Saturday, January 19, 2013

019: Long Speech

ENTRY 019: Long Speech

For some, transhuman consciousness is a matter of scale. The biological wetware of early humans adapted the speed of thought and reaction to the limitations of its equipment; the perception of time was relative, but always constrained within the narrow band accorded by neurotransmitters, nerves, and muscles. While the transhuman body may constantly receive data, the bulk of it is ignored and interpolated for faster processing—a movement “too quick for the human eye” appears as a blur, the sampling rate of the human brain automatically discarding the intervening steps and producing a distorted image as a result.

The freedom from the traditional bodily limitations has brought about experimentation with new modes of time-scale perception. Mayfly attention spans can perceive the individual flaps of a hummingbird’s wings, or catch the individual frames of a video image; and on the other end of the scale are geologic consciousnesses that perceive at a slower relative time rate, ignoring the statistical abnormalities of small events to catch the slow changes of erosion, or read the patterns of transhumans flocking through a mall.

Communication with transhumans experiencing different time-scales can be difficult, with either party apt to lose patience with the others' too-slow or too-quick responses. Success is usually accomplished via technological arbiters, with both parties varying their time scales with relation to one another until within an acceptable limit, speeding up and slowing down until they can understand one another easily. The most successful and widespread such method is Long Speech, a buffering protocol that places both participants in a simulation that induces a temporary state of non-real time, then interpolates the result respective to the individuals’ time scale to produce the similitude of a conversation at that frame of reference.

Long Speech sees its greatest use in long-distance communication, allowing individuals light minutes or hours away to experience what feels like a normal conversation, eliminating the delay caused by the communication medium. In the simulation, both parties perceive time passing only at the rate of the conversation, even though hours or days may pass while they are talking.


  • The Rothbart Wei, go master of Mars has been engaged in a match via Long Speech with an AI in a probe beyond the rim; each move takes at least a week to make, and tension is building up on the mesh as the match slowly heats up. However, the match organizers have received intimation that someone is trying to sabotage the tournament by introducing a digital virus that mucks with Wei’s perception of time, trapping him to experience a relative lifetime before his next move. They ask the player character’s help in stopping the virus.

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