Dramatis Personae 3: What’s in a Janne?

Janne is a homophone of Jane and Jayne and rhymes with cane and pain. It’s a name that started out as an acronym: Just Another Neural Network Experiment. After developing Black Grass, Hecker Van Horne and his team needed to figure out a way to control the blades so that they would maintain optimum orientation for absorption of radiation.

It’s like turning your chair or towel when you’re at the beach. You don’t want to just get sun on one side, so you angle things so that you get the exposure you want. It takes some processing power to make that decision and correctly orient your body. Now imagine that you have to do it for everyone on the beach and that there are billions of people on the beach. Complicate it even more by realizing that it’s a big beach and that not everyone’s best source is the sun.

Some may be close to a bonfire or a grill. Remember, Black Grass absorbs all along the EM spectrum. We’re trying to pull every bit of radiated energy out of the environment. That’s a lot of processing and control decisions to make. A standard laptop wouldn’t work. HVH needed something big. Eventually one of their experimental systems worked. And gained sentience. The acronym became the name and Janne was born.

Janne’s Data Core – where her sentience resides.

But there are actually three Jannes in Spark:

Janne Prime. Often simply referred to as Prime. She’s the original and responsible for the solar energy part of Solar Prime – Black Grass, hydrogen fuel cells, feeding the grid, watching the perimeter, dealing with her human team. She’s standoffish, all business. Not the warm interface you want for customers. That led to Janne 2.

Janne 2 is who everyone thinks of when they think of Janne. She runs the theme park side of the enterprise. HVH tweaked her empathy and gave her a face. She welcomes guests, controls the quests, and makes sure that the trash gets emptied. HVH modeled her avatar after a painting of Lady Agnew of Lochnaw he saw in Edinburgh. (The feisty Scots refused to sell him the original, so he commissioned a duplicate that adorns the walls of Room 1000 in the Underground City.) Here’s a look at the real one:

Fun fact: After Spark had been open a year, Janne began customizing her appearance to be more welcoming to guests. She began to take on an “any babe” appearance by altering her skin tone, hair and eye color, lips, nose, and eye shape, etc., to resemble, even if just slightly, the guest with whom she was interacting. Will and his family were among the first. It took another year before HVH caught on.

Janne 3 is known to most as Teacher Janne. She runs the Spark School and provides one-on-one instruction and monitoring of the pupils. Humans also work in the school because physical presence and contact is crucial. Teacher Janne’s avatar appears more mature and her voice is slightly deeper than Janne’s. HVH gave her auburn hair, piercing hazel eyes, high cheekbones, and a quick smile. Spark augmented her empathy subroutines to make her love her children. The children learned on their own not to mess with her before she’d had her first cup of electronic coffee. It was part of the “learning social cues curriculum.”

The name “Janne” is a shout out to Orson Scott Card’s Ender’s Game series and the Jane of those books. Teacher Janne is styled after my own personal favorite teacher.

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