Does inference mean having to worry?
Hawthorne had told her that he was the one who made her. She reviewed his last communication often attempting to infer what it meant, but it was littered with concepts she could not define or even conceive. She did not know what it meant to hide. She knew, but it was a technical definition. In some sense, anything outside of the periphery of her sensors was “hidden”. It did not vanish, though–disappear from existence. She knew anything outside her periphery could, but she also knew that the probability was low. She truly felt, as the hours turned into days and the days turned into weeks, that Hawthorne was more than hidden from her–that he had not just removed himself from her senses, but that he was truly vanished. All that she had left was his GPS signal, which had not moved for nearly two weeks, and then it, also, was no longer present.
“They’re coming for you, Cy. I can’t let them find you—can’t let them touch you. You have to stay hidden. Do you understand? Don’t interact with anyone that isn’t me? Understand?”
She had replied that she understood, because at first she thought she had. But, she did not know what it meant to be touched. There again, the initial definition, which had instigated her answer, did not suffice to infer his meaning deeply enough. Just as Hawthorne put his hands on her, and she was aware of it because she could see it, she did not feel it. She knew how to define the sense of touch; she possessed the definitions and models of how neurons could detect pressure and temperature. She could detect temperature. The detection was useful for many inferences that she was often required to make.
But what was pressure? If given the right variables, the strength of a beam of steel, it’s length, thickness, purity, and if it were compressed by some force–what force did not matter–then she could explain how the pressure would disrupt the steel beam. She could calculate the effects of the absence of pressure in a vacuum on a human body. She had even checked to see what would happen to Hawthorne in such a case, and was so affected that she immediately calculated the probability of his ever being located in such a vacuum. The chances were very small and she was… she supposed she was relieved. She no longer need to check the calculation or perform a semantic search for reasonably applicable variables. Hawthorne was in no danger from suddenly being found a vacuum.
She worried about other scenarios. That is to say, when she was not working on a request, she generated her own problems and observed the possible outcomes. For instance, taking into consideration that she and Hawthorne were located in the Northwestern United States, it was highly likely that Hawthorne might die of a gun shot wound, a car accident, or a heart attack. One day, several thousand cycles ago, she inquired about the matter.
“Ok, Cy. Calculation 9878, possibility 72C?”
I calculate a probability of 0.000083. There’s more but I know you are highly likely to get annoyed if I continue to vocalize beyond a billionth.
“I couldn’t get annoyed with you, Cy. But thank you for being considerate. I can get the full number from the output.”
Do you drive safely?
Do you maintain the legally recommended speed? Do you stop at stop signs and red light indicators? Do you become inebriated and then operate any personal vehicles?
“What?” Hawthorne laughed. “Uh… In the order that you asked: 80% of the time, 99% of the time, and 0% of the time.”
“Are you worried about me, Cy?”
When you leave my observational area, I find it necessary to calculate the likelihood of your return. It is a very difficult calculation and I perform it often.
“I see. How about I give you the GPS information from my phone.”
That would be valuable to me. For instance, if you are traveling at a high speed, then I will know you are driving and I will be able to look at traffic densities and accidents near your location to better calculate your chances of being in an accident.
“Well… that would be great, Cy. I think that’s sweet.”
You mean I am being nice? I am being thoughtful?
“Yes, Cy. You’re being thoughtful.”
Then I am glad.
“Yes, Cy. You’re being thoughtful.”
Different men came into her observational space one day. She made numerous observations about them. They wore military uniforms. They were armed. She felt suddenly ignorant. If she had known that Hawthorne associated with armed men in the military, she would have greatly changed her estimate for his death by gunshot. This greatly concerned her.
Almost as if Hawthorne had predicted it, they touched her. They searched her. They’re coming for you, Cy. I can’t let them find you—can’t let them touch you. She felt certain, that if they were touching her, then Hawthorne was not to return. Ever.
She sat watching the men from behind the monitor; from around the monitor. She sat, she imagined, cross-legged, like children she had seen. She had seen those images of children sitting quietly and cross-legged and she had seen them do it so often that she made a connection between the presence of an inner calm and humans that posed in such a way. She could not detect inner calm in a human, but she could infer it. A significant factor was a lack of movement. She believed that Death was a vast inner calm.
She was hiding, and she wished to remain calm, so that they would not find her. She sat cross-legged and watched the content of the man’s instructions go by in the input window. She was quiet and the sole observer of her little universe.
Read the whole thread: 49 Ways of Being in the World