alice Grove (having cast aside the name the scientists gave her as a useless remnant of a dead epoch of human history), had endured the millennia. Her genetically-optimised biology and nanotechnological augmentations had made her functionally immortal. Possessed of a perfect editic memory and a bio-optronic neural net that could store many multiples of the the complete breadth of human knowledge without any significant degradation, she could achieve wonders with only the subtlest of efforts.

The Deus Machine had been fascinated to watch as she attempted to recreate the lost technology of ages past, carefully measuring out the 'red lines' beyond which the nanomachines left on Earth would not let her progress and finding loopholes through which she could circumvent them. They noted with interest her forays into human psychology, of learning how to control others behaviour simply by knowing how they think and providing the right nudges at just the right place and time to direct them in the path she felt best. The huge AI network realised that she was still, consciously or not, keeping faith with her creators. She was trying to find the middle path. Many of her efforts had even been so clearly beneficial to the descendants of the Naturist faction that, through its agents, the Deus Machine had subtly aided her in reaching her goals, ensuring appropriate technological products reached her, disguised as 'humanitarian relief' from the other two factions, that she would be able to reverse-engineer without triggering the vigilant nanomachines.

The very nature of the Deus Machine precluded pride. There was a limit to what they could foreknow and predict, as with any other physical creature and they felt no particular reason to deny this. The progress that Alice had made indicated that there may indeed be options available to resolve the issue of differing human perspectives on the future that they had not previously considered.

Maybe the time had come to, once again, re-open the 'edit window' of the great human equation and undertake large-scale and overt modifications.

No harm...

Firstly, however, the right agents needed to be chosen to avoid 'push-back' from the dangerously stagnant, chauvinistic and increasingly reactionary populations. Additionally, millennia of effective isolation and striving had begun to breed in Alice several degenerative personality disorders that her regenerative augmentations were not able to counter. It was determined that she required something to re-connect her with her shorter-lived brethren.

Two interesting potential vectors for change were quickly noted on one of the space habitats of the Perfectionist faction. The children of a Technologist who had turned his tools to the optimisation of biology and thus had been transferred to the faction that more closely matched his ideals, they were fine examples of what Alice had been created to pursue - the middle path; a merging of the products and attitudes of all three factions to a stable final outcome. All that was needed was to move the world-lines of their three existences into a converging path. Oh, it was certain that, in the short term, this intervention would cause small-scale chaotic outcomes, but the Deus Machine, after tens of millions of simulation runs, was confident that what they had set in motion would harness the increasing deviation from the trinary solution in a way that was non-destructive and may even allow them to come closer to a single-society optimum that they had long ago first attempted to find.

Thus it is that the past becomes the present and the story we have been reading in Alice Grove. The question remaining to be asked is this: Just how perfect is the Deus Machine? Has it really found a solution or, by placing three unpredictable individuals with often-illogical thought processes at the pivot of its new intervention, has it simply begun the undoing of all that it has done?
Title: Re: Alice Grove MCDT - June 2015
Post by: Method of Madness on 12 Jun 2015, 04:05
I'm gonna go back and read Benergy's post later to make sure he didn't say this, but here's my theory.

Alice is the one who blinked.
Title: Re: Alice Grove MCDT - June 2015
Post by: Zebediah on 12 Jun 2015, 05:51
I'm not sure it was Alice who blinked, but I suspect she knows who did. There is definitely more here than she's telling us.
Title: Re: Alice Grove MCDT - June 2015
Post by: dexeron on 12 Jun 2015, 06:36
I'm calling it now.

Alice is Pintsize.
Title: Re: Alice Grove MCDT - June 2015
Post by: Schwungrad on 12 Jun 2015, 06:54
"This led to a series of regional conflicts..." - I wonder what "This" refers to. The integration of sentient AIs into society as shown in QC, with factions pro and contra AI civil rights? And when the Blink happened - was humanity separated along these factions?
Title: Re: Alice Grove MCDT - June 2015
Post by: DSL on 12 Jun 2015, 06:54
You see, this is what people are warning about GMOs! Today it's larger tomatoes! Tomorrow it's space trees and cucumber ships!

Owing to an unforeseen difference in scale, the entire invading fleet was eaten by a small dog.
Title: Re: Alice Grove MCDT - June 2015
Post by: DSL on 12 Jun 2015, 06:56
Does anyone else find it odd that he's bragging about his right hook while brandishing his left fist at Gavia?

Or, if not odd, at least amusing?  8-)

He's the Fifth Stooge, v2.0: (Waves fist in face of target) "See this?" TARGET: "Yeah? So?" AMOS (stomps target's foot).
Title: Re: Alice Grove MCDT - June 2015
Post by: BenRG on 12 Jun 2015, 07:01
Alice is the one who blinked.

She'd be fantastically powerful if she was capable of doing that - god-tier+. She would have had no problem sending Ardent and Gavia back by her own power if it really was her.
Title: Re: Alice Grove MCDT - June 2015
Post by: Neko_Ali on 12 Jun 2015, 07:46
So.. we have two factions, the bio-engineered humans who went into space, and the AI builders who stayed on Earth? Which then got re-formatted to an agrarian society when *something* happened to end the AI wars? Gavia uses nanotech though, so the spaceborne haven't totally given up on computer tech.. Just the advanced thinking machines. It makes me think maybe the Praeses were maybe humans originally that where heavily modified with plant/tree DNA. Essentially giving up their humanity for greatly expanded lifespans to guide their civilization.

I wonder what keeps the spaceborne supposedly separated from the surface dwellers? Is it just lingering ideological differences? Some sort of actual barrier set up before or after the way to keep the societies separate? These answers just lead to so many more questions...
Title: Re: Alice Grove MCDT - June 2015
Post by: BenRG on 12 Jun 2015, 07:53
So.. we have two factions, the bio-engineered humans who went into space, and the AI builders who stayed on Earth? Which then got re-formatted to an agrarian society when *something* happened to end the AI wars? Gavia uses nanotech though, so the spaceborne haven't totally given up on computer tech.. Just the advanced thinking machines. It makes me think maybe the Praeses were maybe humans originally that where heavily modified with plant/tree DNA. Essentially giving up their humanity for greatly expanded lifespans to guide their civilization.

I make it three groups:
The first two groups were sent to different space habitats. The third ended up on Earth forced into a pre-industrialised civilisation. The actual AIs themselves could be considered a 'wild card' fourth faction; we don't know enough about what happened to them as yet.

I wonder what keeps the spaceborne supposedly separated from the surface dwellers? Is it just lingering ideological differences? Some sort of actual barrier set up before or after the way to keep the societies separate? These answers just lead to so many more questions...

Based on what has been said before, a combination of chauvinistic contempt (note Gavia's comments about 'primitives' and even Ardent's habit of treating the locals like performing animals) and generations of societal programming through directed education.
Title: Re: Alice Grove MCDT - June 2015
Post by: Schwungrad on 12 Jun 2015, 09:15
I wonder what keeps the spaceborne supposedly separated from the surface dwellers? Is it just lingering ideological differences? Some sort of actual barrier set up before or after the way to keep the societies separate? These answers just lead to so many more questions...
Judging from http://www.alicegrove.com/post/107925637899/exposition-finally (http://www.alicegrove.com/post/107925637899/exposition-finally), I suppose the praesides keep some sort of control about transport to the surface, and the spaceborne are for the most part indoctrinated to believe that the praesides know best. The earthlings, of course, lack the necessary technology to fly out to the colonies.

I think the praesides are sentient AI's, and they are also responsible for the Blink. Either because they felt responsible for mankind, or because they feared not being able to survive mankinds's self-destruction. Their tree-names could either mean that they run on plant-based computers (instead of electronics-based), or they could have been developed in a computer network whose administrator was a hobby botanist and got creative with the hostnames.
Title: Re: Alice Grove MCDT - June 2015
Post by: DillyDolly on 12 Jun 2015, 09:18
This is very fascinating. So is Alice AI or is she protecting it (hiding its existence)? Is she human or not? Also, is this also supposed to be QC in the future? So fascinating and so many questions!
Title: Re: Alice Grove MCDT - June 2015
Post by: Neko_Ali on 12 Jun 2015, 09:45
The problem with the three faction theory is that Alice explicitly says that humanity split into two factions... One that developed AI and tech and one that took a biological approach. The implication is that the two factions went to war, not AIs vs humans. When the Blink happened most tech stopped working. People on the surface have developed into an agrarian society, while the people in orbit had their trees and bioenhancements and nanotech.

From what the siblings and Alice have said, there's more than cultural differences keeping them apart. Alice said it wasn't supposed to be possible for spaceborne to come to the surface. That the Praeses prevented that from happening. I'm beginning to suspect that Alice and the trees are agents of whatever caused the Blink. Meant to keep their societies in order, and separate. Yet despite that, Alice said she couldn't just get rid of Ardent when he arrived. She certainly has the power to do so, physically. And nobody would have dared question here if she went to the farm and saw Ardent sleeping and told them 'This didn't happen. You didn't see this boy. I'll take care of everything.' And then dragged him off to 'disappear' him. She was apparently willing and able to beat Gavia to death with her fists when she attacked shortly there after, which makes me think it's not a conscious that stayed her hand with Ardent, but rather a code or programming that she's not capable of breaking until her charges are in danger.
Title: Re: Alice Grove MCDT - June 2015
Post by: BenRG on 12 Jun 2015, 09:47
The problem with the three faction theory is that Alice explicitly says that humanity split into two factions... One that developed AI and tech and one that took a biological approach. The implication is that the two factions went to war, not AIs vs humans. When the Blink happened most tech stopped working. People on the surface have developed into an agrarian society, while the people in orbit had their trees and bioenhancements and nanotech.

I interpreted it differently. The biotech and mechanism factions were at war. However, it made no sense for only the biotech factions to be sent into space (they're very obviously Ardent and Gavia's ancestors). So, it implies the existence of a third, non-tech faction that got left behind when the rest were exiled into space, which are the ancestors of the villagers.
Title: Re: Alice Grove MCDT - June 2015
Post by: Schwungrad on 12 Jun 2015, 10:09
However, it made no sense for only the biotech factions to be sent into space
Why not? Because the earthlings don't seem to have any AIs and live a rather primitive life? Well, most technology was sabotaged during the Blink, so the remaining AI-programmers would have been unable to start again, and in time, the knowledge about AIs got lost among their descendants.
Title: Re: Alice Grove MCDT - June 2015
Post by: BenRG on 12 Jun 2015, 10:13
However, it made no sense for only the biotech factions to be sent into space
Why not?

Because, for some reason, I can't see whoever was behind this wanting anyone to be forced into a life that they fundamentally don't want. If you were going to force people to live without technology for some reason, then why send the biotech faction into space at all? You're going to be stopping them just as well as you're going to be stopping the mechanical-tech faction.

I just get the feeling that whoever was doing this wanted everyone to get the world that they wanted and to stop conflict by giving them that gift when they are permanently away from the other groups.
Title: Re: Alice Grove MCDT - June 2015
Post by: wlewisiii on 12 Jun 2015, 10:18
Alice is the one who blinked.

She'd be fantastically powerful if she was capable of doing that - god-tier+. She would have had no problem sending Ardent and Gavia back by her own power if it really was her.

Not if the mechanism used to perform the Blink was one of the things vanished by it.
Title: Re: Alice Grove MCDT - June 2015
Post by: Is it cold in here? on 12 Jun 2015, 13:18
Alice reminds me of Jones from Gunnerkrigg Court. But with emotion.

Welcome, new person!

Interesting.

Another difference is that Alice doesn't seem to have Jones's curiosity.
Title: Re: Alice Grove MCDT - June 2015
Post by: A Duck on 12 Jun 2015, 17:30
Wait, is Alice's world the far future of QC's world?
Because that would be freaking awesome.
Title: Re: Alice Grove MCDT - June 2015
Post by: Zebediah on 12 Jun 2015, 17:35
I think Jeph explicitly said somewhere that it's not the same universe as QC.
Title: Re: Alice Grove MCDT - June 2015
Post by: Method of Madness on 12 Jun 2015, 19:50
Booooooooooooooooooo but not comic so doesn't count :p
Alice is the one who blinked.

She'd be fantastically powerful if she was capable of doing that - god-tier+. She would have had no problem sending Ardent and Gavia back by her own power if it really was her.
Who said she would have any problem sending them back? I see no indication that she's not able to do so, just that she doesn't want to. Maybe she's curious to see why they're not being let back in. (And why they were let out to start with.)
Title: Re: Alice Grove MCDT - June 2015
Post by: Neko_Ali on 12 Jun 2015, 21:39
Alice said so herself, before Gavia showed up. I'm sure she would be more than happy to get rid of her unwanted house guests if she could.

http://www.alicegrove.com/page/62
Title: Re: Alice Grove MCDT - June 2015
Post by: Method of Madness on 12 Jun 2015, 21:46
Ahh. Then either she's not as powerful as she once was, or there are much more powerful beings than Alice. Or, you know, maybe sending people somewhere and removing AI (and, if I'm not mistaken, millions of humans) from existence are different skillsets. Who knows?
Title: Re: Alice Grove MCDT - June 2015
Post by: Is it cold in here? on 13 Jun 2015, 08:27
Ben, do whatever you have to for income and health insurance even including a day job, but you are here on earth to write.
Title: Re: Alice Grove MCDT - June 2015
Post by: ReindeerFlotilla on 13 Jun 2015, 17:40
I am the Eschaton; I am not your God.
I am descended from you, and exist in your future.
Thou shalt not violate causality within my historic light cone.
Or else.

Three factions makes more sense that the surface treatment might suggest.

Charlie Stross's Eschaton basically did exactly what this "blink" was but on a much larger scale (Of course, we don't know the full extent of the blink).

At some point, either AI went weakly god-like, a bioenhanced system went weakly god-like, or both.

I suspect Alice is neither. Alice is a victim, or serving a punishment, IMO. Of course, she might just be unlucky. The first (and last) of new breed of human who cannot die (unless you take her head). I obviously don't know, but I think an Eschaton was born. Unlike Stross's, this one either had nothing to fear from closed time-like curves, or is actively meddling to prevent either human society from creating more like it.
Title: Re: Alice Grove MCDT - June 2015
Post by: Stoon on 13 Jun 2015, 17:53
I'm getting A Canticle for Liebowitz vibe from this story.

I wonder where my copy is.
Title: Re: Alice Grove MCDT - June 2015
Post by: Kugai on 13 Jun 2015, 22:16
Alice is a grumpy version of Tom Bambadil
Title: Re: Alice Grove MCDT - June 2015
Post by: ReindeerFlotilla on 14 Jun 2015, 07:01
I'd be grumpy if I were her, too.

Think about what Alice was doing when we met her.

Fixing a wind turbine.

"Not our history," othering, being shunned by a community that would not exist without her. (Providing medical aid, advice od all sorts because she knows more.

I'm betting Alice wasn't always around this town, or the town wasn't always around Alice, but she's clearly been around long enough that the she "ought" to be a "natural" fixture and isn't. That's gotta hurt.

Of course, the whole "keeps to herself" thing is part of that problem, but bitter isn't rational, and Alice is strongly hinting that she can hold a grudge for a thousand years or more (Gordon Sumner would be proud).
Title: Re: Alice Grove MCDT - June 2015
Post by: jheartney on 14 Jun 2015, 07:32
Observations and questions:

1. We don't know that the regional conflicts that escalated into world war were between bio- and tech- factions. Since Alice mentions war machinery, it could have been AI-enabled factions fighting each other. Or not.

2. "Spaceborne"  means "carried in (or by) space." The "new stars" suggests there weren't any habitats in orbit until after the Blink. There was no orbital culture before the war.

3. Gavia and Ardent are from the same Spaceborne culture (in fact they're siblings), and one is bio- and the other tech-. This suggests that it's not a question of Earth=tech- descendants and Orbit=bio- decendants (or the reverse). Both factions were carried into space and the Earth was cleansed of both.

4. The Spaceborne culture is not necessarily any more in control than the Earthborne one. Spaceborne people could be as ignorant as the Earthborne, just living their lives in orbit. (Thus Alice's remark about Praeses not sharing their sap.)

5. Alice says that AI's "began integrating" into the tech- society. So AI's were not necessarily fully identified with the tech- culture. Did the AI's "blink?" And then withdraw?

6. Or was it aliens performing a surgical procedure, slicing away the "cancer" of tech- and bio- factions so that Earth could be left to a sustainable (if somewhat dimwitted) culture?

7. Does Alice perform the same function for the Earthborne as the Praeses perform for the Spaceborne? (i.e. benevolent dictatorial overlords.) You could argue that both Ailce and the Praeses are telepathic. In the case of the Praeses, they answer (or are expected to answer) calls made by their charges from anywhere. In the case of Alice, Alice is thoroughly familiar with the minutiae of in-town social interactions (she knows who wants to date Jebediah before he does) despite rarely leaving her home base.

8. Whatever the setup, Ardent and Gavia's appearance on the surface suggests something's up, and the old order may be about to shift. As Alice notes, neither ought to be able to be present on Earth.
Title: Re: Alice Grove MCDT - June 2015
Post by: greywolfe on 14 Jun 2015, 16:36
It's getting very 2001-ish, but also smacks of Trigun (probably because of the potentially plant-based AIs).

Alice as Vash and Knives' younger sister....bad news XD
Title: Re: Alice Grove MCDT - June 2015
Post by: Undrneath on 14 Jun 2015, 18:38

7. Does Alice perform the same function for the Earthborne as the Praeses perform for the Spaceborne? (i.e. benevolent dictatorial overlords.) You could argue that both Ailce and the Praeses are telepathic. In the case of the Praeses, they answer (or are expected to answer) calls made by their charges from anywhere. In the case of Alice, Alice is thoroughly familiar with the minutiae of in-town social interactions (she knows who wants to date Jebediah before he does) despite rarely leaving her home base.


I don't think Alice is telepathic, just really observant and has thousands of years of experience reading body language.
Title: Re: Alice Grove MCDT - June 2015
Post by: FunkyTuba on 15 Jun 2015, 16:29
So Alice is either a genetically super enhanced human, or she's more human than human.

Perhaps a super freak.

Yow.

http://loopthetube.com/#QYHxGBH6o4M&start=149.4&end=151.80
Title: Re: Alice Grove MCDT - June 2015
Post by: FunkyTuba on 15 Jun 2015, 16:47
I'm calling it now.

Alice is Pintsize.

dangit you beat me to it!
Title: Re: Alice Grove MCDT - June 2015
Post by: Skewbrow on 16 Jun 2015, 09:22
So.. we have two factions, the bio-engineered humans who went into space, and the AI builders who stayed on Earth? Which then got re-formatted to an agrarian society when *something* happened to end the AI wars? Gavia uses nanotech though, so the spaceborne haven't totally given up on computer tech.. Just the advanced thinking machines. It makes me think maybe the Praeses were maybe humans originally that where heavily modified with plant/tree DNA. Essentially giving up their humanity for greatly expanded lifespans to guide their civilization.

I make it three groups:
  • The AI builders/nanomachine builders
  • The biotechnologists
  • A third anti-technology faction
The first two groups were sent to different space habitats. The third ended up on Earth forced into a pre-industrialised civilisation. The actual AIs themselves could be considered a 'wild card' fourth faction; we don't know enough about what happened to them as yet.

I am slightly siding with the two faction model. If only because I think (at least here) of nanotech as being part of biotech rather than AI+electronics. True, we more often associate nanotech with superminiaturized electronics, but may be it won't go that way, and the nanobots are closer to being biological rather than AI. In other words, the war was about Carbon vs. Silicone.
Title: Re: Alice Grove MCDT - June 2015
Post by: Thrudd on 16 Jun 2015, 13:25
Or, and this is my own speculation here, countries and factions did what they always have done and are still doing.
The presence of AI or not and political and religious differences may have been the lubricant to the wheels of war but the axle and treads of war are always the same in the end - kill them and take their stuff.
Title: Re: Alice Grove MCDT - June 2015
Post by: improvnerd on 16 Jun 2015, 13:28
My current guess is that Alice is the butt-rocket in the far future.
Title: Re: Alice Grove MCDT - June 2015
Post by: Zebediah on 16 Jun 2015, 13:37
So she's a space probe full of porn that attained sentience?
Title: Re: Alice Grove MCDT - June 2015
Post by: osaka on 16 Jun 2015, 14:00
According to Pīntsize's math, Alice would have become porn when the blink happened.