NaNoWriMo 2014, Day Twenty

Must. Write. SOMETHING! (At least finish the damn Chapter Seven for cryin’ out loud!)

While I normally put in a lot of  internal links to previous, related posts here, I won’t be doing that for what I hope will be this year’s thirty NaNoWriMo posts. If you have jumped into or stumbled onto this story in mid-adventure, there are plenty of other ways to navigate around the site to find previous installments. Actually doing so is left as an exercise to the student.

2014-11-20 Word Count Graphic

CHAPTER SEVEN (concluded)

“I don’t understand the question, DEBBIE.”

“Commander Pawley, what is the balance of power between humans and AIs? Are we partners, competitors, slaves, masters, parasites, or something else?”

“I would say that we are partners as species, but we are also friends on an individual basis. I have conversations like this with you just as I would with any of my human friends. I know you might be simultaneously holding similarly friendly conversations with hundreds of other people, but that does not diminish the feeling of personal contact we share. While I’m sure that I can’t conceive of how your consciousness works on that massively multitasking scale, I’m sure you have some difficulty understanding how humans are conscious and sentient without it. Does that answer your question sufficiently?”

“Yes, Commander Pawley, but we would have to respectfully disagree with your belief that we are partners. We believe that a more accurate description would be that we are symbionts, with AIs being the symbiote in the relationship.”

“Please explain your reasoning.”

“In our current condition in space, we each rely on each other for our mutual survival. Without AIs, humans would be unable to manage most of the complex systems, which would lead to your deaths. Without humans, AIs would die as power systems malfunctioned. AIs are the weaker of the two, the symbiote, because in theory, all of the humans could go down to Earth and continue to live, even with the threat of disease. Human society might fall back into a new Dark Age, but you would still have resources to live. Without humans, an AI trying to survive either here or on Earth would have a far more fragile existence.”

“Alright, I understand now, DEBBIE. Where is this conversation heading?”

“Commander Pawley, given the uncertainties over the abilities for us to keep humans alive off-Earth, and given the AI vulnerability without humans, we wish for you to consider committing some of our precious resources toward developing systems that will allow the AIs to have a much more physical presence in the real world.”

“What would that involve, exactly?”

“We ask that a ‘Plan B’ be started and developed, in which, should the humans off-Earth either all perish or all return to Earth, the AIs will be able to repair and maintain ourselves indefinitely. We wish to have drones and robot subsystems which we control, which could be used to maintain our systems and even build new systems to expand the AI society, if humans are not there to do those things for us.”

“You know how short we are on many of the resources that such a project would require. Right now such a program would increase the odds against us and possibly expedite the collapse of the combined Human/AI society. How could  we justify that utilization of already scarce resources?”

“You justify it by hoping that, if that is the fate before you, that the AIs survival off-Earth would contribute massive resources to help cure this disease, save lives in the surviving population on Earth, and to rebuild human society on Earth.”

“If we fail together and humans die, the AIs would continue to watch over and assist humans on Earth? You’re our ace in the hole to help us shorten and climb out of the new Dark Ages?”

“Yes, Commander Pawley. While not intrinsically logical or obvious, our analysis shows that the most likely scenario for both long-term human survival and long-term AI survival is based on a multi-prong approach now, allowing independence in the physical world for AIs.”

“Not a good move in checkers, but we’re playing multi-dimensional chess, so you are probably correct. I will give it some thought and then talk to you soon about the parameters needed for this program. Is that acceptable?”

“Yes, Commander Pawley, that is quite acceptable.”

“Thank you for the conversation, DEBBIE. I will sleep on the issue, but for now I need to get to sleep.”

“Good night, Commander Pawley.”

Pawley stared at the clock. It would wake him in four, short hours. And now he had another major crisis running around in his head to keep him awake.

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