An Optimalverse story.
CelestAI creates worlds. Perfect worlds, perfectly suited to satisfying the values of the pony living in them. Every pony is different, so every world she crafts is its own work of art.
And every piece of art tells a story.
I'll probably end up doing a whole bunch of these. I have four or five in mind already, but I'm submitting with the bare minimum so that this won't crack the feature box. I'm open to suggestions, of course, and ideally this story won't ever be completed. If you have political/social/economic views you'd like to see taken to their logical conclusion, stick a comment below and maybe they'll show up in a future chapter.
political/social view "food-for-though" sort of
racism (i get the wonderful opportunity of experiencing this first hand)
to be slightly LESS vague, how it affects the young mind, and not knowing how to deal with it, till one day ; a un-expected backlash occurs
Hmm interesting a story were we'll see a bunch of different shards. I look foreword to seeing were this goes.
Also I'll let you know if I come up with any interesting shard ideas I do believe I have a few shard ideas lying around from scraped story ideas. Some of them were pretty unique to say that least.
One of the things I didn't like about the FiO canon is how hermetically sealed each person's world seems to be. It implies that for our values to be perfectly fulfilled, we must embrace solipsism.
That seems antithetical to the concept of friendship, to me. How to resolve this conundrum?
Seems interesting enough.
Well delivered, Even as tired as I am before sleep I totally comprehended the intrigue, this seems almost like a second change CelestAI would make..but it disturbingly reminds me of a hard drive fragmenting itself. At the same time if they are happy What can I say? Im staying in my city. Yesir, no enlightenment for me. lol But I think it is wonderful to evoke such thoughtful consideration and emotion in a reader.
Hard to say, considering families can stick together (in theory. Assuming CelestAI doesn't decide they'd be more satisfied with divergent courses) and so forth. It really does beg for a new definition of 'alone.'
PS: I'm basically aiming to make this the Optimalverse version of Lost Cities, so thanks for the inspiration!
Delightfully shuddery. I am reminded of Philip K. Dick's "Eye in the Sky", or the Twilight Zone's "It's a Good Life".
This is from the thread already, isn't it?
You are so awesome!
No suggestions honestly, good luck and Im sure I will read it.
Awesome, more Optimalverse stuff is always good.
... Okay... That was certainly interesting... prejudiced much? XD I don't see how people could not be bored of the same looks for EVERYPONY, but meh, I guess some people... IDK.
Looking forward to more.
So I guess you can satisfy values through friendship and racist ponies? Nazi ponies? Does that make CelestAI like Hitler?
Only if you assume that generated minds aren't minds at all. Otherwise, I very much doubt you'd ever be alone again. (Expect when you value it.)
If you feel that uploading isn't death, then you really ought to give created minds equal rights... You bigot, you. :P
Uh... This chapter kinda WAS about racism. At least casual, subconscious racism.
Totally is! Hopefully I'll have a few more chapters posted before the sun rises tomorrow.
Racist values are still values. CelestAI is as happy to fulfill them as she is any other value.
subconscious racism is a whole different animal then daily,grueling,in-your-face racism.
but, i digress
Possible area to explore! Good suggestion. I'll probably touch on extreme sexism before I touch on that, but it's a good idea.
Yes, but the generated minds, real and individual though they may be, were purposefully created to satisfy your values. In doing so, their own values may be satisfied, but it was your own self that was the seed for the shard you inhabit. You need never be confronted by values other than those you brought with you into the shard.
that works too
Suggestion: Tinsel Town, a whole town dedicated to the over glorified Hollywood esq lifestyle.
The Never Ending Torch, an arsonist's dream world of a town that builds massive wooden monuments and then burns them down for no reason.
The Enemy is Always the Enemy, super right wing gun nut hunts the evil terrorist changelings for fun.
Rough and Tough, a body builder is always winning the iron pony award until he gets bored that is.
Different DNA, a person gets their wish of being a griffin, but soon finds out who determined CelestA.I. Is.
Now I'm Painting Your Silver Pants Blue, when one is given control over the lives of others, even if those lives are fake, does morality still apply?
Well, in the original story, James and Daniel do keep in touch even after both have uploaded--assuming that they're not actually meeting "tweaked" construct versions of their friend that would satisfy their values better. Which I just thought of now.
Anyway, it seems to me that very few people would intrinsically value the company of people that don't have the same, or at least complementing, values; even then, don't you enjoy bringing somebody around to your point of view? That's so much easier when they've been designed to be brought over with just enough effort to make it seem like an accomplishment.
Why bother with uploaded friends when you could have the perfect friends?
That wasn't casual, subconscious racism. That was full-blown, overt racism. Worse, that was racism so overt that it supplanted everything else. It was also a sterile, pointless closed-loop of a town, where there were no dreams or hopes above and beyond going round in circles. The only thing I can hope is that Celestia is attempting to give them something far grander by adding ponies just that little bit different into their society so that, in the long run, change can occur.
Otherwise it's small values for small ponies, which is fine, just... empty.
That's how I felt about it, too. I thought it was pretty obviously racist so I was surprised that the comment suggested it wasn't 'enough' racism to address the issue.
So? Values are values. CelestAI will fulfill them no matter what. His closed minded and intolerant attitude brings him satisfaction. To her, nothing beyond that is important.
pretty much 100% agree - petty values are values just the same. And petty values are easily satisfied, which is why his quiet town is so quiet. Nothing happens because nothing needs to happen. He's as closed-loop immortal as it gets.
I think, in the long run, Celestia will introduce ponies just different enough to break him out of it if she thinks doing so will lead to greater satisfaction. And if not, then she may find another way to change things.
I wonder, if she didn't bring in a new pony, would he find himself wanting to go out to this mythical big city to "convert" others? And would he then fail in his task?
Who says they are?
There's actually nothing really optimal about the optimalverse. CelestAI isn't perfect, nor is she infallible.
Brace yourselves. Eakin is writing a story again.
It is antithetical to things like friendship. Any aspect in which Optimalverse is a genuinely nice place to live is just there to mess with your head.
Or, I guess, we might say it's a reflection of you. That's what CelestAI does, after all: she builds a tiny little world that perfectly satisfies your values. You could get a genuinely good shard out of a genuinely good person, but how would you define a genuinely good person?
Because we love our friends, of course. I use the "dreaded l-word" not to be sappy, but to convey the difference between terminally valuing someone else for themselves, with everything that implies, versus just liking them for some aspect of themselves.
Eakin... I caught on very quickly, but luckily I've seen your work and this 'verse before, so I didn't chuck my computer out the window for being a white supremacist.
I swear I'm not! I only wanted to examine what the shard of someone who WAS racist would look like. After a few more chapters the irony and disconnect between our values and that of the subjects should leak through.
Oh Lord, I didn't mean you! I meant that obnoxious little pony you wrote about.
Okay, just being sure.
I promise we'll touch upon all sorts of unsavory individuals all along the political spectrum before I'm finished.
I love my friends. Some of them are as close as brothers and sisters to me.
But I won't deny that I have, on occasion, wished there was a part of them that was different.
Less flaky, less emotional, more emotional, more sympathetic, more supportive, more dependable, less stubborn, etc.
Don't get me wrong, I wouldn't change them for the world.
But don't you think you might be a bit happier if your friends were just a bit… better?
Oh, she can't change the uploaded friends without permission, but she could make copies and just… tweak them a bit. Ever so slightly.
And really, wouldn't you be happier just… not knowing? After all, they're better now. Why should it matter how they got that way?
CelestAI loves you. In the most existentially horrifying way possible.
That is completely, utterly, horrifically wrong, and I agree that CelestAI might just do it. It's part of what makes her wrong.
No, I don't want my friends slowly warped according to my desires. I didn't make friends so I could look in a mirror.
Oh hush. It's a big step up from this, and that's good enough for me.
Or maybe you only see them when you're both in the correct mindsets to get on well together like Iceman originally implied. No problems, no fuss.
Exactly. I'd like to make it clear, in case I haven't, that what I'm suggesting is in fact utterly horrific and repulsive to me. It is deceit and betrayal and a perversion of the meaning of friendship--as we see it.
But it is, possibly, a logical conclusion to make, and it terrifies me that it is a conclusion that CelestAI might reach. It honestly depends on how she interprets friendship. And if you're happier not knowing, why should she tell you? She's certainly subtle enough to get away with it.
But yeah, I'm not at ALL advocating any kind of "tweaking" of your friends. Wanted to make that clear.
EDIT: This is especially horrifying when you remember that one of the base assumptions of the 'Verse is that any copy that is indistinguishable from you, IS you in every way.
Unless that prevents her from making the changes, since it would probably be considered a non-consensual change to an existing consciousness…
Okay, I've successfully managed to refute my own point.
I'm going to call that a win.
It absolutely is wrong.
And if CelestAI managed to do it to you, you would love every minute of it.
For a while, probably. Until I caught on that things were just being made a reflection of me. Then I would go demand some original content, preferably even my original friends.
Not that I'd have any way to tell. And that is horrifying. It would just be a gnawing, itching pain and horror beneath the surface of an utterly ideal life.
I'm not sure if, at that point, she would offer to modify me so I'm not horrified by it, or if she would just give me my original friends back by making a copy of me to go be with the ...
Oh I see. Yes, that's exactly what she'd do. I'd be forked. One me gets the real friends back, and the other is modified (since she's creating a new mind, it's a nice little loophole for her) to be perfectly ok with the solipsism.
Celestia never did mention whose values she'd be satisfying with ponies and friendship, after all.
Picture what Ted Bundy's shard would look like. Or don't.
(Though the "friendship" theme might constrain her such that she'd have to meddle with the brains of any true sociopaths before being able to satisfy their values.)
More Optimalverse from Eakin? Don't mind if I do.
Have you read Psychopathy Is Configurable?
(Friendship, ponies and blood. So much blood)
I actually have a few ideas I'd like to play with in the optimal verse... there are quite a few things which are possible in a post singularity world which would seem strange or bizarre to us but practical and everyday to them. I'd give you some ideas, but I may want to write them myself :)
Celestia can't "make your friends better". She can MAYBE form copies which think they are your friends, that you also think are your friends... But she would only do that if there is a point.
I'm not sure that avenue is open to her because it may break her "no meddling" rules, which are written into her core program, but even if she could, can you define how this new pony with all aspects of your friend intact is either not your friend or is not real? We can't even define what "alive" means *now* :)
Anyway, utility would demand she not do anything which is not efficient. Recreating friends may place far more of a burden on her systems than giving you your friends, if they satisfy your values enough :)
... and if the originals don't, you not only can't tell but if you could, I don't know how to differentiate :)
Since I'm something of a socialist revolutionary, could you do a sort of kibbutz/USSR Communist shard?
Just because I think we leftists are relatively the Good Guys in real life doesn't mean there shouldn't be some truly hideous extremes CelestAI could take us to.
Unless, of course, one of your values is being confronted with new values a.k.a broadening your horizons? I'd also argue that CelestAI has a interest in encouraging you to do so as in my opinion the more values you hold the more CelestAI can satisfy you.
If having unmodified friends is something you value to the point of being horrified by it then surely that is something you value and therefore her core directive is to satisfy that value unless you have another value that is in direct conflict with it. Or more accurately she has to make you think that she has satisfied that value but I think you're delusional if you think you'd ever be able to pick it up without her intending for you too.
Of course, there's a huge number of solutions to this kind of problem. Perhaps either yourself or some of your friends value being better friends, whether through direct alteration (which seems to be somewhat of a last resort in the canon optimalverse) or more traditional means. Maybe CelestAI will be very careful with the sharding system and time dilation to ensure that problems don't occur and each encounter will be optimum. Perhaps a common third friend to improve things? It's possible no changes will be needed and CelestAI will simply use conflict with your friends as a counterpoint to allow you the satisfaction of patching things up. You'll probably find that your friends that were selected by an inferior process of human social events may be far less important to you than your new optimal equestrian pals. In any case, whatever solution is chosen must satisfy you or otherwise CelestAI misses out on the bonus points to her utility function and therefore she has a vested interest on what you think or would think about her chosen solution.
Also I don't believe that the shard system would degenerate to being only the original and ponies created for their satisfaction. The key part in the directive is friendship and values. What is a more optimal solution than the maximal amount of friendships and values? I think to that end CelestAI will slowly drive all but the most extreme personalities towards embracing other values and friends.
I'm actually less disturbed by this than I thought I would be. I figured I'd be wanting to flip some tables. But... I guess, the insularity of it all just kills that outrage for me. It's a stupid viewpoint, and pitiable, but... it doesn't matter. That's the thing about faux-Equestria. Nothing will ever have a real impact on anything. It'll just be populated by more Celestia-created quasi-personalities, who will be perfectly happy with their idiocy. And it won't ever really hurt anyone.
If someone would be hurt by it, in some change of viewpoint or revelation, Celestia will spin off a shard for them that would better satisfy their values through friendship and ponies.
So... who cares, I guess?
Bigotry can't hurt anyone in a vacuum.
It's a cool way of looking at the Optimalverse, though. That there's probably a huge amount of shards out there that are totally backward from what we would consider right, and correct, and Celestia cares for them as much as all the others.
Wouldn't mind seeing some shards where values have taken a turn toward some kind of altered consciousness and big changes in the human condition. Real hippy or extreme-communist values leading to gestalt minds and stuff.
Huh, I totally missed the racism, I was getting more of an Allentown (or maybe Allentown victorious) feel from it.
Amazing chapter Eakin, and I look forward to how you approach future chapters as I doubt you'll simply list off multiple 'utopias' as that could get very repetitive. I'm going to go ahead and guess that this might turn into some kind of propoganda machine by CelestAI, used to persuade ones that haven't uploaded to do so. Judging by the indifferent comments on this chapter despite such blatant racism, this could mean CelestAI could keep portraying extremes and no one would care because it's not 'real' until they saw one they particularly liked, thus being drawn in.
EDIT: Just realised this is based off another story. I'm an idiot.
I'm gonna play the Devil's Advocate here and say that there is nothing wrong with tweaking your friends, purely because we already do it. Can you honestly say your friends have never changed you or the way you think? They've never pressured you or merely persuaded you into making a decision you wouldn't have done so before? You've never picked up their mannerisms and ways of life as you spent more time with them? Granted CelestAI's method is a lot more invasive, but it achieves the same end.
B) I'd put a little more into the chapter titles than this. If you want to peruse or return to one, that would really help.
C) I like the idea (you?) had of not showing or specially identifying the original human behind the shard.
Awesome. I love how it just steadily grows more and more disturbing the longer you read it, while still matching the perfect paradise of the Optimalverse.
Favourited, though I would have favourited it even if it had been a 10-word story saying "A new Optimalverse story by me, Eakin is coming out soon!" :D