StarDestroyer.Net BBS

Get your fill of sci-fi, science, and mockery of stupid people
Login   Register FAQ    Search

View unanswered posts | View active topics


It is currently 2014-09-21 08:12am (All times are UTC - 5 hours [ DST ])

Board index » Fiction » Science Fiction


Quote of the Week: "A great civilization is not conquered from without until it has destroyed itself from within." - Will Durant, American historian (1885-1981)

Orion's Arm Tipler Oracle

Moderators: Stofsk, NecronLord

Post new topic Post a reply  Page 1 of 2
 [ 32 posts ]  Go to page 1, 2  Next
  Previous topic | Next topic 
Author Message

SpaceMarine93
PostPosted: 2011-10-28 12:53pm 

Jedi Knight


Joined: 2011-05-03 05:15am
Posts: 585
Location: Continent of Mu
In the Orion's Arm universe, a Tipler Oracle is a semi-mythical super technology that is used by that universes' god-like AIs to solve problems not even they could solve.

The idea is simple: create a small pocket universe link to the current universe via wormhole, dump a load of computation device, materials, self-assembling robots and other important stuff into the pocket reality along with an AI with a program made to solve the problem.

They will turn literally all of the material of the new universe into high energy computronium linked by wormholes - in other-words, a powerful interstellar computer, built to withstand the harsh conditions of a collapsing universe while performing the calculation.

As this process continues the infant universe first stops its expansion and then re-collapse back into a singularity. This eventually achieves conditions nearly approximating that of Tipler's hypothesized Omega Point and the embedded computronium inside performs a near infinite amount of computation in a finite period of time, solving the problem.

The AI, which would had by that point become the hypothetical Omega Entity, is programmed to return to the main universe with the solution to the problem and is absorbed back into the transcended creator AI, allowing the AI to learn the solution of the problem while the pocket universe collapses and is never seen again.

This is an interesting concept. I wonder if it is possible that it could actually work, and not to mention the alternative application of such powerful Clarktech...
   Profile |  

lordofchange13
PostPosted: 2011-10-28 03:59pm 

Jedi Knight


Joined: 2010-08-01 07:54pm
Posts: 838
Location: Kandrakar, the center of the universe and the heart of infinity
First we would need some sort of crazy difficult problem that needs solving, which is unlikely if we attain S:5 level intellect, at least none that can be fully understood by use at this level.
   Profile |  

CaptainChewbacca
PostPosted: 2011-10-28 04:06pm 

Browncoat Wookiee


Joined: 2003-05-06 02:36am
Posts: 15738
Location: Deep beneath Boatmurdered.
God, I forget how stupid Orion's Arm is. No no, we only allow 'hard' science, but the manufacture of pocket universes is totally cool.
   Profile |  

lordofchange13
PostPosted: 2011-10-28 06:18pm 

Jedi Knight


Joined: 2010-08-01 07:54pm
Posts: 838
Location: Kandrakar, the center of the universe and the heart of infinity
CaptainChewbacca wrote:
God, I forget how stupid Orion's Arm is. No no, we only allow 'hard' science, but the manufacture of pocket universes is totally cool.

Orion's arm becomes magic as soon as it mentions Archailects.
   Profile |  

Starglider
PostPosted: 2011-10-28 06:45pm 

Miles Dyson


Joined: 2007-04-05 09:44pm
Posts: 7715
Location: Isle of Dogs
My reaction to Orion's Arm is usually a sort of pained smile. I mean, I appreciate that they're trying to expand their mental horizons and think about possibilities. However they have completely missed the basic, fundamental technological singularity principle; contemporary humans have effectively zero chance of making meaningful predictions about how this stuff would work and how entities on anything like these scales would behave. That's why it's a 'singularity'; there's a predictive event horizon.
   Profile |  

Ahriman238
PostPosted: 2011-10-28 11:11pm 

Sith Marauder


Joined: 2011-04-22 11:04pm
Posts: 4429
Location: Ocularis Terribus.
I actually don't have a problem with OA. SOme of their ideas for human mods are pretty interesting (Sailors of the Ebon Sea, anyone? Denathis Adepts?) to say nothing of tha nanowank and cyberstuff that's so over-the-top it becomes awesome.

Depending on my mood, I think it's sad or hilarious that they maintain the claim to being "hard" sci-fi.
   Profile |  

VarrusTheEthical
PostPosted: 2011-10-29 07:10am 

Padawan Learner


Joined: 2011-09-10 05:55pm
Posts: 200
Location: The Cockpit of an X-wing
Orion's Arm is too Singularity wank for my taste. However, in regards to the OP, I doubt you would need to use a pocket universe to create an ultra-superduper computer to solve some Big Problem.
   Profile |  

Alerik the Fortunate
PostPosted: 2011-10-29 03:16pm 

Jedi Knight


Joined: 2006-07-22 09:25pm
Posts: 646
Location: Planet Facepalm, Home of the Dunning-Krugerites
Not to create the computer, but to have one run through the full subjective length of it's universe and report back when only a short span has elapsed in the outside universe. It does seem rather beyond the scope of what happens in OA, but that's a result of people who probably don't know better running straight into Starglider's advice concerning singularity prediction (now there's a conflicted term!).
   Profile |  

Ford Prefect
PostPosted: 2011-10-29 05:11pm 

Emperor's Hand


Joined: 2005-05-16 04:08am
Posts: 8254
Location: The real number domain
CaptainChewbacca wrote:
God, I forget how stupid Orion's Arm is. No no, we only allow 'hard' science, but the manufacture of pocket universes is totally cool.


You know, I hate to play Devil's Advocate here, but you know that 'hard science fiction' doesn't mean 'a thing which people think is reasonable'. I mean, really, it only means 'thing which isn't totally made up'. I mean it's pretty out there that you might create a small universe, but universes are real things.
   Profile |  

lordofchange13
PostPosted: 2011-10-29 06:40pm 

Jedi Knight


Joined: 2010-08-01 07:54pm
Posts: 838
Location: Kandrakar, the center of the universe and the heart of infinity
"Hard science fiction is a category of science fiction characterized by an emphasis on scientific or technical detail", the detail need not be of completely real physics.
   Profile |  

Simon_Jester
PostPosted: 2011-10-30 03:18am 

Emperor's Hand


Joined: 2009-05-23 07:29pm
Posts: 21597
But on the other hand, if there's huge swathes of stuff which are blatantly penciled-in magic where the answer to how it works is "never you mind" and it's basically treated as an ability to pull out the answer to arbitrarily big problems from nowhere... that really shouldn't be classed as "hard."

Thematically, it's more in keeping with the "soft" genre of the old pulp novels- I'm remembering some of the stuff thrown around towards the end of Skylark of Valeron, a novel by E. E. Smith in the '30s... and I doubt Doc Smith ever set fingers to typewriter on anything that could be classified as "hard" SF.

Hard SF may contain non-plausible elements, but it must treat them in some kind of... sober fashion, in my opinion. It has to fit together and not just be "a wizard did it," or if a wizard did do it, then the consequences have to be worked through fairly carefully, with restraint, not just used as a justification for the wizards to continue doing other things like create pocket universes out of nowhere and alter physical constants because... because... picotech!
   Profile |  

Darth Hoth
PostPosted: 2011-10-30 06:36am 

Jedi Council Member


Joined: 2008-02-15 10:36am
Posts: 2319
Ford Prefect wrote:
CaptainChewbacca wrote:
God, I forget how stupid Orion's Arm is. No no, we only allow 'hard' science, but the manufacture of pocket universes is totally cool.


You know, I hate to play Devil's Advocate here, but you know that 'hard science fiction' doesn't mean 'a thing which people think is reasonable'. I mean, really, it only means 'thing which isn't totally made up'.


"Hard science fiction" means whatever whoever is talking about it wants it to mean. The term is either ridiculously broad, or else hideously abused. Some people think Star Trek or the Culture are "hard science fiction" because they use technobabble rather than psionics and yoga (or whatever) to explain their vaguely defined superhuman energy beings. Others are loath to admit even many technothrillers into the genre because they feature implausibly fast aircraft. And then there are the people who say something along the lines of, "Hardness is not about plausibility, but mentality!" As in, "If people in-universe treat the technobabble that allow people to fight FTL Dragon Ball Z-style battles in powered armour with warp drives scientifically and the author depicts the research behind it in [what I consider] a realistic way, then we have hard science fiction!"

I have come to conclude that "hard science fiction" is most of the time an utterly meaningless and arbitrary label, as used in general discourse. And also that it is commonly used as a buzzword by various nerd chic crowds as an excuse to elevate their own favourite stories above the "common masses" of what they call "sillytech" or "space fantasy" or whatever of science fiction in general. Femtoscale-tech and time travel are "hard," but God forbid anyone bringing a "sillytech" blaster-style raygun to the party! :roll:
   Profile |  

Ford Prefect
PostPosted: 2011-10-30 07:19am 

Emperor's Hand


Joined: 2005-05-16 04:08am
Posts: 8254
Location: The real number domain
Wow, dude, seriously, I don't think anyone really cares about how huge the stick up your ass is.
   Profile |  

18-Till-I-Die
PostPosted: 2011-10-30 09:42pm 

Emperor's Hand


Joined: 2004-02-22 06:07am
Posts: 7271
Location: In your base, killing your d00ds...obviously
Ford Prefect wrote:
Wow, dude, seriously, I don't think anyone really cares about how huge the stick up your ass is.


He's right though, I mean for the most part he hit it on the head.

"Hard" sci-fi is about an acurate descriptor of something as "wooden steel" and "fiery ice". Anything above a certain level of technology, is basically just the author calling magic by some other name and trying to handwave an explanation. Saying "universes exist" doesn't justify something as absurd as POCKET REALITIES made by god computers being called hard or realistic or whatever else it's supposed to mean. And I do mean supposed to.

What it REALLY is, and in my experience this is almost across the board, is someone basically uses technobabble to explain what is in effect Dungeons and Dragons magic. And I've said this before, and iirc Ford Perfect flipped when I said it then, but basically "hard" anything is just a buzzword. AT BEST it's just a catch-all to describe a grimmer or more edgy attempt at the story while at worst you get tipler oracles and sub-hypoplancktech malarky. And no matter how much technobabble you throw at it, tipler cylinders and pocket universes will NEVER be REMOTELY realistic because...well, because it's impossible by any science we could ever concieve of, but even then it's still bullshit. If these people can make baby realities then anything that could ever be a problem for them becomes moot, so the whole purpose is negated. It's like those "classical" Dyson spheres in books, the ones that are fully enclosed shells--if you can build that, you have no need for a star for energy on that level because you clearly have the resources to do better.

I remember someone once asked about "hard fantasy", like if it existed or whatever, and I said the same thing: at best it'd be something close to Ironclaw (minus fursuits) where at least you try to have the 16th Century fairly accurately portrayed, and at worst it'd just be some excuse to have low-magic fantasy but call it something fancier sounding. More so, I must say Hoth's also right about how these people see their buzzwords as elevating (I'd say "elevating", fingerquotes) their hobby above the "unwashed masses".

And this is all before we even address, which he briefly did, how the term is either so broad as to be meaningless or so nebulous as to be inclusive of Star Trek and the Culture (where teleporter machines and hyperspace are omnipresent).

So yeah, I have to agree with Darth Hoth, if for no other reason than really Orion's Arm is probably the LEAST retarded "hard" sci-fi out there because at least they limit their magic to the gods and wizards (archailects and AIs in this case) instead of just giving it out like candy, as I've seen in some settings.
   Profile |  

18-Till-I-Die
PostPosted: 2011-10-30 09:47pm 

Emperor's Hand


Joined: 2004-02-22 06:07am
Posts: 7271
Location: In your base, killing your d00ds...obviously
Ghetto edit:

I remember once a thread, must have been years ago like 2007 or whatever, when someone (Sir Nitram, I think?) pointed out that basically anything above like Babylon 5 Earth Alliance is magic for all practical purposes, by any science we understand, and even they have FTL drives.

When you step into, say, Star Wars or Hyperion or 40k you're looking at what amounts to D&D with spaceships because at that point ghosts and demons and wizards step into the picture as well as rayguns and teleporters and jetpacks and such. But with enough technobabble some people have convinced themselves that somehow or another a raygun is less realistic than a wormhole factory because science says wormholes exist and rayguns are rightly called bullshit. But really, from anything resembling a realistic viewpoint, both are equally bullshit.
   Profile |  

NoXion
PostPosted: 2011-10-30 09:49pm 

Padawan Learner


Joined: 2005-04-21 01:38am
Posts: 249
Location: A blasted nuclear wasteland - Slough
I don't care much for Orion's Arm's pretensions to being "hard sci-fi", but I do think they have a lot of interesting ideas.

Isn't it possible to enjoy something despite it being not what the authors say it is?
   Profile |  

18-Till-I-Die
PostPosted: 2011-10-30 09:59pm 

Emperor's Hand


Joined: 2004-02-22 06:07am
Posts: 7271
Location: In your base, killing your d00ds...obviously
NoXion wrote:
I don't care much for Orion's Arm's pretensions to being "hard sci-fi", but I do think they have a lot of interesting ideas.

Isn't it possible to enjoy something despite it being not what the authors say it is?


Of course, you're absolutely right. Actually, I'm a "minor fan" of OA simply because of how out there some of the ideas are. Like the ringworld that's one huge city, Metropia or something...I remember when the page for that used to have a picture of a naked chick showing her ass to a city the size of a mountain from her balcony. I don't know why but they seemed to think that summed up a star-ringing city complex pretty well.

Edit: I don't appreciate how they made all these recent (?) retcons though cause now I have to find most of the old pages on the Wayback Machine. Which is lame, because NOW I have to sift through thirty old versions of the page to find the wierdo hypoplanck-subnanotech stuff instead of having it closer to the surface.
   Profile |  

NoXion
PostPosted: 2011-10-30 10:13pm 

Padawan Learner


Joined: 2005-04-21 01:38am
Posts: 249
Location: A blasted nuclear wasteland - Slough
18-Till-I-Die wrote:
Of course, you're absolutely right. Actually, I'm a "minor fan" of OA simply because of how out there some of the ideas are. Like the ringworld that's one huge city, Metropia or something...I remember when the page for that used to have a picture of a naked chick showing her ass to a city the size of a mountain from her balcony. I don't know why but they seemed to think that summed up a star-ringing city complex pretty well.


I think I remember that. The artwork is pretty unique, and I reckon it has a garish charm to it, but I can certainly see how it wouldn't be to everyone's taste.

Quote:
Edit: I don't appreciate how they made all these recent (?) retcons though cause now I have to find most of the old pages on the Wayback Machine. Which is lame, because NOW I have to sift through thirty old versions of the page to find the wierdo hypoplanck-subnanotech stuff instead of having it closer to the surface.


That shit is brilliant. Complete nonsense scientifically, but really scrumptious mind-candy. Like the technological equivalent of fleas upon fleas upon fleas...
   Profile |  

Simon_Jester
PostPosted: 2011-10-31 01:20am 

Emperor's Hand


Joined: 2009-05-23 07:29pm
Posts: 21597
18-Till-I-Die wrote:
Ford Prefect wrote:
Wow, dude, seriously, I don't think anyone really cares about how huge the stick up your ass is.
He's right though, I mean for the most part he hit it on the head.

"Hard" sci-fi is about an acurate descriptor of something as "wooden steel" and "fiery ice". Anything above a certain level of technology, is basically just the author calling magic by some other name and trying to handwave an explanation. Saying "universes exist" doesn't justify something as absurd as POCKET REALITIES made by god computers being called hard or realistic or whatever else it's supposed to mean. And I do mean supposed to.
Eh, yeah. I honestly just use "hard SF" as a label to denote relatively sober SF which keeps a restrained sense of the possibilities of its technology, while "soft SF" is where nearly anything is possible if you verberate the technobabble hard enough.

I don't dislike soft SF, it's like the difference between chocolate and strawberry- I just like to have a label that distinguishes the two flavors.

Same way with fantasy- there's a certain qualitative difference between a setting where a man can ride his horse at a gallop all day without exhausting the horse and developing some truly epic saddle-sores, and one where he can't. It's the attitude I like to have a label for, because there are different sets of expectations and conventions implied in each type of story, and when the two types mix it creates problems.
   Profile |  

ThomasP
PostPosted: 2011-10-31 03:52am 

Padawan Learner


Joined: 2009-07-06 05:02am
Posts: 370
It's almost like literature is somehow resistant to an obsessive need for rigorous classification into rigid categories.

How could this be?*

* Note to nerds: this is sarcasm.
   Profile |  

VarrusTheEthical
PostPosted: 2011-10-31 07:19am 

Padawan Learner


Joined: 2011-09-10 05:55pm
Posts: 200
Location: The Cockpit of an X-wing
Alerik the Fortunate wrote:
Not to create the computer, but to have one run through the full subjective length of it's universe and report back when only a short span has elapsed in the outside universe.


I think that assumes a pocket universe, even a short lived one, would experience time faster than the normal universe. I'm not familiar enough with the physics involved to know if that is a safe assumption or not.

I think that if the goal is to give an ultra-computer the maximum possible time to do something like compute the largest possible prime number, then a Closed Timelike Curve seems the best solution. I know that Orion's arm has a mechanism that prevents CTCs from happening, but for the sake of argument, let's assume that a particularly brainy archelect finds a way around this restriction. What I'm essentially proposing is to tear a page out of the the Xeelee's playbook and send the computer through a CTC to the moments just after the Big Bang. All the archalect then has to do is find the computer in the "present" and read the results.

P.S. I'm deliberately ignoring issues such as how to keep a computer, even a super advanced magic-tech one, running for ~14 billions years.
   Profile |  

Eleventh Century Remnant
PostPosted: 2011-10-31 10:04am 

Jedi Council Member


Joined: 2006-11-20 07:52am
Posts: 2258
Location: Scotland
So many things that need to be said...

two things first of all, SF may be escapism, in large part, but it has been since the twenties at least the propaganda of the future. In rare cases it passes beyond that into pathfinding. Yes, things suck right now, and they may well get worse; but I for one am not ready to write off human progress as magic and fantasy.

Second, there seems to be a lot of confusion between science and engineering. Most of Orion's Arm is engineering gibberish- and worse, misguided; to take the OP example, last time I read up on it, the only way to get to a pocket universe with different laws of physics was to heat something up past unification point- the energy at which the fundamental forces of the universe blur together- and let it cool down, hoping that it decomposes differently from the universe we actually have.
Now, this is not a femto thing. Way the hell out on the other end of the scale, in fact, something like ten to the thirty-fourth kelvin; at that point we're talking about banging black holes together or something. Nano, pico and femtotech cannot do cosmic engineering on that scale, any more than you could pick up Planet Earth- which is exactly the problem involved, albeit many orders of magnitude easier.

Does it contradict the laws of physics, though? It's actually harder to define the fictional side of SF than it is the scientific- we can know, even if as individuals we may be very poorly and partially informed, and I definitely include myself in that, we can at least know what we the species have managed to work out so far.
This is the sense in which Orion's Arm defies itself as hard- SF; it doesn't violate the laws of physics. Practicality and common sense, it craps all over those from the top of a very steep gravity well, but the actually impossible? Well...there opinions may differ.

Third- why is negativism good? It really isn't. Instead of scoffing and calling bullshit, we- sci fi fans, future fans- should be looking for ways to make the future happen. On our terms, instead of the same endless aimless slog of the last half a billion years. We have come a long way from our protozoan ancestors. We're intelligent now. Supposedly, anyway. We should be able to do better with it than 'herp derp.'
   Profile |  

Alerik the Fortunate
PostPosted: 2011-10-31 11:34am 

Jedi Knight


Joined: 2006-07-22 09:25pm
Posts: 646
Location: Planet Facepalm, Home of the Dunning-Krugerites
"Hard sci-fi" might be a term that's been abused to signal superior status, but that doesn't mean it has no meaning. It means restricting technology to what is currently believed to be possible, and (hopefully) trying to be at least roughly quantitative in its description and rigorous in working out the implications of particular technological choices. There are degrees of hardness, and many settings use a blend of hard and soft elements. There aren't too many diamond-hard settings, but there are a number of short stories and obscure-ish novels that really do hold themselves to that standard. They're generally made for a niche audience, and don't really appeal to mass audiences. Just because some people call Star Trek and the Culture "hard" doesn't mean that the word is useless, it means they don't know what they're talking about. I got bored to death with Star Trek years ago, but I really enjoy the Culture novels; however I know they're nowhere near hard sci-fi. Iain M. Banks even admits outright that even the cosmology of his novels is handwavium and technobabble. However, it conveys several hard-ish ideas in the setting, such as the relative places of AI's and humans in a setting once that level of technology has been achieved. Banks also seems to have deliberately restricted the speed of his hyperdrive, which though impressive, isn't as ludicrous as Star Wars or Asgard drives, in order to convey the sense of scale and indifference of the galaxy. Ironically, he gets the point across by making the universe less vast, intimidating, and indifferent that it appears to be in reality so that we can have a better intuitive grasp of it: even at ludicrous FTL speeds it still takes years to cross the galaxy. Nevertheless, this is all embedded in a matrix of total fantasy tech. Greg Egan, on the other hand, seems to totally restrict himself to plausible, if occasionally exotic devices, with no FTL at all. Instead, humans rely on mind uploading and transmitting their consciousness across the galactic data network to download into newly constructed bodies at their destinations. Even then, the humans have changed a lot from what we recognize now, which is far more likely that interstellar empires run by baseline humans. Hard sci-fi can still be poor if the writer isn't very skilled at conveying his (or her) ideas, or developing characters, or making the plot interesting. However, taking the care to be somewhat rigorous about at least part of the setting seems to set a higher standard for overall story writing than most writers who just use fiat technology, since writers who do that seem less likely to try for consistency overall.
   Profile |  

lordofchange13
PostPosted: 2011-10-31 06:28pm 

Jedi Knight


Joined: 2010-08-01 07:54pm
Posts: 838
Location: Kandrakar, the center of the universe and the heart of infinity
The last i have to say is: when there is a dispute over the meaning of a word...look in a dictionary of that subject. So if any one owns a dictionary of science fiction/literature in general, post and the argument is over.
   Profile |  

Simon_Jester
PostPosted: 2011-10-31 10:46pm 

Emperor's Hand


Joined: 2009-05-23 07:29pm
Posts: 21597
No, because at that point we have to ask whether the person who wrote the dictionary knew what they were talking about.

Sometimes this is an easy issue- for normal English words that aren't the subject of philosophical debate. But for literary terms, it's too easy for the highly unofficial "dictionary" to be compiled by someone whose neutrality is in doubt.

Any fool can write their own definitions of words and publish them. It takes a little more than that to be trustworthy.
   Profile |  

Display posts from previous:  Sort by  
Post new topic Post a reply  Page 1 of 2
 [ 32 posts ]  Go to page 1, 2  Next

It is currently 2014-09-21 08:12am (All times are UTC - 5 hours [ DST ])

Board index » Fiction » Science Fiction

Who is online: Users browsing this forum: Majestic-12 [Bot], Minischoles and 5 guests

You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot post attachments in this forum
Search for:
Jump to:  
Powered by phpBB® Forum Software © phpBB Group