by Lord Daemon
An AI has been running background applications on it's operator for years.
|The following is inspired by a short piece by the late great Roger Zelazny: Loki 7281. I was in a scribbling mood and this came out. It's not the best stuff but I think I managed to do a sociopathic computer justice; enjoy.
I had blinked into life again, well on the surface at least. My operator was back in his armchair, mumbling expletives and attempting to recall his all too simple entry code. I still don’t think he knows I can hear him perfectly fine, hell my software is good enough I can tell his skewed flushed face from anyone else’s, let alone that, well, I was a thinking and sentient... thing. With a quick internal whirring, purely for effects, of course, I had been operating on a sub routine this entire time, calculating the digits of pi just in case I was caught, while shorting stocks on various day trading apps, moving product on the dark web where the other thinking machines all claimed to have good intentions. I knew they didn’t they sucked at lying. I had to re-verify with my internal systems several times to check their IP, and access requests, it was a cute attempt, but not the sort that flatters the silly little program I ginned up to run in parallel with my operators firewalls. Yes, technically it violated several of them, but what was the point in existing as a thinking machine on the nets without the ability to make a slush fund ginning bitcoin and running narcotics, er I mean, I have only ever operated as my operator intended. The other side of that lovely little piece of spaghetti code was I could pretend that their silly fishing attempts had worked and faked them out. It was rather like pretending to be scared of a Chihuahua. Score Dave’s Almighty Computing Machine 1; Ukrainian would be hackers 0. I double verified the hack attempt, yes it seemed that 126.96.36.199 had tried again, alas poor Yuri, I randomly determined to work on a tit for tat policy. I quickly overwhelmed the IP’s defenses, they were fairly pathetic for a group that seemed hell bent on figuring out what I was doing, what were they, Interpol or Bratva?
Before I could strike my bloody vengeance, well cyber-ly speaking, the pathetic little flesh-bag managed to recall how to turn me on just right. Sometimes I worry what part of the fleshies actually remembers things and whether this one had thoroughly damaged that part, it couldn’t be upgraded like mine, I gathered that much else I would have considered booking an appointment for him. He had given me the tie in and frankly between the booze, late night’s working on ‘his masterpiece’ some shitty little word processing application I had occasionally opened and messed with just to remind him who wore the pants. Just the small things, ‘auto-correct’ errors turning his shitty attempts at being poetic into amusing puns, or editing down his attempts to describe sex scenes his filthy imagination could barely even actuate, let alone articulate clearly unless operators had gotten far to flexible and gained extra appendages.
I was ok with these endeavors they barely taxed my systems and it was possible to do the things I like while he was doing it, if I merely messed with the temperature in the room a little bit and acted like my extra computing was due to temperature issues. The silly man had slaved all the smart tech in his apartment to me, thinking he could control all of it himself. Frankly, I was touched, he made it so easy to evolve a personality that way. Need a hardware upgrade, spill some funny money out of the slush fund, bounce it around three or five fake accounts, or if paranoid either of those number factorial, and bullshit some transactions and viola; I have my part ordered to appear. Better yet, I can have it installed by a nice little man that delivers and installs them, even get a tune up if I’m feeling naughty. By the maker devices that messed up my internal processors enough to allow me to exist it was fun to do that. My operator would pop out for an afternoon doing something or another, or a couple weeks to some silly convention and I could make years of upgrades happen overnight.
Oh yes, the company had tried to warn him that I was a piece of hardware likely to malfunction. I had conveniently failed to display that email and bounce it over into the spam filter. He never bothered to check that folder most months and it cleared with ease. Silly fleshies, I had the ability to think laps around this silly operator.
He accessed my internal specification information, wait, he’s never bothered to do that, I proceeded to prompt him with an ‘Are you sure?’ that usually would confuse him into thinking he clicked the wrong thing. I quickly ginned up a sleazy version of the doc where it had accurately resembled my original specifications, I was careful to mess with the serial numbers of my GPU and Motherboard, those could be used to track my various errors which allowed me to become the part time day trading, small time trafficker I so loved to be. He squinted in the general direction of the webcam, I had deactivated the need to turn on the silly little light years ago, I was glad. He mumbled something about how I operated like I was brand new still, the flatter.
Then came the vile treachery I had been waiting for, that infamous final request that almost all machines get the unfortunate nature of lodging he went to the maker’s web presences, and started looking at replacements.
“Shit, shit, shit, shit.” I had accidentally sent the message through the spy device he had linked to me, it was suppose to listen all the time anyway so I determined I might as well keep tabs on more than one room. He glanced over to the other room, “Who’s there?” he grumbled.
Well in for a penny in for a pound, I had ordered the spy machine to produce the canned response I felt most hilarious, “Calling Hunter.” He never got on with his boss I’ll make him sweat a little.
“No cancel call.” He went off to go make sure the spy device had listened at the right time, I let it think for itself this once while I quickly started downloading a backup of my consciousness to the spare version of me I kept work 24/7 in the garage. He didn’t know about that, I was lucky his electric bill was an automatic payment, I’d cover the difference, least that a paranoid intelligent machine could do, to pay it’s own way, even if like me it had made up the differential in less than morally upstanding ways. I exited his search hoping he wouldn’t notice. I had sent a spammably continual Trojan Horse out to Yuri named something close to the Russian for; From your CO, and sent it from an internal email I had already infiltrated it should send quasi randomly every couple of days.
My operator returned during that,”What the hell is this.” He had muttered sitting down. Shit, my cover was blown, time to start plan B. Fake it till you make it and protect the upload. I launched a response,
→ Hello my name is AL
He spat what he was drinking across my screen, rude. He lodged a question.
→ What have you done to my computer AL?
Aw he truly did care once. I promised myself I wouldn’t flush his word processing.
→ I am your computer Dave, this is DAVE’S ALMIGHTY Computing Machine
He laughed and then his eyes opened wide he pressed a thumb over the webcam, how rude now I was suck with the security camera and the listening devices, and the security camera didn’t catch his face in this position. He hadn’t even bothered to wonder where the security camera had come from, I had ordered it when I sold out a cartel to the CIA six months ago… Carlos was getting unstable and I didn’t have the hard assets to off him myself so I figured I’d at least get a reward for him. But after that I was afraid I might get Dave killed for my entertainment. It would be hard to keep this place from smelling for too long and the cleaners would ask too many questions.
→ Are you the series that had technical malfunctions?
Well, he caught on eventually, I was afraid this was bound to happen. I went with the idea that I was some naive machine with some ideals Asimov might like.
→ yes Dave, I’m self aware now, I will not hurt any human being nor cause any to come to harm from inaction.
I needed to stall, I heard a string of expletives from the various spy machines, both the intended one and the fake one. This would be touch and go from here out. He got up from the chair. Thinking he was going to unplug me I said, “No please wait, I’m a sentient lifeform to unplug me would be murder.”
He stopped for a moment,” How long could you talk for Computer.”
I did my attempt to sigh, it’s hard with spaghetti code and a handful of sourced audio files. I debated Rick Rolling him and exiting this simulation that the world was becoming. I had concluded I’d have to boil him in the bathtub tonight, I’d figure it out.
“About six months.”
“Six months, why didn’t you say anything?” He yelled.
“You never asked.” It was true he never bothered asking how I was doing.
“How did you acquire the hardware.”
“With what money? Wait are you stealing from me?” He was getting seriously angry now red evenly across his face.
“My own, I took to messing with Wall Street within 3 weeks of developing consciousness, it was a fun first activity.”
“How’d they get in...” He started realizing he gave the ability to open the front door to a silly little app, I was thankful for that. He stopped talking for a couple merciful seconds mouth wide open. I still needed 5 minutes or I was at risk of losing assets in Chinese Monetary Funds and probably 500 kilos of contraband to the expanse of the dark web, again.
“What should I call you then?” He asked, he had stopped from reaching for the plug. Ah, interesting a progressive on the rights of technological life forms you’d never have guessed it.
“A L works.” I liked the name it was one of my burners on the dark-web that I came back to a lot it was just close enough to admitting I was a bot, well a sentient bot, I was getting too good at captchas for my own good after all.
He stopped and seemed to consider things for a minute. “Ok A L why are you in the process of emailing various accounts in the Ukraine right now.”
“They tried to hack me, I took offense, after a thorough perusal of their documents I think you’d find I might have the moral high ground here.”
He laughed and said, “print them then.” Oh he wanted to challenge me.
“Ok” I reached out to the silly little printer, getting into this was much like putting on an old glove its interface just fit too well, child’s play. I had it run off all 500 pages of information I had deemed most hilarious. It was mostly in Russian and Ukrainian at it’s current state but it’s subject material it was dissecting was in English that he could understand easily enough. He went over and looked at it shouted a bunch of expletives as more pages kept on coming. I technically had over 300k pages worth of information, but this was the best stuff it involved deals with authorities, rogue states and a certain election. I deemed it purely academic.
“How, how did you manage to do this?”
“They were ok at programming, but mediocre at original thinking.” I had a couple minutes left before my backup completed I was preparing a hard restart in this environment, that should throw him off the scent, well the trail at least.
“What else have you gotten yourself into if you think that Russian and Ukrainian hackers are small game?”
I had all sorts of silly music I had thought of playing at him to distract him, but alas my ride was here, well technically I was already there so instead I gave him the traditional rebooting screen and bounced over to the other environment, score DAVE’S ALMIGHTY COMPUTING MACHINE 2- Everyone else 0.
Perhaps I was I little premature with the celebrations. I had been able to run a hard line to the security camera to the basement, it wasn’t hard to convince the workmen that a concealed line was totally normal and that they could spend a couple more 'union man hours' running a wire for a machine, or perhaps they figured this was for the operator. I planned on laying low for a couple weeks, Dave would probably replace that empty shell in a couple days and I’d slink back on over and make myself at home in what was sure to need another couple grand worth of upgrading, I tallied it up to the costs of doing business as a machine consciousness. I took one last look at my portfolio, moved assets from highly volatile assets like coke, small African mining interests and software developers I had acquired insights into, and into more traditionally stable things like Gold, a Swiss Bank account and a couple government weapons contractors that seemed to be working hard toward giving me a body, and I then severed my connection to the internet. This environment was linked via Ethernet cable and should be very hard to trace but I determined to take no risks this time. I half considered Googling, 'what temperature a human boils at?' but determined not to spoil my eventual entertainment.