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Greetings, but I think you are trying to do the impossible
Hi, Welcome to OA!!

OA seeks to do lots of things, one of them being producing stories set in the universe we've created. While superintelligence does play an important role in the setting, there are also major areas (speaking in terms of both points in time and points in space) where it does not (or at least just runs in the background). In those areas there is lots of room for stories involving characters of human or near-human level intelligence. And maybe some characters of rather inhuman intelligence if someone wanted to play with that.

As to whether or not it is possible to depict superhuman intelligence in a story set in the OA universe - only time will tell. Maybe it is, maybe it isn't - but we plan to have fun with it along the way. I would point to both Banks' Culture universe and Ascher's Polity universe as examples of enjoyable, well done, and successful SF series that include super-intelligent AIs. If we can do as well as either of those settings, I think we will be very happy.

Regarding your specific 'failure modes' below:

(12-30-2015, 10:58 AM)Cronos17 Wrote: Super Toys- the tendency to compensate with a litany of high tech devices. It is a fail case because the prerequisite techs are usually missing and the toys can usually be used by an ordinary person with training. Batman is one example.

OA addresses this with two elements of its Canon:

By definition it is impossible to in any way comprehend or reverse engineer technology of more than one toposophic level above oneself. These technologies do not exist at the lower toposophic levels because they require the cognitive abilities of the higher toposophic level in question to create or understand them.

It is generally impossible to correctly operate technology - especially weapons - designed for sophonts of at least one toposophic level above oneself. This is really an extension of the point above. You might be able to operate an S4 paperweight, but not an S4 weylforge.

While it is possible, in principle, for human level minds to employ transapient tech devices, this is only when the devices in question have been specifically built by the transapients to be operable by human level minds. Stories set in OA would be expected to follow Canon on this matter.

(12-30-2015, 10:58 AM)Cronos17 Wrote: Hidden Variables- deliberately concealing key details from the reader. Not really superintelligence they just know something you don't. Sherlock Holmes is my favorite example.

I don't recall any OA stories ever attempting to do this so far, but if they did I don't think we'd consider it super-intelligence per se. More likely the result of augmentation, which human level minds can also do. An exception would be the transapient ability to directly perceive (and manipulate) a vast number of variables (measured in thousands to trillions of different elements) simultaneously. That sort of ability goes rather beyond Sherlock Holmes, and if done well would be fine within the setting. It might be rather difficult to depict, however.

(12-30-2015, 10:58 AM)Cronos17 Wrote: Random Mysteriousness- the idea that superintelligence looks like randomness to everyone else. This is the driving force behind a lot of theology. And can lead you to try to justify actual stupidity.

The archai do work in mysterious ways, but I don't think we take the position that they work in random ones. If you look like you're winning against one however, it either means that it's manipulating you - or that you are getting help from another transapient of equal or greater intelligence.

(12-30-2015, 10:58 AM)Cronos17 Wrote: World Ownership- I once put a character as smart as me into one of my stories. Anything I could think up he could think up and consequently he was always one step ahead of the entire universe. I never made that mistake again, the world always needs to be the smartest character or else there is no story.

Transapients, and especially archai, often are the world, literally. So no danger of any other character being smarter. Although they also tend to have other uses for their time and either leave human level minds to take care of themselves or send them out to take care of stuff while the transapients get on with their own business.

(12-30-2015, 10:58 AM)Cronos17 Wrote: Avoidance- The smart thing to do is to avoid superintelligence if at all possible. From what I can tell that is what a lot of OA stories try to do, but superintelligent beings make up too much of OA to be effectively cropped out. As a result the stories seem shallow.

I would agree that this element gets used in OA stories a good bit. But I would disagree that superintelligent beings make up too much of OA to be cropped out or put in the background within the context of a story. What tends to happen instead is that people on the forums or in new EG articles tend to focus a lot of their attention on the doings of the transapients and less so on the huge blocks of the setting where they aren't.

As to whether or not the stories are shallow - none of us are professional authors, and most of the stories are on the short side. That's something we'd be happy to change, given the chance, but it is what it is. Not to mention being a matter of opinion. Just because you don't like a particular story, doesn't mean someone else might not love it.

Coming at this from another direction, you imply that you write SF stories of some kind. Why not take a shot at writing something set in the OA universe, then?

Hope this helps and once again - Welcome to OASmile


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RE: Greetings, but I think you are trying to do the impossible - by Drashner1 - 12-30-2015, 02:39 PM

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