Reviews for Indefinite Objects
Readasaur chapter 1 . 4/3/2008
My goodness!

You certainly did put a lot of work and effort into this!

It's really very impressive, even if I am a little lost in the complexity of the arguments.

Makes me feel a little guilty that all the research I did for my fanfics amount to: "Oh, Groove is the ADD pacifist who likes humans, and Blades is the vicious psychotic avenger of the innocent".
Witch Tree chapter 1 . 3/23/2008
As I left the theater after seeing the 2007 Transformers movie, I marveled at the loving care that the animators invested in the creation the Cybertronians’ physical features and their ability to use them to convey non-verbal aspects of communication. Especially for someone with no prior Transformers experience, the way the animation complemented the voice acting to bring the Cybertronians to life was mind-blowing.

This story possesses the same power, adding yet another dimension to bring the Cybertronians to life.

The most amazing thing about the truly wise is that they aren’t afraid to admit that there is always more to learn or to seek new knowledge. Ratchet is one such wise individual. His interplay with Maggie is well crafted. It seems that they both know the stakes of the game, and that there is a relationship based on mutual respect that makes it safe for them to play. Relationships like this that will enable Cybertronians to experience new facets of the things they already know (in this case, language) and challenge the things they think they know.

Regarding situations like this, my teacher, Ray Hunt, urges his students to: “fix it up so he can find it.”

I am glad that Maggie was chosen to be the person to “fix it up” for Ratchet, and to “find it” when he caught on and did the same for her. After all, she is the one who challenged the Pentagon top brass to (I paraphrase) “forget what you think you know and consider [something new]…” with her theory that the signal that hacked the military network came from a living organism rather than a supercomputer. For me, that was one of the most powerful scenes in the movie and that very spirit carries on in this story.

Thanks, Dwim!
TheRavenQuoth chapter 1 . 3/23/2008
It's a good story but it made my brain hurt.
Bluebird Soaring chapter 1 . 3/22/2008
This is amazing! Going from the basic concern about puns and diving down into the possiblity that the bots aren't really alive but rather very complex computers based on logic. The implications are chilling to say the least. And the amount of research you fit into this fic is powerful! I admit I'm not a math genius, but the insights you pull from the language of the bots is most enlightening! More soon )
teh blumchenkinder chapter 1 . 3/22/2008
That’s the paradox – you can describe the Chinese room, but if one existed, you couldn’t ever recognize it for what it was. You couldn’t ever know that you weren't dealing with a person who had intelligence.”

“Then maybe,” Glenn said, and shrugged, “that’s your counter-proof right there. If they were some kinda Chinese room done up in computer coding, you wouldn’t have had a reason to think they were.”

... YES! Schroedinger's Cat! Schroedinger's Cat! x~x

You have made me so happy. *snif* I am, again, impressed; with the mental effort applied to such an innately silly thing as a cartoon made for children in order to sell toys. Very clever. Also, Maggie is drawing her logic from claims she thinks to be true, so if the claims are true, the logic sound, the argument is valid. I have a strong suspicion that a few of Maggie's claims are not complete...
Jason M. Lee chapter 1 . 3/21/2008
This... is going to take multiple readings, just to get my brain into proper thinking mode.

In a nutshell from me, it's difficult to rely only on logic, since it can only take you so far. For the Autobots discovering puns, good thing on making new branches of thinking.
mmouse15 chapter 1 . 3/21/2008
Firstly, thank you. It was a pleasure to read this story. You wrote intelligently and exactly as two people extremely familiar with computers and mathmatical theory would speak to each other. I'll admit that I loved 'By the Pundreds' but never extrapolated the idea this far, and you just blew me out of the water when I figured out where Maggie was going with her idea. I read it three times, digging out my math books and struggling with the theory (it's been 20 yrs, forgive me), and being amazed at how well you get the ideas across.

As pax-athena said, the little touches really made this story great. I also found it scary how convincing Maggie was, and thus how close the line was to declaring the Autobots non-sentient. You slipped that in so casually and well that it sent shivers down my back; I can only imagine how Ratchet felt about the whole idea. You definitely gave the impression that he knew what Maggie was thinking about.

Again, I want to congratulate you on one of the finest stories I've read in the past two years. It has and will continue to haunt me, and that is a compliment. It means you've made me really think about the subject matter, and that, to me, is the sign of excellent writing. Thank you.
Artileth-rihatsu chapter 1 . 3/21/2008
I find this thought provoking. I’ve got to admit, it’s an interesting theory. I sort of got the gist of it: I’m into science, not math, and I can get the conceptualization to a point. …But my knowledge only goes so far. Thus; I’ve got questions. I’m not sure if they’re from my own ignorance or if they’re actually valid…. Except, I’m curious, hence I’m going to ask them.

Maggie states that “…every meaningful statement has to be absolutely distinct from every other and it has to have only one of two values. Every sentence in a purely logical language has a meaning only because it’s referred to a horizon of true or false. It’s all propositional in that every sentence in it has no other meaning than ‘it’s true’ or ‘it’s false.’”

Therefore, if that pertains to statements; then what about questions? How do they fit in? To my knowledge, you can not have language without questions. Some questions can have a true/false value: like the one given, ‘whether or not the earrings were beautiful.’ But if you look at the movie, there are questions that don’t fit in with that classification. For example, Jazz asks “What’s crackin’ little bitches?” (Excuse the swear word…It was the main example that made me decide to send in this review.) Plus, Ironhide asks “Why are we protecting the humans?” What would you do with that? The total sentence doesn’t have a true/false value, right? It’s ambiguous. If someone picked the pieces apart, they might be able to assign true/false values to all the words, but it doesn’t work for the whole. For Ironhide’s statement, I will admit that someone could get away with assigning the opposite as ‘because…’ but that’s not a yes or no answer. The question and the answer do not have a true/false value.

In addition, what about commands; another focal point of language? For quite a few languages, there are specific ways to phrases commands. When I took a foreign language, dealing with commands gave me a splitting headache. Thus I tried to speak or write with out using them. I found it pretty much impossible. The movie had to use them too. Optimus frequently uses commands. For instance he tells Sam to “Keep searching!” and later tells the Sector Seven agents to “Get out of the car.”

…So…how do you assign a true/false value to those sentences?

Granted, I only used a few examples, and they were only from the movie. I’d use more, and add a few from different sources, but this would really go on forever.

Still, does this make any sense? Can anyone elaborate?
pa84 chapter 1 . 3/21/2008
Huh, that is a very impressive story. I'm not familiar enough with Goedel, but this story made me immediately wonder whether his (and later Turning's) ideas are applyable on quantum computers... That would be an interesting thing to explore and I really regret not to have really listened closely when my Quantum Physics Prof tried for a small introduction.

Besides it leads to the question, where the difference between a "machine" and a "biological being" is - aren't we just computers, our brains just a complex machinery working with chemicals and quantum effects like tunneling? Where is the line between a logical computer and a human being? I wonder whether it was what you wanted to say with the last lines, at least it is how I'd love to understand it.

But those are kind of things one can write on and on about, perhaps never reaching a real conclusion (this might be the reason why I did not end in pure maths or quantum computing), so back to the story!

I absolutely love it how you included maths in this discussion between Glenn and Maggie: it seems so natural to them, so that the reader just follows the flow of their conversation. And I have seen a lot of books where writers did not manage it as good as you did here.

There small things like the sparrow or Glenn complaining about his calculus classes that just make me all warm and smiling when reading the story, small details which make it so real, even though it is about giant alien robots .~

All in all, a wonderful story!
The One What Puns chapter 1 . 3/21/2008
I think it's kind of interesting, if a bit challenging, trying to reconcile these notions once one has come up with them. I'm kind of amazed that this sort of off-handed comment I made ("We don't have homonyms or double meanings in our language") kind of blew up into all these wild fictive extrapolations! And I admit, after I started to figure out what it is they *do* have indeed, I'm not sure whether or not that notion is possible, save perhaps in how exactly they perceive their own language. Not necessarily a binary or hexidecimal, but phonemic like ours, but in a very specific tonal way, therefore, by their logic, each tone correlates to a different phoneme, and therefore can't really "rhyme" with another. But if I start getting into my whole notion on Cybertronian phomemics... well, this will get kind of long and not-to-the-point!

If anything, I like the notion of having reevaluate what it *is* that we actually consider intelligence, and whether or not there really is any difference at the end of the day between mimicking and truly understanding, and moreover, whether this would make any difference as to how they were treated by the government. Perhaps it is my inner conspiracy theorist talking, but I'm not sure how big a difference it *would* make. It's not really like they have public opinion riding here, and they don't really *need* to be wary of whether or not they're treating them like people. I suppose on some level it would give them an excuse to do as they please, but on the other hand, do they really need one? Sigh.

And I still maintain it could use a pun in there. ;)
kirin-saga chapter 1 . 3/21/2008
Interesting. I like it. I didn't fully understand it, but I liked it.

Yeah... I'm not too good with the math and applying it to language... it just went over my head. But the theory of the Chinese room sounds very interesting. Although, I'm glad that Maggie, at the end, apparently realized they WERE sentient. Ratchet asking her what she found beautiful might have been him wanting to understand a human's concept of beauty, possibly specifically regarding jewelry because, as far as I know, Cybertronians don't wear any.

About puns and them not having any. Maybe they do have different words that sound the same but have different meanings, but just don't see any humor in it. Or at least they didn't before encountering humans. They might have gotten carried away with puns in an attempt to understand human culture better or just understand what was so amusing. Personally, and it's been a while sense I read 'By the Pundreds' so I'm most likely wrong, I think they were more amused by the humans' reactions to them using puns than the actual puns themselves.

I find it distressing that they came so close to being classified as non-sentient I hope no one was nearby to hear her discussion.
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