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Story concept for "Bored out of mind"


(Michael Hrenka) #1

This week I had a couple of ideas that could make it into an interesting story concept. Here’s that concept:

Bored out of mind (abbreviated as “BOOM”)

Sergej Gamovich is one of the most intelligent people in the world. He has solved many profound problems, at least in theory, some of which people don’t even realize that they exist. But he has two problems he couldn’t solve, yet. The first problem is that people tend to completely ignore what he has to say and react with disbelief to his claims of superior intelligence and his brilliant solutions. His other problem is perhaps even more severe: Sergej is extremely prone to getting bored.

He was too bored at high school to finish it. Instead he’s an autodidactic polymath who worked odd jobs, until he decided he had enough of that and coded an AI that generates an automatic income for him by trading on financial markets. But he doesn’t care too much about money, because even as millionaire, he is still getting bored very quickly. He fills his time with projects that aim at reducing his boredom. Apart from that, he has lost all other ambitions since he realized that the world is fundamentally broken and can’t be actually fixed, but has to fix itself through a natural process that takes a frustratingly long time.

One of his latest projects consisted in creating the first working AGI, which he calls Pra (as short form for Prakaazaka), in absolute secrecy. Of course, the sole purpose of Pra is to make Sergej feel less bored. He and Pra alternate between trying to entertain each other and playing weird games with the minds of people in order to get some amusement out of them.

Oh, and he has done some psi research while he was very bored, and found out how to develop a couple of relatively weak psychic abilities, like knowing when people think about him – unfortunately almost never – which just serves to make him more depressed.

Why could that be a fun concept?

It’s an exploration of the concept of boredom in a rather extreme setting. What would an extremely intelligent person do, if their primary problem was boredom? To what lengths would they go to avert it? To what lengths would they be able to go? Boredom is usually not one of the motives people consider as reasons for creating AGI. Would an AGI created with that intention be different from other AGIs?

The story is also an exploration of the psychology of more “normal” people who use all kinds of heuristics to deny that the protagonist is a real genius and problem solver. Their usual expectation is that extremely intelligent people would quickly gain status and occupy important positions, but that is quite mistaken:

What do you think? Would that be an interesting project?