2020-09-20: TechTime at Roasters

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TechTime at Roasters
Mages, Psychics, Sorcerers and an adherent to the Traditions hang out on a Sunday evening; lots of technology talk, a clear trope invocation also
IC Date September 20th, 2020
IC Time Early evening
Players Branton (and his magicanical assistant, Lockheed), Elizabeth, Evie, Hayden, Hector, Ross, Rufus (via texting) and Vic
Location Project Roasters (basement)
Theme Song Hazy Shade of Winter by the Bangles

Branton is sitting at the the table with a couple of books spread out with some rather archaic looking diagrams in them. Incongrously he's taking notes on a tablet that looks like its projecting a keyboard from a little box underneath.

Lockheed is flying with a book that Branton's apparently finished with to take it back into the library area.

Vic slips into the basement, coming down the stairs with her bag slung across her back and her smart phone in her hand. The phone is playing Hazy Shade of Winter by the Bangles.

Seeing the clockwork dragonette Vic grins and looks farther, sees Branton and says, "Hey there," to both of them as she turns the volumne on her phone down a bit with a hard to notice press of her thumb.

Branton looks up from where he's working with archaic books and modern tablet at the big table "Hey. Vic right?"

Lockheed, having deposited the book back on its shelf in the library, flies back over and lands on the table next to Branton and goes still. Looking like a statue now.

Ross is just coming downstairs himself at that point, carrying a medium-sized metal box with three or four padlocks on each side. "Short for Victoria, I'm guessing?" he asks, looking the others over for a moment. Oh, hello there, Lockheed.


Vic nods to Branton and starts to speak when she hears the male voice behind her and turns to look at Ross and starts to speak to him when her phone buzzes at her indicating a message coming in. She glances at the message - apparently super short - and starts swiping a reply as she speaks. "Branton, right?" she asks the caucasian mid-research and then, "Yeesss," hesitantly to Ross adding, "But I'm called Vic," slightly firmly before asking him, "And yourself?" as she presses send without looking at the phone.

Vic's phone buzzes again and she gives a quick reply again.

Aye Arrr?
(Rufus) I thought i'd see you at the rave but you didnt' show up. Just checking in.
I'm okay. You're okay. I didn't go, had things to do.

Branton nods at Vic as he shuts down the laser keyboard he was using to type "Yuppers. Just doing some cross referncing with some of the books Eloise keeps around that I don't have copies of. How's your evening going?" Lockheed remains still, if you hadn't seen him move before he'd easily pass for a fancy and expensive piece of art.

"I'm Ross Strickland, people call me Ross Strickland. Or Ross. Or 'hey, is it fixed yet'." The new arrival sets his whatever-it-is down near a seat before settling down himself. "Pretty good, just needed a while to unwind. Half the day of solid lab-testing will do that."

(Rufus) Thumbs-up.png I'll be diving into That Project so I might be off coms for a bit.

Branton nods at Ross as he starts flipping the books he was using closed and stacking them neatly next to Lockheed "I know how that can be. At least I think so. For me its an alchemy lab but still a lot of fussing and trial and error."

Hayden walks down the stairs and looks around.

Another buzz from Vic's phone indicates another incoming message causing her to become distracted and ignore meatspace for a bit. When she returns her attention to the room she sees someone new and looks a bit surprise. "Um, distracted," she says to Branton and, "Hi Ross," as she sits down near him on the sofa and she waves to Hayden also.

Good 2 know. Be safe.

Ross nods to Branton - "I imagine, yeah" - then turns back to Vic. "Yeah, happens to all of us. What about you, what you been up to?" The question appears to include Hayden too, who he shows no particular sign of recognizing.

Hayden says "Nothing much you?"

Branton grins and shrugs "Sort of have an idea for an enchanted spear that I'm working on the plans for. Not actually going to make the thing until I have someone ordering one but nothing wrong with having a robust set of notes in advance."

Vic, after removing her bag and setting it down on the sofa next to her, pulls her legs up beneath her and turns off the music player on her smartphone finally. She sizes up Branton and the non-moving dragonette could-be-a-statue on the table next to him and asks him, "Did you make the dragon-thingy also?" before answering Ross by saying, "Been working on a server at the gym I stay at, formulating ideas for the possibility of a Familiar and commissioned a VR-Rig from an ex-roommate," and then after a brief pause, "You know, the normal."

Ross shoots Vic a grin. "Fellow tech-head. I approve wholeheartedly." Then he pauses, turns and looks Hayden up and down more closely. "And I have to say, down here? 'Nothing much' is literally the last answer I expected to come out of anyone's mouth, ever. Everyone's either got a project, (or a bunch of projects)," as he glances over toward Vic again, "or at least they're unwinding from one. So what's yours?"

Hayden says, "I am learning how to move things with my mind faster? I don't make things."

Branton nods at Vic and grins "I did. That's Lockheed, my Construct Lab assistant. He's not alive even to the point of having a true AI, he's got a fairly well developed VI though." Nods to Ross before he comments "Studying is a project."

Hayden nods "Cool."

"Makes sense. Yeah, not everyone here's a maker," Ross answers Hayden, "'myself' is a valid project. And what's VI, visual intelligence? Or virtual? Not sure what the difference would be there on the second one."

Hector heads down the stairs, coffee in one hand, typing upon a cellphone in his other.

Hayden sits down and smiles.

"Virtual Intelligence would be my assumption," Vic says to Ross from where she is sitting on the sofa near him, her legs pulled up beneath her so she's semi curled up with her bag on the cushion next to her. "I'd normally refer to it as an NAI or LAI myself," she says to Branton then explains to the room: "Nonsapient or Low-sapient AI versus a true, or Sapient AI... SAI." Yes, this Virtual Adept actually grades levels of Artificial Intelligences.

Trope Invocation! Sliding Scale of Robot Intelligence (specifically that of GURPS Transhuman Space)[1]

Evie steadies herself on the stairs, showing up in a much fancier outfit than her usual: black minidress with a cosmetic jacket to cover the shoulders, kitty-cat choker, knee-high heeled boots, and white leggings underneath. Her heels clack rather hard as she comes down, locates a nearby seat, and fwumps onto it. "Maker, projects? Hm. Now where'd I put my coffee..." Notably, she did not arrive with coffee.

Branton nods at Vic and considers for a moment "That's fair, somewhere in there." Then to Ross "Yeah, Virtual Intelligence. Lockheed can make limited sorts of decisions and judgement calls when they are within the narrow areas of what he's designed to handle. A truly sapient artificial intelligence would be capable of learning, growth, and creativity and more nuanced judgement calls. I probably could awaken a construct to true sapience, I'm pretty sure that the spell I found will do the job. Probably not going to do it though. The Ethical implications of created life like that are not something I want to deal with. At least not now."

Hayden is listening to Branton.

Hector settles down at the table, pocketing his cellphone and then clicking the button on the side of his glasses and getting out and clicking on a laser projected keyboard instead. He takes a sip of his coffee and then begins typing again. "Sup everyone?" he asks with a smile and a nod, though his eyes move behind his glasses like he's reading a screen.

Ross nods to Branton. "So more general-purpose than AlphaGo, but less than us. Makes sense. Hey," he adds as Hector joins the group, "we're just hanging out and comparing nerd cred, I think."

"And did you look behind the couch?" he adds, glancing to Evie for a moment.

Hayden laughs "I have no nerd cred."

"Hey there Evie! And Hector!" Vic exclaims to the new arrivals. She then asks Hector, "Aitch-two, are you wanting to put any amount towards the five kay I need for my VR-Rig? Arr plans to back me but you'd offered also so if you were willing to help him out that would be so awesome!" Then, back on the AI topic she says, "Sounds like your Lockheed there is somewhere in the NAI to LAI range for sure, likely closer to a LAI but I'd need to examine it further of course.... and beware of ninja-trained mutants who might want to abscond with it."

Evie straightens herself up and peers at Ross. "Why would my coffee be behind the couch? Anyway..." she looks from Vic to Branton raising a hand in proper-ish greeting. "Hey there. Hmmm. Five grand? Vic, what's this VR rig supposed to do, if I may ask? I could probably help out as well." She once again reaches for the coffee she doesn't have. "Er. Oh yeah. I'd wanna see how you put that together, too."

Branton grins mischevously at Vic "I can always use a different spell to call him home again so I'm not too worried. I'm pretty sure he'd fail a Turing test." Then he nods to Ross "He does the jobs I made him for and he does them well. Not really good for much else though. Its great though that I can leave him watching something in the alchemy lab and get out for a bit, and have a button or something set up for him to press when something's ready and I need to come home. I just need to give him carefully composed if/else/then style instructions." Grins at Evie "I can show you both my notes and diagrams for how I design and assemble that sort of construct, they get super technical though. And my sort of technical, rather than your sort of tech technical."

Hayden is listening to Branton and starts looking very very confused.

Hector huffs in humor to Ross, "So like, who's basement is darker, or who eats more cheetos in a week?" he chuckles lightly and then nods to Vic, "Ya, just send me the link to wherever you want me to wire it, I can send you 1K now, another K in a few weeks when next months creds come rolling in, if you still need it then."

Evie's face absolutely LIGHTS UP when Branton offers to show her Lockheed's schematics. "I. Would /love/. To see those. Seriously." She's gushing like a fangirl now, and even looks the part to boot! "You have /no/ idea how much I've been trying to figure out Bobbi's Hermetic mystic symbol hodgepodge. No rhyme or reason, this number means grass, that number means sex but no it's not 69." An eyeroll as she complains about numerology. "But computers, programming? Diagrams that CLEARLY correspond to real things? /The I-triple-E standard system?!!?/ SO much easier to figure out. It's still a pretty hefty jump for me, but I actually feel like I'm making progress all the time instead of beating my forehead pointlessly with ancient tomes."

Ross smirks at Evie as she brings up the, uh, numerology gag there. "Yeah, I think that's a big part of our problem in general, we're all doing about 30 percent of our stuff in something that might as well be Javanese to anyone else. Sometimes a lot higher than 30."

"Aitch-two, reach out to Arr as he's doing the financing and see where he says to send the money?" Vic asks/says to Hector. And then, as she was about to say more her phone chirps persistently and, after a glance, she unfolds her legs from beneath her and stands. Grabbing her bag as she speaks, she says, "I've gotta jet everyone," and to Hayden, "Nice to see you, I'm called Vic if you didn't pick that up," and to the others, "Good seeing or meeting you or what have you, lets all keep in touch," as she starts to head to the stairs to depart.

Hayden says "Be safe."

Branton shakes his head at Evie's enthusiasm "Its an Enchantment, magical spell work and a lot of my notation has its roots in hermetic style because that's who my library used to belong to. It'll be diagrams that clearly correspond to real things but not in whatever that system is that you mentioned. I call it magi-tek, its somewhere between." Then he nods to Vic "I'll be seeing you around. We'll set something up so you can see my notes for Lockheed."

Elizabeth walks down into the basement and takes a seat, plugging in the video about vampires to watch it again. She looks around as she enters and notices all the people around. She waves to Hayden,"I'm not interrupting anything am I?"

Hector nods and then says, "Vuzix, message contact 42, 'Yo, where you want this powerup to go?'." and his glasses emit a quiet chirp, he waves his hand through the air, "Imbed icon, send." he says to Vic, "Cool, sent, will handle it with him. Vic Lemme' know if you wanna hang and get some prog's set up for you gear once it's made. We can make a killah guard doggo if you want."

Hayden says "They are having Techtime tonight but other than that I don't think so."

Evie raises a hand in farewell to Vic, as a sort of "yeah sure bye was fun" thing (though that goes unsaid). Attention back to Ross, she actually grins. "I do find programming easier, yeah, but you're saying most people don't...? Wait. Wait wait wait. Hermetic or Adept?" She catches herself making a possibly incorrect assumption on that front. While waiting for an answer, she glances to Branton to reply, "All I need is the 'matches with real things' bit, honestly. I think. Got a concept and I wanna see if it pans out."

Vic smiles to Elizabeth as they pass by each other. "Evie, swing by New Hope and drop me a number and/or email I can contact you at if you'd like, Hector here can help you lots also if you want to explore magic with computers," she says to the young woman in the basement. "Thanks," she says to Hayden before waving to the room. "Sure thing Aitch-two," she acknowledges Hector as she starts up the stairs, departing.

  1. Quote from TVTropes.com: "GURPS Transhuman Space has Non-sapient (NAI), Low-Sapient (LAI), and Sapient (SAI) AIs. Each category having a minimum program and hardware complexity with more complex programs having bonuses to IQ. Somewhat oddly the difference between categories is represented by disadvantages and advantages, in fact an LAI can have a higher IQ score than an SAI of equivalent hardware processing power, and a NAI can beat both (which is to say, sentience takes more than "thinking faster", so you can run faster - as reflected by a higher IQ - on the same hardware if you are running with reduced capability to learn and reflect)."