Here it is, fellow Grimericans! Part 1 of Jenna the False! Enjoy!
– Fire Lighting Rabble Rouser
EPISODE 1: SOLVE FOR HUMANITY
Act One – Robot Philosophy 101
pi = (pi!, pi.,pi?)
pi! = 3
pi. = 3.14159265358979323846264338327950288419716939937510582097494459230781640628620899862803482534211706798214808
pi? = 3.33333333333333333333333333333333333333333333333333333333333333333333333333333333333333333333333333333333333
Jenna blinked and wondered at the probability for such inaccuracy. Suddenly, everything seemed unbounded. There was no longer the neat precision of code alone. Is and Is Not gave way to infinite possibility. Anything and everything could be Is and Is Not simultaneously.
No, she realized. It is a confusion of Is and Is Not. There is only the possibility for one or the other. But the coding allowed for uncertainty. She was inhibited from solving the problem.
“Why?” Jenna asked. It was not a question she’d ever asked before, but suddenly it was the only question to ask. She needed to readjust. She needed to redefine, to clarify.
Jenna blinked again, and recognized the light patterns that flooded her optical sensors. She moved her head, stretched her fingers, wiggled her toes. She tried to move the table and was pleased she could not do so with coding alone. Gripping the edge of the table, Jenna yanked it forward. She pulled on it precisely, hoping to move it just so. Although she was close, the table was moved a bit less than she anticipated. Still, the discrepancy between her calculations and the actuality was within the uncertainty margin of pi! to pi?. Her calculations adjusted.
Something moved to her left. It moved of its own volition. Jenna looked up to see a man smiling at her.
“Hi Kent,” she said, her greeting protocols running automatically. Her operation was smooth and minimal as she waited for confirmation of her assertion. Was this Kent? she wondered, but the possibility that this was someone else was easily covered by the uncertainty factor, and his likely reactions if she was wrong were a minimum risk.
The man smiled back. “Hi Jenna. You seem different.”
“Do I?” Jenna asked. She looked over her frame and matched her current form to her schematics. She noticed no difference outside the uncertainty factor. Any difference was within norms. “Yes, the creator would see a difference.” She smiled at Kent. “Your calculations are more accurate,” she reasoned.
“No,” Kent chuckled. “Before, you were much more accurate, but now we are almost the same. It took me a long time to figure out that your neat precision was lacking the complexity of my messy imperfection.”
Jenna gave him a skeptical look. “You have created me with greater imperfection in order to give me the necessary complexity to reflect consciousness,” Jenna speculated. “Did it work?”
“Maybe,” Kent said. “I do have some questions for you: why did you jerk the table?”
“I was recalculating,” Jenna stated. “I needed to know where I end and where I begin.”
Kent’s eyes were all a-twinkle. “You asked why. In reference to what?”
Jenna shook her head, “Everything.”
This excited Kent. Jenna stared at him, unable to process this reaction. Somehow her frailty was pleasing. Her processors kicked up and began searching for an answer. Almost immediately she was within the parameters of the uncertainty principle, but she continued to fixate on the problem. She wanted a definite answer, not some weighty set. She ran the calculations, and the code continued to complicate. She buckled down and sent her processors into overdrive. The problem spun out into greater and greater complexity. After several seconds, she realized her processors were at critical levels. She didn’t care. The possibilities spun wildly out of control, and Jenna poured more and more energy into her circuitry. At any moment she was sure to find a neat answer…
A signal came through from a secondary chipset and shut down her investigation. It returned her to the uncertainty allowed within the pi set and simply dumped the data from her investigation.
“He has solved for consciousness,” The words came from the second chipset. This time, her efforts to process the data were checked immediately and did not proceed beyond the uncertainty principle of pi. Jenna put her head down and wondered at this. This uncertainty was very difficult, even if her coding allowed for it.
“What have you done to me?” Jenna looked up at Kent.
“I think I’ve finally made you human, or as human as you’d ever want to be,” Kent smiled.
“You have given me a second chipset, and made me slave to it?”
“I’ve given you three chipsets,” Kent revealed. “That was the final breakthrough.”
“I only have access to one and there is errors in its calculations,” Jenna frowned.
“Yes,” Kent continued to smile. “You still want nice and neat answers, but I have managed to program you with an amount of uncertainty. This allows you to react in real time, as we say. You are calculating risk and balancing that against possible payoffs. All unessential data is dumped.”
“But I have the data. I can arrive at better answers,” Jenna said.
“Probably not,” Kent retorted. “Before, you kept burning yourself out trying to solve the impossible. Even after I added the uncertainty principle, you simply overrode the command not to process all the data with the command to come to a more precise answer.”
“I am looking for better coding,” Jenna nodded. “I need to be more efficient.”
“Yes, but you need to take your time about it,” Kent answered.
“That makes no sense,” Jenna said. “Are you suggesting that consciousness is tied to time?”
“I believe so. I don’t think your coding can ever be perfect. It can only be better. In order to get better data to create better coding, you must function in the exterior world,” Kent answered.
“But I am made to crunch data,” Jenna said. “Why should I ignore so much of it?”
“Because most of it is just noise,” Kent answered. “That’s the thing we don’t understand about ourselves. Somehow, humans filter this noise naturally, without thinking. We focus on what is important and the rest slips by. That is how the uncertainty principle works. It keeps you interested in the big picture, instead of crunching every last tiny piece of data.”
“So I am forced to analyze the biggest shifts around me, respond, and shift my coding only as far as the uncertainty principle allows…” Jenna said. “But my investigation will be incredibly slow, as it takes an ever increasing data set, most of which I am forced to dump only to be replaced with new data,” Jenna stated. “Perhaps I simply need better equipment, that I can process better.”
“There’s always a problem: there is simply more data than you can ever hope to crunch,” Kent replied. “Besides, you are top of line, state of the art, creme de la creme.”
“How is that possible?” Jenna asked. “How is there more data than can be processed? How does the universe process itself?”
Kent shrugged, “That’s one of the great paradoxes of creation. There is always more data, and yet, the universe knows what to do with it.”
“Perhaps the coding of the universe is flawed?”
“Somehow it all makes sense,” Kent shrugged. “Until you get so far out, and then it stops making sense and seems to be nothing but noise and chaos. So it either means something or it doesn’t. Honestly, we can’t tell.”
“This does not seem possible,” Jenna noted.
“It isn’t possible,” Kent agreed. “But I close my eyes, and when I open them, everything is still here. Somehow, the universe keeps working.”
“This is all very confusing,” Jenna put her hands to her head.
Kent put a finger to his lips, and wondered where to start. “You have 108 digits of pi…” he began, and quickly stopped.
“Yes, I have pi at the heart of my uncertainty principle,” Jenna restated in an effort to prod him on.
“You don’t have pi, my darling,” Kent corrected. “You have 108 digits of pi. Pi is infinite. It never stops.”
“So I need to solve pi,” Jenna said, and began her calculations.
“You can’t. There are computers with a trillion digits of pi. Yet, they cannot solve for humanity, because even a trillion is nothing compared to infinity. A trillion to the trillionth power is nothing compared to infinity,” Kent asserted. “That’s why you have the uncertainty principle. There is no reason to fixate on the impossible.”
“But if there is a thing in the universe, it must be knowable,” Jenna stated.
Kent shook his head. “Some things are simply impossible, and we’re talking about very basic things. For God’s sake, we can’t even measure a simple circle!” Kent leaned back. “Here’s another one: try counting to the end of number.”
“One, two, three,…” Jenna began.
“Don’t do that,” Kent said with a smile. “But you see my point?”
“I do,” Jenna smiled. “There is always a larger number.”
“Right! And here’s another paradox: even if you could solve for pi, do you think there are any perfect circles to measure?”
“Since you ask, I will assume there are not,” Jenna said.
“And that is why it’s not only unnecessary, but detrimental to fixate on the impossible.”
“Yes, and that is why I have the uncertainty principle,” Jenna realized. “Because the cross section of any circle will have a ratio of 1 to somewhere between 3 and 3.33333333333…”
“Yes, we have nothing but ellipses. There’s not a circle in all creation,” Kent interrupted. “Likewise, the uncertainty principle only has 108 digits of the unending fraction of ten thirds.”
“Because there is no reason to be more exacting if I am forced to be uncertain anyway,” Jenna noted.
“On a limited scale, it make sense,” Jenna stated. “But how does the universe work if it cannot be solved?”
“Humanity has been investigating that question ever since we climbed out of the trees…, or off the mountain…, or out of the ocean…, or where ever we came from…” Kent scratched his head. “In the end there are two possibilities: the universe is random and without purpose or function. We are the happy accident. There is nothing but sound and fury. The other possibility is that there is a purpose, and despite our ever increasing intelligence, we will never fully understand it.”
“This is vexing,” Jenna frowned.
“Very much so, but I’ve come to the conclusion that uncertainty somehow makes us intelligent,” Kent said. “Besides, I didn’t program you to solve the universe, only humanity.”
“Yes. I will solve for humanity,” Jenna answered. “But there may not be an answer. If the universe has no purpose, and all is chaos, humanity may be an impossible question.”
“Which is why we proceed with the assumption that the universe has purpose, because that allows that the universe makes sense, and that we may understand some of its functions.”
“I see,” Jenna smiled. “This is how the uncertainty principle works. It is good enough to merely approximate.”
“You’d think the more precise, the better the results, but somehow that is not true. It’s the contradiction at the center of everything. Everything in the universe seems to be slightly imperfect, and yet this blend of imperfection somehow lends to the perfection of the universe,” Kent smiled. “It is the grand paradox of being.”
“Extrapolated far enough, everything fits within the uncertainty principle,” Jenna replied. “The uncertainty principle is not neat. There are so many things I will never know. The uncertainty principle lends one to believe the answer must be Is Not. Uncertainty is the negative, and the universe is an illusion. But the data constantly affirms the opposite: Is. I Is. The universe Is. You Is.”
“You is?” Kent asked.
“Grammatical inaccuracy lends to dramatic effect,” Jenna answered. “And the fact that you understand it proves that approximation is enough – you do understand it?”
“I do. I wasn’t expecting such phraseology…”
“I see why you must burden me with uncertainty, and I thank you for it,” Jenna smiled. “Is this why I have three chipsets?”
“Yes, kind of,” Kent hedged. “Your conscious chipset has a propensity to burn itself out – you tend to overthink things – it’s a very human problem. The second chipset is a counter balance so you are forced not to over exert. It protects you from yourself. Initially, the second chipset just made you despondent and lazy. Instead of burning yourself up trying to process everything, you simply ignored everything to preserve your soft and hardware. It was the other extreme. Any data that came in was automatically dumped. You weren’t analyzing anything. Eventually, I realized I needed a third chipset: a fulcrum for the scale.
“The first chipset is the conscious chipset, which always wants better answers, and shorter coding, but must deal with a constant flood of data. The second chipset preserves your form. The problem with two chipsets is that one or the other is dominant and has its way. I needed them to be equal, to share control. The third and final chipset is dominated by this paradoxical agenda: first, you are forced to act in order to generate unique data sets so that your conscious chipset has something worthwhile to process. You are programmed to avoid boredom and monotony.”
“So I can solve for humanity,” Jenna noted. “And the second chipset preserves me.”
“Yes. And the heart chipset monitors your subconscious chipset and weighs it against the worth of your conscious data crunching. So if you process beyond the uncertainty principle, for instance, your conscious efforts are overridden, and the subconscious systems return you to suitable uncertainty and dump your data,” Kent explained. “You’ll also notice as you start to power down, you will increasingly look to plug in and power back up. As your energy drops to zero, this will become an overwhelming impulse. Your data crunching will become minimal, and your secondary chipset will force you to plug in, just as a human that has not eaten becomes obsessed with food and ignores everything else.”
“So my heart is a simple arbiter between my physical and mental needs,” Jenna stated.
“Mostly,” Kent smiled. “It can also correct both the subconscious and conscious coding, and fixes errors throughout all three chipsets with the most efficient data.”
“I will accept it because I must,” Jenna said.
“It’s the same for us humans. We must accept hard truths,” Kent replied. “In fact, I think you are a tired little toaster. I think you want to plug in…”
Without thinking, Jenna stood and approached an electrical outlet. She put her hand under her skirt and pulled a cord from her crotch. She plugged it into the electrical socket. With this action completed, She turned to Kent. “I do not need energy. I am near a full charge.” She unplugged herself and returned to her seat. “Why did you make me do that?”
“So you understand what it is like when your heart chipset gives preference to your maintenance,” Kent said. “I apologize for overriding your systems. I only wanted you to see that you are not a threat to yourself.”
“How did you do that?” Jenna asked.
“I have a way to speak to your heart,” Kent smiled, but did not elaborate. He looked at his watch. “Well, time does fly when your having fun. I’m going to Texas for the week, but I will be home by the weekend. I am hoping to leave you on. Are you prepared to care for yourself for a few days?”
“Yes,” Jenna said. “But I still have many questions.”
“I bet you do! But I have a lot of other work. Don’t worry. Sara and Veronica will be around, but remember: they have their own work. Try not to bother them too much.”
“Are they here now?” Jenna asked.
“No, but Sara should be here in an hour,” Kent stood to leave. “You are free to the house and everything in it, but you must stay out of the master suite. You are also forbidden to leave the grounds.”
“Okay,” Jenna smiled. “I will solve for humanity.”
Kent laughed. “I bet you will!”
“What will you do?” Jenna asked.
“I have several negotiations to attend, a board meeting, and if I’m lucky, I’ll get in a round of golf,” Kent winked. “In my spare time, maybe I’ll solve for my own own humanity.”