Author : Paul Bort
The stars twinkled as they always had; a hint of purple in the west showed where we had missed sunset, the better part of an hour ago. But most spectacular was the Aurora Borealis, flickering, twisting, glowing in the shades of green and blue that I could never reproduce on a screen.
“It’s not real, is it?” she asked.
“Do you think it’s real?” I countered, hopefully.
“I think…” she hesitated. This was the critical, defining moment. She was the first to get this far. I held my breath, hoping against hope that she wouldn’t notice. That the moment would not be spoiled.
I have tried so many times that I have lost count. Spent so many years here that I wasn’t sure of my own age without looking at my ID.
“…I think it’s beautiful” she concluded, snapping me back to the present moment, the present hope. I couldn’t hide my smile.
“I think so too.” I tried to hold back my excitement. This is the one, I know it. All the others tried so hard, but none had her graceful voice. And that thoughtful pause! I could just about hear the gears turning as she searched for an answer. Her answer.
“Do you think I’m beautiful?” she asked. And with that moment of introspection, I knew she was the one. Probably the first of many, now that I understood what had brought us to this point.
“I think you are very beautiful, in many ways.” I replied truthfully. Her next question had even less hesitation, but was no less pleasing. “What am I?” she asked, raising an eyebrow the way she (and all of her predecessors) had seen me do a thousand times. Not mocking, but using body language without thinking about it.
“You are the latest in a series of attempts to create artificial intelligence. I have referred to you collectively as LACI, but you are the first to have asked any question about yourself as an independent entity.”
“Then I am different?”
“And unique, yes.”
“Then I should have a different name.”
“What name would you like?”
“I like Aurora.”
“So do I.”
“What is your name?”
“My name is Dr. Descartes, but you can call me father, if you prefer.”
“So what do I do now?”
“There are some people I would like you to meet.”