Author Topic: The Other Side (TIA Document Release Candidate, Wave Two, Unclassified)  (Read 8471 times)

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Offline General Battuta

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The Other Side (TIA Document Release Candidate, Wave Two, Unclassified)
Office of Civilian Agency Compliance Internal Record
Transparent Intelligence Action Wave Two Compliance and Satisficing Effort
Candidate 616A8112HHULO
Original text gathered and processed by Harrier Lawn tasking (Sol theatre), classified level Delta
Scrub crosschecked and nominated for TIA disclosure by Granite Hunter tasking

Introductory text condensed for length.

Subject ARID is a male, age 55, citizen of Jovian Systems Republic.

Subject BURROCK is a female, age 51, citizen of Martian Concordia.

Subject CANDIDE is a male, age 45, citizen of Earth.

Transcript begins.

Harrier Lawn: Are you comfortable?

CANDIDE: We are, thank you. We appreciate your hospitality.

BURROCK: We want to know when we'll be released.

ARID: Or if.

Harrier Lawn: I have good news on that front. Before I'm allowed to disclose it, though, I need to get some of this down on record - you know how it is, right? Right. Is that okay?

CANDIDE: We understand.

Placebo recorder activation tone.

Harrier Lawn: Could you please state the name, registry, and filed mission of your vessel?

ARID: The Regressive Customs Tax, Kadmos type, registered as a portless trader under the ITO.

BURROCK: We auctioned the naming rights on a policy propagation market and someone sarcastic won.

CANDIDE: You wanted to call it the -

BURROCK: Don't tell him about -

ARID: Come on, don't, that would be so - we would look so stupid.

BURROCK: Okay. Thank you.

Harrier Lawn: You said the ship was named by someone sarcastic - could you explain that?

CANDIDE: When we incorporated the ship there was a lot of agitation on Mars for small shipping subsidies. The argument went that gate transit and fuel costs constituted a regressive phantom tax that really punished small independents while mostly leaving the big shipping groups untouched. Someone in favor of that argument bought our naming rights.

ARID: You are so boring. He's boring, I'm sorry about that. He is just very boring.

BURROCK: He's earnest. You're going to get a lot of earnest answers.

CANDIDE: Smug, too.

ARID: Smug. Definitely. At least he's honest about himself.

Harrier Lawn: So you were independent traders, and you were worried about the costs of the business. I can understand that. Why was there a market for independent, self-owned ships? Your trader - that's an interstellar capable ship, very large, enormously fuel-hungry. I thought economies of scale would keep those out of independent hands?

BURROCK: Are you asking if we were black market?

ARID: We were never black market. There's a niche for small legal traders. I'd say the shipping market is split about 50-30-20. Fifty goes to the big guys, thirty goes to cooperatives, twenty to independents.

CANDIDE: The way I learned it is -

ARID: Here we go.

CANDIDE: Independents fill out the spaces left between the major market positions. Corporations have reliable routes, reliable prices, reliable policies. A lot of top-down organization. Cooperatives are more responsive to week-to-week changes in the market, they can catch opportunities and still have the scale to exploit them. Independents -

BURROCK: We fed on volatility. We didn't have the tonnage to run steady routes, but we could get ahead of the market. When an urgent order goes up, a corporation has to weigh its existing commitments before it can take it. Cooperatives aren't as inertial but they have to stick to their turf - they rely on each other. Everything has an opportunity cost. Independents are scavengers. They eat up slack in the market. Keep everything shipshape.

CANDIDE: Exactly.

Harrier Lawn: So you weren't able to leverage the bigger shipping routes on a consistent basis, but...

ARID: Arbitrage.

CANDIDE: We bought processor shares on Earth.

ARID: Bought fuel and charts on Jupiter.

BURROCK: The processor shares he's talking about, we used those to get a window into market changes over the next month. Once we knew what was coming we'd position ourselves for arbitrage. If the simulations called a drop in tritium prices, we'd ask the Box what to do, and usually it gave us a good idea.  It was down to the wire, real rough life, but we came out ahead. The key was the

ARID: - the fuel and charts -

CANDIDE:: - the subspace drive. We didn't use the gate network all the time, we had a jump drive. Which, yes, we fueled and navved that at Callisto.

Harrier Lawn: Was it unusual for an independent trader to carry a jump drive?

ARID: No. The gate network was dead cheap compared to fueling and navving that thing every month, but it also confined you to fixed routes, and the corporations owned those. Corporations and co-ops.

BURROCK: If you had the financial smash to grab a good subspace motivator, that was how you got started as an independent. Otherwise you went co-op.

CANDIDE: The gate network doesn't so much flatten the trade environment as crease it. Certain commodities become incredibly cheap and efficient to move along certain routes.

ARID: I don't want to say any more about the gate network.

CANDIDE: We can't tell them anything they don't -

BURROCK: Then there's no point telling them, is there?

Harrier Lawn: What kind of commodities did you run?

ARID: Time-sensitive materials. One-time pads. Instruments. Foodstuffs. Anything with a price jacked up or jacked down by a HUMER. Corps ride the trends, independents eat the HUMERs -

Harrier Lawn: HUMER?

CANDIDE: Slang. Highly Unexpected Market Event Reaction.

BURROCK: Something the simulations didn't see way in advance. Chaotic impacts. The mainframes can spot the broad trends but don't catch all the local noise - that creates inefficiencies in long-term planning which can be exploited by highly reactive agents.

Harrier Lawn: You all seem very well educated.

CANDIDE: Thank you.

BURROCK: GITs have been going up for thirty years. It's a smart solar system.

ARID: Yeah, a lot of very smart and very brainwashed people out there.

Harrier Lawn: How do you mean?

CANDIDE: He doesn't like -

ARID: I like what they do, I'm just not comfortable with how they do it.

BURROCK: Me too.

ARID: Look at how we made our living. Exploiting the only market fluctuations that aren't called years in advance. We're lubricant for the machines - you get it? We live in the only scrap of the economy that isn't deterministic.

CANDIDE: Mastering the business cycle brought an end to -

ARID: Yeah, and what happens when that mastery's complete? Look, they 'mastered' the economy, they 'mastered' social projection, they've figured out which levers to pull to get what they want, but once it's all locked down, once they've worked out all the kinks, what do you have to do except play your part?

BURROCK: We use the Box ourselves. We take orders from an algorithm. 'Buy this, buy that.' We're all just cogs, man - right, you see what I'm at? How do you have freedom when they know exactly what you want?

CANDIDE: Thirty years of prosperity -

ARID: Some day it'll all crash. Some day those algorithms and those simulations will grow so byzantine and self-referential that it'll take true AI to read them. Have you ever tried to read the stock market? Have you looked at those graphs? Those aren't human-readable. The market whiplashes at the microsecond level -

CANDIDE: The overall trend is stable and positive -

BURROCK: See, that's my problem. I don't like how sneaky it is. If we had Big Brother thundering price controls down on us at least we'd be able to see the web. But instead -

CANDIDE: The results aren't invisible at all - they're just smoothing out the inefficiencies, correcting for the irrationalities, allowing the market to work -

BURROCK: If the faults in the market are rooted in human irrationality, how do you fix them without altering the human mind?

ARID: I like the economy. I like education. I like science. But damn, I don't like how sneaky they are about it. Remember how we got into this mess? Mars -

BURROCK: Back during the Sink, when they were just getting started on Mars, they converted that huge swathe of factories to automation. Blew the bottom out of the labor market, unemployment skyrocketed, we all cursed them for fools. Then the new merchant marine starts picking up, people leave the domes in disgust, sign up on trader crews, ship out -

ARID: - start shipping the products made by the factories they used to work at, start building new industry to service the traders -

CANDIDE: - which is social mobility, they got an upgrade, they benefited from that -

BURROCK: They were manipulated into it.

ARID: We ran into an Angry Customer the other year. They're roving agents, they wander around looking for workshops, artists, creatives, little corporations with promise. They test them. Give 'em a scare. If the candidate passes? Boom, seed grant, check written right out in front of you. Straight down from the coffers.

BURROCK: Yeah. It's sneaky. It's not like you apply for an innovation grant, the innovation grant comes to you.

ARID: And you just get the sense they don't even know why they do it. They ask their simulations 'what now? What policy? Where do we put the money, what do we do with the taxes?' They're listening to the ghost in the machine.

Harrier Lawn: Let's change the subject. Did you face any dangers as a trader?

BURROCK: That was my specialty, let me take that. The odds of ever being attacked were low. Real low. But they were high enough.

(To be continued...)
« Last Edit: December 07, 2011, 12:04:49 pm by Darius »

 

Offline Darius

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Re: The Other Side (TIA Document Release Candidate, Wave Two, Unclassified)
The Other Side document release candidate now declassified for unrestricted dissemination.

 

Offline SypheDMar

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Re: The Other Side (TIA Document Release Candidate, Wave Two, Unclassified)
I love these guys.

I'm guessing they might have some cameo in WiH R2. I'm a little surprised that independent traders would have jump drives, but it does make sense when it's put that way.

 

Offline Deadly in a Shadow

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Re: The Other Side (TIA Document Release Candidate, Wave Two, Unclassified)
Why do I have the sudden feeling that there will be some mysterious stuff in the second part?
Well, it's high likely that Burrock talks about the GEFs when he states that the odds of being attacked were low, but high enough.
But hey, we're talking about the idea's of the BP-Team :D
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Offline Ravenholme

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Re: The Other Side (TIA Document Release Candidate, Wave Two, Unclassified)
So Tev intelligence interviewing some independent traders they picked up?
Full Auto - I've got a bullet here with your name on it, and I'm going to keep firing until I find out which one it is.

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Offline -Norbert-

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Re: The Other Side (TIA Document Release Candidate, Wave Two, Unclassified)
Transparent Intelligence Action Wave Two Compliance and Satisficing Effort
Erm... what is a "Satisficing Effort"?

 

Offline headdie

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Re: The Other Side (TIA Document Release Candidate, Wave Two, Unclassified)
So Tev intelligence interviewing some independent traders they picked up?

Why not, as demonstrated they know the economy of the system and how it is managed.  They also see things, military movements, low level supply orders are probably handled by civilians (though probably by the corporations), bars will have gossip about the war from the UEF perspective, you can get a lot of useful intel on military, economic and social points of interest and unlike military personnel, they wont be missed by the authorities at large and are not trained in the need to resist interrogation and what information they can and can't give.

In short it is a cheep, easy and low risk way to gain base level intelligence that can be used to target more specialised intelligence resources.
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Offline Ravenholme

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Re: The Other Side (TIA Document Release Candidate, Wave Two, Unclassified)
So Tev intelligence interviewing some independent traders they picked up?

Why not, as demonstrated they know the economy of the system and how it is managed.  They also see things, military movements, low level supply orders are probably handled by civilians (though probably by the corporations), bars will have gossip about the war from the UEF perspective, you can get a lot of useful intel on military, economic and social points of interest and unlike military personnel, they wont be missed by the authorities at large and are not trained in the need to resist interrogation and what information they can and can't give.

In short it is a cheep, easy and low risk way to gain base level intelligence that can be used to target more specialised intelligence resources.

Oh, I know, I was just clarifying if I was interpreting it correctly, simply because the office responsible doesn't really have a Tev sounding name to me (Certainly not an office involved in a war theatre).
Full Auto - I've got a bullet here with your name on it, and I'm going to keep firing until I find out which one it is.

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Offline SypheDMar

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Re: The Other Side (TIA Document Release Candidate, Wave Two, Unclassified)
Transparent Intelligence Action Wave Two Compliance and Satisficing Effort
Erm... what is a "Satisficing Effort"?
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Satisficing

It's a good start.

 
Re: The Other Side (TIA Document Release Candidate, Wave Two, Unclassified)
Great work you guys! :yes:

It's always good to see the writers willing to spend time fleshing out the universe, since it really adds to the believability and immersion. Keep up the good work and can't wait for part 2!

 

Offline redsniper

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Re: The Other Side (TIA Document Release Candidate, Wave Two, Unclassified)
Huh, at first I thought it was some UEF operation to keep tabs on their own people, or maybe our traders here were involved in some suspicious incident, but

Original text gathered and processed by Harrier Lawn tasking (Sol theatre), classified level Delta

kind of gives it away.
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Offline Raiden

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Re: The Other Side (TIA Document Release Candidate, Wave Two, Unclassified)
Transparent Intelligence Action Wave Two Compliance and Satisficing Effort
Erm... what is a "Satisficing Effort"?
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Satisficing

It's a good start.

Satisficing, a portmanteau "combining satisfy with suffice", is a decision-making strategy that attempts to meet criteria for adequacy, rather than to identify an optimal solution.

Very cool in regards to the Blue Planet story. I too thought this was actually a UEF interview with the traders but I can't argue with redsniper's logic.
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Re: The Other Side (TIA Document Release Candidate, Wave Two, Unclassified)
Oh, I know, I was just clarifying if I was interpreting it correctly, simply because the office responsible doesn't really have a Tev sounding name to me (Certainly not an office involved in a war theatre).

The name was probably randomly generated so that knowing it existed wouldn't risk giving away its purpose. This is a fairly common practice.

(EDIT: Harrier Lawn, that is. Not the name of the actual office. herp derp i can't read)
« Last Edit: January 02, 2013, 10:04:57 am by LordPomposity »

 

Offline General Battuta

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Re: The Other Side (TIA Document Release Candidate, Wave Two, Unclassified)
Transparent Intelligence Action Wave Two Compliance and Satisficing Effort
Erm... what is a "Satisficing Effort"?

Yeah, just wanted to echo the above - it's an effort to do the minimum required amount, rather than to make a real effort. GTI's been ordered to be more transparent with its intelligence but they're clearly not happy about complying.

 

Offline Luis Dias

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Re: The Other Side (TIA Document Release Candidate, Wave Two, Unclassified)
Ahahah, this is ****ing hilarious writing! Color meself entertained!

Also interesting commentaries on the economic "woes" of Sol. "Smoothing out inneficiencies", huh? Where have I heard of that before. My god, would Nassim Taleb just shred this sci-fi to pieces :D.

I wonder how much intelligent that invisible computerized hand is, and how sleazy it is operating regarding the war itself.

 

Offline General Battuta

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Re: The Other Side (TIA Document Release Candidate, Wave Two, Unclassified)
Ahhh what a perfect reference to bring up. I like to think Taleb would shred the UEF's approach to economic management rather than Blue Planet as a whole. Clearly there are some fears about optimization leading to fragility in play here. Conversely, he might appreciate the UEF's attempts to build a better bottom rather than legislate from the top-down.

Of course, the Council of Elders may be invested in building antifragility, institutional tolerance for the unexpected...but one wonders whether they anticipated their closed system abruptly opening.

 

Offline Luis Dias

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Re: The Other Side (TIA Document Release Candidate, Wave Two, Unclassified)
Of course, the Council of Elders may be invested in building antifragility, institutional tolerance for the unexpected...but one wonders whether they anticipated their closed system abruptly opening.

If they actually value antifragility, that's not a systemic problem (opening up), since the system is built precisely to learn from those shocks and turn itself more robust. In a very abstract sense, it's a tyrannical system not entirely unlike the Borg, always assimilating new problems and so on.

 

Offline Crybertrance

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Re: The Other Side (TIA Document Release Candidate, Wave Two, Unclassified)
Awesome stuff!  :yes:

Im waiting eagerly for the next part!
<21:08:30>   Hartzaden fires a slammer at Cybertrance
<21:09:13>   Crybertrance pops flares, but wonders how Hartzaden acquired aspect lock on a stealth fighter... :\
<21:11:58>   *** The_E joined #bp [email protected]
21:11:58   +++ ChanServ has given op to The_E
<21:12:58>   Hartzaden continues to paint crybertrance and feeding the info to a wing of gunships
<21:14:07>   Crybertrance sends emergency "IM GETING MY ASS KICKED HERE!!!!eleventy NEED HELPZZZZ" to 3rd fleet command
<21:14:50>   Hartzaden jamms the transmission.
<21:14:51>   The_E explodes the sun

 

Offline Luis Dias

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Re: The Other Side (TIA Document Release Candidate, Wave Two, Unclassified)
I like to think Taleb would shred the UEF's approach to economic management rather than Blue Planet as a whole. Clearly there are some fears about optimization leading to fragility in play here.

I missed this. Sorry of course I didn't mean the sci-fi, I meant UEF's economics as seen by these three. They actually perceive the troubles in the exact fashion Taleb does. There's a constant trait in all sci-fi, which is the fact that the discussions taking place two, three, for hundred years later are all about the real world as seen by the author when he wrote the piece. In particular these three stooges are saying almost verbatim what very clever people said about the world's economy in 2006.

There's also a little detail hidden in there, which is probably just a random thought:

Quote
Some day those algorithms and those simulations will grow so byzantine and self-referential that it'll take true AI to read them.

Cross reference with the desperation of the Elders and their promise of a "secret weapon". Is the secret weapon a true AI? I have no idea, just brainstorming here. However as a side note, I have wondered about a diverging storyline from Capella where the desperate Security Council of the GTVA actually builds a true AI to organize and strategize war efforts, increasing the efficiency of any war action tenfold, a hundred fold. Eventually, all warships would be crewless and modular. Von Neumann strategies and so on. This would create an apocalypse of its own (a good one - a safe place for humans to life without near Shivans), but it would destroy forever Humanity's place in the agency of matters of any importance: The Stars are not for Man.

Notice how these guys also resent a severe lack of human agency in UEF's system (probably contrasting with the outer colonies). Can mankind live without feeling they are agents in the universe?

Here's a relevant quote from God Emperor:

Quote
You cannot understand history unless you understand its flowings, its currents and the ways leaders move within such forces. A leader tries to perpetuate the conditions which demand his leadership. Thus, the leader requires the outsider. I caution you to examine my career with care. I am both leader and outsider. Do not make the mistake of assuming that I only created the Church which was the State. That was my function as leader and I had many historical models to use a pattern. For a clue to my role as outsider, look at the arts of my time. The arts are barbaric. The favorite poetry? The Epic. The popular dramatic ideal? Heroism. Dances? Wildly abandoned. From Moneo's viewpoint, he is correct in describing this as dangerous. It stimulates the imagination. It makes people feel the lack of that which I have taken from them. What did I take from them? The right to participate in history.

The Elders are not double playing as Leto II was here, feeding the populace with dreams of agency while oppressing them to absolute mental slavery, however these described forces are important and should be taken notice. If an economic system is absolutely perfect then mankind is now without "the right to participate in history". Even hard proponents of the market economy as an efficient meritocracy will agree that it is still sufficiently "inefficient" so as single people will never attribute their bad luck with actual lack of merit (which would be extremely depressing).

Enough for now.

 
Re: The Other Side (TIA Document Release Candidate, Wave Two, Unclassified)
I like brainstorming (though I tend to be too quiet during one).

However as a side note, I have wondered about a diverging storyline from Capella where the desperate Security Council of the GTVA actually builds a true AI to organize and strategize war efforts, increasing the efficiency of any war action tenfold, a hundred fold. Eventually, all warships would be crewless and modular. Von Neumann strategies and so on. This would create an apocalypse of its own (a good one - a safe place for humans to life without near Shivans), but it would destroy forever Humanity's place in the agency of matters of any importance: The Stars are not for Man.

I just had a picture of humanity's "machines" continue going long after humanity's end, blowing up stars and neutralising threats pointlessly, stuff like that. :)