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> Stream and Network Writeups, An unnecessary, unintuitive, unoriginal set
Heath Robinson
post Sep 15 2009, 08:21 AM
Post #1

Running Target

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Joined: 4-March 08
From: Blighty
Member No.: 15,736

I don't exactly like the depictation of Technomancers in the Sample Streams chapter of Unwired. They're far too simple, too serious, for me to believe that they were made by people whose sanity depends on them. So I decided to write up some classic human insanity of my own - enjoy, critique, post your own, etc.

Cult of the Sussman
"In fact, Computer Science is a terrible name for this subject. First of all, it's not a science. And it's not really about computers." - Hal Abelsson

The Cult of the Sussman is based loosely around a text entitled "SICP" that details a mathematically-oriented approach to understanding the Matrix based on function-application with practical examples given in an imaginary language that the writers have named "LISP". This text forms the apparent basis of their manipulation of the Matrix - with Resonance being some kind of functional parser that they feed with recursive structures. Alongside the core text are a number of short texts with heterogenous characteristics. These texts have not been translated from their original English, and hence the Cult draws its adherents entirely from the English speaking denizens of the global Matrix.

The size of the Cult is quite difficult to ascertain, because the members communicate entirely anonymously and sociall ostracise those who identify themselves unnecessarily. The use of opaque, high-traffic proxies is a regular occurence and face-to-face meetings are strongly discouraged. Despite the above a coherent set of beliefs appears to be fully formed, though for obvious reasons it's impossible to identify whether any real Emergents are present or the whole thing is a kind of self deprecating entertainment.

The Sussman (apparently a title) himself is an almost mythical figure that appears in battle against corporate forces that operate some kind of poultry farm. Whilst Sussman summons the "spirits of the Machine" (a Sprite protologue?), his opponents utilise "spirits of the JVM" (Dissonant Sprites?). Few writings have been discovered that involve the Sussman, but a significantly larger number revolve around an unnamed protagonist attending fictional University courses on "Computer Science", which regularly reference one Hal Abelsson and almost always end with abrupt and out-of-character exhortations to read the central, but unrelated, text - "SICP". There is frequently a female accomplice in these stories, but even that is inconsistantly present.

The Cult appears to have borrowed a term from Japanese Buddhism (alongside a significant amount of other Japanese terminology, primarily taken from the old Otaku subculture) when they refer to being a "satori", however, the term clearly refers to a rather different state in usage by the Cult. A "satori" is held to be a superior state of being to normal and this is likely to refer to being emerged, or perhaps submerged (the distinction is unclear). In general it appears to be tied to an instinct for the operation of technology, in particular the lower level operation thereof.

Fading: Intuition + Resonance
Sprites: Code, Tutor, Fault, Courier, Crack

Church of Emacs
"Control over the use of one's ideas really constitutes control over other people's lives; and it is usually used to make their lives more difficult. " - Richard M. Stallman

Nobody is quite sure what an Emac is, but nonetheless there is a thriving Church of them. In classical Matrix style, the Church members strongly advocate a heterogenous collection of ideas that are clearly absurd both apart and together. They proclaim the founder of the Church to be Richard Stallman, a figure attributed a Popelike status despite historical records denoting him to be an early figure of note in the Computing industry but otherwise nothing particularly special.

The Church supports, as much as that can be said of a practically anarchic organisation, Open Source Software - using the archaic term "Free Software" - and requires that all its members periodically contemplate the writings of Stallman on this topic. There is significant pressure to create theses that contain similar themes to those that can be found within the aforementioned body of writings.

Most of the Church's adherents are Sourcerors, but E-Scapists, Cyberadepts, and Info Savants also feature significantly. There are also significant numbers of unemerged "hangers on" that enjoy the technophilic atmosphere at Church events (which are usually in "meatspace") and discuss the nature of the Resonance, and other related topics, as a hobby.

The symbol of the Church is, quite inexplicably, a Gnu.

"Do no evil."

A googol is defined as a quite large number - 10 raised to the power of 100. How the Googolists have managed to translate this into the idea of the Resonance as a universal ("a Googol nodes"), immortal ("a Googol years") Index is impossible to study - whilst they regularly discuss the hows and wheres of their approach, the whys are extremely short in the coming.

They believe that the Resonance applies a complex algorithm that is holistic, semantic, and pattern-detecting to determine the most important objects in the Matrix. The Resonance therefore ensures that these objects are brought to the attention of people who are in need of them. Therefore a Googolist makes small changes in many places to enact a desired change in the ordering of these objects. It is important to note that they do not believe that these are necessary "real" links between things - the Resonance just happens to infer connections on the fly. This belief has lead to protracted hostility with Networkers, who believe that only "real" links have any affect on the Matrix as a whole.

The conceptually difficult aspects of their approach is that they believe that possible future states, and all the events that comprise the path to these states, are also objects (described in some sort of heuristic manner) that the Resonance orders and someone, or something, selects based on this ordering - therefore they can therefore shape the future by modifying "words" and "connections" in the current state.

Googolist Sprites often have an arachnoid appearance that ensures frequent misidentification as Protosapient AIs.

Fading: Charisma + Resonance
Sprites: Data, Sleuth, Paladin, Courier, Tutor
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