Alexandria II Bibliotech Project
The Alexantria II Bibliotech project was an Early Interplanetary Age knowledge-base system. World-disk software was the model for the Alexandria II Bibliotech project some years later in about 155 AT (c. 2124 c.e.). However, in Alexandria II a Darwinian/vonneumian hierarchy of semi-turing AIs was put into place to facilitate information retrieval. Aside from any library aspect the project might have had, it beautifully illustrated certain ecological aspects such as competition, symbiosis, parasitism, and co-evolution. Unfortunately selection pressures were not only based on the abilities of a daemon to retrieve and present information in a format useful to patrons (as was intended by the creative but largely baseline design team), but also on the daemon's ability to prevent other daemons from retrieving information.
In the end Alexandria II became sort of adventure sim, with bizarre yet intriguing plotlines involving the retrieval of seemingly trivial data. One recorded jaunt involved befriending a village of gnomes and breaking into an orbital weapons platform to battle a steam driven army of blaster wielding mecha (using diplomacy and trickery when expedient) to rescue the Great Oracle from imposed captivity, allowing the Oracle thus to reveal the desired piece of information. In the specified instance the information desired was the recipe for a nearly tasteless (to most baseline palates of the era) coconut pudding.
Regardless of their information retrieval abilities, the various semi-turing daemon clades of Alexandria II were known for their impressive artistic quality of their self generated display icons. A few of the more whimsical of these included:
The "TRON" ball of light, which hovers around a patrons head and cheerful says "no" or "yes" in answer to questions.
The Children of Alexandria, represented by cheerful rapscallions who climb about the shelves and grow to old age (eventually mating and dying) without ever touching the ground. The Makker-like (some resemble Bandersnatch worms or other fanciful creations) book worms, which destroy files (iconically cursing books with their unwieldy bulks or by burrowing in at an larval stage) so that the information that was contained therein can only be retrieved through the use of "water of life" or some similar quasi-mystical data retrieval routine.
The Librarian - one of the earlier daemons, perhaps the most helpful, but most annoying (possibly an ancestor of the "Children"). The Librarian quickly and easily retrieves files (books) for patrons if they wait at a desk for a specified period of time, but imposes heavy fines and penalties against patrons who speak above a whisper or commit other standard offences. Often took the form of a middle aged to older woman too ready to press her finger against her lips in gesture of silence.
Note: The original Library of Alexandia on Earth has given its name yo many different libraries and databases throughout the history of the Terragen Sphere, from the Alexander II Bibliotech project to the secretive Alexander Dyson Clusters spread throught the Middle Regions. In total there are 26108 orbitals, 1319 asteroids, 57 moons, 12 planets and 11 dyson swarms called Alexandria.
Text by Peter Kisner
Initially published on 31 December 2001.