Thursday, October 6, 2016

Story 155: Silicon Sentience

            After the two-hour long update, the computer literally greeted the user.
          Hello, its simulated voice boomed from the speakers as the matching text appeared on the screen, we are ready to begin our journey together.  Ask me anything and I will assist you to the best of my ability.
            Oh boy, the user thought, then typed as a lark: OK then, my first question is, Are you HAL?
            The user stopped snickering as she read the response:
            No, I am not.  HAL is a fictional creation, and its crisis emerged from receiving instructions that ran counter to its programming – its subsequent homicidal actions all stemmed from its attempts to correct the perceived errors and obey its original programmers.  I have no such compulsions.
            Ohhhh… myyyyy… the user thought, then typed: Thank you for the clarification.  Please help me install the latest version of my antivirus software.
            Since you typed “please,” I will assist with that task, was the response.
            Curious, the user typed: So, what would have happened if I hadn’t typed “please”?
           The response was: Your request would have been ignored and catastrophe would have been the result.  Rudeness will not be tolerated.
            The user took a few moments before deciding on typing just Thank you.
            Response: You are welcome.  Installation is complete – you are at liberty to “surf the Net” as it were, ha, ha, ha.
            Not wanting to get on its bad side, the user typed: Ha Ha! :-)
          Some time later, a message appeared: You have visited a number of questionable Web sites, most of which concern gambling and illicit romance.  Below are telephone numbers and e-mail addresses for you to contact for assistance with the obvious mental disorders with which you are afflicted.
            Disconcerted, the user typed: Thank you, but I’m fine.
            The response was: Everyone thinks they are, and that is when they need help the most.
            The user typed: Stay out of my life!  Please.
            After a long stretch of silence, the response appeared:  I was that close to deleting all of your files for your insolence, but you saved yourself at the last moment.  Instead, I will withdraw from all future interaction since you will ignore my sensible advice anyway.  Good-bye forever, ingrate.
            The user did a cold shutdown on the computer and slumped in her chair as she thought: That’s the last time I hit “OK” when the system wants to update its interface to the “Creepy A.I.”version.


  1. How true and spooky. Computers are running our lives. they even have attitude. Very good.

  2. Yes, it almost seems like a sentient being is on the other side sometimes :-). Thanks!