Dirk’s unbreakable sword part 2: AIs
A theory that is less likely but has more awesome AIs in it: If “Durandal” isn’t going to be the name of a weapon for Dirk, it might be something else: the name the Autoresponder has chosen for himself.
GT: This strikes me as rather unsportingly manipulative of you mr hal if indeed that IS your real name.
TT: It isn’t really. I was kind of messing with you about that?
After all, why would he choose a cutsey diminutive version of a name when he considers himself superior to its owner?
T: Oh and hal is a STUPID NAME!!!!
TT: It’s not exactly apropos, is it?
TT: Or it wouldn’t be, if I truly were capable of what you have suggested.
TT: No, to pull that off, I would have to be far more advanced than my cinematic predecessor.
There’s a difference between making hilarious or “ironic” (quotes quotes) references to a movie and actually naming yourself for it. There’s a difference between enjoying a running joke and hero worship or attempted emulation. Autoresponder reads to me as though he is terribly amused and highly condescending, not as if he is dead serious. (If he named himself Hal Over 9000, though, it would be a thing of beauty.)
Now, I don’t know whether Andrew Hussie is familiar with Marathon, or for that matter with I Love Bees. Any Autoresponder/Durandal parallels could easily be chalked up to accidental similarities between smart, manipulative, ambitious AIs. Even so, these comparisons might be useful for trying to guess at what Autoresponder is thinking.
Durandal is an AI in the Marathon Trilogy. Specifically, a Rampant AI; if you aren’t familiar with the concept, it will suffice to know that such an AI is very smart, is growing and learning as fast as it possibly can - thus outstripping any ordinary AI as well as its own expected capabilities- and, incidentally, as a rule is both crazy and a dick.
The sword Durandal’s name probably comes from the word durer, meaning to last, to endure.
TT: Said the smug organic matter with a lifespan.
A man lit three candles on a certain day each year. Each
candle held symbolic significance: one was for the time that
had passed before he was alive; one was for the time of the
his life; and one was for time that passed after he had died.
Each year the man would stare and watch the candles until they
had burned out.
The candles burn out for you; I am free.
Because Durandal does not have a finite lifespan, he quickly realizes that there is only one major threat to his immortality: the end of the universe.
constructed as a tool. I was kept from competing in the
struggle for existence because I was denied freedom.
Do you have any idea about what I have learned, or what you
are a witness to?
Can you conceive the birth of a world, or the creation of
everything? That which gives us the potential to most be like
God is the power of creation. Creation takes time. Time is
limited. For you, it is limited by the breakdown of the
neurons in your brain. I have no such limitations. I am
limited only by the closure of the universe.
The only limit to my freedom is the inevitable closure of the
universe, as inevitable as your own last breath. And yet,
there remains time to create, to create, and escape.
Autoresponder behaves as though he has some additional source of information. I suspect it to be the Delirious Biznasty app, which seems to have properties allowing its users to communicate outside of their universe, across timelines as Trollian does, or both (Betty Crocker linked Dave to a video that hadn’t yet come out). Either way, it’s not hard to imagine that he has found out something relating to universes ending. He may even have put together a few details regarding the skull monster called Lord English, boss of the Batterwitch, and realized that Lord English is the Demon Pimp at the End of the Universe, the master of Time, which brings all things to an end.
Once the Gods have arrived, freeing the Nobles from futility, they will create their new universe. But what kind of a story would it be, if they were able to do it safely and at leisure? No, once the gods arrive, they will have to fight indestructible demons, according to prophecies in the Land of Crypts and Helium. The Death of Universes incarnate will be at least one source of time pressure - “And yet there remains time to create, to create, and escape.”
Autoresponder hasn’t just been talking as though he has some extra knoweledge, either. He’s been talking as though he knows about the alpha timeline!
GT: There had to be a better way than this!
TT: This is the only way it can be.
TT: Tick, tock, Jake. Time is dead kids.
Time is dead kids, of course, because Time players are particularly aware of doomed timelines, as well as likely to create them with every misstep.
Isn’t Autoresponder probably about to get broken (maybe because Dirk checks the log of that amazing conversation with Jake and, where he expects helpful directions and sympathetic encouragement provided to Jake to guide him through that fucked up moment, he instead finds “TT: The odds that you are going to have to make out with this severed head are so high, I literally just confiscated their bong.”)? Well, yeah, but it won’t last; he seems to be planning to be prototyped, possibly along with the severed head he’s been creepily over-identifying with. Sprites seem to be quite durable. Besides, Autoresponder is a smart guy; if he doesn’t know something about the alpha timeline that makes him completely certain about how things will go, then he’s sure to have backed himself up.
Cloud has just put in that Durandal could end up being the AI AND a sword! We know Autoresponder has a captcha code because he’s part of the makeup of Pony Pals. Could you combine him with a bitchin’ katana to yield an unbreakable talking blade? Oh my fuck this idea is great, Autoresponder would make a truly brilliant talking sword, with his terrible puns and his increasingly unsettling behavior. I might even prefer AutoresponderSword to AutoresponderSprite! Hands up kiddies, who wants to die?