From hear to eternity

Trischnia adjusted her large celebrity sunglasses studded with pink rhinestones.

Sitting under the shade of a party tent erected on the grounds of Downtown Ducktown, a spring-fed park used primarily for public events, Trischnia wanted a perfect view of this year’s art festival to paint for next year’s poster.

Her mother fanned herself with her large garden hat.

The ArtFest celebrated different themes each year.  This year’s theme, From Hear to Eternity, celebrated deaf and hard-of-hearing artists, including painters, sculptors, musicians and dancers of all ages, encouraging young people with physical challenges to express their creativity.

Lysal was in Trischnia’s thoughts.  She didn’t know Lysal well but had heard of her through Guin and Shelmi.

Trischnia thought about how her friends came and went in the daily activities of her life but were always there in her thoughts.

Living in Rocket City, a high-tech hub, Trischnia met a lot of people with engineering and science knowledge who wanted to create a hyperhuman, an artificial intelligence being with humanlike features but superrobotic skills.

She mixed blue and white on her palette to emulate the washed-out blue sky of this humid mid-spring day in late April, cloudless and muggy, the temperature around 30 deg Celsius.

Should she add the gaggle of Canada geese which flew out of the pond at sunrise?

As she painted, she smiled at her boyfriend who was talking to the snowcone vendor on the sidewalk.

Her business was growing, should she say successfully?

Her paintings sold well, the handmade soaps and candles were moving off the shelf and she had doubled the size of her art gallery twice.

What is success?

Would a robot ever replace her or any of the artists out here and why would they?

Sure, she sold lithographs and other reproductions of her work, including postcards, which, by extension, were a sort of autonomous replication of human-produced originals.

But would a robot ever be her, able to paint and think at the same time?

How would a robot process thoughts of someone like Lysal, whom it wouldn’t know directly?  Sure, it could look up facts about Lysal through online databases but could it have feelings about unknown persons?

How would feelings make a robot a better person, able to grow as an artist?

Why would a robot bother to have feelings?

Do engineers and scientists have to waste time reproducing humans when they could be making better lives for humans who already exist?

Her mother coughed, worrying Trischnia about her mother.  She had just recovered from a bad bout of flu and probably shouldn’t be out here helping Trischnia sell paintings.

Trischnia would have to ask Guin about Lysal, see if she was also an engineer and what she felt about being duplicated as a robot.

She looked at the artists with their tents set up around the pond.  How many of them are better artists because of their physical challenges?  If medical professionals could create perfect versions of these artists, would they still be artists?

And what of artists with severe mental challenges?

Trischnia laughed to herself.  She realised the ArtFest theme applied well to her — she had an eternity of questions to ask, always seeking to improve herself, her art, and the world around her, no challenge too great to overcome.

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