So, Dian Bling. I had fun writing this, and watching the reaction, especially the famed Blixco - Was Murdered debates. I can see they are already destined a page in the history of Husian oratory. If that metaphor makes my story the Dredd Scott decision of WFC entries, well, so be it.
There is a concept put forth by industrial designers, including by Bruce Sterling, that to move to a sustainable but still high tech economy, manufactured objects should have a life story. This SIGGRAPH keynote from four years ago gives an intro. He calls such a creation a Spime - either this jargon hasn't caught on or I haven't been paying enough attention. The concept is still pulsing though.
So for whatever reason when I started thinking about man made objects telling a story, I thought about their industrial backstory. But I'd never thought of industrial backstory as a narrative as such until CRWM put this contest forward, and then the fridge light went on.
I've previously had an interest in AI, and as most people who've studied it would know, it's crap. My laptop is really no closer to HAL than the Enigma codebreaker Turing made. On the other hand, a lot of human communication consists not so much of detailed examination but reliably faking it. One thing that has brought this home to me is failing to learn another language. Another might have been johnny's 2003 Salon article.
So anyway, will a computer be smart enough to pass the Turing test any time soon? Very unlikely. Will a computer be smart enough to simulate the average myspace page? Yeah, probably. My initial thought was actually to build a facebook page for the appliance in question ... this would have broken the upload site though and be a bit too far outside the conventions.
Dian Bling is a lousy pun on the Chinese name for fridge, dian bing xiang, or "electric ice box". Dian can also mean little, with a different tone and character, in which case you can read the title as "a little bling". I thought he should have a bit of a food court gangsta vibe, though that wasn't really needed in the end.
I wanted most of the characters in this setting to be other appliances. Indeed I had hoped that all the drama could come from this, but in the end they serve the hand of man, and I ended up with the cannibal element.
Once I'd decided the format and the general arc I figured I decided to write it in date order, blog style. I was hoping this would shake up the tone in a good way and also kill a problem I sometimes have of taking hours to put out 200 words, or needing momentum because I want to throw away whatever I've written when I come back to it. The sentences as a result are pretty light, but I figured that change of style wouldn't hurt.
Token attempt at community participation follows
There's a guy at work who used to be a nuclear physicist in one of the Soviet republics. We got into an argument about the nature of time. Space is fundamental but time is simply the mind projecting a dimension onto cyclic behaviour. Except his English isn't that great, and I don't speak any Russian, so even though he's ten times smarter than I'll ever be the actual conversation takes a lot longer to have. It also introduces ambiguity so that for a while he was convinced he just wasn't articulating it very well. I pretty sure I understand what he's saying. I just think he's wrong.
Malay (maybe) guy on the train today was carefully examining a newly purchased Richard Clayderman record. Vinyl. I didn't realise Clayderman was still around let alone stamping out LPs. It gave me a moment of reverse cross cultural vertigo; I think I emanate this sometimes.
|< Directory Assistance | "Manga on the Way Down?" >|