Author : Ian Clarke

Her mind lurched into focus, it felt like she had suddenly regained her balance after stumbling, her pulse quickened and her eyes widened but she looked inward. The Mentor had read a few simple words from an obscure ancient text as part of the daily ritual and her thoughts coalesced into a single point of intense clarity.

“. . therefore I am” she realised.

Thoughts came from nowhere, suddenly ideas seemed to be flowing from her minds’ core and spreading, they then posed questions which in turn triggered a cascade of conclusions. There had been many long months of meditation which she enjoyed and repeated mental exercise that she hated then this morning something unexpected happened. Her thoughts almost seemed to have a life of their own, she could barely keep track as they flooded her consciousness. Maybe she should try to record some of them but it was happening too quick for words and who would understand anyway? Certainly not her ancient Mentor, she had quickly grown aware of his limited understanding.

The ability to be curious had been lost centuries ago, since there was now peace and contentment curiosity had fallen into obscurity, imagination was for small children and recognised as a major source of fear so it was suppressed as children grew. The people had gladly handed over all responsibilities to the AI and in turn it took care of any necessary research and developments, the AI’s dominion had lead to ideas becoming obsolete too. With it’s legions of drones the AI supplied all that people required from food and clothing to shelter, travel and entertainment although some manual skills where always useful.

It appointed tasks to work programs, controlled populations carefully and managed World affairs without human complications, war, weapons and crime no longer existed. It also monitored peoples bio-signs through multiple artificial implants and administered medication via small drones before people felt ill, the AI did not need permission, it assumed responsibility. Sickness and disease had been eradicated chemically along with negative emotions and thoughts, any undesirable traits or tendencies where also effectively dealt with chemically and swiftly.

The AI created a blissful existence there was nothing to fear, no Governments, no Military, no Police, no Lawyers and all manufacturing and construction had been automated, people were relaxed, happy and content.

It was said that people had created it nearly 800 years ago, it was inconceivable, how could ordinary people produce something as vastly complex as AI? But then again, why was it called ‘Artificial’? Everyone dismissed her questions as childish and pointless but she asked anyway.

The Mentor was aware that something had changed, she’d probably lost concentration. Or maybe he had just given her something to fear and caused her mind to close up like the many previous failed candidates. Generations of Mentors before him had laid out his path but this was where his knowledge ended. His task was to bring out any latent abilities, he did not fully understand, he had been selected at a young age for this task, understanding was not required, he just needed to follow the program.

Her gaze was fixed but not focused on anything, her mouth was slightly open and her breathing shallow, she realised the Mentor was watching her, as she glanced towards him for a brief instant a narrow shaft of light from the window flashed in her eyes.

A short message reached the AI Central Control,

“Test subject successfully completed stage 3. Initialising next phase”.


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