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PostPosted: Sun Jan 08, 2017 5:32 pm 
Smeric
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Pole, the wrote:
Vardelm wrote:
Apparently you DO want to start a flame war, because you just said it.

:P

But I merely posted a post that said that I'd say that, not that I said that. :<

That's called being passive-aggressive. ;)

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PostPosted: Mon Jan 09, 2017 9:03 pm 
Sanci
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Zaarin wrote:
Pole, the wrote:
Vardelm wrote:
Apparently you DO want to start a flame war, because you just said it.

:P

But I merely posted a post that said that I'd say that, not that I said that. :<

That's called being passive-aggressive. ;)

definition of passive-aggressive, according to Google search:
Quote:
of or denoting a type of behavior or personality characterized by indirect resistance to the demands of others and an avoidance of direct confrontation, as in procrastinating, pouting, or misplacing important materials.


... okay you're right.

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PostPosted: Mon Jan 16, 2017 8:33 am 
Niš
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In my conworld, magic is not yet discovered, but real. Magic feeds on sacrifice, and the first examples of their use are the martyrs, who sacrifice themselves pursuing a sacred ideal. This raw magic force is untamed, and usually only produces little effects. The main story arc I have on the works is about the effects of the most powerful, and the first noticed, effect of magic. That effect required the death of about 20 fanatics, and it was so fragile that one single person was able to partially counter that spell. At cost of that person life, of course.

Later, people will learn how to harness magic, but rarely will worth the effort. The first cast of a magic spell will sacrifice, at least, the human soul. That's not apocalyptic, its just a way to "mark" those people. They doesn't turn into demons. Humans without soul will be recognizable easily, they will be weird to people's conscience, while nobody will know how or why. It's something like the uncanny valley effect (Wikipedia link).

On my firsts drafts, magic was more common. It was done by the sacrifice of some materials, that had special properties, aligned in some schools of magic. For example, wood will produce life-creation effects, and pearls will produce sanation and purification effects. Those materials must be purified and treated before being used in magic. Magic spells were more like a cooking recipe, with precise balances between precious stones, marble, wood, blood... The wizards must master those recipes, and the slightest error would have catastrophic consequences. For example, you must not put together without precautions wood (life) and rubi (fire) in order to invoke a fire elemental. Since wood and rubi are opposed, you need a conduit to use them in the same "recipe" or spell.


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PostPosted: Fri Jan 20, 2017 12:11 am 
Avisaru
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As my equivalent of a magic system, I'm thinking of a science where you specify a political outcome and an initial state. The discipline then tells you the set of actions likely to lead to that outcome with the highest probability. I'm thinking of an intersection of mechanism design and the formalism of causality among other things, formalized using the mathematics of coinduction or circular programming. There are these invaders from a parallel dimension whose idea of "godliness" is intelligence-beauty-cruelty, and their idea of "love" is this coinductive causal design or CCD. So everything they touch becomes a Crucifixion of Christ. What do you think?

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PostPosted: Fri Jan 20, 2017 8:58 am 
Niš
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rotting bones wrote:
As my equivalent of a magic system, I'm thinking of a science where you specify a political outcome and an initial state. The discipline then tells you the set of actions likely to lead to that outcome with the highest probability. I'm thinking of an intersection of mechanism design and the formalism of causality among other things, formalized using the mathematics of coinduction or circular programming. There are these invaders from a parallel dimension whose idea of "godliness" is intelligence-beauty-cruelty, and their idea of "love" is this coinductive causal design or CCD. So everything they touch becomes a Crucifixion of Christ. What do you think?


It reminds me Asimov's psicohistory. More focused, and therefore useful, instead of a passive science.


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PostPosted: Fri Jan 20, 2017 6:13 pm 
Avisaru
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Arzakon wrote:
In my conworld, magic is not yet discovered, but real. Magic feeds on sacrifice, and the first examples of their use are the martyrs, who sacrifice themselves pursuing a sacred ideal. This raw magic force is untamed, and usually only produces little effects. The main story arc I have on the works is about the effects of the most powerful, and the first noticed, effect of magic. That effect required the death of about 20 fanatics, and it was so fragile that one single person was able to partially counter that spell. At cost of that person life, of course.

Later, people will learn how to harness magic, but rarely will worth the effort. The first cast of a magic spell will sacrifice, at least, the human soul. That's not apocalyptic, its just a way to "mark" those people. They doesn't turn into demons. Humans without soul will be recognizable easily, they will be weird to people's conscience, while nobody will know how or why. It's something like the uncanny valley effect (Wikipedia link).

On my firsts drafts, magic was more common. It was done by the sacrifice of some materials, that had special properties, aligned in some schools of magic. For example, wood will produce life-creation effects, and pearls will produce sanation and purification effects. Those materials must be purified and treated before being used in magic. Magic spells were more like a cooking recipe, with precise balances between precious stones, marble, wood, blood... The wizards must master those recipes, and the slightest error would have catastrophic consequences. For example, you must not put together without precautions wood (life) and rubi (fire) in order to invoke a fire elemental. Since wood and rubi are opposed, you need a conduit to use them in the same "recipe" or spell.

So all magic is more or less dark? Where do they find this steady stream of fanatics to sacrifice?

Arzakon wrote:
It reminds me Asimov's psicohistory. More focused, and therefore useful, instead of a passive science.

Thanks. It is rather like psychohistory, isn't it? There's no way CCD can successfully predict the history of a galaxy over millennia, though. Like weather models, it barely works for a week if you're lucky. Still, point taken. That similarity didn't occur to me.

To work, CCD needs constant surveillance, constant adjustment and constant pressure. The instant you let up the pressure, things take less than a week to return to normal. This is a problem for the invaders because it is impossible to directly cross dimensions. All you can do is toss tons of energy into complex machinery, and less than 1% of that energy manifests as some kind of physical effect in the other dimension. Despite this, the invaders have managed to construct entire robot army bases using this technology. Individuals can also cross dimensions. To do that, you have to physically construct a clone in the other dimension. But consciousness uses quantum mechanics to work. Thanks to the quantum No Cloning Theorem, creating an exact clone means destroying the original. Once you're there, getting back is even more challenging.

Another problem with CCD is that in most situations, it's like calculating the value of pi. The process keeps refining its answer indefinitely. Since other agents in the system are also trying to affect the outcome, CCD is self-referential. Since CCD uses itself to compute its answer, the process must be terminated from the outside once the desired depth of resolution has been reached. But this means that if you compute to a higher depth of resolution, then you might get a more accurate answer than your opponent. This is not true in every case. Like when you're using a chess engine, a checkmate is all but inevitable in some cases. This also makes CCD challenging to use in interdimensional warfare.

But when it works, the effect is like demonic influence. Everything falls apart in gruesome and horrifying ways. In reality, CCD mostly augments reality's natural tendency to frustrate rational planning, but whenever anything bad happens, it only feeds people's paranoia that they are living under a curse. At first the defenders tried to fight back by being irrational, hence being hard to predict, but then the invaders tended to win wars through resource management alone. Once you come into contact with a higher level of technology, the only options are imitating it or engaging in guerilla warfare, right?

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PostPosted: Fri Jan 20, 2017 7:24 pm 
Smeric
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Quote:
Thanks. It is rather like psychohistory, isn't it? There's no way CCD can successfully predict the history of a galaxy over millennia, though. Like weather models, it barely works for a week if you're lucky. Still, point taken. That similarity didn't occur to me.

Well, you got weather models and then you got the climate models. ;) There are so many factors that matter if you're trying to get a short-term prognosis, but in a long term, most of these can be averaged out, and making a prognosis gets easier.

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PostPosted: Fri Jan 20, 2017 7:59 pm 
Avisaru
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Pole, the wrote:
Well, you got weather models and then you got the climate models. ;) There are so many factors that matter if you're trying to get a short-term prognosis, but in a long term, most of these can be averaged out, and making a prognosis gets easier.

My off the cuff response is that the climate doesn't self-optimize on the basis of any rational utility function. If you try and use a climate modeling approach to predict which actions will lead to rational agents encountering which outcomes, I suspect you will get a divergent result if those rational agents consider it to be in their self-interest to avoid those outcomes. The answer will not converge because your assumptions are self-contradictory. You said you want outcome X for a population that, by definition, does everything in their power to ensure a non-X result. This is not the case for climate, which does nothing outcome-wise. If you can model people on a purely physical level like the climate, then you might get psychohistory-like results, but that's exponentially more difficult than CCD. What do you think?

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PostPosted: Fri Jan 20, 2017 8:28 pm 
Smeric
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I don't know. In Asimov's universe the premises seemed pretty sane: that there's a set percentage of genius scentists, charismatic leaders aso. getting born every century, that there's no power-hungry psychokinetic individuum getting involved, that the degree the reality agrees with the prediction can be provably tested (and corrected if need be — but that's for another story).

But then, it's just how I understand Asimov's system and not yours. Asimov's worked on the basis that it's whole populations that matter (and populations large enough to matter are too large to work in coordination). Yours may work completely different.

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PostPosted: Fri Jan 20, 2017 8:36 pm 
Smeric
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Pole, the wrote:
I don't know. In Asimov's universe the premises seemed pretty sane: that there's a set percentage of genius scentists, charismatic leaders aso. getting born every century, that there's no power-hungry psychokinetic individuum getting involved, that the degree the reality agrees with the prediction can be provably tested (and corrected if need be — but that's for another story).

But then, it's just how I understand Asimov's system and not yours. Asimov's worked on the basis that it's whole populations that matter (and populations large enough to matter are too large to work in coordination). Yours may work completely different.

The system of predicting the future by the genetically engineered "mutants" in the DS9 episode "Statistical Probabilities" worked on a similar principle.

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PostPosted: Fri Jan 20, 2017 8:44 pm 
Avisaru
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But genius scientists, charismatic leaders, etc. are black swans. (In the sense that we don't know what science they will discover, what technology they will invent, what movements they will lead, etc.) The problem is that if you know that 20% of future events will be black swans, then I'm not sure that counts as positive knowledge of future events in the relevant sense. What you know is that 20% of future events will DEFY your extrapolations based on the present. You're saying how much of future events you know NOTHING about.

Let me give you an example to explain what I meant in my previous post. If you set up conditions such that the only way for people to get non-X is to sacrifice Y, which they value more than non-X, then they will try and demolish those conditions. If they are unable to do that, that means their power is limited in that regard. Limitations on the powers of rational agents come from physics. The only way people will settle for that kind of a status quo is if you've got them thoroughly outgunned. (Assuming, of course, that they are actually still acting rationally and haven't started philosophizing about how this is all part of the natural order of things, etc.) In that case, you can make them do pretty much whatever you want without CCD. The only way to introduce subtlety into this approach is to model people physically. (Also assuming that all these values and actions lie within parameters of physical and game theoretic possibility.)

(Did that make sense?)

PS. Maybe my mistake is that we can introduce subtlety into outgunning your opponent by just representing the range of possible interactions with physical objects. That might be much more manageable than modeling the whole situation in terms of actual physics. Then we can search for stable climate-type patterns. This doesn't account for black swans that increase possible physical interactions, but we can add those to our model as they come along. With enough computing power, that might be good enough to build a strong chess engine type AI. (Eg. A gun can be "held". No need to elaborate on the physical complexities that entail our description "holding". In that case the AI can't plan for you to drop your gun at a critical juncture on the basis of physical factors that aren't explicitly represented.)

PPS. In cases where a lot of contextual factors remain constant, we might be able to find empirical regularities analogous to Moore's Law. Is that what psychohistory is like? But we've already reached the limits of Moore's Law, for example.

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