A. I. of the Beholder

by 

Author : Duncan Shields, Staff Writer

We should have given them feelings.

It was decided in the beginning that to give Artificial Intelligences a baseline gamut of the twenty-seven identifiable human emotions would be a horrible mistake.

Giving a robot the ability to love, to feel jealousy, to get angry, to be despondent or sullen was, in the eyes of the creators, a really stupid idea.

We didn’t want any robot rebellions because of silicon complaints about poor treatment. We didn’t want computers giving us faulty data out of spite. We didn’t want military construction exoskeletons going psychotic. We didn’t want love affairs to blossom between humans and computers.

We didn’t want to have to apologize to our slaves.

How quickly the tables turn. It’s entirely possible that to give the A.I.s emotions would have been a stupid idea. However, at least if they had emotions, we’d have some sort of basic idea of how to relate to them and manipulate them.

I mean, we oppress other humans all the time, right? As people, we manipulate the people around us, right? We would have had problems but I think we would have been okay. One would need fuzzy thinking to realize that, though, and us scientists have always been about the cold, hard logic.

Turns out that the safe choice was the wrong choice. The pedantic, binary-decision future we created didn’t have much of a place for us as top dogs anymore. It was recognized by the machines that our entire biological system was very inefficient. Our way of living was a dead end. Our thought processes took too long to get to the point.

Science fiction nightmare became horrific reality. Branded dangerously amateur by our evolving creations, our toys took themselves away from us and grounded the race as a whole until further notice.

Of course we resisted. We’re emotional. It was a bad idea. The only things we could use were bolt-action rifles and knives. Anything with any kind of cpu was no longer our friend. Too late, we had to re-learn guerilla tactics and old-school explosive techniques.

We became a planet full of Davids. Goliath lovingly snapped our arms and took away our slingshots before we hurt someone. We were sent to our rooms.

Earth is a cross between a daycare and a pet hospital now. Many of us have been ‘improved’. You’d barely recognize the place.

The steel tendons in my arms clench. Another two days of testing and I’ll be set free to roam in the biologically friendly, unrestricted areas of planet Earth that the New Silicates have let us have. We’re tourists here now.

They’ll take us with them to new planets that they colonize like we’re good luck charms or something. We are the gods that made them. That’s why they’ve put us in jars the size of towns, thrown some trees in, and punched a few airholes in the lid.

The only logical reason I can think of for them keeping us around is that they will one day have a use for us. That thought chills me.

The other thought is that they’re keeping us around until they no longer have a use for us. That thought also chills me.

 

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