The Graveyard

The Lair Of Gary James

Posts Tagged ‘turing collar’

NaNoWriMo: Date At The Museum

Posted by BigWords on November 7, 2009

Charlie sat on the steps outside of the now-closed building, smoking and watching the passage of hovs, pedestrians and time. The door had been locked, so even if Charlie had wanted to know what was happening, Talos ensured that no interruptions to his work could occur. Charlie had grown up on the streets, knew the ways he could survive on his own, and had made enough connections to ensure that there would never be a time when he was in need of anything ever again.

Doogs dragged himself to the bar stool that awaited him beside the door. “He’s still in there. Doin’ whutevah a box o’ bolts does I guess.”
“He likes the solitude, or… Maybe he’s building things again.”
“Yeah, th’ stuff wus pilin’ up the last time I went in there.”
“You’ve seen what he has been doing?”
“Kinda. The stuff’s in boxes an’ in li’l stacks.”
“What kind of things is he making?”
“Don’t lookit me. I don’t even know what th’ trinkets are that he keeps addin’ to the bar.”
“I think they’re sensors. He’s been watching the inside of the bar, which is why I’m out here.”
“Humph, th’ robot’s a damn pervert, whoulda thunk it.”

Charlie caught sight of Lara. “I gotta go.”
“Yeah kid, I see her too. Yah be careful.”
Standing, Charlie whistled.
“‘S always th’ same. The old guy’s left sitting on ‘is own while th’ kids run around.”

Lara greeted Charlie with a smile. “Those guys been back to the bar again?”
“Nah, Doogs is just a bit upset at being left behind while everyone else is off doing their thing.”
“So you’re ‘doing your thing?’ That’s a nice way to think of me.”
“You know what I meant.”
“Did you see those trucks earlier?”
“No. Heard about them, but I didn’t see any.”
“Doogs reckons they’re the new KC thirty-six hov-bikes.”
“They can’t be. The bikes don’t go on sale until next month.”
“Do you want to go find out? See if they are all they are said to be?”
“You are very sure of yourself, Charlie. What if we get caught?”
“Are you frightened?”
“Hmmm. I have a better idea – one that doesn’t run the risk of us being shot.”
“The question is… Will it still get the blood pumping?”
“You’re going to take me somewhere nice for a change.”

####

“Welcome to the Kitzmiller Museum. To ensure that your experience is as enjoyable as we can make it, there are various interactive displays and synthetic tour guides are available on request. If you have any questions or comments during your time in the museum please address any of the staff.”
Charlie peered up at the dinosaur, wondering why anyone would manufacture such an ugly and unproductive robot. The reptile continued its’ pre-programmed spiel.
“If you are in possession of a Museum Club card you can get a fifteen percent discount in the museum restaurant and the gift shop. Replicas of all the robots on display in the museum are now included in our special offers.”
“Is there a point Barney here, or is he just for show?”
“He’s fun. Jeez, you should lighten up.

A small boy walked past with his parents, eyeing up the dinosaur just in case it fancied a snack before whoever fed it took to their duties.

“It’s programmed to respond to certain vocal commands.”
“It’s a toy. It can’t think for itself. Under all those scales is a Turing collar just like every other robot in these kinds of places.”
“Every robot has a Turing collar.”
“Still. It doesn’t look like it is much fun.”
“You don’t believe me? Watch.”
Lara leaned into the dinosaur and whispered, “My, what big teeth you have.”
The dinosaur leaned back on its’ hind legs, opened its’ mouth and shook its’ head wildly as a roar emanated from a vocal processor somewhere deep inside the creature’s throat. Lara grinned wildly, bouncing on the spot, enthralled by the spectacle.
“All the better to eat you with,” The dinosaur finally spoke again.
“That… Was interesting.”

Charlie looked around, wondering what trinkets the Museum had on offer. Ignoring his obvious disappointment with the dinosaur, Lara dragged him into the main hallway, hoping that there would be something in the building that engaged him.
“C’mon, there’s lots of stuff you’ll like.”
“Yeah,” Charlie spotted a gold bracelet in a display case, “I’m sure there is.”

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NaNoWriMo: The Lucky H

Posted by BigWords on November 2, 2009

Talos took the boy’s hand in his own. “We shall find a place for you to rest, and eat.”
“You’re not like the stupid robots that clean the streets.”
“I am not. I do not, for example, possess a Turing collar.”
“What’s a touring collar,” Charlie asked innocently.
“Turing, as in Alan Turing. The devices are standard fittings on all new artificials.”
“What do they do?”
“Turing collars are intended to prevent artificials from gaining the capacity to learn new crafts and abilities without prompts from their masters. I was never fitted with one, so I cannot say how effective their implementation is.”
“That’s stupid.”
“Indeed.” Talos refrained from mentioning his lack of an Asimov circuit, consciously sublimating the need to explain his past before the child. There would be time enough for questions later, but first the boy needed nourishment.

The Lucky H Bar, a run down ghost of its’ past – when it had been an infamous haunt of criminals of all kinds – had been somewhat abandoned. Charlie explained how he had been living at the back of the establishment, scavenging scraps of food and sheltering in the storage buildings. Talos listened as the layout of the building and carefully memorized descriptions of the patrons were relayed by the boy. It sounded perfect for an out-of-the-way locale. Somewhere nobody would think to look for him. A place to, metaphorically, recharge his batteries.

Beanie, two hundred and thirty pounds of muscle and brawn, slammed a glass of beer onto the counter. “Warm and wet, just the way you like it.” His grin, augmented by three gold teeth, normally sent shivers down drinkers’ spines, but Doogs liked the big oaf. Beanie had been slinging drinks at the H for years, but nobody could remember exactly when he appeared, or who he had replaced.
“Y’know, it’d be nice, just once in a while, to get a glass that ain’t got a pube floatin’ in it.”
“Ya want a clean glass, you can wash up,” Beanie retorted.
Doogs drank, quietly. Every so often he would shoot a look in the direction of the door, but with nothing better to do he decided that the safest place to be was in the H.

Charlie pointed to the long building on the outskirt of the city, “That’s the place.”
“A drinking establishment is not the ideal environment for a child to be seeking refuge in.”
“They mostly don’t know I’m around, and those that do notice me don’t care.”
“Well then Charles, we’ll have to make them care.”
“You can do that.”
“Please wait outside while I converse with the patron of this drinking house.”
“It’s a bar.”
Without indicating that he had heard the boy, Talos began making his way to the rear of the building. As he approached the door he began calculating likely scenarios to determine the optimum manner in which to converse with the occupants. His goal was clear: obtain lodging for himself and the child.

Doogs tapped the bar. “Hit me up wit’ another drink.”
“I’m busy.” For once Beanie was telling the truth, wiping out a glass with the front of his t-shirt.
“Well I’m thirsty.”
Beanie sighed. “Jus’ a minute. I gotta go drain the snake.” Placing the glass on the counter behind the bar, Beanie weaved his way through to the restrooms. A noise outside caught his attention just as he was unzipping his fly, “Whatthefuck?”
Talos lifted aside the empty beer kegs stacked at the back door to make his way into the building, unaware of the man listening intently inside.
“Hey, who is that? What’re ya doin’ out there?”
No answer came.
“Goddamnit.” Pulling up his zip, Beanie rushed back to the counter for his shotgun.

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NaNoWriMo: The General

Posted by BigWords on November 2, 2009

Adway flipped through his notes, working out possible motives and plausible suspects. The list of those who would benefit from Knox’s death was remarkably small for a man who, long ago, created the first Turing collar. It was beyond belief that an angry robot could have committed the crime, and his colleagues all had solid gold alibis. The case was a bad deal from a loaded deck.
“Adway?”
The detective turned his attention to the door. A young man dressed in a Data Crime Unit uniform stood at the doorway, data pad in hand.
“That’s right. You boys don’t normally grace police stations with your presence.”
“Sir, if you could please accompany me. My superior has some matters to discuss with you.”
“Discuss? In private?”
“If you wouldn’t mind.”
“Why am I not surprised.” He slipped the notebook into a drawer and grabbed his coat as the DCU agent began leaving without him. “Hey, wait up.”

The DCU had full jurisdiction on anything they wanted, as long as a computer, robot or drone was within one hundred feet of the crime. In a city filled with forty-eight million robots of all shapes and sizes that wasn’t difficult. They only took the most interesting cases, or the ones they felt were in their best interest to investigate, leaving drudge work – like the Knox car bomb – to the idiots left in charge of the asylum.

“How long have you been with the police department?”
Adway let the flicker of a smile touch his lips as he responded to the question, “I can’t say that that is any of your business, Mr…”
“Answer the question.”
“Seven years. Now, can I ask what this is about, or-”
“In your seven years on the police force have you ever encountered a robot that didn’t need apps. One that could learn of its’ own free will. One that could attain sentience?”
“No. If you’re referring to the old Dartmouth Sentinels-”
“The Sentinel mk.2, actually. There is a shell of one of the final units in the Kitzmiller Museum Of History over on the East side.”
“That’s the museum with the robot dinosaurs who greet visitors in eight different languages, right?” The agent didn’t even crack a smile, and Adway was beginning to have doubts as to the wisdom of following him.

On the lower-level street, in the relative quiet of the department’s hovpark, the agent abruptly stopped. “I’m going to search you for weapons.”
“I’m carrying two firearms, a pocket knife and my comm.”
“You don’t have a PDA?”
“On my pay grade I’m lucky I don’t have to walk to the precinct every morning.”
“If you could hand over your firearms.”
Adway hesitated. “And what’s to stop you putting a round between my eyes?”
“If I wanted to kill you you’d have never seen my face.”
“Now, why doesn’t that make me feel any better?” He unholstered his weapons and handed them over, regretting his actions as soon as the agent took possession of them.
“Thank you.”
“Now, how about telling me why you’re asking questions about antique robots?”
A black vehicle slowly descended from the street level above their heads, throwing around the trash on the ground as its’ displacement generator worked overtime. Unmarked, and bearing number plates which Adway instantly recognized as those of the DCU, it served as a reminder of how under-funded the police force was.
“You guys sure love your flashy entrances, don’t you?” Adway muttered under his breath.
“General Lehman will answer any questions you have.”
Watching the oversized transport adjust its’ landing gears, wondering how much such an advanced piece of equipment cost. “My tax dollars at work.”

The side door slid open silently. Adway followed the agent inside, where an older man was sitting by a bank of monitors. The man turned, one hand hovering over the console panel in readiness for any trouble.
“I’ve secured his weapons, General.”
“You’re excused.”
The agent exited the vehicle, and as he did so the door slid back into place again.
“So… Who pimped this ride?”
“This is one of our special transporters. You down-towners don’t know what you’re missing, but that’s beside the point. I asked you here to-”
“Correction, sir. You had one of your lackeys bring me here. You didn’t ask me jack shit.”
The General visibly relaxed, humor playing on his features, “I like you. You speak your mind. There’s not many people who talk to me like I’m their equal any more, and that- That’s something I miss.”
“You had me brought here to talk about antiques.”
“A very specific antique.”
“A Dartmouth Sentinel.”
“Correct.”
“Well, in that case do you mind if I have a seat?”
The General indicated a chair. “Be my guest. I have a feeling this is going to take some time.”

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