With the release of the second book of my epic high-fantasy and speculative hard science-fiction blended series, The Golden Threads Trilogy, many astute readers and reviewers have clued in on the fact that the “ancient imperial command language” is actually Latin. With the third book’s release, this will become blindingly obvious to every reader.
A few folks have praised the use of Latin as ingenious, and yet, others have cited my use of Latin as . . . well, a lazy copout. One reviewer went so far as to say, “Artra’s use of Latin is so lazy I stopped reading the book and officially give it one star.”
A number of readers have written me, asking if it really is Latin and wondering why I would use a known dead language. A recent appeal was so funny to read that I decided to finally address the question in detail.
The world of Niya-Yur is complex and, as many have noted, extraordinarily detailed. A few have said I added all the extra points of view just so I could show off how detailed it really is. The truth could not be further from these speculations. The fact is, the series is in total almost 500,000 words long, and I have about double that in material I left out simply because it did not advance the plots. My editors and I asked ourselves many times if each section advanced the plot? If it didn’t, we cut it.
As a result, there are many details that did not get into the books. One of those little details was why Latin is the Duianna Union’s command language. As you may know, or not but will now, I am a veteran computer researcher/engineer/janitor. I have over three decades of advance software development, systems interaction, and computer ergonomic development under my belt. Some of my research is even enshrined in the Smithsonian Museum as a finalist nominee for greatest contribution to computing for 1998. Therefore, I could have really bored you with all the sci-fi computers and technology stuff I originally had in there (huge thanks to Alexis, Kitten, and all my awesome Rough Readers for keeping me on track).
One of the “speculative hard sci-fi” elements of the series is the human/machine interfaces used in this possible future. A major problem today with allowing humans to “naturally interact” with automated systems is determining when the person is “talking” versus “asking for something to be done.” In sci-fi movies and shows, this is easily handled as simple dialog. However, in reality, that does not work. A lot of research is being done to solve this problem. Although this research may one day result in a clean natural language interface between people and machines, it will still require key words, activation queues, or unbelievable amounts of computer processing time, analyzing everything that is said, trying to predict if it anything said was directed at the computers.
A common solution to the interaction problem is a keyword to indicate, “Hey, I am now speaking to you, Computer.” In sci-fi shows, they push a button or a device on their shirt or say “Computer, search for. . .” or similar interactions. There is still the authentication issue of “is this person authorized to tell the computer to do a given action.”
In the far future, as speculated in The Golden Threads Trilogy, the authentication is handled by nanobots being put in the drinking water of the major cities. Once in a person’s system, they interact with the city’s services to register identity and act according to directions from the central systems. Yes, the nanobots are, also, doing things like genetic corrections, helping maintain health, and fighting illnesses.
With authentication out of the way, the next issue was how to direct the systems safely. At some point in the future, a bright genius came up with the idea of using a known, specific, unambiguous language that was NOT common as a command and control language. Instead of inventing a language from scratch, the computers were programmed to use Latin as the spoken interface language. Latin meets all the requirements to be an excellent “audio command language.” Latin is a very precise, exact, and almost mathematical language making it an excellent language to interact with machines. Now, the great and ubiquitous computing systems can simply listen for complete instructions in a form that is far less likely to be a general conversation between people. This reduces the computational requirements and solves many of the problems.
Of course, if the computing system is so powerful, it qualifies as a sentient creature capable of independent thought then simple language requirements are all that is needed. Of course, those sentient computers would still be required to spend considerable amounts of processing to determine if people are talking to them or not.
And there you have it. With all of this, you can read the books and clearly see why certain things are happening. Authentication + Key Phrase + Command = Action. And Instructions in Command Language + Authentication = Action. Specific phrases in Latin cause actions to be taken. And of course, Vesta, Arkady, and Brandon are off and running.
Thanks for reading!
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If you enjoyed this you will enjoy the rest of the Golden Threads Trilogy. Why check them out? The series has been a regular bestseller since it came out in early 2013. Trust me, it is best to start with book one Thread Slivers.
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