The Interface

I was watching I Am, a really interesting documentary (with lots of contemporary fantasy potential – I’m thinking bio-sync/brainwave tuning magic). But there was a particular section of the documentary that interested me a lot: the impact of mass human emotions on random number generators.

There are entire machine-systems devoted to producing random numbers and, in instances of great emotion anywhere in the world, these generators begin to produce recognizable patterns. Depending on how complex the patterns can be, this has the potential to be a great and interesting language system. Imagine being able to communicate exactly what your feeling in a few number sequences?

We’d probably have to add a few things, like a way to specify the noun, or a group of nouns, and possibly tense, but we wouldn’t need many adjectives or adverbs, because we could describe things in terms of feeling the “drab” “dull” “sleepy” room. The boring bedroom. But would we even need that? There’s a reason I called this article the interface. I’ll probably mention that at least one more time, it took me a while to come up with the title of this article, and I found it very fitting when it finally hit me. But of course using this theoretical language you could specify what gives you this feeling of dullness, because most emotions aren’t “pure”. They’re made up of little things that build up to this seemingly pure emotion. Happiness because a really mean uncle died last week, guilt at feeling happy, curiosity about why you feel that way, and confusion about what you should feel. But this article is called the interface, not the language. That has seriously different connotations.

There’s this game called The Wastes. It’s a randomly generated world – certainly not the first of its kind, definitely not the last. However it’s complex enough to work for this example, and not too complex that it strays from the simplest level of its design, operating on random number generation. If we could map each pattern, or create a map to derive patterns of emotional-numerical correlation, then compiled types of list to have these generators pick from, then, assuming the target also understands what these numbers mean, we would have an extremely interesting way of communication, in terms of a fully interactive game or world, generated based on what we feel. It could be written just as well as it could be willed by emotions, and even people who wouldn’t know this interfacing language could use this emotionally hypersensitive world creator. I could start getting into a rambling topic about how we might be an emotionally generated reality, created by an unthinkably great being and all our lives, all the irony and happiness that happens in all places of the universe, everything we discover and everything we think about is just some kind of plot to get a point across to some equally great being who’s sitting across a proverbial table from the first and staring down at the screen of a console, but that’s not really the point of this.

Another tangentially associated topic, but one I feel worth considering, is AI, or artificial intelligence. (There’s a lot of stuff in that website, not all of it available if you’re not a member of AAAI(association for the advancement of artificial intelligence) but there’s a much more condensed set of articles here, and here.) If we can accurately pattern emotions into things, then could we pattern those numbers and reconvert them into emotions? What would it mean to give a computer emotions, to have it perhaps send ‘no’ when you request it to ping unless you ask politely and get the accepting response from the emotional patterns hardcoded into its system. With curiosity, would it go and search for more patterns and add them to itself? When it was feeling suicidal, might it reformat itself or purge all the patterns from its system? How much of our brain is emotion and how much is actually thought? Is emotion the birth of thought?

I feel like this should also be noted here, before I go any further. I’m not going to discuss ethical issues that could arise, nor religious ideal violation. That’s not the point of this article, both for the rambling territory reasons, and because I honestly don’t care enough. The goal is, with this article as well as with the rest of this blog, to present a system of ideas for use and contemplation at your own discretion. Not to argue why or why not these are bad or good ideas or concepts.

That being said, one of the first things that went through my mind when I heard this was. Random number god. Is there a reason why these patterns are the way they are? Or are they perhaps entirely random, or just look random because we don’t have the proper scope to see the patterns.

Another idea that ran through my head was the possibility of fate-systems. Say you had an infinitely large list of possibilities. It’s a line, because a line can go infinitely in any direction. But it could probably be expanded to encompass “dimensions of fate””. So then you’d have a first class fate, which selected a range of possibilities. Say from (0,0) to (0,3), from (0,6) to (0,10), and from (0,200) to (0,300). You could even get more abstract than that and say a first class fate decides the number ranges a second class fate can extend across, or how long each selected list could be, etc. Only one of these might affect us, but that’s also a form of random number generation, and thus, possibly effected by emotions. (All the romantic book readers, rejoice?) I think my best evidence of this would be D&D. It feels to me like the story flows so incredibly well with the die-rolling. More than once I’ve seen a set of turns all using skill checks and thought that it was ridiculously uncanny how it all worked out.

TO end the last paragraph in an age-old and time-honored stereotypical fashion: in conclusion, a language primarily focused on emotion would be a unique experience. Most languages have a description for emotion, but I’ve never thought they worked that well — it feels more like a footnote than a focus. We can convert from emotion to numerical format. Reversing that relationship opens up a world, pun intended, of possibilities. I can think of some, but I’m only one person. Could are greatest earth-shattering discovery be when we discover a way to make the perfect random number generator?

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