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Tape-teaching/Creativity/The characters of Azi



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>From: Jo Jaquinta <jaymin>
>Subject: Cherryhlist
>Date: Fri, 30 Oct 92 13:55:28 GMT
(...)

Anyway the game convention reminded me of ideas I had had when exploring the idea of a C.J.Cherryh role-playing-game (*no*, not a game where you play leading SF authors!). I liked the idea of a mechanic that controled your ability to learn new skills. The higher the value, the quicker you picked up new things. However, taking deep tape of various sorts permanantly lowered this ability. I.e. you could instantly learn something from tape but it made it more difficult to pick up on things naturally.
The extreme case of this is, of course, the AZI. They are almost completely tape fed and are almost totally incapable of acting outside of their specific field. We get a good picture of AZI out of depth in 40,000 in Gahenna. The first generation AZI never fully adjust to what they have been thrust into but the later generations are not really impared.
If we accept this as a working premise it brings up an interesting question: If, as we see in Cyteen, tape-teaching is an increasingly common method of learning in society does that mean the society is more or less doomed to eventual stagnation as their creative process is sapped?
			Jo


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>From: nancy ott <ott@ansoft.com>
>Subject: Re: C. J. Cherryh List
>Date: Fri, 30 Oct 92 17:44:59 EST
(...)
I don't think that deep-tape in itself *destroys* creativity -- seemed to me it was presented as a more efficient way to learn things. Does any sort of learning destroy creativity? The act of learning is in some senses an acquired skill, so perhaps using tape will weaken this skill (much like any skill that you don't use grows weaker).

On the other hand, I think tape could be used to condition people against being creative (and disruptive) by affecting their attitudes toward experimentation and conditioning them against certain types of behaviors. Are the azi creative? They are generically human, so the potential should be there. Some of them are, such as Grant and Florian. But these "alpha" types seem to be less stable and resilient (read: more like normal humans) than the run of the mill azi. The azi are designed personalities, so it seems reasonable to assume that a great deal of creativity has been designed out of them.

By the way, one of the most chilling aspects of Cyteen for me was this very casual attitude about human experimentation.
-nancy


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>From: Jo Jaquinta <jaymin>
>Subject: CherryhList Socialisation.
>Date: Mon, 2 Nov 92 9:55:03 GMT
> >From: nancy ott <ott@ansoft.com>
> On the other hand, I think tape could be used to condition people
> against being creative (and disruptive) by affecting their attitudes
> toward experimentation and conditioning them against certain types of
> behaviors.  
That is sort of what I meant. Having been brought up on a calculator I can do bugger all arithametic. Doing numbers in my head is a skill I've never needed. Similarly if you mature in a system where if you ever want to learn anything you can just plug into a tape you don't develop the learning skills.
> Are the azi creative?  They are generically human, so the
> potential should be there.  Some of them are, such as Grant and
> Florian.  But these "alpha" types seem to be less stable and resilient
> (read: more like normal humans) than the run of the mill azi.  The azi
> are designed personalities, so it seems reasonable to assume that a
> great deal of creativity has been designed out of them.
If one considers the azi to be the product of genetic engineering and social/information engineering then the "alpha" azi represent just the genetic end. Remember: Union genetically engineers its own citizens as well. The alpha types are the products of genetic experimentation brought up in a human environment. Thus socially they are human (and thus don't suffer from a loss of creativity).
Irregardless of weather tape physically inhinits ones learning process I would agree that social conditioning can overcome virtually anything. Today we take soldiers and put them through basic training to dehumanise them to the extent where they can kill other humans. If you look at the azi in Serpent's Reach we have humans with very differnt socialisations. I run a Traveller Role-Playing campaign with strictly no aliens. I take the lesson from Cherryh that humans can be socialised into creatures completely alien from our social perspective.
			Jo


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>From: Lesley Grant <lgrant>
>Subject: cherryhlist
>Date: Tue, 3 Nov 92 9:56:04 GMT
> >From: Jo Jaquinta <jaymin>
> 	If one considers the azi to be the product of genetic engineering
> and social/information engineering then the "alpha" azi represent just the
> genetic end. Remember: Union genetically engineers its own citizens as well.
> The alpha types are the products of genetic experimentation brought up in
> a human environment. Thus socially they are human (and thus don't suffer
> from a loss of creativity).
While alpha azi are more like normal humans, they are still designed personalities. Socially they are azi, not human. Even Grant, the most human like azi we are shown is quite definite about what he is. Remember, even the alphas have had deep tape from the moment of birth -- a 'human' is more or less explicitly described as someone who has not had this experience (the case of the baby August, destined for Resuene security).
I'm inclned to think that tape can limit creativity -- Grant, who probably had relatively little tape (just enough to keep him 'non-human'?) was very creative, having been trained to be by his 'father'. Florian and Catlin, though were less creative, having had a lot of tape. This was, I think, because tape focuses you on one particular thing. In F+C's cases, this meant they could be really creative in matters of security, but I'd bet design, literature, art etc was meaningless to them.
> 	Irregardless of weather tape physically inhinits ones learning process
> I would agree that social conditioning can overcome virtually anything. Today
> we take soldiers and put them through basic training to dehumanise them to the
> extent where they can kill other humans. If you look at the azi in Serpent's
> Reach we have humans with very differnt socialisations. I run a Traveller
> Role-Playing campaign with strictly no aliens. I take the lesson from
> Cherryh that humans can be socialised into creatures completely alien from
> our social perspective.
Anyone got a good reason why Abban (Giraud's azi) tries to kill Ari? Did Denys give him bad tape, or was he just suffering a good old human nervous breakdown? I thought it was one of the saddest (and most telling about Reseune) bits of the book when he was totally ignored at Giraud's funeral.
			Lesley


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>From: Lesley Grant <lgrant>
>Subject: cherryhlist
>Date: Tue, 3 Nov 92 10:59:39 GMT
> >From: nancy ott <ott@ansoft.com>
 
> I don't think that deep-tape in itself *destroys* creativity -- seemed
> to me it was presented as a more efficient way to learn things.  
> On the other hand, I think tape could be used to condition people
> against being creative (and disruptive) by affecting their attitudes
> toward experimentation and conditioning them against certain types of
> behaviors. 
I think this is exactly the case -- tape puts limits on what one can do. If those limits are for some reason surpassed, a mental breakdown can occur. Perhaps breakdown is too strong a word -- consider Justin Warrick's treatment, which put severe limitations on his interaction with Ari. If he got too near the limits he experienced nausea, mental discomfort etc. With an azi the results could be either worse (because their universe suddenly shatters) or less severe (because they KNOW that patch tape can heal them).
However, it did seem to be morally objectionable for Reseune to do things like designing job-satisfaction into azi, precisely becuause it would do things like limiting creativity...
> By the way, one of the most chilling aspects of Cyteen for me was this
> very casual attitude about human experimentation.  
Yeah. Ari1 had a nine-year old boy "put down because she needed the space".
			Lesley


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>From: Jo Jaquinta <jaymin>
>Subject: CherryhList: Clones in space
>Date: Fri, 6 Nov 92 9:22:03 GMT
> >From: Lesley Grant <lgrant>
> 	However, it did seem to be morally objectionable for Reseune to do
> things like designing job-satisfaction into azi, precisely becuause it would
> do things like limiting creativity...
Is this not just an extension of what we do now? In large companies much effort is put into encouraging company philosophy in all things. This effective brainwashing produces happy employees of the company who owe all they have to the company. Are Cherryh's azi this philosophy taken to its logical conclusion?
				Jo


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>From: Lesley Grant <lgrant>
>Subject: cherryhlist
>Date: Mon, 9 Nov 92 9:32:22 GMT
> >From: Jo Jaquinta <jaymin>
(...)
> 	Is this not just an extension of what we do now? In large companies
> much effort is put into encouraging company philosophy in all things. This
> effective brainwashing produces happy employees of the company who owe all
> they have to the company. Are Cherryh's azi this philosophy taken to its
> logical conclusion?
It's a bit more than that. Justin Warrick was thinking of designing azi mind-sets to find satisfaction in the work they did, rather than in the praise they got from their Supers for doing work. Yanni Schwartz was of the opinion that this would eventually make Union work-alholic and not a nice place to be. This would be because azi eventually became citizens in many cases and then had or adopted children -- work driven azi would teach those children to be work driven, and eventually Union society would change to people running on industrial treadmills. At least, that's what Yanni thought. And given that Ari 1 had been secretly designing 'teach your children' tape for azi, he could well have been right...
			Lesley

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