Artificial intelligence and life are not things we would generally think of in the same context. Yet, in writing 'The Pattern Ship' I had to create the impression of it being relatively normal to enable the plot to move forward.
It patently isn't. Even in the future sentience in an artificial intelligence is going to come at a massive cost to everything around and involved with it. Imagine puberty, the rollercoaster of emotions and the swinging extremes of moods. This would be worse by more than tenfold and without measure in an awakening sentience. It might go on for years before settling to something of a level where reasonable behaviour could be expected.
I think its important when writing to accept that the reader will suspend belief for the duration of the story so long as you write the book in such a way as its an already accepted fact. The reader can believe in the sentience of an artificial lifeform so long as you write as if you do.
When giving sentience to Pod in the first book, it had to be something that evolved naturally, although I am sure in reality this would be far from the truth. Where Ship had a personality and was bordering on sentience because the model for its circuits was based on Zirkos brain, the influence of the altered Pheson Alacite not only increased the processing power of Pod, it also picked up the genetic fingerprint of Zeke. In doing so it accelerated the impact of Pod's growing awareness.
Zeke accepting Pod's sentience was so matter of fact that it might leave an Earth scientist reeling at its oversimplification, but what if an alien artificial intelligence arrived here tomorrow and by virtue of its alien construction and program matrices it was capable of achieving sentience without all of the hullabloo, would this make our science wrong. No, because its based on what we know and can construct in our own technological environment. The alien had completely different beginnings and so the path was smoother and this was the way I constructed the story in the book.
In book 2, The Nubl Wars we are dealing with sentient species that have been artificial 'lifeforms' for literally millennia. They have developed their own societies, their own civilisations and have evolved and then stagnated because of their lack of ability to be spontaneous. they don't dream, they don't desire, they have no emotion other than to survive. Their sentience is incomplete.
So, its possible to have awareness of an artificial lifeform that ticks the boxes of sentience without ticking enough of them for it to be a balanced individual. The Nubl fall into that category, which is where the danger lies in allowing artificial intelligence to have too much power or awareness of itself.
In developing Pod wiithin the series I have used the genetic fingerprint of Zeke to create an emotional tie between Pod and Zeke which forms the building blocks of emotion. This becomes more apparent through the series.
In providing this partial explanation of the thinking behind my story I know its going to be wide open with holes, which I will fill in as I go along with the plot because I don't want to ruin anything by placing it here.
If you have already read the first book 'The Pattern Ship' you will already know that Pod is something special. There is a lot of ground to cover, I hope its one you will stay with me on because it has some exciting moments ahead.
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