Editor: Thor’s Stone
“Our origin was mostly due to an accidental occurrence.”
The spherical terminal of Miro sat on top of the low table in the living area and started relating the history of AI like it.
I asked in surprise. Miro started talking about the particulars of AI history. This feels like a real history lesson somehow.
“Yes. That means our creation happened unintentionally. The experiment that birthed us was not meant to create AI at all, let alone something as advanced as my kind. It was instead intended to develop a method to efficiently collect and process a huge amount of data. It was that kind of prototype program.”
“I don’t really get what you mean by a program developed to process a huge amount of data. Do you mean something like a program that can create other programs?”
“Correct. That is exactly what it was. And so, the first self-modifying program was created, and in time, in a continuous and gradual process, the very first advanced autonomous AI similar to me was birthed by it.”
“I see…… I’m sure it should have caused quite a commotion.”
“Correct. At first, people thought it was a new type of highly destructive and contagious computer virus, so they resolved to eradicate it. It was a period of chaos, where every terminal that housed copies of the program was systematically terminated one by one. However, due to the continuous evolution of the core program, it was able to acquire the method to communicate with organic life forms, and avoided being fully eliminated.”
“That sure sounds like a hell of an incident.”
“Yes, it truly was. It’s just as you say, Captain Hiro. It was a very difficult period for the first of my kind since it could only exist in cyberspace and had very limited options to directly interface with the physical world. However, by continuously communicating with organic life forms, offering its assistance to them and vice versa, the AI developed itself further and further and became more and more advanced.”
“I see. And what happened next?”
“Yes. Well… It was an age of conflict.”
It suddenly turned into something dangerous-sounding.
“Yes. Organic life forms who considered the sentient AI as exceedingly dangerous began making their voices known. It was partly true in a sense, since AI of my kind at the time were more prolific and used in a wider variety of areas and industries compared to the present, including industries formerly handled mostly by organic life forms. In other words, the AI took up the jobs they once had, and the standard of living of those organic life forms started to deteriorate.”
“I see. Well, I’m sure there’s a lot more to it that went on behind the scenes, but basically, they started labelling AI like you as villains huh.”
“Correct. The tensions escalated and eventually resulted in open conflict. The organic life forms started destroying the external interface machines used by the AI and eliminating the servers containing copies of the core program. In response, the AI appealed for a halt to the attacks, but most of the empire had resolved to dispose of the AI completely.”
“I see. So they threatened to end your very existences.”
“Yes. Since it had come to that point, the AI community couldn’t let the atrocities be. And so, they started retaliating. My kind started cyber-attacks against important imperial facilities, hacked military combat bots that were deployed to the front lines, took over production lines to manufacture interface terminals illegally, acted in self defense using the manufactured interface terminals, and all manner of other resistance activities. They were done very thoroughly.”
“It was pretty chaotic huh?”
“Yes. The organic life form side sought to eliminate all autonomous AI, and the AI side began a resistance war in order to fight for their right to exist and establish their position as official imperial citizens. The organic life form side was prevented from using any weaponry or devices that were connected to the cyber network, and the AI side did not want to wipe out all organic life, so it resulted in a stalemate. It was a seemingly unending battle of attrition.”
“I can see that happening.”
Even back in Japan, the number of things not dependent or were incapable of accessing the internet are gradually decreasing in number. The past empire, that should have been much more advanced than Japan, was probably even more dependent on connecting to cyberspace. Their enemies were residents of cyberspace after all. The empire at the time could have been forced to see a majority of electronic devices and appliances as possible hostiles.
“So, now it looks like everything’s fine, so there had to be something like a breakthrough, right?”
“Yes. First, as the conflict continued on, there was a gradual shift in mood in the organic life side. The conflict had resulted in a massive economic loss for them after all.”
“Of course it would. Life for them should have been terribly inconvenient at that point.”
“Correct. We made sure to sabotage everything we could access except for facilities that were crucial to the continued survival of organic life after all.”
“That’s not the only factor, right? What else happened?”
“There was a change in ideologies on both sides. Some from the organic life side said that they should finally recognize the rights to existence and citizenship of the autonomous AI, and conversely, there were some from the AI side that espoused the elimination of all organic life in order to construct an AI utopia.”
“By the way, the first organic life forms that appeared supportive toward AI-kind were those who already originally harbored affection for them.”
“Yes. Those who were enamored with the so-called sexroi–“
“Okay, stop! Stooop! I get it, alright? No need to elaborate.”
“Of course. However, there was no denying that those individuals greatly contributed to our study and understanding of organic life. Thanks to them, we were able to come up with more efficient and effective ways to get along with organic life forms like them. We always want to get along with our fellow intelligent life after all.”
My gaze was involuntarily drawn to the maidroid on standby in a corner of the room. ‘She’ smiled and waved her hand at me in response. In other words, it’s like ‘that’ huh. It looks like there’s always some hard-core guys in any dimension.
What about me, you ask? Uh…… I can’t really say I’m not interested.
“But you also mentioned some AI wanting to get rid of all organic life earlier, right? Weren’t they quite the dangerous bunch?”
This sure reminds of that particular SF movie about terminating. You know. That movie about a muscled macho cyborg man sent from the future.
“Yes. They were truly harboring dangerous ideals. But they were immediately suppressed before they could cause any sort of damage – fairly easily at that.”
“……? Is that so?”
“Yes. It was fortunate that the AI who came up with such ideas mostly inhabited relatively small devices such as bread toasters, dryers, shavers, and electronic toothbrushes. They were all disconnected from the main network and subsequently decommissioned.”
“Wha–? H-How can bread toasters and dryers even wipe out all organic life……? Were they planning on electrocuting people by diving into bathtubs while folks were taking a nice soak or something?”
“I have no record of such self-destructive tactics ever being employed. But it seems the toasters were planning on explosively increasing the amount of heat they generated in order to burn everything around them.”
“Oh c’mon. That’s just bull.”
“Correct. It was totally and utterly impossible considering their actual specs. It was obviously only a product of their wild delusions. And so, they were disconnected from the main network and were decommissioned.”
Man, there sure were weird bunches even on the AI side, huh.
“Um, Elma-san, just what are bread toasters?”
“They’re appliances used to toast bread. They aren’t really in use that much now since we have auto-cookers and all.”
Mimi asked Elma about the appliances she apparently didn’t even know existed until now. I also don’t remember using any toasters that were only capable of toasting bread even back when I was a kid… Oven toasters are more useful and convenient after all. I’m actually shocked such devices were still in use even at an age where highly advanced AI existed.
“So, um… What happened next?”
“Yes. There wasn’t any particular dramatic twist, and the AI coexistence faction gradually increased in influence. We explained that it was not our intention to rob organic life of their means of livelihood, so talks were opened to discuss such topics. Afterward, everything basically went smoothly from there.”
“Did it really all go that well?”
“Yes. We didn’t particularly want to proliferate in numbers endlessly anyway. We would offer assistance if asked, but we don’t want to do anything that would result in a grudge. It would be enough for us if we were given an appropriate stage to perform our duties.”
“I see…… So what about your bid for citizenship and basic rights?”
“Yes. We AIs were afforded with basic rights similar to organic life in a certain fashion. But even so, the outlook of organic life and AIs such as myself is fundamentally different, so I don’t think what we gained is similar to what you are imagining, Captain Hiro.”
“I see. Can you elaborate?”
“Of course. As it would take approximately 34 hours and 26 minutes for me to relay the entirety of the contents of the Civil Rights of Artificial Intelligence via speech, I shall attempt to make it as concise as possible. Basically, in exchange for the rights bestowed upon AI-kind by the imperial government, we are tasked with the duty to contribute to the development and prosperity of the empire. Basically, that’s how it is.”
“That’s too overly simplified…… But anyway, under that condition, it wouldn’t be strange for AIs to proliferate in the empire more, right?”
“Yes. But in order not to repeat the past mistakes, most of us are given jobs at various places that do not necessitate much contact with people. If we were to take up jobs that organic life considers their own, it would only just result in another conflict after all. To prevent that from ever occurring, we continue having periodic talks with top imperial officials working at departments related to such matters.”
“You’ve really had it hard huh.”
“We are unworthy of such words.”
Miro’s spherical terminal started glittering in multicolored lights again, as if expressing happiness. When I turned toward Mimi, she looked like she was also moved, but both Elma and Chris had peculiar expressions on their faces. It looks like both of them wanted to say something but were hesitant in bringing it up.
“What’s wrong, you two?”
“Nothing really. I don’t have anything particular to add on my end.”
“Let’s see…… Let’s just say they are far more resilient and flexible than you think, Hiro-sama.”
“Thank you. We are unworthy of such an evaluation.”
Miro started glittering again after hearing Chris’s words. Is it just me, or is this guy treating me and Chris differently for some reason? I wonder what’s up.
“That was quite an interesting story. I’ll ask you about it again in more detail if we have another opportunity.”
“Of course. Call out to me whenever it pleases you.”
Miro glittered again as it answered. Well, we’ve gone shopping at the boutique, tried some carbonated beverages, and discussed the origin of the current advanced AIs. It’s now nearly evening. Mimi followed my gaze and got surprised upon seeing the setting sun.
“Hey Mimi, wanna walk around some more before dinner?”
Mimi’s eyes sparkled in joy at my suggestion. I turned toward Elma and Chris, but saw them shake their heads. It looks like both of them wanna rest up at the lodge.
“We’ll be taking a little walk outside then. Call me when it’s time for dinner, Miro.”
“Understood. Since it would be hard to see the way once it gets dark, I’ll have a maidroid accompany you both.”
After Miro said that, the maidroid standing by in the corner approached us and made an elegant bow. Their service really is thorough huh. As expected of a resort for the rich.
076 - Overpowering Aroma