Trope-a-Day: House Fey

House Fey: While obviously not true in a literal sense, given the prevalence of AI house brains capable of self-development, houses tend to develop a fair bit of personality over time. And so, talking to the intelligence of a smart house with a few centuries or millennia of run-time under its belt can, on occasion, seem quite like dealing with a rather eccentric domovoi.

Version Control

2016_V(Alternate words: None.)

“Okay, now spin the central kitchen island three-quarters. Good. Now back it up half the width of the range.”

Minil Cendriane looked around the floor of her house, checking gaps and eyelines revealed by the AR overlay.

“No, that still doesn’t clear enough space. Save this as a new revision -”

Saved as floorplan-1.1.233, murmured the house brain.

“- and put a bay window on the southern wall, then take out the wall between here and the supper conservatory, and straighten the worktops. No, that won’t work. Rollback.”

Reverting to floorplan-1.1.233.

“Let’s try this. Widen the kitchen wing on the southern side to where the veranda begins, and reflow the worktops to maximize use of the western wall. Then put a wide arch as far back into the kitchen as you can, merge styles on the new space with this room, and give me a columned entrance on the southern wall. Hmph. Better, but still won’t work. Save and branch it for later.”

Name of branch?

“Call it ‘summer-new’.”

Saved as summer-new-1.1.234.

“Stripped gears and leakage! Our guests will be here in seven hours, and I’ve got too many places to be. We’ll have to take out the new light-room. Summon a chartercar, and revert the house to 1.0-final.”

Confirm physical reversion of house to 1.0-final?

“Do it.”

Minil turned, and walked away. Behind her, utility spiders scurried to move furnishings out of the way, and heavy machinery groaned to life within the walls.


Trope-a-Day: Empathic Environment

Empathic Environment: Much of the Empire has one of these, one way or another.  On a  small scale, this is because of the assorted Genii Locorum around the place, the house brains and city manager AIs and planai and other assorted minds at least one of whose functions is to make sure that things are arranged to their people’s liking before their people consciously realize that they want things that way.  (And since they can usually do so in cooperation with their people’s muses, which live inside their heads, they’re very good at it.)

On a larger scale, this is because to some extent people believe that the pathetic fallacy, if not how the world does work, is certainly how the world ought to work.  It would be appropriate.  And so the Transcend, constructed as it is from the trillions of minds of its constitutionals, and intertwined with, as it is, the weather-control systems and other infrastructure of every developed world, makes sure that it jolly well does work that way.

Trope-a-Day: Genius Loci

(‘Bout time I got back to these, I think.)

Genius Loci: Quite a lot of them, from the simple usually-non-sophont AIs that run people’s houses and apartments (the “house brains”) to the increasingly sophisticated “city managers” and other AIs that run cities, provinces, transport networks, ports, and so forth, up to the planai and other archai that are responsible for the infrastructure of entire planets and star systems.  And, of course, to a large extent the Transcend can be interpreted as a Genius Loci for the Empire as a whole.

(This, of course, from the local perspective, is merely the realization of ancient thoughts on animism.)

Trope-a-Day: Computer Voice

Computer Voice: Played straight with house brains and some institutional computers that talk to everyone around.  Played somewhat straight with muses, terminals, and various other more personal machines, with the twist that they’re talking to you inside your own head, on a secondary audio channel that doesn’t interfere with your ability to hear.  And can pick up your surface thoughts in reply, not just your subvocalization.  No-one wants to have the cellphone-conversation social problem made 10,000 times worse by people’s personal computing devices, after all.

And the voices, even the internal ones, are generally completely customizable to the user.  After all, when you have a constant companion inside your own head, you want to enjoy listening to them, right?