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Ninety years from now, a satellite detects a nearby black hole scientists dub Kali for the Hindu goddess of destruction. Humanity embarks on a generations-long project to tap the energy of the black hole and establish colonies on planets across the solar system. Earth and Mars and the moons Europa (Jupiter) and Titania (Uranus) develop radically different societies, with only Kali, that swirling vortex of destruction and creation, and the hated but crucial Artificial Accretion Disk Development association (AADD) in common.
Born in Hokkaido in 1962. Having worked as a clinical laboratory technician, Jyouji Hayashi debuted as a writer in 1995 with his cowritten Dai Nihon Teikoku Oushu Dengeki Sakusen. His popularity grew with the Shonetsu no Hatou series and the Heitai Gensui Oushu Senki series—both military fiction backed by real historical perspectives. Beginning in 2000, he consecutively released Kioku Osen, Shinryakusha no Heiwa and Ankoku Taiyo no Mezame, stories that combine scientific speculation and sociological investigations. He continues to write and act as a flag-bearer for a new generation of hard SF.
Catherine took a few moments to frame a reply. “Here’s the problem. I’ll exaggerate a bit to make the point. Have you ever seen Grünewald’s Crucifixion?”
“Sorry, doesn’t ring any bells.”
Catherine downloaded an image of the centuries-old painting to her web. It showed Christ on the cross, limbs twisted in a grotesque posture of agony. “What does this make you think of?”
“Well, he has nails through his palms. Must be painful. That’s about it.”
“Right. That’s your theory of mind. As a human, you experience pain. You have memories of pain. You can create an image of Christ in your mind. You have the same physical structure, you assume Christ feels pain. So let me ask you: why don’t you assume that the cross is suffering? The same nails that go through Christ’s flesh are penetrating the cross.”
“But the cross doesn’t feel any pain.”
“Really? Have you ever been a cross?”
“Not personally, no.” Tatsuya grinned.
“That’s my point. The cross and the human body have different structures. Maybe the cross does suffer. We have different structures, so we can’t model its suffering mentally. ‘Thirsty’ equals ‘something to drink’—that’s knowledge a digital inference engine has no way of learning. It has to be programmed; it doesn’t know. That’s why a theory of mind is so important. AIs don’t have that ability yet.
© 2009 VIZ Media, LLC