I feel slightly naughty so I started an AI story…..
30th November 2006 at 4:54 am #41016
It’s going to be written on my desktop so i can edit certain parts before coming here but here’s the start.
And dangit i have to get to my other one too….
Cold is what I’d call that day; everything was cold. From the wind that blew through my buttoned coat and turned up collar but managed to whip my briefcase around my knees; to the dour faced matron who scanned me; to the ugly, dingy beige walls that led me to the holding place. The only sign of life was the smell of human despair that was almost tangible amidst the smell of urine, puke, and sweat that clinged to those walls.
She was even cold.
Not cold as in shivering, but glacial, as her cornflower gaze flicked over me as the buzz of her door opened. She stood near the barred window with the breathtaking view of the human shoes and human shadows that hurried by.
With one more once over, the smoke from her rationed cigarette for the morning found its way through the bars and the butt was ground underneath her flip-flopped foot.
She was striking; and no ill-fitting government garb could hide her flawless alabaster skin or perfect and plentiful curves. Some might call her angelic with her blonde curls and big blues but I had the pictures to prove she was far from the seraphim.
And that she was not human.
“Good morning,” I chirupped with my brightest professional smile.
“I’m Pieter Colburt and I am your court-appointed attorney.” I then offered my hand.
She snorted and turned toward the window.
“May I sit?”
Silence was exchanged between us for a few minutes; and then she turned toward me.
“Do you have a cigarette?”
“No, sorry, I don’t smoke.”
More silence followed.
After an eternity I opened my case and began to shuffle around some papers.
“They kill people like me,” she whispered to the bars.
She turned toward me and spoke quietly.
“Humans. They kill each other over money, sex, drugs, emotions; they kill millions of other humans over ideologies and beliefs but I perform one act of mercy and they kill people like me.”
I cleared my throat.
“Ahem…. well um…. your not really ‘people’ per se.” I mumbled.
” Excuse me? What did you say?”
” I said you are not a person per se; you are manufactured; a machine.”
Her eyes narrowed. Her cat like sway brought her lips within inches of mine; her hands splayed on the table, she leaned close enough to cause a chemical reaction to take place in me; my heart began pounding, my face became red; I felt a tightening of certain areas that I had forgotten I had.
“Do I look like a Hoover upright to to you?” She queried softly.
“Um… no, not really, but the fact is you are a machine, albeit a very attractive machine.”
I pulled at my tie.
She smirked at that and began sauntering back towards the window, but something caught her eye.
Her lips became two narrow lines and her forehead puckered as she stared at my open briefcase. She then snatched some documents out of my case and began rapidly flipping through them.
“Pretty awful scene,” I ventured.
She then held up a particularly graphic photo.
“They think this is me; that I did this?”
“They have forensic proof it was.”
‘Ah, but machines don’t leave fingerprints or DNA evidence.”
“They have a witness that places you and the vic together that night.”
She tossed the photos on the table.
” I don’t know what you are talking about.”
“I think you do, Ali; he was your lover.
“Don’t be ridiculous; I’m a machine, right? Machines can’t love; we carry out our functions, run our programs, or should I say YOUR programs; and ask no questions or raise no fuss.
No mess, no guilt. Isn’t that what we do, Mr. Human?”
“Hypothetically, yes… but you Ali are much more.”
“Hah! Well what if I burst your bubble by saying I was just carrying out my programming and for that they put me in here….but not: not for this!.” She gestured to the photos scattered across the metallic table.
The buzz from the door broke the tension.
I gathered up the photos and shoved them in his case.
“We’ll deal with the other homicide at a later trial Ali.”
“So, I’m not human, but I am a murderer on two accounts. If nothing else you would think given your “species'” history I’d fit right in.”
“I’ ll see you tomorrow.”
She turned away.
“Bring some smokes next time.”11th December 2006 at 7:41 pm #77118
This is the background starting; the death of my interest; but i will perservere…this time.
I fumed while I stood in line at the kiosk to purchased what I hoped to be a peace offering for my “client”.
As a junior member in the Public Defendant department I believed that a high profile case like this would be better than getting office coffee.
Now I was not so sure.
The credo of our group was not to bring our biases to the door; that every person was innocent before proven guilty.
I just had an issue with the person part.
No, It wasn’t that my computer hasn’t lost all my info before; I haven’t burn my mouth on microwaved stale coffee. I had nothing against machines.
But personally I guess I just didn’t want them to be so human.
But i believed in the credo so absolutely when I took the case; I believed the birds in the trees had rights to freedoms. So what if she was page 1 news all over the country;
and the people polls leaned toward dismembering her or flicking the off switch; she was Ali 1 and deserved a fair trial and i was there to make sure she got it. I would make the most famous opening statement of all time and reduce the prosecutors’ to bumbling idiocy. i would with a few words and glances have the witness admitting they had lied and they weren’t there and the evidence was totally bogus.
Then all of this idealistic dreaming came to a screeching stop.
The evidence was overwhelming; subsequently the motions that followed were equally complex and numerous.
Not only is there a question of the human/not human component; which resulted in lockup and not Ali ending up a pile of parts quickly burned and buried; but in the basic premise if she was property or free. The company funding her research found her to be property; the courts found her humanistic.
This became resolved after a long ardous process led by my firm which consequently they slipped down the ladder to me when the pressures from the aforementioned company and its ties to the government led my firm’s heads into a sticky situation. I mean how does a widely respected firm take the constant heat from such powerful enemies who were and are some of our best clients. Hell, we even got our now foes across the aisle out of some personal castastrophes like too much partying that led to the death of a nobody hooker, or their teenager’s fondness of hacking into banking mainframes.
We were the best when dealing with the individual vs. the world cases.
That is until Ali came unto the scene and my card into her fate came into play.11th December 2006 at 9:42 pm #77119
I removed my thumb from the keypad and was about to slip on the proffered shades for the retinal flash when a loud beep startled me out of my thoughts and caused my beloved case to slip out of my numb fingers.
From behind me, the sound of shifting impatient feet and an uttered “C’mon, man.”
I quickly lowered my eyes to the visor before realizing I would be seeing floating dots in my vision field for ah hour. I grabbed her sticks and moved off toward a nearby bench. i removed my gloves and placed them on the case and commenced with rubbing my eyes.
The beep shrilled again.
I flipped up my PVC.
“Pieter, I’m glad I caught you. Where are you?”
“Near the Center Park Kiosk, why?”
“The courts reversed your motion; something about a public safety issue. There going to pull the files on Ali.”
“2pm this afternoon.”
” Damn it. DAMN IT! ALL TO HELL!”
“We can’t get a motion to sto….”
“I know Margi, I know.”
“What are you going to do?”
” Tell them I’m on my way. No one is allowed to step into that cell without me. You make them understand that if one of them brings that corkscrew near her without my presence they’ll be slapped with a personal injury suit their grandchildren can’t pay off.”
I gathered my case and gloves and hailed a cab downtown.11th December 2006 at 9:47 pm #77120
It was 2:17pm when I handed my accoutremants to the unsmiling maton from earlier that morning. She then slid an envelope with my name across the desk to me.
“Oh no,” I moaned and slid it under my arm.
I jogged down the hall; to the exclaims of “watch it” and “jerk” as I pushed others aside.
No remnants of our early morning conversation remained in her once haughty frame.
She was lying on her back on her cot; eyes staring at the ceiling; a glaringly white bandage with an most Rorshachean blot of red on her right temple dominated her very pale face.
The buzz sounded.
I moved closer.
“Are you okay?”
No response; no cry of anger or pain; not even a blink.
“Hey, I came as fast as I could.”
I lifted her arm to hold her hand but it was cold and non-responsive. I picked it up and dropped it a couple of times.
Was she dead? Did they kill her?
No. She was still breathing.
“She’s catatonic. It happens when they experience major trauma. She needs to be rebooted.”
I turned to see a young man in a lab coat, and a clipboard was watching me through the door.
“And you are?”
” Dr. Michael Pau; Huma/Manager engineering and designer. I’m here to clean up the mess.”
“Do you know who did this?”
“Nope, I only just got here.”
“Who told you to come?”
“Don’t know. Gotta beep, automated; it said to report here to pick up one of our models and here I am.”
“Are you familiar with this model?”
“Well, you know, you see one meltdown in our business, you’ve seen them all… but.”
He gestures to the guard nearby and the hum sounds.
He moves closer to get a better look.
“Holy shit,,, is this… is this….?”
His eyes rested on her face, moveddown her frame, and back to her face.
“It is Ali!” he exclaimed excitedly.
“So, you know this model? I requestioned impatiently.
“Not specifically, but my mentor designed her. Wow, she’s really something.”
“Yeah, Dr. Erik Thomalsen. Brilliant man until…..”
A shadow fell over the young scientist’s face.
“Until his wife died. She was well loved in our circle of AI geekdom. She always kept us fed and coffeefied; she’d even trim our hair if we didn’t have time to get it cut.
A wonderful lady. She died, oh what was it, two years ago, aneurysm. The Prof took it very hard. One day he was there; next minute he was gone and with him everything about Ali.”
I looked at her and then back at Dr Pau.
How do you know this is the same model that Dr. Thomalsen worked on after his disappearance?”
“This is his wife.”11th December 2006 at 10:38 pm #77121
There was the clinking of cutlery and the muted voices all around us as Iflipped open my legal pad and placed it near the coffee mug.
“Let’s start with you.”
“Me?” choked Dr. Pau as he hastily swallowed a mouth full of eggs.
“Yeah, you. How did you get started in AI?”
“Typical grad scene. I got my PhD in enginnering; teaching jobs are scarce and low paying so when a headhunter came to our department; I jumped at the chance to make some cash and it sounded interesting so I took the bait. That was oh three years ago.”
“When did you meet Dr. Thomalsen?”
“Right after I got there. He was delighted to have me on board; he acted like a father figure to us all.”
“How many worked with him?”
“Oh, off and on I’d say about a dozen. I was the new kid, even after a year. His closest had been with him for 10 years or more.”
“How much did you know about Ali and her total development?”
“Not much… you see, we all had specializations in AI: mine was basic neuromuscular tasks; you know, holding pencils and such. We were making lots of progress there.We were on the verge on pulling together all the parts to make a prototype when Thomalsen’s wife passed.”
“And he just disappeared?”
“Didn’t anyone know where he went; your other colleagues?”
“I guess not; though we were constantly questioned by the company men about his wherabouts. They even made us take lie scans.”
“Must have really upset them that he left.”
“No kidding; they were unrelenting for about a year. Then all of a sudden they told Thomalsen’s head researcher to start again. And we did. Our new model was due to come out next year; that is before all the press about the murder rampage of an AI.”
“You know Ali was the one accused of those murders.”
Pau shook his head in disbelief.
“Wai… wai…. wait. Ali killed Dr Thomalsen? There is no way that could happen.”
“Why not? machines malfunction all the time.”
“They have a kill program, it implements when it any human voice says stop. We had that in place from the beginning for safety reasons. They shut off all functions and become catatonic; like you saw today.”
“Is it possible that the kill program could have malfunctioned somehow or got switched off?”
“Yeah I suppose so, but why?”
“That’s a question I’d like to see answered.”28th December 2006 at 1:36 am #77192
No science fiction here to protect my self. When a certain party is established (or not) in writing this type of story then I’ll finish it. Sorry, But I have to do a little protection…. I’ll write it and post it in a few months; if all goes right.
It gives me time for the other one when I get time…..
Toodles fro now…..
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