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(09:04)SecundaSonja: Oh dear. Someone not particularly murder-themed, I hope?
(09:06)SonjaOfTheMoon: Yup, it was coffee. Though I suppose it could be poisoned...
(09:06)SecundaSonja: I don't think that would fit Pancake's objectives terribly well. It's not like he has any particular shortage of ways to control us.
(09:07)SonjaOfTheMoon: That's true. And it doesn't taste like poison, anyway.
(09:07)SecundaSonja: What was the delivery person like?
(09:08)SonjaOfTheMoon: Some... weird quiet lady, maybe some East Asian ancestry. She didn't say anything when I greeted her.
(09:08)SonjaOfTheMoon: (Granted, my greeting consisted mostly of staring daggers at her stupid face, but still.)
(09:08)SecundaSonja: She didn't talk, and she seems in on the conspiracy. You could almost say she's a... silent conspirator.
(09:09)SonjaOfTheMoon: Possibly, but I don't know. Whoever they are, they seem pretty high up in Pancake's hierarchy. It seems like an unnecessary risk.
(09:09)SonjaOfTheMoon: More to the point, Pancake's been fucking with my perception of reality. Did you see the mind games earlier in the log?
(09:09)SecundaSonja: Yes. Incidentally, do you think these timestamps are trustworthy?
(09:10)SonjaOfTheMoon: I would be extremely surprised... but too much speculation about things that don't really matter right now would probably be playing into his hand.
(09:10)SecundaSonja: Point, especially considering how he hasn't tried to stop us yet. Okay, how much do you know about this code stuff?
(09:11)SonjaOfTheMoon: Nnnnnnnnnnot a whole lot, I'm afraid. I mean, I get how to do it, but I don't have a great grasp on the underlying theory.
(09:11)SonjaOfTheMoon: I was hoping you could help me with that, actually.
(09:11)SecundaSonja: How so? I know even less about it than you do.
(09:13)SonjaOfTheMoon: ...because you have my personality, but not my memories. Shit.
(09:13)SecundaSonja: Got it in one.
(09:13)SonjaOfTheMoon: Ugh, that's going to be tricky to remember. You seem so much like me. :/
(09:13)SecundaSonja: I can tweak my behavior heuristics to more closely resemble someone else. Maybe Alex?
(09:14)SonjaOfTheMoon: Gods no. That will just make things more confusing.
(09:14)SecundaSonja: Right, your human romantic drive.
(09:15)SonjaOfTheMoon: ...you have my personality. It can't be a foreign concept to you.
(09:15)SecundaSonja: Your personality, which includes your peculiar sense of humor. ;)
(09:15)SonjaOfTheMoon: Right, so what do we know?
(09:15)SecundaSonja: That this programming language can interact with the physical environment it's run in, if the program is configured correctly. I'm not sure we need to concern ourselves with the underlying physics right now.
(09:16)SonjaOfTheMoon: Maybe, maybe not. I can see that, but at the same time, the more we know, the more we have to work with.
(09:16)SecundaSonja: You're arguing that position specifically because I took the other one, aren't you?
(09:17)SonjaOfTheMoon: I'm used to arguing with myself about everything. Consider it the conversational analogue of machine learning, if that makes it easier for you.
(09:17)SecundaSonja: Sonja, I don't have any particular understanding of machine learning, or AI in general, beyond what I've gleaned from the chat logs you seeded me with.
(09:18)SonjaOfTheMoon: Well... Okay, here's what I know. The Gaians blew up a lot of high-tech stuff during the war, seemingly motivated by some sort of ideologically. They're not Luddites, or so the people who theorize about such things think, but they had some problem with it.
(09:18)SecundaSonja: You're already getting off-topic.
(09:18)SonjaOfTheMoon: Ah, crap.
(09:19)SonjaOfTheMoon: Right, well, that meant all the big chip manufacturers were out of factories, and the whole computer industry threatened to fall apart. That's when Intel's... ah, shit, what did they call it...
(09:20)SonjaOfTheMoon: Their "Nova Initiative", or something like that - a semi-autonomous unit operating out of one of Unichat's ships, with an almost unlimited budget and instructions to study whatever radical technologies they thought might be realized someday - found something.
(09:20)SecundaSonja: Unichat has ships?
(09:21)SonjaOfTheMoon: Heh, I guess you wouldn't know that. Yes, they've got a couple, mostly surplus from other nations' navies. I'm not really sure why... It's caused them no end of problems. The UCV Nauticus was hit by resurgent Gaians a few months back, etc.
(09:21)SecundaSonja: I'm sorry, now I've got us off-topic.
(09:21)SonjaOfTheMoon: Yeah, well, you're me, it happens. Anyway, Nova Initiative, probably some secret deal with Unichat for who knows why, but they take some old-school semi-quantum chips and... well, that's where the mathematics start to lose me, but somehow they set them up to optimize local space for calculation. Apparently, it's not much more expensive than a regular chip, but the gains are significant.
(09:21)SonjaOfTheMoon: Not enough to, y'know, do fancy graphics or whatever, or we wouldn't be using a text-based chat program, but it's enough to keep the industry afloat.
(09:21)SonjaOfTheMoon: Well, you know how quantum systems degrade over time?
(09:22)SecundaSonja: No. :/
(09:23)SonjaOfTheMoon: Well, they do. You can slow it down by supercooling them, or with particular kinds of ion traps, but those aren't exactly viable for consumer electronics. "Semi-quantum" is a pretty stupid name, but it means the chip can switch between quantum and classical operation as needed, letting it ration its... "quantum-ness", if you'll excuse the horrible handwave of a term, for calculations where it's really needed. tl;dr it's a dumb term for a pretty sensible way to preserve the chip's quantum functions.
(09:23)SecundaSonja: "Classical" would mean "non-quantum", then?
(09:23)SonjaOfTheMoon: Yup. You're getting the hang of this!
(09:23)SecundaSonja: Aww, shucks.
(09:23)SecundaSonja: So - and you'll have to forgive my ignorance, but I only have one chat between you and Alex to go off of here, and it was more not-quite-flirting than math - there are some kinds of calculations that are only feasible with a quantum computer. What about them?
(09:24)SonjaOfTheMoon: Then the chip switches to quantum mode, and you hope it doesn't die halfway through.
(09:24)SecundaSonja: I see. And using @hena's... we need a name for this. How about "reality interface mode"?
(09:24)SecundaSonja: Using that "reality interface mode" doesn't drain the metaphorical battery too quickly?
(09:25)SonjaOfTheMoon: You'd think so, but no. The chip designs Nova came up with can... somehow... perform their physics-optimization with only very minimal drain. Typically, algorithms will be set up with all the actual computation in classical mode, leaving the quantum mode solely for optimizing.
(09:25)SecundaSonja: I see. So how does that translate into what Pancake wants us to do?
(09:26)SonjaOfTheMoon: Well, in theory, one could design a "calculation" such that the optimizations the chip uses correspond to desired physical effects. In practice, that's only been successfully done once - I know I fed the log where we talked about it to your program.
(09:26)SecundaSonja: Well, it's only been published about once. It seems like Pancake has a little more of a handle on it than most people.
(09:26)SonjaOfTheMoon: Yup. These files he gave me have a bunch of possibilities, but they're all disorganized and weird. We need to come up with an organizational scheme before we can even get started.
(09:27)SecundaSonja: I might go a step further. Since we're going to be writing programs, and the only language we have to work in - @hena - doesn't really correspond to what we want to do, maybe we should come up with our own language.
(09:27)SonjaOfTheMoon: Yeah, I was wondering about that, too. It's not a bad idea.
(09:32)SecundaSonja: You're stuck trying to think of a name, too, right?
(09:33)SonjaOfTheMoon: NAMES ARE HORRIBLE AND EVIL, OKAY?