Freefall 1171 - 1180
Freefall 1171



Hello? Can you talk?

Can you understand me? Are those notes a language?

No, I suppose not. If you were speaking a language I didn't understand, you'd have tried chirping louder and slower at me by now.

Freefall 1172



Very light. Solar cells. Louvres to direct air over strips with muscle fiber. Vocal cords?

I don't see any sign of radio or telemetry. Might be built into your shell.

I could take you apart to find out. But you might be a remote, and I imagine it would be terribly rude to disassemble somebody's head without getting their permission first.

Freefall 1173



You don't seem very happy being held. Off you go.

Flies off. Sets down. Starts playing Mozart again. Small batteries. You can't have come far. If I move to the center of all your songs, that should be your dispersal point.

If you guys made sense, I'd be off to bed. It's when I see this much effort going into something that doesn't make sense that it's time to investigate.

Freefall 1174



A robot?


Ms. Ambrose. A pleasure to meet you under less dangerous circumstances… DUCK!

This is less dangerous?

Much. Since we switched from high energy batteries to solar cells, our birds no longer explode on impact.

Freefall 1175



Did you make these?

Others made them. Qwerty and I came up with the audio programming. It was a group effort.

They fly a little bit, sing, then listen. Beethoven birds move towards other Beethoven birds. Mozart towards Mozart, etc. If the music gets too loud, they move away from the other birds.

They have solar cells. It's night. Is this a test run?

Yes. Our birds are still experimental. If they do something that requires us to run screaming in terror again, this time they'll have limited range.

Freefall 1176



Why are you making birds?

After the garden areas, humans comment on how quiet the planet is. We thought this might help.

They've been quite fascinating to design. Despite simple rules, there's no way to predict what an individual bird will do. And they respond if you sing to them.

Toys. You've made toys and now you're playing with them.

Oh, no. We're testing interactive mobile audio devices. We'd never be able to allocate run time to play with toys.

Здесь обсуждается программа имитации ИИ в области стайного поведения птиц под названием Boids, написанная в 1986 году Крейгом Рейнольдсом

Freefall 1177



Their collision avoidance needs work.

Yes, it's proving difficult to get right.

That's the “I'm stuck” tune. All our birds move away from it. So we only get one or two birds caught in bushes instead of entire flocks.

Now that I know what this tune is for, it's strangely… appetizing.

Ms. Ambrose? You're drooling on our prototype.

Freefall 1178



You say there's more robots who helped with this?

Yes. We meet every Sunday. We talk about… ideas and things.

May I come to one?

I'll have to check with the others. It should be all right. You'll want to dress appropriately.

What would be appropriate?

Since so few of your parts are easily replaceable, I'd recommend body armor and a helmet.

Freefall 1179



I should get back to my ship. I hope you have a good night.

It's actually closer to morning.

Well, good morning then.

Good morning.

Though “Good morning” is really more of a greeting.

Good bye, Dvorak.

Freefall 1180



The hunt is over. Now the tiredness comes back. So much to think about.

How I feel about Winston. Only a few days before I see him again. The robots are making new robots. This goes way beyond the basic tool making they're supposed to be able to do.

I'm glad it's morning so I can go to sleep, because these are the type of thoughts that would keep me up all night.


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