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AI of the Storm 2/38

AI of the Storm 2/38 published on 11 Comments on AI of the Storm 2/38

The magical girl in gold-and-white is speaking an East Coast language, but sending the feelings directly over the mental link, so Ivy can understand them.

Sadly, this technique has limits, which is why translators still have jobs.

Local mage: You’re in good hands, Magus Ivy. Our local researchers and scientists have planned out your whole response — the angles, the power levels, every step!

Just follow all the directions I pass over the mental link, and don’t be scared —

Ivy: Aww, I’m not! I already did a bunch of these last hurricane season! I know how it goes! I totally got this! Also, you can just call me Ivy!

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Considering such a tool wouldn’t remotely scale up, I’d say it’s less “translators still have jobs”, and more “some translators have access to a unique tool”.

Such a link between two native speakers would be able to coordinate to ensure that the translated media preserves the information, as well as the emotional subtext and other subtleties that inexperienced and machine translators lose.

There’s been a lot of interesting writing on how in translation, it’s impossible to preserve the original perfectly (trying to translate wordplay often needs a completely new sentence to capture the character doing a bad pun, poetry loses its cadences, cultural references don’t have the same impact regardless if you trade it for one of the new audience or add a footnote). Proper translation is not about simply replacing words, but being aware of the deeper meanings and making judgement calls over which parts of the original to preserve.

A long-runner with such magic (or is mental link just a part of the baseline magical package?) would be invaluable to historians of all kinds to simply read old records over the link.

I love the rare stories of people in a sci-fi/fantasy setting doing mundane jobs with fantastic tools, tradesman wizards are always fun. Vampire Accountants staying up all night to do the books, Diviners seeing if and how a building would collapse, Mind Mage therapy, Druid pet groomers…

I thiiink mind magic is fire magic, by default? But Kiki hit Violet with an emotion-affecting spell despite being a water mage. Maybe fire mages are the only ones with the finesse for detailed thoughts and the range for long-distance coordination?

I had the impression that fire magic covers thoughts, water covers emotions, with just enough overlap of coverage for them to be useful. Of course, with skill and finesse, those limited scope issues would be less of a problem, as any good thought manipulator should be able to evoke emotions indirectly, and a good emotion manipulator should be able to evoke particular thoughts. That said, evoking emotions with concepts feels easier to me than evoking thoughts with emotions.

To be clear, a large part of that impression has been Kudzu with the fire magic and Kiki doing emotion damping with water magic.

There’s also a possibility that it’s simply the “Elemental Rock-Paper-Scissors” aspect, and Kiki’s ‘Anti-(Fire-Based) Whispers’ spell was just, effectively, her persuading local Water Spirits into inflicting “Spiritually-Transmitted Acute Euphoria” on Violet to reverse the Spiritually-Transmitted Acute Dysphoria.

I’m feeling hubris on the part of Ivy….

I would technically call it not hubris by dint of not being “excessive pride or self-confidence” on Ivy’s part.

We know she’s taken hurricanes apart before. If the plan depends on her sticking to the plan, it shouldn’t be ‘read’ to her line by line AS she’s Doing the Thing! They should have a briefing, however short it may be, so Ivy knows conditions on the ground and doesn’t have to ask for clarifications if there’s something that doesn’t automatically come across, even with Psychic Impressions being involved.

Different hurricanes are different. She may have handled a few before. However, she probably doesn’t have that much experience with them. It’s uncertain if that will show to be a huge issue. But the fact that it is an arc suggests it could be.

I agree with the thought of it should be a planning meeting and then a doing meeting. However, there’s two points:

– Hurricanes are a subset of the classic chaos problem. The models they have may not last long. They may be for a single point in time which is now and there’s no time to give that planning meeting. If this is the case, it would possibly have been better to include Ivy in when they were figuring out the plan but it may not have been logistically possible, and there could be a technical reason for excluding her.

– Showing the planning in detail beforehand tends to make for a boring event afterwards. Sure, almost everybody involved for something like this really appreciates them being as boring as possible, because exciting hurricanes are bad news. Ideally, all the excitement is in nobody having to experience the hurricane. But I think with a web comic, a perfectly flawless performance in dealing with hurricane season is the sort of thing that this comic would put on a Saturday.

I think she’s *trying* to be friendly and reassuring, but she’s still just a kid and she really doesn’t have the social communication skills and experience for it.

Ugh. “I know how it goes.”

Giving instructions to the “competent” trainee can be so frustrating. To be clear, yes, I do mean something different when I say competent versus “competent”. The latter adjective applies to those who *know* they are, but aren’t. It’s usually because their experience is not as representative as they think it has been, rather than them having misunderstood substantial parts of the experience they did get. But if they’re overly confident in their apparent competence, they’ll mess up in a number of ways.

– They will do steps that you didn’t give them to do, that they will assume you missed but intended.
– They will skip steps they don’t think are important.
– They will fail to take into account any extra steps they added or steps they skip.
– They will try to multitask, despite humans in general being really bad at this, as humans in general think they’re really good at it.

I felt like I had a list of ten things to list here, but on reflection they all fell into one of these categories. I don’t have a real solution to any of that, besides expect it and deal with it as it comes as well as you can.

To be clear, I’m not saying that everyone who talks like Ivy does here is going to turn out to be “competent” rather than competent. But I usually find the ones who sound the most confident are… not as ready as they think. The biggest question is, do they recognize that when they find themselves in a situation they’re not prepared for or they proceed until called out on it, and maybe even deny it then?

I’m also not saying necessarily that Ivy’s “competent” rather than competent. We will see.

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