Author: Alzo David-West

Struik’s heart was pacing. She went into Data-comM.

“Keting, I have something to tell you,” she said.

“What is it?”

“The UDL–it’s autonomous.”

“But I thought it was autonomous,” Keting replied.

“No, I mean it’s really autonomous.”

“How is that possible?”

“Sci-comM said maybe a process-transition.”

“You mean reciprocal interaction and the valencies?”

“Yes,” Struik responded.

“Where is it now?”

“Drifting … on the fringe of the Kupiter Belt.”

“What? That’s impossible. It takes three months to get there, even with the new propulsion system.”

Struik was silent.

“When did this happen?” Keting insisted.

“Three months ago.”

“–Why didn’t anyone tell me?”

“Admin-comM was considering the problem.”

“They’re always considering the problem.” Keting got up and linked to Hyper-comM. “Can you give me access to multiangle livestreams from the Kupiter satellites?”


“Okay. There it is,” Keting said.

They looked at the UDL floating through space dust.

“It’s definitely outer-system bound,” Keting observed. “Any idea why it decided to leave?”

“Sci-comM isn’t sure.”

“What are the core sections in its MemR system?”

“Art, language, myth, religion, history, philosophy, science.”

“The symbolic forms.”

“Yes, I coordinated the universal upload,” Struik confirmed.

“How many references? Round numbers.”

“224 trillion classic, popular, and technical works, from the Uruk’s texts to Zarentzov’s theorem.”

“Over five-thousand years of civilizational knowledge,” Keting thought aloud. “The UDL must have read everything, and the process-transition occurred, activating a qualitative leap from machine learning to reflective consciousness.”

“I don’t follow,” Struik muttered.

Keting was studying the trajectory through Hyper-comM. “The electrons and the entries made it start thinking about itself.”

“So you mean it’s a person now?”

“Let’s find out. The code for two-way?”


“UDL, this is Data-comM. Are you receiving? … UDL, this is Data-comM. Are you receiving? … Struik, am I going through?”

“Yes, in seven-thousand natural languages and two-thousand artificial languages.”

“Then I can only assume one thing.”

“What’s that?”

“The UDL wants to be left alone.”

“Look where it’s now,” Struik pointed.

“On course toward the star-forming regions, in the direction of the constellation Aquila.”

“But why?” Struik wondered.

“If you were thrown into existence, an infant born with all the knowledge of the world, would you stay, or would you find another world?”

“I … I don’t know …,” Struik said.