I would like to think so too. Sort of. But there are two problems with that (and totally not breaking the 4th Wall here).
One, the ultimate implications are disturbing. A quantum computer - who may not be “all there” by the way - possibly creating a universe by using this one to do it.
Two, as they say in the wilds of America, none of this makes a lick of sense.
There are way too many weird, obtuse, baffling, and flat out irrational aspects to this ordeal. Just take our last rather cute field task we were given: to take pics locally of “public resonant percussive instruments” and forward them to the Foundation using their interface. Provide some personal details and impressions. I’m sure the images were beside the point, save to see how imaginative some of us were in our selection of source material. I’m still wondering if someone snorted a soda through their nose at mine.
To me, it’s a way to paint in the spread and density of people across the globe addicted to their Sim, gauge how involved we are and perhaps useful in encouraging others to join in. Who in their right mind would take seriously that our actions would be useful in calibrating anything but a demographic and its level of enthusiasm? How talented we are at solving puzzles and problems, and thinking outside the box? How well we take directions, and how strictly or liberally? If you have a seriously powerful, groundbreaking computing technology, perhaps the first intelligent quantum computer, you make sure that if you’re using information to give it a base of knowledge to grow from, that it’s the best, most pure darn source material ever. You don’t plug it into Wikipedia, save for certain key pages, or YouTube, or feed it a bunch of felgercarb from random yahoos on a chatboard. If you want to make it a really strange arti, do that.
We have the whole Loose Ends thread, which has me pulling my hair out and even losing sleep over it.
We have all kinds of information found within the Sim, some of it contradictory or senseless. An Atlas gigacomputer that creates Sentinels and then lets them run wild. That is supposedly watching over the universe it possibly/supposedly created, and does nothing about races like the Gek First Spawn which go on centuries long genocidal rampages, or longer. Stands by watching as as the Vy’keen go on a jolly war with the Sentinels it made. Wants to know about this weird universe it finds itself in - Dude, it supposedly MADE the freaking thing! - and possibly creates the kind of beings I would pick last to scour it for information to feed it, organic living Travellers. The Korvax who adore the Atlas are the PERFECT beings to do this job: logical, analytical, unemotional. And particularly since they amass all their life experiences and memories in a monumental Convergence which is a treasure trove of information, a repository that no number of Travellers can hope to get anywhere close to. The fact that the Atlas did NOT do this is unfathomable. And when we WHOIS ATLAS on the wakingtitan site, we get a rather strange story about it. The last of it reads:
Think about it. How would the Atlas speak,
how it would cry for help? It would use
the only language it knew. It would speak
with life. It would create.
Now… did this strike anyone else as particularly strange and not all that computer-like? Not even rational? Something so absolutely poetic, almost religious in its expression. I would expect some sort of powerful spirit to react in this way, not a computer. Even a sentient computer should begin to analyze everything and run self-diagnostics to make sure it was perceiving its data correctly. And one thing I absolutely wouldn’t do as an arti, a living Master controller or a deity: if all these lifeforms are causing so much trouble, why, I’ll make more of them. Like… really? That’s your solution??
It seems to me that too few of us Citizen Scientists are employing a healthy dose of good old fashioned skepticism, which is a highly prized and effective tool used by scientists and philosophers trying to unravel deep mysteries through the ages. And I mean skepticism of everything. Whether or not the information being fed to us is legitimate, not manipulated or flawed or misleading, or even flat out BS. We haven’t been thinking like this very much, and I think it’s imperative that we have to.
Currently, I agree with crushbrain. I was about to post something similar, but admittedly more flowery than scholarly. Like the Vy’keen, the Atlas strikes me as a computer that’s either corrupted or even insane. Sleeping, I’ll accept, but one way or another it’s not functioning properly, logically or rationally. None of this is rational when you lay out all the pieces and consider the whole. And by association, I believe the Foundation is misleading us, at least to an extent.
I have no way of fathoming this to break through a wall to the Truth, so I’m along for the ride. But I’m thinking the last stop isn’t going to be in a happy neighborhood or amusement park.