RttS Reader Questions 2

Quailicorns got a mention over on my blog, if you're desperate for more fake children's interactive media lore. Also, if you're new here and want more character QnAs, I have three of them on my website (if you don't mind abstract spoilers for characters and events that happen long after this current book). Up next week, chapter two.

Transcript Anonymous asked: Talita, what's a quantum phone, and how is it different from a regular phone?
Talita: It's a phone with a quantum computer CPU. It's— this isn't my field, I'm in mechanics, not compsci— but basically quantum computers just use qubits instead of classical bits. This allows them to run more processes parallel to each other than a classical computer.  It's also, like... absolutely a useless extra price point on a personal CPU? Nobody needs that kind of processing to play games or call their mom. If you want to flaunt your wealth just buy hard wood jewelry or whatever. Room temperature quancomps and the vast majority of quantum programming languages also originate from bug ferrets. The legend goes that their code is so spaghetti, it resulted in them accidentally creating sapient AI. …I'm so glad I'm not a programmer...

Eel asked: Mel, what made you decide to onboard Talita on Ixion?
Calcery: I was Talita's sponsor through college so I was already very familiar with her talents! When I decided to leave college administration for something a little more peaceful, I made an offer to Talita to join me working for IRP. She loves ripping apart electronics, so junkyard work was a perfect fit!

Liza asked: Talita, what's the names of your quailicorn and otter toys?
Talita: Oh! Uh. The quailicorn is just named the same as the green quailicorn from the games, Gizmod. The otter is... um... Mrs. Otter. I wasn't a super creative kid, ahaha... I'm too sentimental to get rid of them, so now they sit on top of my electronics desk and judge my soldering.

RttS Reader Questions 2

Quailicorns got a mention over on my blog, if you're desperate for more fake children's interactive media lore. Also, if you're new here and want more character QnAs, I have three of them on my website (if you don't mind abstract spoilers for characters and events that happen long after this current book). Up next week, chapter two.

Transcript Anonymous asked: Talita, what's a quantum phone, and how is it different from a regular phone?
Talita: It's a phone with a quantum computer CPU. It's— this isn't my field, I'm in mechanics, not compsci— but basically quantum computers just use qubits instead of classical bits. This allows them to run more processes parallel to each other than a classical computer.  It's also, like... absolutely a useless extra price point on a personal CPU? Nobody needs that kind of processing to play games or call their mom. If you want to flaunt your wealth just buy hard wood jewelry or whatever. Room temperature quancomps and the vast majority of quantum programming languages also originate from bug ferrets. The legend goes that their code is so spaghetti, it resulted in them accidentally creating sapient AI. …I'm so glad I'm not a programmer...

Eel asked: Mel, what made you decide to onboard Talita on Ixion?
Calcery: I was Talita's sponsor through college so I was already very familiar with her talents! When I decided to leave college administration for something a little more peaceful, I made an offer to Talita to join me working for IRP. She loves ripping apart electronics, so junkyard work was a perfect fit!

Liza asked: Talita, what's the names of your quailicorn and otter toys?
Talita: Oh! Uh. The quailicorn is just named the same as the green quailicorn from the games, Gizmod. The otter is... um... Mrs. Otter. I wasn't a super creative kid, ahaha... I'm too sentimental to get rid of them, so now they sit on top of my electronics desk and judge my soldering.

32 thoughts on “RttS Reader Questions 2

  1. I like how the Quailicorn plush that Talia has seems to be themed around technology/engineering, guess she really was interested in it all the way back.

  2. She makes a great point about the uselessness of the phone and better ways to flaunt your wealth XD

    Also I love the idea of Bug Ferret’s programming being so spaghetti they accidentally created sapient ai (makes sense to me) and how adorable Mrs. Otter is

  3. xXPicsa_Con_PiniaXx

    It just occurred to me that in RttS there might be AI deniers, saying that they’re just a bunch of really complex, but not really conscious, ones and zeros.

    1. Biologicals are just a bunch of really complex, but not really conscious, neurons!

      1. To be fair, sometimes I feel not really conscious. Depends how early in the morning I have to wake up.

    2. The obvious response to that is to ask the person to prove to you that they themselves aren’t simply a complex automaton themselves. (It’s not possible to do so, heck, you can’t actually prove that anything beyond your mind is even real.)

  4. Oh I hadn’t considered the fact that “sapient AIs were created on accident” might not be a widely known fact in-universe :0 (At least, if I’m reading the “legend goes” correctly)
    Also quick side note: the transcript says Calcery instead of Mel for the second question!

  5. Quantum computers are like regular computers but…quantized.

    Snerk.

    Disclaimer: retired software engineer who digs dad jokes.

  6. There’s a thought: what could you even do on a phone that would actually need quantum capabilities?

    1. Host an open-invite multiplayer Minecraft server. Mine bitcoins. IDK

    2. lets see.. hacking/cyberwarfare comes to mind.
      perhaps run an AI? especially if they can be run distributed

    3. Cryptography that isn’t trivially vulnerable to quantum computing might end up requiring quantum computing to implement. (Is this so? We don’t know yet.)

  7. Antikythera mechanism! Had a nerdy “pointing at my computer excitedly” moment seeing that mentioned xD

    1. Yayyyy glad you noticed. Quailicorns is supposed to be kids historical/science edutainment

  8. I love the centaur feather-blush, it’s so charming

    1. It’s so cute 🥺😭

  9. Hey, if your going to be judged on your engineering work by a soft toy at least It’s a soft toy who is apparently into engineering.

  10. Yay! Thanks, Talita!

  11. “I’m glad I’m not a programmer”
    The more I learn the more I learn it may have been a mistake to trick rocks into thinking.

    1. it was definitely a mistake. have you seen some of the human programming languages? JavaScript? INTERCAL?

      1. JavaScript was absolutely a mistake

        1. Actually I was just thinking about the sheer technical debt that’s happened with over reliance on JavaScript and then it just occurred to me that the AI in this setting all budding from one particular AI probably have some wicked awful technical debt built in.

        2. What’s technical debt?

        3. @Septemberdale Technical debt is when software (or any technology really) has flaws in its programming but it’s still used and expanded upon as is without fixing the underlying issues. As time goes by this results in the accumulation of errors and inefficiencies that can get really severe.

          This is also aggravated when the (mostly corporate) environment is more focused on generating innovation rather than addressing the problems that slow down innovation.

          Tl;dr it’s what happens when you keep swiping the problems under the rug.

        4. You may also enjoy: “The Web That Never Was”, a confrence talk by Dilan Beattie.

    2. I say this as a professional programmer, this essay is the truest thing I’ve ever read:
      https://www.stilldrinking.org/programming-sucks

    3. I’ve been learning to program to make a videogame and honestly I think Talita has the right of it. Go mechanics.

  12. Hard wood jewelry being “wealth flaunting” makes sense in space does it- not a lot of trees in space stations

    1. TheMushroomInside

      Indeed, id imagine there are far more infrastructure available to gather or manufacture what we consider in the present day as expensive such as platinum and crystals such as rubies which i can imagine in the future to be very common place as asteroid mining and the need for large scale crystal production for use in things like lasers, electronics etc. A diamond encrusted platinum ring could be made from properly reclaimed space scrap, while a hand carved wooden bangle adorn with opalized earth fossils would be lavish even compared to today

      1. Fred Johnson had wooden chairs in his office on Tycho station in the Expanse books. That was considered extremely extravagant, but not nearly as valuable to Belters as amber. Amber, coral and pearls can’t be found in space, but only amber is gleams like a gem.

  13. Jay, you made a typo in the Quailicorns logo!

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