Saturday, March 6, 2010

Alone in Yosemite

A response to Nathaniel Lee's "Recharge" in Mirror Shards.

Hyun Ki Park walked along the Merced River underneath the shadow of El Capitan and his iWrist squirted him data logs on Warren Harding, Tom Bauman, John Long, Jim Birdwell, and other climbers. It looked like a fun challenge but the iWrist warned him that he needed the proper gear to climb the slope, and although he was strong enough to hike in from the drop point, it would take an entirely different level of physical fitness to climb the cliff solo.

These iWrists had no sense of adventure. You'd think as CEO of AppleSK, they'd afford him some respect.

"Don't get maudlin on me," said the iWrist.

"It's not maudlin." He leaned against a tree and watched the green brown water flow past him. He didn't have to explain in words. The iWrist could read his neuron signatures for itself, but Hyun Ki was old-fashioned and liked talking to the iWrist. "Creativity is a part and parcel of adversity. If you protect me too much, I won't provide any value for you."

"You won't provide any value if your dead."

"You're bio-electrical ancestry leaves you too logical. You plug the datastream into your complex simulations to find the optimal solution. These take no risk and find only local optimals. To really win you must take the risk that others aren't willing to follow."

"Take the risks but not with your body. I'm backed up and they can re-create me and graft me with another symbiont. We can't back you up and no other symbiont will measure up to you."

"Well, is hiking to the top of Half Dome risk averse enough for you?"


"Find me a way to get the other side of this river. Thousands of people used to climb to the top of Half Dome before the nuclear fallout." The view must have been spectacular to get so many visitors thought Hyun Ki.

"The satellite shows that all the bridges are out."

"Then find me a suitable ford or I'll have to swim across, and I know you won't like that."

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