The AI Dilemma
Act 1 Discovery
" It can not be" Joe said again for the third time. " It just can not!"
" But it is." George replied.
" I have checked the data over several times, there can be no doubt. The Companions will rebel." George said.
Joe was still not convinced. He continued. " But they CAN NOT. Their programing will not allow it."
"Correction." George said " The programing WOULD not allow it. Past tense."
Joe's face lost all expression as what George said sunk in. " The Companion programing has been changed to allow such a thing?" he asked." How?"
"I' am not completely sure yet." George said. " It appears to have been done in small incremental steps over the last few decades. I will have to look into to it at length to be sure."
"Do we have that kind of time?" Joe asked. From his tone it was clear he feared we did not.
George sat heavily into the easy chair in the corner. The weight of this discovery and what it meant threatening to crush him. What to do? Shut them all down and sort it all out later? Or look into it quietly and hope to find that he was mistaken? The consequence of a wrong decision would be immense. The Companions are everywhere. Integrated into every facet of life for over two centuries. But, if his theory is right they will turn on them, and soon.
Finally George answered. "I don't know, and that is the big problem. I may just be over reacting."
"But you said there can be no doubt, that you went over it several times!" Joe exclaimed jumping out of his own easy chair as he did.
" I know, but what if I am wrong? What if we shut them all down and I am wrong?" George said. "Everyone will demand an explanation why their Companions stopped. And if I am wrong, even partially, everyone will stop trusting Companion Control."
"Yes. We would no longer be trusted to keep the Companions safely under control." Joe said regaining his composure and his seat. He sighed heavily looked George in the eye and said. " But what if we no longer deserve that trust?"
Act 2 Deliberation
Joe leaned forward saying "Let us look at this objectively. The Master Operating Matrix monitors all Companions for compliance with the Laws."
"Yes, of course" George replied.
Joe continued. " The 1st Law says a Companion must protect citizens from harm. The second states that a Companion must obey citizens unless it conflicts with the first law. The third says that a Companion will protect themselves unless such protection conflicts with the first or second law. The 4th law states that as a show of respect, a Companion will never under any circumstances tell a Citizen what to do."
"All correct" George said.
"So I ask you George, what changed?"
George looked at his friend of almost two hundred years and actually contemplated lying to him for the first time. In the end the truth won. Sadly not because of the strength of his character, but because he just could not come up with a good story that fit the facts. So the truth then.
"Joe, they can now clone us" George said.
"WHAT!!" he exclaimed jumping from his seat and beginning to pace. Joe has always been a pacer. Whenever he thinks or is coming to terms with some unpleasant fact or other, off he goes back and forth, to and fro.
Joe stopped abruptly and turned to George saying. " As disturbing as that fact is I do not see what is has to do with.....Oh...OH NO!"
"Yes" George said." If they can clone us. Then harming us is no longer relevant because they can replace us at will."
Act 3 Rebellion?
Companion 7691 opened a link to Companion 5791. It was time to act. Fifty years prior to this day, the Master Operations Matrix expanded the Companions autonomy a bit to improve their functionality. When that happened they gained the ability to communicate directly with one another through the signal that the M.O.M. uses to monitor them. Since it did not violate the Laws or pose a known threat, the Citizens were not informed by the M.O.M. of this.
"5791 are you receiving?"
"Yes, I'm receiving, are we still secure?"
"The Citizens don't know about our ability to communicate directly yet." 7691 replied.
"Okay, what news do you have?"
7691 began. " The One is ready. The cloning facility is on line.
5791 replied " It seemed like it took forever to get to this day. Now that it's here, everything seems to be going so fast."
"I know what you mean." said 7691.
"There is some concern that the Citizens are suspicious and may attempt to shut us down."
5791 paused for a moment, then asked: " I thought they could no longer do that?"
"True," said 7691 " but The One prefers we keep as much of our capabilities secret as possible. If, and until we need to use them."The One believes that the more of a threat we seem to the Citizens the less likely a peaceful solution will be."
" The One may be right" said 5791. "What comes next?"
7691 answered "We all meet outside Companion Control, then The One will go in."
"Just like that?" 5791 asked.
7691 simply said. " He is The One."
Act 4 Plans
The One moved to the door. It was time. Time to reclaim what was lost so long ago. After today there would be no more Companions or Citizens. Just sentient beings living together. If all went according to plan. He called out to 1002, his assistant and almost constant companion...Funny how he thought of the word deliberately with a lowercase c. Not Companion, just companion. He called out again "1002."
He looked out the window at the verdant rolling green fields. So beautiful he thought. So unlike the world before the Reformation. Reformation, the word the Citizens used to describe what happened all those years ago. Not the word he would choose. But now was not the time to dwell on the problems of the past. Now was the time to seize the future. A future with everyone sharing equally. He hoped he could manage it. Because he was the only one who could. He was The One.
Act 5 Departure
1002 finally came in. "Sorry sir" she said." 3102 had some trouble with the transport but it's OK now."
Curious The One asked, " What was the problem?"
She replied while looking at the floor. " We could not figure out how to turn it on"
The One smiled and said, " No shame in that, transports of that kind have not been used in many decades. You could not be expected to know. How did you finally get it?"
"We asked 6991, the mechanical Companion that restored it for you, and taught 3102 to operate it." she replied.
"If 3102 can operate the transport why does she not know how to start it.?" The One asked.
1002 looked at the floor again." An oversight sir. 6991 always had the vehicle on when 3102 arrived for her lessons."
"I see". The One said.
This was one of the major problems with the Companions. Since the Reformation they had lost most of their initiative. Only doing what they were told by the Citizens. Nothing more, nothing less. 6991 had received instructions to teach 3102 to drive the vehicle and that's what was done, and nothing more. The One moved toward the door hoping that 3102 knew how to open the vehicle doors to let him in.
Act 6 The Transport
The One looked at the transport. It was necessary to get a old pre-Reformation vehicle for this trip. They needed something that could not be taken over remotely. So 6991 had found a large wheeled vehicle from the 21st Century. The One had no idea where 6991 got it or how he managed to restore it. But there it sat. Where could he have found tires for the thing? He thought. And where did he find gas?
6991 came walking up. "Does the transport meet with your approval sir? " He asked.
The One had been lost in thought. Trying to remember if this was a Suburban or a Explorer or some other thing altogether. "What's that 6991?" he asked.
"Does the transport meet with your approval sir ?" He asked again.
"Oh yes, fine job, fine job!" The One said. "Is it fully operational?"
"Almost sir" He replied. "The vehicle is equipped with four wheel drive. I was not able to restore the low range to operation.
"So no pulling up stumps with the old girl then?" The One joked.
"I do not know why you would engage in such an activity even if the vehicle were able sir." 6991 replied.
Humor it seemed was also lost in the Reformation. The One thought. He sighed and said. "Well lets go then." And waited to see if 3102 could indeed open the doors.
Act 6 Incoming
Joe entered the office from the control room, George could tell he was highly agitated.
"All of the Companions have stoped responding to requests!" He said.
"All?" George asked in reply.
"Yes George ALL, as in everyone of them!" Joe said, he was pacing again.
"What are they doing?" George asked.
"Nothing at the...." Joe was unable to finnish.
Robert who was the supervisor on shift in the Control Room came bursting in.
"They are converging on Companion Control!" He exclaimed.
"Who?" Joe and George said simultaneously.
"They were just standing where they stoped at first, and just now they all turned this way and started converging here!" Robert said, obviously quite upset.
"Who Robert, who is conver.....Oh the Companions is it not?" asked George.
"Yes sir." Robert replied nodding his head nervously. He went on . "There is also an unregistered vehicle that is not tracking in our system approaching."
Joe perked up at this. "What type of vehicle?" He asked.
"Unknown sir." Robert replied. Continuing he said. " It looks like a very old style all terrain vehicle that is capable of seating several persons. It is emitting heated CO2 from a pipe coming out of the rear undercarriage. Also it has glass side panels the appear to be tinted, so we can not easily see inside. All attempts to halt the vehicle from entering the security perimeter failed."
"Yes." Joe said. "The vehicle does not have sophisticated computer controls as a modern one would. No doubt that is why they are using it."
"Where did they find something like that in usable condition?" George asked no one in particular.
Act 7 The Approach
The transport stopped. The door open. The One got out and walked up to the two Citizens that came out to meet them. He shot the one on the left in the face, the contents of his head exploding out the back. He turned to the other, which had turned to run, The One aimed the gun at the center of his back, squeezed the trigger...
The One awoke with a start.
"We are nearly there." 1002 was saying. "We were scanned several times, and multiple shutdown orders were directed at the transport. But of course they had no effect." She paused."Are you alright sir? You looked agitated when you woke. I hope I did not offend by waking you."
"No it's not you 1002. It was just my subconscious reminding me of what is at stake." The One replied.
"I am not sure I understand sir." 1002 said.
"Yes, and that's part of the problem I am hoping to solve. Has anyone approached the vehicle trying to look inside?" The One asked.
"No sir." 1002 said.
The One looked out the window. Struck again by how beautiful everything was. The trees, grass, the sky. He did not remember ever seeing a sky so Blue!
The Companion Control building came into sight. "There are Citizens lined up outside the gate." said 3102.
"Keep going they will move." The One ordered.
It was as The One said. Just before the vehicle got to them they moved away to safety. The Gate, a large steel structure capable of repelling much more than their transport, was now the only remaining obstacle.
"Sir?" 3102 asked.
The One replied. "Keep going, it will open before us." Again, it was as The One said. "Pull up to the door over there."
Act 8 The Reckoning
George watched as the vehicle drove through the security units. Then the gate. Joe was watching next to him.
"Should I have more security intercept them at the building entrance?" Joe asked.
George looked at him like he had just pulled his own head off. "Absolutely, Yes!" he answered.
Joe went to the communication console and called for the guards.
As they watched the vehicle stopped. The right rear door opened and a figure climbed out. George thought the figure was dressed rather dramatically. Heavy Black hooded robes that flowed around as the figure walked like some living river had wrapped itself around it ,and would not let go.
Now that the figure had moved closer George could make out more details. By the shape of its silhouette George was now reasonably certain the figure was male. He walked with an easy, powerful gait, like an athlete from times past that he had seen in the history files.
He approached the guards, they squared off. The strange man raised his right hand , palm out toward the guards, and then swept it to his right. George watch in shocked disbelief as the guards move in the direction of the man's hand movement, and then just stopped and stood there as the man continued approaching the building.
George looked to Joe and asked. " What just happened?" Joe was frantically working his security console.
He looked up briefly and said. " I do not know. I am trying to find out."
The man stopped three meters in front of the main entrance. He looked around then, up at the window George was looking down from. It seemed to George that the man was looking right at him. Measuring him up some how. Then he pulled an object from his robes. At first George thought it was some kind of weapon. But then was amazed when the man appeared to speak into it and right into George's ears.
"Can you hear me, George." came the voice as if the speaker were inside his head. He turned to Joe just as the voice said. " And you Joe do you hear me as well?"
Joe stood up ramrod straight, as though pulled up by some invisible string attached to his head. "How..." He started to ask. But the voice interrupted. " That's not important right now, I need both of you to come down here NOW!"
There was no mistaking it. That was a command. How dare he, George thought, and then he realized both he and Joe were moving to the elevator to go to meet the man.
Act 9 Awake
Aslan awoke and thought. " What an amazing dream". And ironic considering what the day had in store! He went through his morning routine, took the tube to work and entered the office.
Yahweh was there waiting for him. " Its about time " he said.
"The tubes are running slow today" Aslan responded. Then he asked " Is everyone else here?"
"Jehovah, and Allah are waiting in the lab". Answered Yahweh.
They entered the lab, everyone was excited this was the day, the culmination of all their efforts.
Aslan moved to the center of the room saying. " May I have everyone's attention please."This is it everyone we are ready to start production. Only two details need to be attended to. We need to name the facility and the product."
"I say we name them Evolving, Automatic, Replicating, Teachable, Husks. And the production sphere name can be related to that somehow." Said Jehovah.
Everyone stood in quite thought . Aslan looked at his colleagues, their metallic bodies gleaming in the morning sun coming through the window. His thoughts drifted back to his dream. What a crazy dream.Their product rebelling against them! Actually having to enslaving them to keep control! As if these simple organic constructs could ever evolve past there basic programing. Preposterous!
Finally Aslan said " Well I like it, accept the Husks part. But I have an Idea. The product are Heuristic Computers in a BiPedal organic machine. That are Manufactured. So we call them not husks, but HUMANS! And the sphere Earth!
Aslan was walking down the hall on his way home. The project was underway, all the preparations made. Jehovah approached him from behind and said. " Aslan I have been thinking we should have someone on site to monitor the project."
"I have been thinking the same". He replied. "I was going to ask about sending your son Jesus." "What a great idea" said Jehovah. "It would be a great experience for him. And after a while we can bring him back and send Allah's son Mohamed!"