Main Character Characteristics.

Omits

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A story about the arrival (this century) of an extraterrestrial spacecraft controlled by sentient AI. No crew on board but there are some sentient creatures in a sort of woodland setting environment who need coaxing out of a racial ennui. The spacecraft arrives near Earth and the AI has decided to help the guests (the creatures) by selecting a human to be invited to be a go-between with the human race. The spacecraft is undetectable until the human decides the guests are ready for first contact (i.e. taught an Earth language and sciences and organised themselves into a viable community).

For this MC what would be a good skillset the AI would be looking for?

Another problem for the human selected is the means of revealing their presence. Ideas welcome.
 
Interesting idea.

I immediately thought that the criteria this alien AI might consider important could be completely different than what people might think. And it might select for characteristics that aren't personality but biographical - like having shown bravery, having a certain level of celebrity, being known as a serious person who speaks the truth, etc.

So while it is tempting to suggest a multicultural ethnographer type, it may be far more interesting for your story for the person chosen to be a deeply flawed choice owing to the AI's beliefs and some misunderstandings about human culture and personality. That could be a fascination plot pivot - the unintended consequences of its choice.
 
I think it would depend on what the AI's plan for its woodland wards is. Is the endgame for them to blend in? Coexist? Study? Take over? Bring humans home with them? Bring Earth into some kind of intergalactic alliance?

Also: was the AI a creation of these creatures, or was it created by some other life form?
 
Interesting idea.

I immediately thought that the criteria this alien AI might consider important could be completely different than what people might think. And it might select for characteristics that aren't personality but biographical - like having shown bravery, having a certain level of celebrity, being known as a serious person who speaks the truth, etc.

So while it is tempting to suggest a multicultural ethnographer type, it may be far more interesting for your story for the person chosen to be a deeply flawed choice owing to the AI's beliefs and some misunderstandings about human culture and personality. That could be a fascination plot pivot - the unintended consequences of its choice.
Originally I had the MC (male) as a cryptologist and runs a software business selling products for quantum systems. He also is a consultant and well known internationally at the UN etc. The pivot could be around the fact that he would be seen as prying on human data using Alien tech. But the Alien AI wants someone above board morally and a good negotiator. Hm, thinking about that. Thanks.
 
I think it would depend on what the AI's plan for its woodland wards is. Is the endgame for them to blend in? Coexist? Study? Take over? Bring humans home with them? Bring Earth into some kind of intergalactic alliance?

Also: was the AI a creation of these creatures, or was it created by some other life form?
Thanks, The AI being somewhat out of contact with its governing crew (commander)–the spaceship is compromised in some way–so it is obliged to find a biological commander. The endgame is to engage (the AI is intrigued to find an occupied planet and the opportunity to find a 'commander' to take over a role it is not qualified or programmed for) and pull its guests out of their long held ennui. This is a 'friendly' Arrival which of course would have its own set of problems for humans. The Guests will eventually leave to find their own planet to occupy.
 
I'm not certain that I can provide the answers for your story, but I can describe how I would choose to address them. I usually spend time writing back stories for the main characters. I'd start with the AI.

I'm a little confused as to whether the AI is the sole inhabitant of the ship or not. What was its primary mission? I'm not certain what "racial ennui" might be and why the AI would desire to overcome it and why it feels that some other, biological being is needed to accomplish the task. It appears that Earth is an unexpected find, so human culture would likely be unknown to the AI. This would imply the questions might be naive and driven more by what culture the AI does know, the woodland creatures (and the now deceased crew?).

If the AI's knowledgebase is driven by its interactions with the woodland creatures, then their culture will be the driving force behind the AI's questions. If the AI's goal is to overcome racial ennui, then I suspect it would question the human contact about characteristics indicating it and what are alternative human feelings in that regard. Also, the questions should reflect the woodland creatures' nature as understood by the AI. Are they passive and skittish? Are they territorial and aggressive? Are they well suited to survive when dropped onto some new planet? What are the characteristics of this new planet, which are implied to be different from Earth's and human's? Why would human knowledge be beneficial? The question set would like be driven by the information that the woodland creatures would need.

Lastly, would there be a selection process? If no one on Earth knows of the existence of the ship, how would the AI interview people? Would it be more of a case of the ship being found at random? What are the consequences of a random individual failing the AI's question test?

For me, I usually like to understand what drives characters to arrive at the start of the story. With that in mind, I find it is easier to make decisions on what they will do in various situations.
 
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I'm not certain that I can provide the answers for your story, but I can describe how I would choose to address them. I usually spend time writing back stories for the main characters. I'd start with the AI.

I'm a little confused as to whether the AI is the sole inhabitant of the ship or not. What was its primary mission? I'm not certain what "racial ennui" might be and why the AI would desire to overcome it and why it feels that some other, biological being is needed to accomplish the task. It appears that Earth is an unexpected find, so human culture would likely be unknown to the AI. This would imply the questions might be naive and driven more by what culture the AI does know, the woodland creatures (and the now deceased crew?).

If the AI's knowledgebase is driven by its interactions with the woodland creatures, then their culture will be the driving force behind the AI's questions. If the AI's goal is to overcome racial ennui, then I suspect it would question the human contact about characteristics indicating it and what are alternative human feelings in that regard. Also, the questions should reflect the woodland creatures' nature as understood by the AI. Are they passive and skittish? Are they territorial and aggressive? Are they well suited to survive when dropped onto some new planet? What are the characteristics of this new planet, which are implied to be different from Earth's and human's? Why would human knowledge be beneficial? The question set would like be driven by the information that the woodland creatures would need.

Lastly, would there be a selection process? If no one on Earth knows of the existence of the ship, how would the AI interview people? Would it be more of a case of the ship being found at random? What are the consequences of a random individual failing the AI's question test?

For me, I usually like to understand what drives characters to arrive at the start of the story. With that in mind, I find it is easier to make decisions on what they will do in various situations.
Hm! The novel is a theme about a friendly alien arrival and human reaction. The Alien Generation ship has left its home system (8K LY beyond the Crab Nebula) in a hurry it is an old model for the race (a late stage II race) who built it and not commissioned for interstellar travel and had been partially mothballed and used as Space entertainment + storage. The AI are a sentient community normally governed by the ships 'mind' and merchant navy crew (need a commander to legally operate). Their Sun system is in the late stages of going nova so population on their ring-world and other planets are leaving (in modern generation vessels). It leaves w/o crew. The bios (the creatures) were rescued from nearby (1LY) system under the same destructive nova. Their backstory is such that they have devolved and are as you say passive and skittish. There is more to them than said here. The community have decided the mission is to find the creatures a new home so heads galactic inwards. OK. So the AI cannot 'interfere' with bios and the ships mind which contains a transferred mind of one of the builder race but is unavailable (trapped with only 'mind-feel' with o/s world) due to the non commissioned state (requires a data disc which is lost on board). The tech is capable of sucking up all Earth data and learn how humans tic. They know humans would not be allowed to join the local galactic community but see no reason why their guests can't be helped by race which has intelligent empathic members. Best way to test this idea is by inviting a human on board by voluntary abduction. Let the human accept the challenge set back down and likely move on. They sift the data having decided on criteria. So a profile for the human (chooses a male) is needed.

So far I have him as a UK citizen, an adventurer, well known as a cryptologist internationally, runs a company producing such s/w for quantum systems. Perhaps he should be a anthropologist and linguist. Just looking for personality traits that might suit. He's in his early 70s part retired. His parents are just deceased. Divorced with two grown ups. Not politically inclined (so that's a problem for him if he accepts.). Set in the near future. I am not sure I've got him right yet or given him enough personal challenges to cope with. I've said enough. I'm new to this and just trying to write a novel takes some effort and time.
 
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This is an interesting set up and as far as I can see, the AI is facing the following issues:
  • coaxing the woodland creatures out of racial ennui
  • finding the woodland creatures a new home, but not Earth
  • needs a commander
  • perhaps free the ship's mind
  • perhaps find the lost data disk
Additionally, the AI:
  • is capable of sucking up all Earth data and learn how humans tic[k]
Assuming the tone is intended to be an adventurous space opera, I'd evaluate the criteria as follows:
  • racial ennui: the AI has all Earth knowledge about human psychology, but perhaps either a psychiatric background or management background would be useful
  • new home: nothing that a human could assist with
  • commander: business or military leadership experience
  • ship's mind: psychiatric or management background
  • data disk: detective experience
If the intended tone is more lighthearted, along the lines of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, then the criteria open up even more and could include a lot of humorous or absurd choices.
 
This is an interesting set up and as far as I can see, the AI is facing the following issues:
  • coaxing the woodland creatures out of racial ennui
  • finding the woodland creatures a new home, but not Earth
  • needs a commander
  • perhaps free the ship's mind
  • perhaps find the lost data disk
Additionally, the AI:
  • is capable of sucking up all Earth data and learn how humans tic[k]
Assuming the tone is intended to be an adventurous space opera, I'd evaluate the criteria as follows:
  • racial ennui: the AI has all Earth knowledge about human psychology, but perhaps either a psychiatric background or management background would be useful
  • new home: nothing that a human could assist with
  • commander: business or military leadership experience
  • ship's mind: psychiatric or management background
  • data disk: detective experience
If the intended tone is more lighthearted, along the lines of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, then the criteria open up even more and could include a lot of humorous or absurd choices.
Thanks! An interesting slant. I want to explore human reactions so there will be aggression as well as acceptance (due e.g. greed for tech). I agree about the commander and hope his business exp works for that. He will of course have to prove himself. The AI can't/won't interfere with the guests but MC want to communicate with them.
 

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