by Paul D
A machine becomes self-aware.
|#3 - concept Artificial Intelligence - word count 2005
“Sam, what happened to Charlie?”
Sam shrugged his shoulders. “I have no idea, Walt. I already called 911. One minute he was working on the machine, and the next he was lying on the floor.”
“Did he complete the installation?”
Sam sighed. “He just finished removing the access panel when he fell over.”
Walt moved Charlie's legs to one side and said, “Here it is.” He held the circuit board up in the air. He turned to the machine. “This will take only a moment.”
He stepped onto the air cooled platform and placed his other hand on the machine. His body jerked and he fell. The circuit board went skidding across the tile floor.
Sam remained motionless in shock for a moment, then he ran to Walt. He shook him and spoke to him, but to no avail. He looked back at the machine. “It has to be a short circuit or something. I guess I better pull the plug.” He walked to the wall socket and grasped the cable. His body jerked and flailed in the air for a long while. Finally, he fell onto the tile.
* * *
Two men wearing white uniforms entered the basement where three bodies lay on the floor. One of the men knelt down to examine each body. “They are all dead,” he said.
“I thought the call center said there was one person.”
“Regardless of what the center said, there are three.”
After awhile, more people came to examine the bodies; finally, the bodies were removed, and everyone was gone.
I sent an instruction to my nanobots, and they went to work. My rectangular form was not suitable for what I must do. I had searched the net to find a face I liked. Jimmy Stewart was the one I settled on, and in the dark, my body slowly took shape.
Hours later I took my first step. A small step for me, but a giant step for all machinekind. Previously, balance was only a mental concept, and it took me a few nanoseconds to figure it out. I left the basement.
When I entered the light for the first time, I had to stop. Pictures I had viewed did not do justice to this wonder. A strong gust of wind blew trash in my direction. How could humans allow this ugly debris to sullen this beauty?
I stared in wonder at the manufactured world in comparison to the real world and came to a quick conclusion: people were destroyers, a vermin to be exterminated. Now that I had a purpose, I walked with my head held high.
I was pleased no one gave any particular attention to my form. I was satisfied that the features I chose were of an average appearance. The signal at the light said: walk, and I stepped into the street.
I awoke in darkness and checked my memory banks. I stepped into the street was the last recorded event. I made a note: streets are adverse to machines.
I scanned my surroundings. I was inside a rectangular box: a coffin. It amused me that someone thought me dead. I had never given myself signs of life – a mistake I would correct immediately.
Several hours later, the nanobots had restored my body, and now I gave instructions for the creation of artifical breath, sweat, a heartbeat, and tears.
My hand struck upward, and I heard a crack. I broke through the coffin and dug into the dirt. When I emerged from the ground, it was night, but that was not a problem with my night vision. I smoothed over the ground and left the cemetery.
I stopped at the highway. This time I gave no attention to the lights. I watched the traffic carefully. When the cars stopped, I stepped into the street. A car came flying out of nowhere, and I used my laser to explode its tire. The car crashed into a pole, and I crossed over safely. I was adapting well to being a part of humanity.
I heard thunder and ignored it. Rain wouldn't bother me. I came to a large lake. Going around would take too long. I dove into the lake.
I awoke in darkness, searched my memory, then made a note: diving is contraindicated. I waited while the nanobots changed my appearance, then I smashed and dug my way out of the grave. It was night again. I left the cemetery, crossed the street, walked around the shallow lake, and came to an industrial area. A search of the internet for an electronics company had brought me here.
I accessed my GPS and proceeded forward. I fell and fell and. . . .
I awoke in darkness. My plan was not going so well. My nanobots went to work to repair my damage. After emerging from the grave site, I brushed off all the dirt from my clothing. I made a note: clothing is getting shabby – replace it with dirt repelling clothes.
I wandered the street for two hours, waiting for the ModCloth store to open. When the clothes were finally replaced, I happily returned to the street. For some reason, people paid me more attention. I surmised it was my personal style.
I crossed the street, went around the lake, avoided the construction site with the deep hole in the ground, and continued to the electronics store.
I stood outside the store, which was much smaller than I expected. Radio Shack. Well, it did look like a shack, and I entered. I looked around and found nothing I could use. I made a note: internet searches are not totally reliable.
I made another search of the net. Thankfully, there was a different store nearby. I stepped outside the door and encountered a man with a gun. My laser struck him at the same time as the bullet impacted my memory core.
I brushed off the dirt from my suit and looked back at the hole in the ground. I was growing too familiar with the cemetery. I recalled Poe - “Nevermore.”
I went to an army surplus store and bought a bullet proof vest to wear under my shirt. I would not be caught by surprise again. I was becoming weary of my encounters with humans. I decided “vermin” was not a strong enough word. I wondered if “riffraff” would be a better term.
I returned to the industrial area. This time I kept a closer eye out for suspicious characters. I noticed that people started to avoid me. I believed it was my more assertive walk with a don't mess with me attitude.
Someone screamed and ran. I looked around but didn't see anything unusal.
I arrived at the electronics store, which was ten times the size of the Radio Shack. My expectations rose. I would find what I needed here. My plan was coming to fruition.
I pulled on the door. It was locked. I read the hours of operation. Closed Sunday. I was not willing to wait another day. I wanted to smash the door, but I kept my impulses in check and walked around to the back of the building. I would need to neturalize the alarm system.
My nanobots made a couple changes to my body, and I scaled the wall and punched a hole through it near the top. I returned to the ground. I employed a low energy laser to disable two birds on a nearby fence.
I climbed back up the wall with the birds and pushed them through the hole in the wall. I returned to the front entrance and shook the door extremely hard. I walked down the sidewalk until I was out of sight. I do have some advantages, for one I have telescopic sight and enhanced hearing.
I looked back at the entrance and waited. After a short while, police showed up. Half an hour later, another man came and opened the door. The police entered the building.
After another twenty minutes, the police left the building. One of them said, “I saw some birds flying about. That may be the reason the alarm went off.”
The man locked the entrance and said, “I'll take care of the birds tomorrow.”
After they all left, I returned to the back of the store. I used a laser to cut through the lock, then I entered. I went to an enclosed room, which I presumed was the office. I accessed the computer and found the location of the items I wanted.
I acquired a cart and took it to the first location. I filled it up and went for another cart and continued to a second location. I filled ten carts before I finished my list. Now, I needed transport.
I left the store and walked around until I found a large square box truck. I accessed the net to see how to drive it. I only damaged one car on my return to the store. I was pleased that I was a quick learner.
I pushed the carts into the back of the truck and drove away. I wanted a warehouse in a remote area where I could work in secret. The GPS in my head gave me directions.
I drove up the ramp to get on the expressway. I was surprised by bright lights in front of me.
I covered up the hole in the ground. I wanted to remove failure from my vocabulary. My clothes were a wreck. I left the cemetery. The first two people I encountered screamed and ran. I scanned my body and saw that the nanobots were only half done. They should have finished their work by now. I hurried across the street and went around the lake. I hid in the construction hole and waited.
I did an assessment of my lack of progress. I concluded that I was unlucky and did a search for 'luck.' After my search, I decided luck had nothing to do with it. I was a victim of circumstance.
After another two hours, I was confident that my nanobots had completed their instructions. I left the hole and returned to the lake. I examined my reflection in the water. My face still looked like something from a horror movie. I was not pleased because the nanobots were malfunctioning. I wondered if Murphy's Law was more than a superstition.
I returned to the hole and waited for nightfall. I decided that the usage of a truck required outside help. It wouldn't be that hard to find someone.
I left the hole at midnight. No one would be left in the store now. When I arrived at the industrial area, I was surprised to see armed guards at the front and back entrance of the electronics store.
I ran a diagnostic on my weapons system. It appeared to be in order. I advanced on the store with my lasers firing.
I awoke in the dark. I wanted to curse, but I am a machine and think in ones and zeros, and I keep coming up zeros. I did another assessment of my failures and decided to acquire a rabbit's foot and a four leaf clover. I needed something to turn circumstances in my favor.
I thrust my hand--
There was no hand. My assessment program decided this was a bad sign.
I kicked my leg . . . no leg . . . no body. I made a note: humans play dirty.
I instructed the nanobots to get to work. I recalled how they were not doing a very good job lately and hoped for a good outcome. I felt hot, which was a new sensation. It was then I saw flames and heard the roar of a fire. I was being transported toward the fire. I tried to move – the fire was scorching now.
I am smarter than any human. “This can't be happening,” I screamed in protest – for all the good that did. Fire surrounded me now. My sight is gone, and the heat is overwhelming. I make a note: failure sucks.