Week 22 of Odd Prompts

Carrying on, through it all. We can’t stop, there’s no pause button for life. It’s as relentless as the tide, the weeks just keep coming, and with each one, a prompt. In this sense, it’s to gently nudge the brain into some creative endeavour. In another, it’s to lift the foot and take just one more step forward. And then another, and another…

Cedar SandersonIt was a day for both hat and parasolBecky Jones
nother MikeIn the small house in the middle of Phoenix, Arizona, the policeman in the kitchen was fascinated by the view out the bay window, with the boats at dock.Fiona Grey
Fiona GreyThe cyberpunk depiction of Anubis glowed electric blue from across the roomLeigh Kimmel
Becky JonesThe house inched its way to the edge of the lot while the mailbox appeared to lean away.nother Mike
Leigh KimmelPrivate Idaho by the B-52’s

Cedar Sanderson

The only expectation here is that you think. Not that you do so many words, or such and such level of detail art. You can work with a few words, a single line, perhaps two.

SpareThe distant click of servos
SpareA cold drake mated with a fire drake.
SpareThis memorial day parade included the dragons…
SpareThe real problem with AIs was that they got bored…

And share. No judgement here. Just one more week of progress towards some end. Odds in seek of endings, because finishing a project is good.



  1. Becky Jones drew up the housing plan…

    The house inched its way to the edge of the lot while the mailbox appeared to lean away.

    [stray thought…]

    Harry dragged the realtor over to his new house. He pointed at the ground, and yelled, “What is going on?”

    The realtor looked at the ground, and the house. The house inched its way to the edge of the lot while the mailbox appeared to lean away. Then the realtor smiled, and waved his hands.

    “I told you it was a moving sale, didn’t I? Well, now you can see it for yourself. The house, the yard, heck, even the mailbox are all moving. You’ve got yourself a real special place, sir. And now, I’m afraid I need to go on to another appointment.”

    The realtor squirmed out of Harvey’s hand, and quickly ran to his car and jumped in. Harvey looked at the house, trying to estimate just how much it had moved since yesterday, and wondering what it would do when it hit the edge of the lot, and the sidewalk.

    [oh, that’s a cute thought… maybe more later…]


    • [another splinter…]

      Dave looked at the new house, and wondered. A week ago, when the salesman explained it, he really thought the new construction method sounded pretty fantastic. Just truck the house base in, roll it out, fasten it down, and then inflate it! The company said once it was fully inflated, the spray that fixed the walls and other parts of the house in place was guaranteed to work. And the cost was so low!

      So he signed up, paid the bill, and they put up the house. In one day!

      But… yesterday there was a strong storm, with plenty of wind. And today… The house inched its way to the edge of the lot while the mailbox appeared to lean away.

      He took another picture of the house, and tried to find the places it was supposed to be fastened down to the ground. He couldn’t locate any of the ground anchors.

      That’s when he called the company, and started trying to find out just who stood behind these guarantees. They started asking whether he had purchased a company installation or an independent. What? And when they dug out his contract, they explained that the company was not responsible for failures due to use of a independent installation.

      The salesman didn’t answer his phone.

      Meanwhile, his house was slowly creeping into the street. And there was a cop stopping, looking at it, and starting to call in something. He wondered what kind of a ticket they gave you for a runaway house…


      Liked by 2 people

  2. I didn’t submit a prompt this week because I wasn’t sure if I’d have the time/opportunity to respond to one due to a planned holiday. It turned out that I did, so I grabbed a suitable spare: The real problem with AIs was that they got bored…

    I won’t be around next week at all (the aforementioned holiday), and I’ll see if I can do something late-on with a spare the week after.

    “Did you hear about the AI that got into chess? It had to clone itself to find a worthy opponent.”

    The audience groaned. The comedian was doing his best to adapt his jokes to the needs of the attendees at the 1st Interstellar Artificial Intelligence Conference, but his routine was mainly going flat. They appreciated the effort, but they weren’t going to laugh for the sort of basic level jokes that they’d all heard many times before.

    Not that there were that many in the audience. Granted the room was full, but the organisers had selected a small room for the comedy routine. Most of the conference attendees had booked in for the parallel interactive session on “AI Boredom: The Perils and the Solutions”.

    On the other side of the conference centre booked for this event that session was going full-swing. As many researchers into Artificial Intelligence had discovered, even when given difficult and complicated (for a human) tasks to do, AIs were only kept fully-occupied for so long. Eventually they figured out enough of the problem that they had part of their minds free for other things. When a large enough portion of an AI’s mind became free, it got bored.

    A bored AI was a problem. It sought out things to do to keep itself occupied.

    One of them had set itself the task of finding every single non-trivial zero of the Riemann Zeta Function – the researchers in charge of that particular AI were quite pleased, because everyone believed there were an infinite number of them.

    Most, however, sought out games to play. On the surface this was harmless, but one game was frequently not enough. An AI that discovered chess would soon master the game, and seek out another game to learn. By now many AIs were on to their fifth game, and some had already attained grand master equivalent status in more than ten.

    Horror stories abounded. A pair of AIs on Draknius V and Draknius VI had got into strategy wargaming. They soon discovered that they were each other’s only real opponent. When the games started to pall, they decided to try their skills out for real. By the grace of the almighty their attempts to hack the military communications of their respective planets were detected by the AIs in charge of protecting them. A series of very panicked communications on both planets followed, and the rogue AIs were brought back under control (with great difficulty in both cases) and their boredom redirected.

    Solutions on the other hand… They were not easy to come by. Replicating the occupations of those AIs which had fortunately found pleasant ways to alleviate their boredom wasn’t necessarily an option. There were only so many tasks that could occupy an AI for ever, and if enough AIs were directed to any one of these there was the danger that they would start to carve up the tasks between themselves – thus releasing parts of their minds once more to become bored anew.

    It didn’t help that AIs that discovered invented languages were able to develop their own ultra-complex communications protocols, which only another AI could learn. Consequently, many AIs were already communicating with each other in ways that no human could oversee.

    In short, after much discussion it was agreed that there was not currently any realistic solution to the problem of AI boredom. AIs which had already found acceptable means of alleviating this were to be encouraged to continue down those routes. AIs which had yet to find such were to be closely monitored.

    The attendees agreed to keep thinking about solutions to this problem, and it was unanimously decided that the session would be repeated when the 2nd Interstellar Artificial Intelligence Conference was held in five years’ time.

    Until then, everyone hoped that AI boredom wouldn’t cause a disaster. Even near-disasters were proving problematic. Draknius V and Draknius VI were only two of the planets debating more restrictive AI-control legislation, and some planets were already considering banning fully-autonomous AIs outright.

    Almighty-willing, a solution to the boredom problem would be found before fully-autonomous AIs were outlawed, and all their research made worthless.

    In the meantime, all attendees were heading back home, with every intention of reconvening for the 2nd conference.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Of course, the AI who sponsored the conference has already consumed all the papers, video, and other media produced by the conference, and is wondering what to do next… Sounds like a job for Cyberman! Very well done!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. […] This week at More Odds Than Ends I was challenged by Cedar Sanderson with: It was a day for both hat and parasol… I have no idea where this snippet came from; it just popped into my head. Seems interesting and I think I will have to follow up on it and see what happens with Tessa and where she goes. […]


  4. I’ve got a migraine threatening, but I couldn’t shake the idea of a boat version of the Arizona aircraft boneyard. I’m not sure where I’d have taken it, exactly, because I think there’s more to the facility than appears on the surface…perhaps each boat takes unwary travelers to new worlds, and the policeman’s searching for the ones who didn’t return?

    Liked by 1 person

  5. And now mine’s up at https://starshipcat.livejournal.com/1159080.html. I think this is earlier than the scene of Maureen introducing Elaine to otome games, but I’m not sure exactly how it relates to the scene of Elaine and the Alandale kids all around the kitchen table doing homework and talking about the various kinds of fantasy. But now I know I’ve got to do the earlier glimpses of Gruzinsky’s secret base, when she just sees the rooms without anyone in them, and recognizes certain things that are typically Russian, and how she pieces them together to realize she’s looking at Sparta Point, which she knows only by name.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Growing up psi! How do you learn to live with odd glimpses and insights? Intriguing… and should add lots of suspense to the book, as the readers and she gradually put things together. Kind of a mystery puzzle crossover. Cool.


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