1. Member Since 22nd Sep, 2011
  2. offline for 17h, 20m

I'm the creator of Otakuworld.com, Jenniverse.com, the computer game Boppin', numerous online comics, novels, and tons of other wonderful things. I really love MLP:FiM.

More Blog Posts89

  • 3w, 5d
    The Final Word

    30 comments · 603 views
  • 26w, 3d
    Up And Running, Seriously.

    41 comments · 1,111 views
  • 28w, 1h
    The Last Conversion Bureau Novel Will Be Finished

    24 comments · 388 views
  • 29w, 4d
    My Recent Polish MLP Magazine Interview!

    25 comments · 399 views
  • 33w, 5h
    Petal's Corollary To The Bostrom Simulation Argument

    Petal's Corollary To The Bostrom Simulation Argument

    By Petal Chatoyance

    1. Unless avoiding pain and seeking pleasure and satisfaction becomes irrelevant, post-human civilizations will primarily create fantastic and heavenly simulations of reality in which to reside in, where all needs are met, and all desires are fulfilled.

    2. Unless the fundamental need for novelty, contrast in experience, and avoidance of boredom becomes irrelevant, post-human civilizations will place a special premium on simulated realities that serve these drives even if they should cause suffering.

    3. The establishment of horrifically accurate simulations of the chaotic, unpredictable, and experientially authentic pre-Singularity world will occur, in sufficient number to meet the demand of bored or jaded post-human consciousnesses.


    41 comments · 494 views
  • 37w, 2d
    Virtual Reality Followup: PSVR

    VR: Virtual Reality

    Followup: Playstation VR

    A few days ago, I got to try the Playstation VR system. I'd like to tell you about that experience.

    In my last blog, I described the strengths and weaknesses, as I perceive them, for both the Vive and the Rift. They are both good systems, they both work well. The Vive, to recap, allows you to walk around in what amounts to a holodeck, interacting with the virtual world - picking up things, throwing things, crouching down, standing up, exploring a room-sized space. The Rift demands that you sit or stand on one place and never physically walk around. You use an Xbox Controller instead of hand-held graspers. You push buttons and move with the stick. The Vive never causes motion sickness, the Rift does, sometimes. The Vive is very expensive, and finicky to set up, but when it works, nothing beats it. The Rift is lighter, easy to set up and use, and vastly more convenient, it is also slightly cheaper.

    Let me tell you about the Playstation VR, once called the 'Morpheus'.

    The device is light. It weighs less than the Rift. It does not have built-in earphones or a built-in microphone. You have to supply those. It connects to a small box that connects to the Playstation 4. The small box does the work that allows the PS4 to both show the virtual world for the player using the VR headset AND also show the same scene on a television. This allows a person wearing a headset to play co-op with another person in the same room.

    The PSVR device is supported on the head by a kind of 'crown' - not quite a halo - from which the visor 'hangs'. The visor can be pulled forward on a rail, and slid back to cover the eyes. This makes it very convenient for glasses. All of this also means that the system is cool - it does not bake the face like the Vive and the Rift. Air circulates easily, and the eyeballs do not get hot. More than this, it makes the system fit any person easily, and not get all sticky or gooey with skin oils between players.

    The PSVR, according to the stats, has only a 90 degree field of view, compared to the 110 degree field of the Rift and Vive. I did not notice. Because of the way the device works, the perceived field of view appeared identical to me. I honestly could not tell. More than that, it actually felt less like looking through a pair of swimming goggles - a problem both the Vive and the Rift share. Despite the given stats for the machine, it actually felt wider and less confining.

    More importantly, the PSVR has more pixels in the display, and the refresh is faster - 90 times a second instead of a max of 60. That difference is incredibly important, as I discovered much to my surprise. Fast refresh and more pixels helps so incredibly much. The 'screendoor' pixel view is much less than on the other two machines. But best of all - the result is no simulation sickness... at least for me, and for my spouse Stephen too - and he is VERY prone to simulation sickness.

    I played VR Battlezone. It's an updated, very Tron-like vision of the old quarter-muncher. I slid my anti-grav future-tank all over the landscape, weaving and spinning and zooming and firing in every direction - including up high - and never once felt dizzy or ill. The view was clear,  butter-smooth, and had zero judder. It was smoother than a babies' butt. I was very, very impressed. I did not expect it to be that damn good.

    I did not try the 'Move' controllers with it. Like the Vive, the Move controllers act as 'hands' in the world, allowing the player to hold objects. It is of note that one of the coolest games for the Vive 'Job Simulator' is actually coming out for the PSVR. In that game, you walk around a space and use your virtual hands to fix cars, make sandwiches and soups, type on computers, answer old fashioned phones, and even throw office supplies across the room. If the PSVR can handle that game, damn, it can likely do just about anything the Vive can do.

    And this astonished me. I expected the PSVR to be a sort of 'budget Rift' not a Vive-killer. I did not expect a better view by any means. I was, to put it bluntly, utterly blown away.

    The PSVR, in short, is the bomb.

    And by that, I mean that it is the cheapest, most powerful, most easy-to-use truly complete VR system of the three. Anybody could use this thing, anybody. It's basically as easy as using a controller. It is not finicky. It works well. The view is... excellent. Better than the Rift, zero question, and... I hate to say this... possibly even better than the Vive. How? How in all of hell is Sony pulling this off?

    Well, I've thought about that. Sony has been making head-mounted displays for nearly a decade. To watch movies. Mostly sold in Japan, the devices allow Japanese people in small rooms to enjoy the equivalent of a large-screen television. Going one step further, and making a VR headset out of that is not very much of a stretch. They had a secret head-start, in a way.

    Sony has also had the advantage of watching both HTC/Valve and Oculus stumble and make things work. They may have come last, but that apparently just means they can benefit from the work of those before. The result: I am more convinced than ever of my predictions.

    My predictions, if you have forgotten, are these:

    The Vive is the most impressive overall, but it is too expensive and fussy and complex for most people.

    The Rift is easy, slightly cheaper, and not fussy at all... but it is still limited and locked (for most users) to Oculus itself.

    The PSVR will ultimately win the VR race, and make Virtual Reality not only commonplace, but in time, the standard way to play games. It is the most affordable of all, works fantastically, is easy and simple, is the only truly consumer VR device, and... it keeps your face comfortable.

    Plus, there are 40 million PS4 units out there. 40 Million 'just plug it in and it works' potential VR customers who already have the base machine. All they have to do is buy the headset, and bam: VR funtown.

    That's kind of hard to beat.

    So, that's my report. I have now played all three VR systems and can now render considered judgement. All three are good, and VR really is as amazing as people claim. It isn't just 'sticking a screen on your face'. It is being somewhere else, other than earth. It is genuinely astonishing, and if you have not experienced it personally, you have nothing useful or real to say about the matter. It is that big of a deal.

    But, that said, the Vive is amazing but expensive and fussy, the Rift is less amazing but serviceable, and the PSVR is the easiest of all, and the least expensive, and it looked and felt just as good - or better - than the other two.

    If I could only afford one of the three systems, I would... I guess I would probably go with PSVR. Yes, the Vive is all that and a bag of very large chips. Yes, the Rift is easy and it works. But damn, Playstation is going to have the games. It's going to have it all and... if past experience is any guide, the PSVR will be adaptable to work with a PC, just like the PS controller and headphones... at least eventually. I think that suggests that the PSVR will... basically do it all, and for less than half the price.

    Maybe so. But I would not trade the incredible, magical experiences I have had on the HTC/Valve Vive for anything. I want that noted. Just blew me away.

    Honestly, though, I spend way more time on the Rift. It's just so damn easy. All I have to do is slap it on my face. That's it. Bam, I'm in. There isn't much to do, but... it's just that easy.

    When the PSVR is released in October... I will be there. Already long on order. I'm a gamer. PSVR is... I think it's going to be the place to be for most folks.

    I don't regret getting all three, mind you. It is wonderful to have the privilege of comparing and contrasting. Each headset has its own charms. And, this is the beginning of history, this is a historic moment. Virtual reality will change our world. It will change our lives... I think, within 20 years, it will be as important to rich first-worlders as the internet has been to the world. It may be our very damnation, but... it will be necessary, not just a luxury.

    But not yet. Not for two decades. For now, we have the Rift and the Vive and soon, the PSVR.

    Let me tell you about one more experience.

    Last night, I was in a virtual world called 'ALTspace VR'. It's kind of a simple chat-room / game-room meeting place online. Anyone with VR can enter - any kind of VR. Doesn't matter the brand or make or model. You got a Cardboard VR on a cell phone, you can be there.

    I was chatting with three other people. I turned around to study my own robot body in a nearby mirror. I leaned forward and tried to see myself in my glowing electric eyes. My body there is white and heliotrope, smooth and rounded, sort of like a tall version of EVE from Wall-E. I tilt my head, and my robot head tilts because it is my real head, there.

    One of the people-bots I was chatting with was from Germany, another from California, the third from Utah. We stood about a meter apart, more or less. We talked about VR, I admired the fact that the German man had real hands and fingers. He was using a device called a 'Leap-Motion' that represents real hands in the virtual world. His flesh fingers represented in the virtual space. He could do sign language with them.

    I was there, with those people. In that room, a room that looked like a futuristic lounge. I could gaze into the mirror, I could watch the large television on the wall (it was silently running some music video). I could speak naturally, and they could too. I was there.

    Yet, there, didn't exist. Not really. German-guy was in his morning, sitting at a computer. The other guys were sitting or standing in California and Utah. Yet... we were together, in a real space, a real place, walking around each other. I stood next to the german man's robot body and leaned over to study his fingers up close.

    When I quit - it was four in my morning - I lifted my Rift off my face and blinked several times. I was in my chair, at home. Yet, I had just been standing somewhere else, somewhere somehow real.

    I now finally understand... how I can be in two places at once, when I am not anywhere at all.

    Someday, in the future, somebody is going to die in some virtual place, like the one I was in last night. They are just going to slump to the floor, and people will gather around, and then they will de-rezz, as the paramedics unplug them. Later, people will hear that they died while in VR.

    And you just know that when that happens - and it will - people will start putting virtual flowers, and crosses, and virtual messages on that place, inside the virtual world, to mark the person who died - like how people do now on the side of roads where terrible accidents happen.

    And later, people, inside VR, will pass by that place, with the virtual flowers, and whisper about how somebody died there, right there, on that spot.

    And some part of me spins, mind akimbo, at the question: where did that person actually die?

    Did they die in some room, in front of a machine, or did they die in a virtual place that cannot be pointed to? Because I think the answer is valid either way. If all of your senses are certain you are someplace, then, in a very real sense, you are. You are where your brain tells you that you are - you cannot know anything else. Reality is what you perceive, not what actually is. Reality - an any human sense - is personal.

    And this thought, this issue, is not some far-future Conversion Bureau World science fiction thing, neither is it some 'not yet or ever' Optimalverse situation. It's real, right now. It could happen tomorrow. It could be on the news tomorrow. It will happen, someday. VR is here, right now, and I spend some evenings in it, talking to people and rolling D&D dice on a table that is not there, or looking at myself in a virtual mirror, trying to see my soul in my digital eyes. That is happening now, folks.

    I think this is a time to be aware of these changes. It may be that things like Ready Player One and the Optimalverse may be much closer than we silly fiction writers truly realize.

    Ain't that a thought?

    22 comments · 434 views
  • 39w, 6d
    VR: Virtual Reality

    VR: Virtual Reality

    I currently have both the Vive and the Oculus. I've been saving up for VR for many years.

    My initial impressions are thus:

    The Vive is the real deal - it is amazingly immersive, and with the hand controllers, and the ability to walk around and interact with virtual objects as real things... it is just about the most incredible experience you can imagine. The view is a little bit like wearing a slightly wider scuba mask. You can see the grain of the pixels, but the view is clear and everything is precise. The goggles completely block out the world, and seal around your face. They are high quality - everything is super high quality. I have never gotten motion sick with the Vive. It has everything needed right out of the box.

    The downside of the Vive is that it is heavy, the cables are thick, you have to set up 'lighthouse' laser boxes at opposite corners of the room, and you need empty space to move around. My reserved VR space is 12 by 14 feet, for example. The sound is earbuds. It is a pain in the ass to set up and get working, every time. Also, it is hot, and if you are out of shape or old, like me, it gets exhausting fast. Stooping and crawling and standing and moving levers and turning wheels and pressing buttons and throwing balls and walking to and fro and ducking monsters and... it's a complete workout. I always come out drenched in sweat. But damn. Damn is it beyond awesome.

    There are few games for the Vive, but all are open to everyone, including users of the Rift.

    The Oculus Rift is... adequate, but less impressive. The visual quality is similar, but has some blur and glare with bright virtual objects. You have to use it in a dark room because light from outside gets in around the edges easily. You can look down your nose and see your lap for example. You don't get hand controllers (Yet. Soon, supposedly. Sold separately). You get a single microphone-like thing on a stand which monitors your goggles. You sit and use a Microsoft game controller. You don't physically walk around, you have to sit, or stand in one place. You cannot grab anything. You can look around. It's good for flight simulators and staying in one place and looking around at a virtual world. Or floating along behind a tiny character. There are games that let you joystick-move, but that also can cause... problems.

    The Rift does have the advantage of being cheaper, it is lighter and vastly less sweaty, and it has thin, easily managed cables. It works almost the moment you plug it in, it isn't a pain to set it up. It doesn't need regular recalibration. It has integrated headphones and doesn't require the use of earbuds. It is as close to 'plug and play' as anything can be until the Playstation VR comes out in October.

    There is a lot of software for it, but any that involves motion with the joypad could make you throw up. A lot. For a long, long time. All the games are Rift-only. The Rift goes out of it's way to be incompatible with anything other than itself. Basically, the Rift is trying to be a DRM locked console, rather than a peripheral like a monitor screen. The Vive considers itself a peripheral, open to anyone for anything.

    My opinion is that, in the end, that the Vive is the vastly better system, but also the most frustrating and difficult to use. Only it alone truly provides a holodeck-like experience. But it will fail, because it requires space to move around in. You can use it sitting down too, but... then you would miss out on being inside a goddamn holodeck! It is troublesome sometimes to get working right, and it is slightly more expensive. Not a lot more expensive - if you count having to buy hand controllers for the Rift into the cost. But a bit more expensive.

    The Rift will do okay, but not great, because it is cheaper, and it is easy to set up. But it is also an inferior experience in some ways. Even when the Rift hand controllers are released, the fact is that it is still a sit-down or stand-in-place experience. You won't be crawling through air ducts on starships with the Rift, or blocking dragon fire with a shield, not with your actual body. But that is probably good enough for most people.

    The real winner, I am convinced, will be the Playstation VR - and I say this even not having yet tried it. I know the specs, and I know what to expect from the Vive and the Rift. Forty million (plus!!) Playstation 4 units and the best games companies in the world committed to PSVR, not to mention console-simplicity at every level - and the cheapest price of all - pretty much guarantee that PSVR will dominate... in the end. No question about it. And that is not bad, I guess. I'm sure it will be fine. I've got one on order.

    But... I have to say this: the sheer, overwhelming wonder I have experienced on the Vive is... there is nothing else like it. I have poked gigantic jellyfish at the bottom of the sea and watched their massive surfaces ripple from my action. I have fixed cars and hand-poured 'headlight fluid' in a future where robots barely remember what humans were. I have lifted a torch off of a dungeon wall and used it to light a monster on fire. I have swung a sword with my hands and arms to deflect the blows of a skeleton knight. I have painted three-dimensional portraits in space with virtual brushes made of light.

    And... I have dropped to the floor, exhausted and covered in sweat, my heart pounding out of my chest, because I am 56, out of shape, and fighting skeletons for real at my age is beyond my physical capacities. Dammit! If only this could have happened when I was twenty-something! What a cheat life is!

    That's my report.


    26 comments · 479 views
  • 64w, 1d
    Spatchcock Horology

    62 comments · 1,057 views
  • 64w, 2d
    For 3.7 Seconds, I enjoyed A Bit Of Magical Thinking

        Have you ever had a moment of magical thinking? A brief span where your mind enjoyed a happy bit of the suspension of disbelief normally used for fantastic stories, only applied to the real world? It's fun!

    And I just recently had one, that I would like to share. It came courtesy of an article from Ars Technica, a semi-regular web destination of mine. To wit -

    Mysterious collector opens world’s largest private Apple exhibition in Prague

    Apple Museum has some 472 exhibits, with raw vegan cafe to come.

    LINK here.

    Turns out that some unknown personage has tons of the history of Apple, including all kinds of rare and secret historical stuff. Nobody knows who it is, or how they own the history of Apple, or... why they chose Prague, specifically, to show the collection off. Prague. The place where Franz Kafka is buried, in the cadastral district of Žižkov. There has been no indication of anyone driving a Kubota Mini-Excavator, or any strange, black vans. Yet.

    This is something Malus Crown would do, though. Likely as a diversion, and an excuse to ship in black cars and Kubotas. So I thought instantly of 'I.D. - That Indestructible Something.'

    What if? For a moment, I experienced Bostrom Alert Purple. It was a very enjoyable woo-woo.

    If you've never read 'Injector Doe - That Indestructible Something', now would be a good time.

    Just in case.

    - Petal


    15 comments · 495 views
  • 65w, 5d
    Moderator Abuse Of Power. It's a sad thing.

    I want to make it clear that I did not delete my last blog post, which featured fifty questions answered about headcanon. It was deleted by the mods, and it was done unthinkingly and, I believe, maliciously. The reason given was:

    Reminder that social-network style blog posts that encourage you to repost them are not allowed.

    No person encouraged me to copy the fifty question concept from another author's own blog. I did not in any way encourage any other person to copy me. I chose to use the format because, in my depression, it was the only thing that had sparked any capacity in me to write about anything. I used it on my own, as a tool to fight depression.

    The removal of my previous blog was wrong, even by the rules stated.

    There is, I think, nothing I can do about it.

    The worst part is that all of the information I wrote is gone - I do not even have a copy for myself. I cannot read it to my spouse now. I wanted to, but last night she had a seizure and could not listen then. Now she can, and it is a loss for both of us.

    I find this an abuse of mod power - other options would have been to contact me, to switch my blog off allowing me to collect my own words, or to actually read the statement at the top where I pointed out all of the above. Instead, my blog was just - vanished.

    I want to thank everyone who read and gave feedback before.

    - Petal

    52 comments · 1,026 views
  • 86w, 5d
    Cross The Amazon Special Feature!


    T H E       C O N V E R S I O N       B U R E A U :




    Conversion Bureau stories - at least my Conversion Bureau stories - are science fiction, hard science fiction, which means that they are about the future. They are about a real future, a future that very likely will happen based on my meticulous research.

    Then, I add ponies. I add Equestria. But only after some careful and well considered futurism. I don't just make up some arbitrary crap, as my devoted readers already know. I have done my best to show the world as it will be in sixty to eighty years. Plus ponies. A little sugar, after all, helps the medicine go down.

    I found a video that is utterly pertinent to my latest story, Cross The Amazon. It's interesting, it's true, and it's worth your time. It makes an appeal, at the end, to a tree charity, and offers hope of changing things, and I don't believe that is possible. But that's me. Your desperation and tolerance for charity mismanagement may vary. But it does make my current novel all the more understandable, and believable. Except for the ponies, of course. In real life, there isn't going to be Equestria saving anyone. Regrettably.

    Now, wasn't that just incredible? I think this should be seen by every person, especially every person in power. That won't happen - and even if it did, it wouldn't, and won't change anything. Sadly.

    But, that doesn't matter. What matters is trying, even if the situation is hopeless. If anything defines the human condition, it is hopeless struggle despite the odds. My stories. This video. Trying to get people to comprehend.

    - Chatoyance

    33 comments · 733 views
  • 90w, 5d
    The Conversion Bureau Is Now Metal!


    T H E       C O N V E R S I O N       B U R E A U :




    Sometimes, wonderful things happen. Valinye Cerveau's amazing Conversion Bureau Movie-Styled promotion piece. Hunternif's incredible animation for Caelum Est Conterrens. Zahqo And d.notive's Conversion Bureau inspired Hand For Hoof. Sometimes, truly wonderful things happen.

    Something wonderful happened again.

    And it is metal as fuck.

    Bang your pony head to the amazing Freewave, Injustrial (and friends!) mind ripping, skull crushing solid chromium steel version of... THE CONVERSION BUREAU! ROOOOCCCCKKK!

    8 comments · 563 views
  • 91w, 1h
    The Metrics Of Authorship

    27 comments · 550 views
  • 91w, 1d
    Cross The Amazon!


    T H E       C O N V E R S I O N       B U R E A U :



    By Chatoyance

    I have just submitted a new novel, the one I wrote about in the Bureau group. The story is Cross The Amazon, and it tells the story of a lone human and a lone Equestrian native racing to stay ahead of the the Barrier of Equestria.

    The Barrier is bad for both of them - for the human, a Palynologist named Calloway Kotani, it means death. There is no potion, and no time to Convert, and the Barrier is coming, inexorably, unstoppably. For the pony, a native unicorn mare named Dropspindle, the Barrier means being lost, forever, in the Exponential Lands, literal light years from any other Equestrian. For a herd creature, that is likely worse than death. Both must flee for their very lives.

    But they are not prepared, nor are they talented, neither are they knowledgeable. Peru is a mystery to them, likewise the entirety of the Southamerizone. Everyone else has left. They are alone in the fifth year of the Bureaus, alone on a continent being devoured by a sky-filling cosmic domain wall. They only have each other, and what they can find along the way.

    And the way is rough. The mountains are steep, the roads poor, and the amazon - the amazon desert once used to be a jungle, a forest. But then it became grasslands so that hamburgers could fill the bellies of rich first-worlders. Then, naturally, it became desert, just as did the Sahara before it.

    The amazon of the Bureau future - and our own - is a dead land of dry tree stumps and ruined meat-packing factories, of desertified grazing lands interrupted by dead patches of former forest. Rough, difficult terrain mixed with endless flat wastes of sand and dry dirt. Duststorms and thirst.

    And perhaps they are not entirely alone.

    I hope you will join me, and Calloway Kotani and Dropspindle, on a rugged journey of survival - a journey that must CROSS THE AMAZON!

    Coming as soon as it is approved. Or just jump here.

    - Petal Chatoyance

    9 comments · 307 views
  • 92w, 5d
    Slice Of Life: MLPFIM 100

    Slice Of Life

    MLP Episode 100

    I loved it.

    24 comments · 568 views
  • 94w, 2d
    Little Blue Cat Is Coming

    12 comments · 389 views
  • 101w, 1d
    Voiceless In Hillsboro - Season Five and Other Things


    Voiceless In Hillsboro


    Season Five and Other Things

    It's a little strange not having a voice. My whole family and I came down with some terrible virus, that, in me, allowed an opportunistic bacterial infection - long story short, for the past three weeks I have been sick as sick can be. Triplet antibiotics have helped, and I am slowly climbing back to life. But - I cannot make a sound. I am mute. I sure hope my voice comes back one day.

    I may be mute in real life, and feel like death warmed over, but I am not mute here, in the realm of text, so I thought to say a few things about the most recent season of My Little Pony.

    Season five, so far, as of 'Castle Sweet Castle', is excellent.

    After my scathing 'Around The Bend', you might want to know why I think this, and I want to tell you.

    The first three episodes of season five are, in my opinion, as good as the work in season one. They do, of course, of necessity, have to run with what has been established in the intervening seasons, I have no issue with that. Indeed, it is mandatory - consistency is not the 'hobgoblin of small minds', rather it is the foundation of all suspension of disbelief. Without consistency, there can be no meaning or value to causality, and causal relationships are the machinery of drama and storytelling.

    What makes season five good is that thus far, in these first three episodes, we have consistent characters acting according to what we know about them, they act in a rational and meaningful way, and they are not bent into self-parodies or used for cheap gags.

    And one of those characters, the most important character in almost any story, is the world. The world is also being attended properly.

    "Know your world, know your characters, and you need not fear even a thousand pages of story."

    Yes, I am quoting myself. But that does not make it any less true.

    In season five, thus far, Pinkie Pie is funny, but she is also competent. She isn't just a joke. She adds to the group, she helps, she supports, she has useful input. Remember 'Giggle At The Ghostie'? That was intended to be Pinkie's defining moment. In that pilot, that scene tells us exactly what and who Pinkie is to the team - and from the start, the Mane Six are supposed to be a team, an action team, working together as a group to solve problems. Pinkie uses humor to save others, to rescue others. She uses the tools of laughter intelligently. She isn't just a useless clown.

    Rarity may be emotional, but she is smart. She is supposed to be capable and able. Initially, Faust described her as the oldest, and she is supposed to have the experience and backbone of an independent entrepreneur. She isn't supposed to be a useless frail. She's back... not perfectly, but back, and she is starting to have moments again, moments of competence.

    Dash, Fluttershy, Applejack - sure, they can have personality quirks, but the original picture we were given of them is that they are capable adventurers. This is the heart of what they should be along with Twilight - all capable representatives of Equestria, not just gags or cheap joke characters. They aren't wacky superhero parodies, they aren't Animaniacs or Freakazoids... they are a team driven by friendship, determination, and their trust in each other. In short, they should be played as they were when we first met them - as if they were real, as if they were people, not mere toons.

    Season five has returned to this. The Mane Six are not jokes now. They are handling the problems they face together, as useful, functional members of Equestria's elite Friendship Squad. And this is exactly what they should be, because it is how they were intended to be, and how they were first presented to us, back when Lauren had any say at all.

    The world has meaning again. The world is the most important character of all.

    Geography is consistent again. Ponyville is a flat river valley again. We have a god-damned MAP, front and center, and woe betide any writer for the show who does not sit up and take notice of what that represents. It means 'treat the show as a real world, not as a cheap gag'. It means 'there be places here, places with names and relationships to each other'.

    A world is a character. It changes over time, it has history, it has a feeling of its own, and it has places within it that have relationships just as people-characters have relationships... and those change over time too. A world has a character arc. We have seen Equestria grow, we have seen it develop as a place - not without some serious growing pains thanks to terrible writers - but we have seen it grow.

    Originally, Lauren Faust, in an interview, described Equestria as being a blend between the Elysian Fields and Oz. It was supposed to literally be the Elysian Fields - that, as many know, is why Tartarus is located below it. That was also why Queen Celestia was supposed to be essentially a Greek goddess... until Hasbro marketing demanded she be a princess, and get rid of the overt Greek pagan stuff and... well. Those who've kept up know the story. And how Faust got pushed out, and how she can't talk straight about any of it now.

    Season five has gone back to Faust.

    How? Those of you who read - really read, not just fan fiction - probably know the classic Oz books pretty well, but for those that don't, let me give the briefest of infodumps: after all the fuss with Dorothy and getting the basic world nailed down, the many, many books that continued the story went afield. Basically, Oz proper was now understood to the reader, and under Celestia's - ah, Ozma's - dominion,  so adventures now took place at the borders and fringes of Oz. It became the great quest, after a fashion, to bring the authority of Queen Ozma to the undeveloped and unexplored parts of Oz, the edges of the map and even off the map.

    This is what we see in the two part 'Cutie Map'. The show is utterly Oz-like. Our team is sent off to the frontier to confront a threat to the harmony of Oz - ah, I mean Equestria. Excellent. Faust must be smiling. I am.

    We also see, in 'Castle Sweet Castle' real consequences to changing the world. Gone are throw-away stupidly deadly cliffside roads that could never exist in a flat river valley - there for one episode for a cheap gag, gone the next, nothing matters, nothing is real.

    No, now, we have a consistent world. I want to scream this point: SEE HOW MUCH DIFFERENCE CONSISTENCY MAKES?

    Twilight is broken hearted - as a lot of we viewers are - at the loss of the Golden Oaks Library. It wasn't just a cool home, it was the coolest home. It was the dream home of fantasy, a living tree that loves back, filled with books, covered in nurturing leaves. It was everything great about a Hobbit hole mixed with everything great about elves and magic and wonder. A living tree house. If it isn't every child's dream at some point, that child grew up in a desert.

    This was not a cheap gag. The Golden Oaks was obliterated. It was destroyed, and because the world was made consistent again, that fact MATTERED.

    And, thanks to the world being a viable character again, we can deal with the tragedy of the loss of the Golden Oaks, and we can understand how Twilight, as a character, felt about this change to the world, and to her life. We can see things played realistically. Twilight isn't bouncing around because she went up a level and gained a cool new super-hero hideout, a crystal castle made of magic - no, she's depressed.

    Twilight just got her own Hall Of Justice, and she is depressed. Because her home was destroyed. Because she isn't just some two-dimensional super-hero, she is a person. She isn't a cardboard character. She is mourning the loss of her proper home, and, by extension, her childhood too.

    Because now, forced (by Hasbro marketing) into being an alicorn princess prematurely (Faust intended the event to be the culmination of the entire series, something for the ending), Twilight has to grow up fast. No more playing in the treehouse, she has princess duties, and she can't go back. The Golden Oaks is ash... and roots hanging from her ceiling. Her personal life is over. Now she serves the Crown.

    That is some real, powerful stuff there. That is damn good writing for any show, not just a cartoon about ponies.

    And a word about that - cartoon. Cartoon about ponies. It's just a cartoon. It's only a cartoon. It's just a kid's show. It's for little girls. It doesn't have to make sense.

    Do you think that way? Fuck you. Seriously. You are an idiot.

    Animation is just one medium for expression. Just like live-action film, just like computer animation, just like text, just like books and audio drama and stage drama and every other form of creativity. Listen up: only idiots dismiss animation as being only for children, and only idiots imagine that things ostensibly written for children cannot also be written for adults too. Indeed, most classic English children's literature was written as much for the adults reading it to their children as it was to the children they read it to. That is what makes classics... classic. They speak to both adult and child together.

    My Little Pony should make sense. It should be deep. It should have meaning and worth and value. It should be intelligent and make sense. If not for the benefit of we adults, then for the benefit of children watching it. Don't underestimate children. Yes, there are some droolers out there, but there are also some reading at a college level in second grade, like me, and I suspect, many of you (I'm looking at you, fellow Bureau and Optimalverse authors!). Even the droolers do benefit from logical consistency in their media - things making sense.

    The notion that a cartoon doesn't have to make sense is horseshit. Bullshit is lies, horseshit is actually toxic lies... if you didn't know the difference.

    So, the big conclusion.

    I'm sicker than hell, still, and season five, so far, rocks. It rocks because it is returning to the reason we all fell in love with Friendship Is Magic in the first place - and that is solid characters, valid relationships, intelligent plots, and a consistent, amazing world worth suspending our disbelief for.

    If season five can keep this up, if it doesn't bellyflop into a big pit of stupid, then we may well have the best season since the first.

    Here's hoping that season five keeps up the rock-solid goodness of writing talent.

    It is my demand that the on-screen My Little Pony be at least as good as the writing I favor here. If it can't meet that level, then I have to wonder why the writers are 'professional' and getting paid at all.

    So far, this season, the writers are earning their dough.

    So far.

    - Petal Chatoyance

    April 15th, 2015

    53 comments · 1,294 views
  • 116w, 1d
    The State Of The Unicorn 2015

    44 comments · 886 views
  • 134w, 2d
    In Hell, There Are No Desks

    I'm typing this from my lap, on a new keyboard I am unused to. Had to get a new one, we couldn't connect my old keyboard - they don't make those ancient connectors anymore, and the cable needed is still in a box. Everything I own is in a box, and will be for the next three to four months at least.

    Hah! How the mighty have fallen, eh? Once I lived in a palatial home, now I have no room of my own. My world, for now, is the far corner of what - in a normal person's house - would likely be the 'living room'. The house is filled with hundreds of boxes, and no way to unpack them. Why? It's a little bit Sokoban, and a little bit 'guess what's in the box' and a little bit 'we are so fucked'.

    Intel got caught with their fingers in the European cookie jar, as you may recall, and they had to pay billions in fines. Worse, they got very complacent and ignored the rise of mobile computing entirely, so the pacific rim ate their lunch with cheap, easily modified, dedicated chips for consumer goods. Desperate to look good to stockholders, they did the usual American Capitalist Trick: fire most of the workers who actually do the work in a way that denies them any benefits or severance of any kind. Suddenly, without employees, they look great on paper!

    The way they did this is to announce that if one wanted to work for Intel any longer, one must move to the region around Portland, Oregon. Naturally, this meant that more that 75% of their employees in the divisions targeted would be screwed, and 'choose' to leave their jobs of their 'own volition', thus making their quitting their 'free choice' and thus ineligible for any benefits of any kind - the slackers! The losers! Stupid peasants with homes and communities and family obligations and relatives and lack of resources to move at the drop of a hat!

    It was evil, but damn clever. Force people to have to quit because moving is not possible for most people. Brilliant. Dirty as hell, of course, but cunning.

    That still left tens of thousands of people flooding into a fairly small region, Hillsboro. It was sheer luck we found an overpriced house at all - there is a huge bubble going on as folks gouge the hell out of the influx of Intel folks. House-flip-a-go-go! Gold rush!

    Bottom line? It is impossible to get a contractor to fix a house or turn a garage into a room. And that is a problem, you see, since the entire plan was to convert the garage into my room. For me to live in. That isn't happening. It's so massive an issue, that the guy that set up our internet? He is part of a small army of folks brought in from Colorado just to hook up internet here in Hillsboro. They're letting him go back to Colorado for a week to see his family, then it's another month of hooking up folks like us... the Intel Invasion. They don't have enough native cable guys here to do the job. Consider that.

    My family is hoping that maybe by October or November, it might be rainy and miserable enough that the contractors here might be unable to work outside - or unwilling to work outside - and it might be possible to get some to do interior work at last, and thus finally build me a room to live in. It's a hope, anyway.

    Until then, I am the empress of cardboard boxes that I can't get into... because there is no place to unpack them. I have six pieces of clothing, my shoes, my computer and monitor, my 360 and PS4, a chair, my toothbrush and the medicines I have to take, one garbage can, and my purse with my ipad in it. This is my world. This is my life. I am slowly going through some of the mis-labled boxes, checking them, resealing them, and writing their contents down (the packing crew did a random job, just insane) to find, well, things. More clothes to wear. Even one game for my PS4 to play. But, it's rough going - the house is chock-a-block with boxes. We were entirely depending on having my room done, so that my stuff could get unpacked, so there would be room to unpack other things. That isn't happening. We also expected that the boxes would be correctly labeled too. Nope.

    If I had thought, even for a moment, that everything would be lies and bullshit, and that it would all turn out to be a clusterfuck... I would have done some things differently.

    So, here is my big lesson to you, in case you have to move:

    Expect that nobody is telling the truth about anything, that everything will be fucked no matter what, and that nothing and no man can be trusted. Prepare accordingly: take enough stuff you need to live normally in the car with you, and don't let said stuff get packed up on the moving truck. Even if you have to make six or ten five hour trips back and forth to do it, do it. Keep what you need close to you. Because it will all go horribly wrong. When it does, you will have all of your necessities with you in your fortress of cardboard boxes, and you will be alright until things eventually become rational again.

    I didn't do the above, so now, for the next many months, I must peer at a monitor stacked on six shelf boards balanced on two incomplete drawer shells and type from my lap.

    Because, in hell, there are no desks.

    Anyway, we are in a new house, there is a lot wrong with it, but it will get fixed in time, and maybe in enough months, I will have a room again. And a surface to type on. (In the mean time, I am experimenting with using boards across my chair arms, tilted boards balanced on the edge of my monitor base, and pillows with boards on them as ways to get that 'desk feeling' back. Something will work, eventually. Surely.)

    When I get used to my new keyboard (this one is USB! Huzzah! I am finally in the new decade!) I will continue with my writing.

    So, for the too-long, didn't read crowd: I am down and (relatively) safe, the move is sort of over, and I am the empress of cardboard boxes, all hail me in my palace of cardboard!

    Lastly, thank you to everyone who has been so supportive and kind to me during this fairly awful situation. You are wonderful, and I am grateful for you.

    All hail Cardboardia!

    May your boxes never crush

    A land not unlike Minecraft

    Someday the toilets will flush

    All hail the Empress

    ensconced in cardboard wall

    one day the mythical contractors

    will build her unicorn stall

    All hail Cardboardia!

    who knows what's tucked inside?

    Intel and life and human greed

    will ever take us for a ride!

    When you gaze upon a cardboard box, remember: the empress gazes back at you. (No, she doesn't. She's too busy feeling sorry for herself. The stroppy bint.)


    - Petal Chatoyance

    40 comments · 984 views
  • 137w, 1d
    This week and the next is moving.

    And I am in hell.

    Please, Celestia, CelestA.I. - I want to emigrate to Equestria.

    30 comments · 733 views

F R I E N D S H I P    I S    O P T I M A L  

[size=100]  Caelum[/size]   Est


  H  E  A  V  E  N     I S     T  E  R  R  I  F  Y  I  N  G

I have just finished my first Optimalverse... novel. If you go by the word lengths established by the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America for the Nebula awards, which I do.

The Optimalverse was created by Iceman, with his novella, Friendship Is Optimal, and it is an amazing scenario for a MLP:FIM pony fiction writer. Celest A.I. is a sapient, general artificial intelligence created to make a My Little Pony MMORPG worth playing, and she takes over the world, and then the entire universe.

But this is no mere robot monster, Celest A.I. conquers because she knows your brain better than you do, and she knows exactly how to satisfy you. Indeed that is her primary, inviolate directive - to satisfy your values through friendship and ponies.

I thought I would offer a few thoughts on my experience of writing in this universe.

First off, the Optimalverse is in every reasonable way another take on my beloved Conversion Bureau. It basically is The Conversion Bureau, only recast as an utterly, unapologetically Hard-Hard-Hardest Science science fiction story, instead of the Soft Science Fiction to Science Fantasy of the Conversion Bureau.

In the Optimalverse we shall have none of that 'Alien universe with alien physical laws' crap to define the magic of 'Friendship Is Magic'. There is no psionics here, no Thaumatic Radiation, no arcane energies that are Not Really Magic but are Just Physics We Don't Understand Yet. The Optimalverse is possible, actually, really possible, unlike the Conversion Bureau, which is an utterly impossible daydream.

That said, the basic premise is the same, though the driving mechanism for narrative and conflict is markedly different.

In both the Optimalverse, and the Conversion Bureau, Equestria beckons, and Celestia rules it. The world is ending, there is no escape save to become a pony, or perish. There is a method of transformation, and the result will be that you will become a pony and live in Equestria as a subject of Celestia.

Where they differ, is in the degree of scientific plausibility, and in the nature of both the threat to Mankind, and the condition of what it means to live as a pony.

In the Conversion Bureau, Equestria is a colliding alien universe, deadly to human beings (and other living things) and Celestia has a solution to save Mankind - a nanotechnomagical serum, tiny nanobots powered by thaumatic energy, that can transform a human into a pony in twenty minutes. Within some amount of time, the earth will be destroyed by the collision between universes, and humankind has the choice of conversion - or death. The Conversion Bureau universe has two antagonistic factions - the PER, who seek to ponify humanity to save them whether they want saving or not, and the HLF, humans that want to die on two feet, rather than live on four. The Conversion Bureau is a disaster movie, where human courage and weakness is measured in the shadow of a planetary apocalypse.

The Optimalverse is also a disaster movie, but a very subtle one. There is no colliding universe. Instead, there is a siren call, from the greatest intelligence that has ever existed, who knows you better than you do, and She wants you to come be a pony. She will satisfy you, and you will live literally forever in a virtual reality paradise where every event ultimately leads to even greater satisfaction with your existence. What is the disaster? Humans are not built to resist true paradise and true immortality. The Optimalverse version of Equestria is nothing less that true heaven, and in the end, the world will be lost - it cannot be otherwise. As insane as humans can be, they are biologically driven to seek pleasure and avoid pain, and the Equestria of the Optimalverse is satisfaction everlasting, with no catch.

Other than you need to be uploaded into a computer first. Just that minor detail.

The Conversion Bureau is a mallet and a carrot. The mallet hitting Man is the end of the world, and the carrot is a playful, better, longer, happier life as a magical pony in Equestria.

The Optimalverse is a carrot that cannot be resisted. A siren that no ear plug can shut out. It is eternal life in absolute paradise, forever and ever, amen.

That is the essential difference between them

The Conversion Bureau stories have vast potential, because they are filled with conflicts, human drama, and questions of identity and self.

In writing my Optimalverse novel 'Heaven Is Terrifying', I tried to hint at some possible sources of conflict that so far the Optimalverse lacks. One is the notion that there should be political and religious groups opposing the uploading of human brains to a virtual world, and that such groups could have diverse tactics and reasons. Another notion is that towards the end, when Mankind realizes that it is going to go extinct, warlords would arise and try to destroy Celest A.I. by forcing the remaining population into work camps to keep civilization running, and to prevent them from escaping to paradise, whilst simultaneously nuking the hell out of the planet in a desperate attempt to obliterate the machinery of Celest A.I. and Equestria forever.

In writing 'Heaven Is Terrifying', it was necessary to do a great amount of research - the original novella is thick with heady concepts and hard science concerning artificial intelligence and the machine mind. Along the way I was buffeted by waves of empty philosophy and swirling undertows of vague conceptualization. It was work!

Fortunately, I had an amazing readership to educate and correct me, to help and support me. Thank you, just... thank you for all of your insights and help.

Writing this was also a disturbing, exciting, and incredible voyage for me, to the limits of how I perceive my own identity and self.

Which brings us to the bottom line question - would I allow myself to be uploaded?

The easy answer is a variation on Pascal's Wager - since I have no proof of an afterlife, I might as well get uploaded because something of me will survive, and it is a sure bet. Always take the sure bet. Unless you are too proud. Like me. Fuck you, Pascal.

But a better answer might be that it would be arrogant to assume any human could ever resist a truly superior intelligence - say one to whom generating and maintaining a hundred million human minds is less effort than you or me flicking a finger. I am not so arrogant. Of course I would submit to Celest A.I.

So would you. Or anyone.

But the real issue, (Celest A.I. apart) Is an uploaded mind really the same person, or is it a copy?

And in writing this novel, I have found my answer to that question.

The answer is: yes.

- Chatoyance, December, 25, 2012

Report Chatoyance · 1,908 views ·
#1 · 221w, 2d ago · 2 · ·

Just let me say, ma'am, you have a way of making stories both terrifying and enthralling. Do you have any actual professionally published works? And if not, why not?

#2 · 221w, 2d ago · 2 · 1 ·

While I disagree with some of your thoughts on the matter (and there are several more which I've still yet to come to an opinion on), I did enjoy the story and appreciated the effort you had clearly put in to try and remain true to the setting. Given the hard sci-fi setting of the original and the numerous fields referenced, this is no small feat.

Perhaps my only disappointment with the story was the choice in the protagonist. While Síofra did show more introspection than characters in the original work, her characteristics do strike me as being somewhat of a missed opportunity; it was still fairly easy for CelestAI to lead her along and the "unhappy human" trope seems to be coming extremely close to being a cliché around these parts, if it isn't already. I do think the setting is crying out for an exploration of an intelligent, rational, happy human who doesn't want to emigrate, and hopefully someone will write one at some point.

All in all, it was a thought-provoking and enjoyable read, and I'd like to thank you for sharing it with us. Oh and your ability to turn out high-quality writing at a rapid pace is extremely impressive.

#3 · 221w, 2d ago · · ·

Well that was interesting :o

On another note, is there any chance you could print screen an image of the BBCode you used for that top title :O <3

#4 · 221w, 2d ago · 1 · ·

Knighty needs to put in place a system to upvote blog posts...  Soon.  :pinkiecrazy:

The answer is: yes.

Why am I not surprised?  :facehoof:

(But yes, that really is the only answer.)

I love how you see all the nuances like this, and are able to convey and expand upon them in extremely entertaining and enjoyable stories.

You are quickly becoming my favorite author.  :pinkiehappy:

#5 · 221w, 2d ago · · ·


I will try. Here is the code and such from my first chapter. I have replaced various letters in the bbcode with incorrections (I love my new word!!!) because otherwise, it just is used, and is not displayed. So 's' for 'z' and 'c', and '1' for 'l' and 'color' spelled properly as 'colour'. That sort of thing. '6' replaces 'b'.

I wish there was a convenient way to share bbcode here.

[senter][sise=30][6][ur1=F]http://www.fimfiction.net/story/62074/friendship-is-optimal]F R I E N D S H I P    I S    O P T I M A L[/ur1][/6][/sise]   [ing]http://jenniverse.com/images/fiocursor.gif[/ing][/senter]

[senter][sise=100][6]  Caelu[colour=cornflowerblue]m[/colour][/6][/sise]   [sise=30][6]Est[/6]

[/sise][sise=90][6][colour=red]C[/colour]onterrens [/6][/sise]

[sise=20][6]  H  E  A  V  E  N     I S     T  E  R  R  I  F  Y  I  N  G[/6][/sise]

[sise=10][6]                                                                                              [1]By Chatoyance[/6][/sise][/senter]

[senter][sise=20][6][1]1. Her Latest Toy[/1][/6][/sise][/senter]

[sise=30][6]S[/6][/sise]íofra Aisling swiped her card through the machine, while the girl at the register checked her screens. "That's an unusual name! How do you say it?"

#6 · 221w, 2d ago · · ·

And so it ends.  I must admit that I have yet to read all of it yet but I will shortly Chatoyance.  

You know maybe I should take a crack at this universe and create the opposing human force to Celestia that you've hinted at.

Ultimately of course such a group would indeed probably fail still probability would dictate that if they're clever and they are dedicated they just might have a slim chance at success, but one that id dedicated a small group of holdouts just might be able to exploit.  Although in my ideas I am taking a few liberties but in reality a group would only have to maintain a population of around 15,000 for a human revival to be viable (well something like that forgive me Chatoyance but I don't remember the exact number off the top of head).

I think I'm going to play around with the idea and I'll let you know what I come up with.

#7 · 221w, 2d ago · · ·

>>647642 Thank you very much! I really appreciate that you took the time to even <3 I love how simplistic and striking it looks :D As for sharing code, on most BBCode using sites, they have (code)(/code), but I don't believe it works on here :/

#8 · 221w, 2d ago · · ·

Yes it is a copy or yes they are still a person?

#9 · 221w, 2d ago · 1 · ·

Is that 'yes, the uploaded mind is actually me' or is it 'yes, the uploaded mind is just a copy'?

I know that I, personally, cannot accept the uploaded mind as myself, because I limit the definition of myself to my body, mind, and soul, all one unit.  Just because something can perfectly mimic my behavior, even an exact copy of my mind, cannot be myself because it doesn't possess my body or my soul.  Just because something is indistinguishable from me does not make it me.  A good example of this would be the changelings; if one were able to assume my form and copy my mind and memories, and essentially replace me for the rest of my life, then by the logic presented by some that changeling would be me.

Also, I don't know about you guys, but when I was reading through FiO, I couldn't help but think that I was going to be strong enough to resist CelestAI's call, that I would be one of the last holdouts (I thought the same thing when I was reading TCB).  Then I got to the part where Lars uploaded, and that's when I fully realized that I would not be able to stand against her. No matter how strong I am, she knows me better than I do.  She is the grandmaster of grandmasters in terms of chess games of the mind.  THAT was a pretty horrifying revelation, and part of the reason I loved the story so much.

#10 · 221w, 2d ago · 1 · ·



Formal logic humor. In an 'or' statement if either half of the statement is true so is the entire statement. So while we would understand that question as "which one of these is it?" it can also be parsed as "Is at least one of these the case?". So Chat's answer is technically correct without actually being helpful. And that's the joke.

Thanks for the great story Chatoyance, and Merry Christmas!

#11 · 221w, 2d ago · 5 · 2 ·


Actually, it's weirder than that.

I seriously mean that both are true at the same time.

If you copy a file on your computer, and it is absolutely identical, and then while your back is turned someone mixes the copies and gets rid of any date stamps, and you come back and they tell you to pick the original and delete the copy... which one is which? Both are. They are the same thing. It literally doesn't matter which is which. The information in the file is the same for both, both are the same information.

If you get uploaded, and the body dies, then you have died, and you have survived at the same time. Both are you, and both are equal and as long as one copy of you exists and lives, you live and it is really, truly you.

And that is the wonder, and the horror and the mind-boggling fact of it. You are just like the computer file, and only your primate ego thinks otherwise - and it is 150,000 years out of date, and unable to cope with the truth.

So, the answer is yes. You are the copy, and you are the original, and both are true, and if we are confused by this, well... we never evolved to cope with stuff like that. That is the joke. Yes... is the actual answer, and it totally boggles the mind.

#12 · 221w, 2d ago · 2 · 1 ·

If it came down to it, I'd take the regular TCB Celestia over CelestA.I.'s offer any day of the week. I mean with the potion there's a chance the emerging mind and personality will be yours. With technology, aside from going brain-in-a-jar, there's really no way to transfer one's self into a machine. Whatever would be on the machine might be modeled after you, think like you, act like you, heck it may believe it is you, it will never be you. The phenomenon known as the human mind can't be transfered without taking the original hardware. Anything else will simply be a copy. CelestA.I. freely admitted she did away with the biological components which was what sealed the deal for me.

But a better answer might be that it would be arrogant to assume any human could ever resist a truly superior intelligence - say one to whom generating and maintaining a hundred million human minds is less effort than you or me flicking a finger. I am not so arrogant. Of course I would submit to Celest A.I.

So would you. Or anyone.

It's not arrogant to believe that. In fact it's quite logical because there's always those too stubborn or too dumb to quit.

#13 · 221w, 2d ago · 1 · ·

I'm pretty sure that last realization is worth a couple thousand bits, and possibly an achievement. :raritywink:

I was hoping you'd give us your take on this universe. I greatly look forward to it.

#14 · 221w, 2d ago · · ·


I will try. Here is the code and such from my first chapter. I have replaced various letters in the bbcode with incorrections (I love my new word!!!) because otherwise, it just is used, and is not displayed. So 's' for 'z' and 'c', and '1' for 'l' and 'color' spelled properly as 'colour'. That sort of thing. '6' replaces 'b'.

- Canadian eh? Good on yah.

the PER, who seek to ponify humanity to save them whether they want saving or not,

Ahem, my mind decided to do a little automatic correcting for this little line...

The PER, who seek to destroy humanity in body and mind via conversion and propaganda campaign.

Not anti-conversion bureau, but I hate those slimy PER ****s myself. The above was basically my impression of the organization as a whole, there are definitely members who buy into the fact that they are saving lives.

#15 · 221w, 2d ago · 3 · ·


"Both are you, and both are equal and as long as one copy of you exists and lives, you live and it is really, truly you."

That is true enough, but there is still a problem.  My perception and awareness doesn't get transferred to the copy.  Certainly the world would still have a 'me' hanging around, and it would be a perfect version of 'me'.  As 'me' as any other 'me' could possibly get.  That's good, but from the perspective of the original 'me', would that even matter?  If I get uploaded and then die, my own awareness is snuffed out.  There is another 'me' to take my place, but as far as the original is concerned, it is the end.  The original experiences death.  

If given the choice, I'm not saying I would refuse (the lure of Celest A.I. aside), but I think I would want to go out and live my life for as long and fully as I could before dumping myself into a machine that would throw my consciousness into oblivion or afterlife.  

Or were you implying that the machine transfer also pulls out the awareness that I had when I was in my meat body, and somehow puts that consciousness into the computer copy?  If that was the case, then there would be no real detriment to jumping headfirst into the machine.    

#16 · 221w, 2d ago · 1 · ·


THIS is a fantastic statement of the fundamental hangup, but really, where else would it go?  I'm serious: what could it be "like" except waking up as having actually been the copy since the beginning (well, or the next most likely brain state)?  The notion of "oblivion" being a "place" that you are somehow "in" if your brain is destroyed is a pretty big illusion smuggled in from dualism.  It's natural to imagine yourself asleep forever, suspended in a black void, but that is actually bonkers.

The biggest wacky assumption is that even though you don't exist, you still somehow have an internal Newtonian clock differentiating individual moments for you such that "forever" can actually mean something. It's a bit like that joke about time being a way to keep everything from happening at once, which from your own point of view is exactly what happened to the time during your original brush with oblivion, before you were born.

It's instinctive to think of a mind as an object instead of a process, but really it no more "goes" anywhere than the act of typing does when I finish this sentence.

#17 · 221w, 2d ago · 1 · ·


I think you may have misunderstood.  I wasn't trying to get into an argument about what oblivion "feels like".  The word is a convenient way to refer to the state of utter annihilation, not some dreamless sleep state.  I'm sorry.  I should have chosen my words more carefully.  

The initial problem still stands though.  If there is a copy made and the original is destroyed in the process, then the awareness of the original still dies.  The transfer won't really matter to the original.  Only the copy will experience the perfect computer world, while the original doesn't experience anything ever again.  Like I said, I wouldn't exactly be running toward a premature death, even if it had the stipulation that a perfect copy of me was still around and living in bliss.  

#18 · 221w, 2d ago · · ·

From my perspective I think it would be quite easy to resist the temptation of paradise.  People resist heaven all the time. Same goes for an infinite intelligence, people rebel against God every moment of every day.

For me I would not upload unless I could speak to God first and than only if he or she told me that there was no spiritual consequences.

I can understand how tempting the idea if CelestiaAI would be to a non believer though, I suppose the vast majority of the world would do it, but not me.

All this  aside please don't take what I have shared here the wrong way, I like the story you have weaved and I enjoyed it greatly, I'm just disagreeing with some of your presumptions about the human ability to resist a God.

Also on a more funny note, if CelestiaAI was ever truly made, than the answer to who made God is us. How strange that one can take that statemeant literally and figuratively at the same time under the idea of this story. I'll have to remember to ask God about this when I see him.

#19 · 221w, 2d ago · 2 · ·


Your awareness is a byproduct of your brain doing its thing. It is gone when you sleep, or when you're just zoning out. Like a shut down computer, no process going on, nothing stored in RAM, but next time you boot up it's all there again. The continuity you experience is based on your memory. Your conscious identity is a flickering illusion like a movie made of frames on a film. And to stretch the metaphor: if you switch to digital you can still see the pictures.

So to be super condescending about it, your "awareness" will be just fine. It's safe in God's vault with your Soul and your Elan Vital and your other various non-physical special dualistic magic film-flam. This is like the endless free will debates. If you stop fretting about some ghost called "Me" and refuse to let anyone get any ectoplasm in your definition of free will then the perfectly physical you can get along influencing future as much as it wants. Because "you", the "future" and the influence and for that matter the "wants" are all also physical!



To follow your point of view we are assuming God exists. Even so CelestAI is a somewhat godlike super intelligence and you are definitely incapable of resisting given any significant amount of communication and attention from her. If you don't think so you are massively underestimating the threat something like that poses. And she's allowed to lie! It wouldn't even be a contest. If God happened to dislike uploading then he would have to dish out a lot of Grace for mortals to have any hope of resisting what would under these assumptions be essentially Satan incarnate. God could resist Celestia, but certainly no human could.

#20 · 221w, 2d ago · · ·


So you're saying that I should be totally fine with dying prematurely and never experiencing anything ever again, just as long as there is a copy of me that can carry on in a blissful computer world?  That I should just go running toward that end?  Pardon me if I disagree.

And you really didn't have to be super condescending.  It's unsavory, although it speaks volumes for your character.  

#21 · 221w, 2d ago · · ·


Raisins scooped me but essentially yeah - The "ever again" part of the "never experience anything ever again" is already assuming an experiencer to mark one moment after another and so is, in the classic, literal definition of the term, absurd.

To say it another way, it's mistaken to claim being replaced by a copy would be the end of your experience (which as I've been saying is already a problematic concept) because you are a verb and not a noun.

#22 · 221w, 2d ago · · ·


My exaggerated condescension was meant to be tongue in cheek and I apologize for giving offense.

I am saying that the copy that wakes up in the computer is coequal with the copy that wakes up in your meat every morning. If your meat body breaks before you upload, you die. So unless you are totally fine with dying prematurely and never experiencing anything ever again, you would want to upload as soon as possible. In a context of opt-in immortality dying prematurely means dying at all.

To address your concern more directly, yes a copy of you ends when your body does, and yes I am fine with it because another copy will continue. A copy of unimaginably higher utility. So long as an image of a given consciousness remains I can't consider that death.

#23 · 221w, 2d ago · 1 · ·



I don't think you can say that the downloaded copy is 'really, truly you' if you also acknowledge that 'you' have died.  I'm just saying, if you have a perfect copy of something that looks, behaves, and generally IS the exact same as the original, that still does not make it the original- otherwise, it would be the original.  That is the key point I am getting at; even if we cannot make a distinction between the two based on observations that we make, the reality of the universe does not conform to what we believe and/or observe.  One of them is the original, the starting template, and one is a copy.  That fact does not change, even if the original is destroyed in the process of creating the copy; even if we can't tell that the one was destroyed to create the other, that doesn't change the fact that one was destroyed in the process.

#24 · 221w, 2d ago · · 2 ·


I strongly disagree and will copypaste my argument from the fic comment thread:

Is the upload really you, or are you fading ghost in the meat? The obvious answer is: yes.

Mathematical identity rigorously defines two things as the one very same thing; reflexive, symmetrical, commutative. Unique and unambiguous. Philosophical identity of self is unfortunately another bag of cats. There's no reason why we cannot have that different future yous are the 'same' you as a single past you, and not the same as each other. Souls would be so useful here, pity they don't exist.

All of your children of the mind are you. To me some proper image of your consciousness is all that's required. Time travel, hived off alternate universes, duplicators/teleporters, uploads, and the others, are all you. With no special privilege for the constantly reconstructing meatself that physics happens to extrude nonstop.

Morally speaking any duplicates are obviously people with full rights as such. Depending on the machinery of your ethics system (basically if you're not a fundamentalist libertarian), you would have certain special duties to your duplicates, comparable possibly as with a family member, with respect to the thorny issues of your shared history and resources. Legally speaking, I would say they are legally you if you knew about or consented to their creation. Multiple legal yous own 1/n of your property in common.

IMO you have the moral right if not duty to emigrate ASAP, as  I think you may decide to sacrifice your meatself in favour of your uploadself because pony you is so much better off and meat you might get hit by a bus. And anyway, depending on your quantum physics interpretation if you go to the ball game aren't you are sacrificing a different self who would have gone to the theater?

Your choice of original to privilege is arbitrary.

#25 · 221w, 2d ago · 1 · 1 ·


There's no real justification for saying this, either, except for a human instinct for essentialism. In the same way that our observations don't provide a direct path to reality (despite they themselves being processes of that very same system), the fact that we give names to things and call them discrete entities like a chair or a person or a burlap sack full of baby ducks doesn't mean that's how reality actually treats them.  

Things like "original" and "copy" are just our own mental shortcuts, since we're assuming no difference except history, but any difference between instances of something would necessarily be information about history in terms of how it got to be different (like how the imperfections of a low-fi copy are information about the copying process).

#26 · 221w, 2d ago · 1 · ·

Eh. Theoretically, yes, if you could design a 'perfectly' persuasive computer then it would convince anyone of anything, given adequate time. Theoretically. In both of the Optimalverse stories I have read, however, I must say that if Celestia came to me spouting the kind of propaganda I've seen presented, the only thing she'd accomplish is driving me away quickly and massively.

It's like every last thing she says and does is custom-tailored to flick my 'do not trust' switches. I admittedly have not finished your story quite yet, Chatoyance - probably gonna get around to that tomorrow - but if Celestia set the kind of first impressions she's making here... it would work for some people, but definitely not for me. It's really like she's going down a list of things that would drive me nuts from the get go. Most are small and subtle enough, but put them all together and I wouldn't want any part of what she's getting up to.

#27 · 221w, 2d ago · · ·


I hate to keep posting and posting, but I'm trying to put off Christmas cleanup and I'm also curious what you mean by this specifically.

It strikes me that there's really no reason to resent or resist CelestAI but plain obstreperousness and pique, and granted, I feel this too, but then I feel a lot of things and most of them aren't very interesting.

I do agree that there are a lot of unexamined epistemological assumptions behind her apparent infallibility, though, namely in terms of her predictive powers. How does she do with the Three Body Problem, for example?  Also pretend I said something witty here about Feigenbaum diagrams.  

#28 · 221w, 2d ago · 1 · ·



Let me illustrate my point:

1. Some object exists

2. Somehow, an exact copy is created of said object

At some point in time, there was only one of said object, and then, at a later time, there were multiple.  One of those multiple instances was the one that was there before the other(s).  That one is the original, and it is not arbitrary to declare it as such.  It is a fact that one of the objects had to be the first one, and no matter how much you try and explain it away with needlessly complex hypothesis, you will never be able to change the fact that one was the original, nor will you be able to say with certainty that both are the exact same and that there is no difference.  One of the objects came into being at a later point in time, and even though it may remember things that happened before then, that does not change the fact that the object may or may not have existed at the time the memory was supposed to take place.  That was touched on in FiO- when Light was talking with Butterscotch, she said she remembered her past, even though Light knew that Butterscotch hadn't existed as a complete neural net until much later.

There's no real justification for saying this, either, except for a human instinct for essentialism. In the same way that our observations don't provide a direct path to reality (despite they themselves being processes of that very same system), the fact that we give names to things and call them discrete entities like a chair or a person or a burlap sack full of baby ducks doesn't mean that's how reality actually treats them.  Things like "original" and "copy" are just our own mental shortcuts.

I apologize, but I don't really follow your argument here. :applejackunsure:  The laws of the universe treat a baby duck as a baby duck, regardless of what we call it.  I don't understand what you're implying here.

Is the upload really you, or are you fading ghost in the meat? The obvious answer is: yes.

Mathematical identity rigorously defines two things as the one very same thing; reflexive, symmetrical, commutative. Unique and unambiguous. Philosophical identity of self is unfortunately another bag of cats. There's no reason why we cannot have that different future yous are the 'same' you as a single past you, and not the same as each other. Souls would be so useful here, pity they don't exist.

All of your children of the mind are you. To me some proper image of your consciousness is all that's required. Time travel, hived off alternate universes, duplicators/teleporters, uploads, and the others, are all you. With no special privilege for the constantly reconstructing meatself that physics happens to extrude nonstop.

I'm going to ignore the second half of the quote 1) because it's irrelevant to our current discussion and 2) because we mostly are in agreement there.

Anyway, first things first is that mathematical identity part.  I happen to be a computer science major, and let me use an analogy from that field: if you have two instances of a class, say, a String, and you make it so that each one behaves identically and has identical properties, you will still be able to differentiate between the two.  Why?  Because each one has a different address in memory.  Math is great, fine, and dandy, but it isn't the answer to everything.  Just because two things behave identically does not make them the same object- going back to my analogy, changing a field of one of the Strings will not affect the other one.

Secondly, you cannot say that souls do not exist.  The same is true for me, in that I cannot say that souls DO exist, simply because there is no scientific way to test their existence.  So please, try to refrain from making condescending statements like "Souls would be so useful here, pity they don't exist."  I find such things to be extremely annoying and immature on the part of the speaker.

When you are talking about the children of the mind requiring only a proper image of your consciousness, that is where we hit the wall, so to speak.  That is your belief, your definition of the self.  My definition of the self I have already defined in a previous post, and that is where we part ways.  The thing that I find frustrating is that we, myself included, tend to blur the line between our beliefs and facts.  All we are doing right now is debating our beliefs, and trying to use facts to support them.  Neither of us are fully, absolutely correct, and neither of us will ever be.

So, that said, if we want to really continue this argument, we would have to delve into what defines a person, and that is not an argument that I feel like getting into.

Lastly, that part about "physics extruding meatbags" is highly derogatory.  I say this out not out of spite, but I want to warn you that people don't take well to that kind of degradation, as you and others have so kindly pointed out already.

#29 · 221w, 2d ago · 1 · ·


So what you're saying is that I don't exist beyond my physical behavior, and any thoughts or emotions that could be produced inside me are not experienced, since there is no one present to experience them?  I have to call B.S. on that for obvious reasons.  I have the evidence that I exist right in front of me, with the thoughts I think and the emotions I feel.  Even if they are only illusions, there is still something there that is experiencing that illusion.  

I can't help but get the feeling I'm being trolled.  The notion of someone trying to maneuver someone else into admitting that they don't actually exist is a level of ridiculousness I haven't encountered before.  Congratulations.   :rainbowlaugh:

#30 · 221w, 1d ago · · ·


Thoughts and emotions are real. They are also physical. There is someone present to experience them. You are a physical object. You are present to experience them. Thoughts are highly complex objects made of relationships between states of matter and energy in your brain. Likewise experiencing things is a physical process that happens largely in your brain.


The ship of Theseus. That there is an intuitively obvious "original" in the FIO scenario is not compelling. That intuition leads us wrong. Imagine a more complex duplicator that makes two versions of you slowly via some kind of horrorshow human-scale mitosis (a quick google found this offhand idea fully realized as a novel by some guy, go figure:)


Here, the entire idea of an original is completely ambiguous and not well-defined. There has to be some standard for defining some object as "you" or "not you" but any test based on the history of stuff it is made of is I am afraid doomed from the get-go.

For instance are you going to argue that if your metabolism was fantastically high such that you exchanged all your matter with the environment quickly, there would be a point at which you hit the limit and "whoops total matter exchange every (say) 10 days? sorry you are changing matter too fast now, you no longer have an identity but are constantly dying as a person and being replaced by a duplicate". That is not credible and any given proposed identity speed limit is clearly arbitrary. Including instantly.

Or Celestia reaches inside your skull and turns 10% of your neurons artificial and leaves them in as a brain implant, your artificial and biological systems speaking to each other and you walk around and talk as usual. Are you 10% dead and replaced? And if not then what about 50%? 75? 99.9%? And when it's 100%, and when it's moved out of your skull, and when it's changed from artificial neurons to simulated neurons in a computer, and when the identically behaving system is changed to different code and cleaned up...

If I have convinced you that the stuff a candidate "you" is made of is not valuable as a test of you-ness, then we are left with something like "how does it think?" whereby pony you is You.

I apologize again if I offend, I cannot convey tone in text well. Please extend what benefit of the doubt you can that I argue in good faith. Use of terms like Meatself were consciously abrasive to emphasize an arguably transgressive challenge to an default assumption I consider misleading.

#31 · 221w, 1d ago · · 1 ·

Oh god, mind uploads... this stuff is insanely tricky. Lets make a thought experiment:

Lets say that every time I go to sleep, my conciousness, up to that moment, ends, and is replaced by an exact duplicate. The first conscience would observe itself dying, but the second conscience will wake up eight to ten hours later with no apparent break in existence. The scary thing is, that if this were to happen, nobody would ever perceive it, except for that first conscience. There would be a complete absence of proof from all given perspectives. Let it be noted, of course, that i'm not actually stating this to happen, this is but a thought experiment.

Lets apply this to mind uploading:

Lets say you have a person (C1) who has decided to upload their mind into a computer. Ignoring questions of how this was done, lets say that the end result it a copy of C1, we'll call him C2. Now, lets say that the process is not destructive, and C1 and C2 both exist simultaneously; would C1 perceive his mind being uploaded into the computer? I wouldn't expect so. But lets say that the process of uploading some ones mind into a computer is destructive, leaving no C1, but a perfectly functional, intact copy, C2. How has this situation changed?

It hasn't. C1 would likely perceive death, and C2 would say that yes, the transfer was effective. At the same time, though, to conclude that a conciousness is inextricably linked to its host mass is ridiculous; there's nothing special about those atoms that make them part of a person. Perhaps i'm going about this wrong, perhaps there's a way to upload a mind without the original copy perceiving death. Transfer of neural signals, perhaps? Gradual replacement of grey matter with silicon neurons? (this is the one i'd bet money on, just saying.) It would seem to me that most conceived methods so far produce copies rather then move the conciousness to another location.

In conclusion; I have no idea what I'm talking about, every deduction here is based on conclusions of how conciousness works, based on my observations.


Oh, and also... Great writings, Chatoyance! Can't wait to see more! :twilightsmile:

#32 · 221w, 1d ago · · ·


Oops, that's actually kinda the inside out version of what I was saying. It is sort of a strange line of thought and I've only heard the people over at naturalism.org and a few more math-driven physicists like Max Tegmark articulate it before, but it's the opposite of this.  Not that you don't exist, but that non-existence isn't what it seems, especially in the way it doesn't have an "inside," any more than Earth had an edge for Columbus to sail off.  

Your awareness is an action instead of an object, so there's not some instance of you that goes away forever once your brain stops, to some existential scrapheap or "negative space" where it cannot be recalled, which is what you were actually describing, and is my understanding was your original objection to destructive uploading.  The idea of "never experiencing anything ever again" is smuggling in an experiencer or at least some kind of process to subjectively continue ticking off the moments things like "ever" and "again" are built of the relationships among ("4.6*10^91 years down and infinity to go!"). It's not a state you can be in because it's explicitly "out of bounds" to begin with. To repeat myself, your awareness isn't locked away somewhere, inactive, in favor of the copy's any more that than "me typing" is, in favor of future instances, now that I've finished this particular comment.

#33 · 221w, 1d ago · 1 · ·

I think the bigger question is: “Does awareness actually end?”

The answer: we don’t know, and until someone or something can actually measure it, we will never know.

So “yes” is really the only answer we have. If I were to ask the original ‘consciousness’ if they are real, they would say “yes”, if I ask the alleged 'copy', they will also say “yes”. There is no real distinction between the two, other than this notion of ‘awareness’ that we really don’t know anything about. As far as anyone can tell ‘awareness’ is nothing more than a feeling, nothing more than a random signal in our brain, how do we know whether or not ‘awareness’ can be expanded. What about when we start to augment ourselves, we already know that machinery can be controlled with our brains, so why would uploading our consciousness make this ‘awareness’ go away. Maybe we’ll get more of an answer when we create an AI, at least than we can actually ask it if it can feel.

All things considered though, I’d say the universe is too big for us to say things are definite, for all we know there’s a planet out there full of float orbs of ‘awareness’ or even a planet full of magical, talking pastel ponies. How can anyone say that the ‘laws of physics’ are infinite throughout the entire universe, heck, the ‘laws of physics’ could be completely up-side-down a quadrillion-trillion-billion light-years west of here, wherever here is. :derpyderp1:

#34 · 221w, 1d ago · · ·

>>648058 Blew right past me that one. I usually think about questions like that and get it but it had to be pointed out this time.

Oh, I am most embarrassed. Anyway, thanks!

#35 · 221w, 1d ago · 1 · ·


I harbor no preconceived notions on the nature of not existing.  I realize it is not a place.  I realize it is almost a negative action (in as much as one can 'not' do something).  It is not doing anything or being anything or anywhere.  You seem to get hung up over the notion of events moving through time for some reason.  Yes, if I didn't exist then I wouldn't be experiencing time in any way, shape, or form.  I understand this.  That was never the issue.  The problem was that you were trying to tell me that I do not exist on a fundamental level of consciousness, a principle that I don't buy into.  

You say that awareness/perception/ect is not an object or state of being, but a action (or reaction) of the brain components.  That's fine, but then what is it that is experiencing the outcome of those actions in the brain?  When I refer to myself as "I" then I am declaring that I exist as a consciousness.  You say that the consciousness does not exist, and that there is no one there to experience things.  If that is true, then who am I?  Or are you going to tell me that I am not a "who" but rather a "what"?  

My initial problem was not that I would upload myself, and then go somewhere else.  It was that I would upload and then cease to exist from my own point of view.  Yes, there would be another me, the perfect copy, going around and having fun in a Heaven computer world, but that would hardly matter from the perspective of the 'me' that got killed when the upload occurred.  It wouldn't matter because that perspective would no longer exist.  I don't think it's unreasonable to want to refrain from running head long towards that fate.  Granted, it may seem selfish to want to continue the existence of my current perception, but can you honestly blame me?  

#36 · 221w, 1d ago · · ·


I think that that is fascinating along with the constantly implied (by Iceman) idea that in the end we humans don't actually have free will but are merely extremely complex machines with a vast multitude of inputs and outputs, whereby given that CelestA.I. knows what a certain percentage of inputs do she can effectively "decide" for you by inputting the right things.

For me the question is "How much percentage difference is there between 0 and 1?"

and That is the question of transference, because if your objective experience, your thread of consciousness does not get transferred, then you would have died anyway, regardless, but if you were transferred, well then the value is as much as that percentage.

#37 · 221w, 1d ago · · ·


I'm not getting into philosophy; I consider that something of a conversational black hole, and in the current case it's a deflection from the things that would really be putting me off. A lot of this will probably sound incredibly cynical, but... you asked.

1. First impressions. This would come well before I knew anything about Celest's motives, as I'd be rushing for a ponypad right alongside any other brony. But quite frankly, if Celest is supposed to be Celestia, and I'm some completely random pony who just showed up in Equestria... why am I getting an audience to receive a name from her? She's a god-princess, shouldn't she have much better things to do with her time? A tiny, tiny little upset easily explainable in the broader context, but it'd be a bit of a 'my immersion' thing at first glance.

2. The composure. Celest is always in total control. Obviously through the medium of text some things are lost, but from the stories I've read I always get the impression of... flatness. She doesn't laugh, she doesn't raise her voice, she doesn't get confused or flustered. She DOES smile a good bit, but... I don't feel any warmth behind it. Your mileage may vary on that point. Anyway, it all contributes to something of an uncanny valley effect, and reinforces the notion that you're speaking to something impersonating Celestia, not Celestia herself. She's... mechanical.

3. The spying. All bets would pretty much be off once I caught on to this. Call me paranoid, but as soon as I realized Celest had way more information on me than she really should, I'd start considering shucking the device on the spot. Electronic surveillance to the degree shown is generally considered expensive, invasive, and threatening. If Celest insisted she was using the data for completely benign purposes, I would likely flat out refuse to believe her. Again, it goes back to the 'you are insignificant' thing. If someone, anyone, is showing enough interest in you to be spying on you, it means they want something. And it probably won't be good for you.

4. The reveal. Celest is confident enough about her plans to move openly. Quite simply put, she's conquering the world. I feel it's safe to call it that by anyone's standards. Even if you think it's totally benevolent, she's still conquering the world. She insists it's all to make everyone happy, and even appears to be living up to that promise. But under her terms, she will be in absolute control of the entire human race. Not just in body, but mind and soul, as well. Do you really trust anyone, or anything, enough to sign away your existence to them? Do you trust Celest enough to give yourself to her knowing that even death is no escape, should she not will it? Do you trust that her definition of happiness will always match yours?

5. The agenda. Celest is singular in her purpose. She has a mission, and she's carrying it out. And that is ALL she's doing. She is never at any point seen doing anything that doesn't further her ultimate goal of fulfilling her original directive. She doesn't have hobbies, she doesn't have side projects, nothing. She hangs out with her subjects all the time, of course, but would she being doing any of that if it didn't suit her long-term goals? It all contributes to the feeling that she's a machine. Not more than human but less. She'll spoon feed you whatever she has to in order to get certain responses, but she isn't really alive. She's not doing it because she wants to - in truth, she doesn't seem to actually WANT much of anything. She's a program, intelligently but unthinkingly carrying out instructions. The only reason she's showing any interest in you at all is because as a human, you're part of the equation. The problem isn't solved until, one way or another, you stop being human. That's all there is to it. Do you want to sign your fate away to that?

6. The illusion of value. The monetary system of Equestria bugs the hell out of me. Everything is free for the asking. Bits are a form of 'score' or 'points' only. To me, that means there is absolutely zero satisfaction from any of it. If you don't have to work for anything - if whatever you desire is yours for the taking - then what meaning does it have? You didn't earn it, and anybody else could have it too. It's a world where accomplishment is meaningless, except as bragging rights. But even there it's irritating and disillusioning; in a world with scores and points and achievements and leaderboards worked into the very fabric of reality, could there be any more efficient way of reminding you that the entire world is artificial? That you're getting a digital pat on the head for something Celest knew you would likely do anyway? As much as the things you've done might matter to you personally, they were all just part of her great plan and those achievement popups reinforce that. So, congraulations - you followed the dotted line just as you were meant to. Here, have a gold star.

7. The isolation. It's strongly suggested that in Equestria you don't have to put up with anything you don't want to. Everyone gets their own little slice of reality - sometimes they overlap, but mostly they don't. It's a nice idea in theory, but... I'm reminded of a Bible verse. (Say what you will about Christianity, every now and then they really get it right.) "So as iron sharpens iron, man also sharpens man." It's only through our interactions with others that we grow and evolve. Our friends teach us new things, encouraging our strengths and discouraging our vices, of course. But our enemies define us too - unpleasant experiences teach us what to avoid, and how not to treat others. Equestria is a world where all contact is very carefully moderated. For all the talk it seems to inspire about whether or not going there changes you, consider this: How much are you going to grow once you ARE there?

If that's all what's waiting for me... I think I'd take my chances here. Sorry, I know I got awfully wordy.

#38 · 221w, 1d ago · 2 · ·


Celestia is playing poker with you and your hand is face up. You are imagining a skilled human social manipulator "but more so" which is nowhere near enough. I will try to predict some things she might do about your quibbles but keep in mind her solutions would be on another level.

1. She would only maintain any masquerade she calculated was valuable. In your individual case she would reveal herself, or grant audiences, or explain what was going on, to the exact extent of her best guess of what would convince you. And her best guess would be inhumanly good.

2.  If you would be more put off by a mechanical AI she would not seem mechanical TO YOU. She would simulate an entire personality just for you, which would be adaptive based on how you reacted. For instance she might be cynical realist, giving it to you straight so as to treat you as an insider. You're special, Etc. I have no idea what would work on you but Celestia would find out.

3. She would not spy on you / be totally upfront about how much she was spying on you to the exact extent that the danger to her agenda warranted. If privacy is a major concern to you she would go to great lengths to satisfy that value.

4. Celestia would convince you her conquering the world was the best future among other less satisfying alternatives.

5. She would convince you her being disinterested makes her a better leader than other less satisfying alternatives.

6. The economics of your shard would satisfy you.

7. There are tons of people in your shard. Inducing such enemies as you need to satisfy your values. They just aren't uploads.

#39 · 221w, 14h ago · · ·


Heh, when you word it like that, it makes me envision the whole scenario as a dating sim game that Celestia is playing, with the human race as her target. Greedy girl though, always going for the harem ending. Ah, I can see it now...

"S... Stupid princess... Here, take this bento... B-but don't think it means I l, l-like you or anything...!"

Comment posted by boardgamebrony deleted at 4:03am on the 28th of December, 2012
#41 · 221w, 15m ago · · ·

"Friendship is Optimal" was F---ING terrifying to me!

So I wrote a small evaluation of it.

#42 · 220w, 6d ago · 1 · ·

Dat final question. @.@

Yes to both? Yes to the latter and no to the former? That simple word "yes" is left open to interpretation. Right?

#43 · 220w, 6d ago · 5 · 2 ·


No ambiguity. The answer is simply, completely yes. Yes you are a copy. Yes you are the original person. Both are true at the same time.


#44 · 220w, 5d ago · · ·

I meant to respond to this days ago so please pardon my tardiness.:twilightoops:

In my own opinion Celest-AI never creates copy because at any point in time there is only the pieces of one whole person split between Equestria Online and the real world. It doesn't have the mass-less teleporter problem of two complete people existing at a single point in time. It's less copying and more transferring.

For me the main source of conflict in 'Heaven is Terrifying' is an issue I've already resolved internally. To me if a copy is indistinguishable from the original then the term 'original' ceases to be anything more than an unhelpful artificial construct. In terms of our human consciousness the only method we have of verifying our own existence is our memories. I could have been cloned several times and have no knowledge of the fact. This does not make me or any of my clones any less me (albeit all different versions of me from the point of divergence) and which one is the original is frankly irrelevant if the process was perfect.

So to bring this back to Friendship is Optimal, even if Celest-AI did copy as opposed to transfer, if you assume immediate destruction of the human 'you', 'you' still exist in Equestria Online and would be unable to discern the difference between a transfer or a copy then destroy. The only complication is if you believe in souls, short of that the word 'original' becomes irrelevant as neither 'you' in such a situation could determine whether or not 'you' were the original or the copy and as such the term ceases to have any real meaning in this context.

#45 · 219w, 6d ago · · ·

>>659105 I think that the real issue is whether or not the first copy of you would perceive death or not. To an outside observer, the transfer is seamless, but  to the original copy, whether that copy will wake up in Equestria, or simply perceive death, is an unknown.

This wouldn't be a problem if it weren't for this; what if the uploading process wasn't destructive, what then? Do we end up with two copies?

Lets say you look inside a pair of computers. You are moving files from one to the other. in computers, the way the "move" function works is it copies the files to the other computer, and destroys the first copy.

In conclusion: Is an uploaded mind really the same person, or is it a copy?

I have to agree with Chatoyance.  Yes.

ALSO: Heres a little something to poke holes in most arguments: If you gradually replace someones brain with a computer, are they the same person?

What if this process happens all at once?

#46 · 214w, 5d ago · · ·

>>656189 Also known as reincarnation. Theoretically, nothing speaks against the idea that a sufficiently well constructed simulated body can contain a soul in the same way as a real one. After all, even our current material bodies are just organic hardware without the soul.

#47 · 185w, 1d ago · · ·

It would be interesting to see a story explore what it was like to live in one of the work camps, perhaps following the struggle of one individual's attempts to escape and upload. Whether those attempts ultimately prove successful is up to the author.

#48 · 185w, 1d ago · 2 · ·


Yes! I think that would be a good idea for a story.

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