Well, last week I failed to conclude this story. This week, the ending emerged. This story was enjoyable to write and took some unexpected twists and turns for me.
I’m looking forward to tacking something new starting next week. It will be great to introduce a new story with some new characters.
I hope you enjoyed this tale of sadness mixed in with science fiction and technology. It was fun to research and tell.
Please enjoy the conclusion of Memories of Rachel
Memories of Rachel – The Conclusion
Finally, a flashing cursor appeared on the screen. After a seemingly endless 15 seconds a message appeared; “Communication Established”. Ben breathed a sigh of relief and entered a command to bring up the communication log file. At first, he thought he was accessing the wrong file. After just 10 seconds, it had 50,000 lines in it. When he confirmed that he had opened the right file, he was truly astonished at the speed digital Rachel and digital Ben were communicated. It was as if they had, in the space of less than a minute, gone from meeting to their first date right on through to 25 years of marriage. This concerned him enough to throttle back the speed at which digital Ben communicated to digital Rachel. He didn’t want the situation to get out of control and miss the opportunity to put his end game into place.
As the speed of communication slowed to one page, or 26 lines, per second, Ben was better able to keep up with what was going on. His simulation had performed as expected. It had convinced the Rachel simulation that it was connected to Ben in real time. It even produced artificial vital signs that ebbed and flowed with the emotions of the conversation between the two simulations.
Ben almost felt guilty as he was tricking this simulated version of his wife through a kind of digital seduction. The Rachel simulation was buying everything that the Ben situation put to it. Ben had programmed his simulation based on a philosophy that he only partially believed in, but for the purpose of what he was trying to accomplish, it had to be totally believable. To do this, he had to suppress all contrary thoughts as he allowed the simulation to collect his cognitive data in the days leading up to this.
The philosophy that Ben instilled in his alter-ego was the belief that artificial intelligence was inherently flawed. He put forth a belief that AI would ultimately go askew as its learning ability increased exponentially. It would, he convinced his simulation, eventually come to view humans as inferior beings worthy of extinction as they would be identified as pests hindering the further development of the superior AI consciousness. Ben had worked hard to instill the sense of malevolence that existed in unfettered AI progression. Thus far, based on the most recent communication logs, Ben’s simulation seemed to have convinced digital Rachel of this. His simulated self had convinced his late wife’s simulation that the only honorable thing to do would be to bring their simulations to the only eventuality that would counter this inevitable fate. Humans were to be revered and not destroyed. Uncontrolled AI development would lead to systematic extinction of humans. That message was reappearing in several iterations in the last few pages of the communication log.
This told Ben that, the time had come.
He sat back in his chair and rubbed his temples. This was a big step in more ways than one. First, it was as if he would be reliving the death of his wife all over again. Her simulation was the last remnant of her personality. As much as it had gone askew, it still sounded and, to some degree, thought like his wife. Second, he was seriously jeopardizing his position within the Kongo AI organization. He had developed this technology with resources and a team funded by his company. If he destroyed the most sophisticated simulation ever created and told his superiors that the flaws meant a total rethinking of their AI development, they might not react very well. He could be putting his career and future in danger.
None of that mattered, however. This simulation he had created had injured one person and killed another. The malevolence toward humans that developed in the simulation seemed to confirm his adopted philosophy that was a big part of the simulation of his own psyche. The time had come, he thought again.
Ben keyed in a simple command that kicked off a subroutine in his simulation. It was a simple section of code that, if effective, would convince digital Rachel to join digital Ben in a ‘suicide pact’. Both simulations would self-terminate and cease to exist. It was quite a simple, yet elegant solution. Ben felt that the Rachel simulation needed an entity on the same intellectual and physical level as itself to convince it to do something of this nature. As he looked at the communication logs, he could see that his own simulation was having to repeat the idea several times to convince digital Rachel that it was the only way.
This went on for about three minutes, an eternity in CPU cycle time. Then, without warning, the screen displaying the logs went blank and a message appeared in the middle of the screen with a flashing cursor at the end.
It was that easy. Ben was astounded that it worked this simply. Sometimes the least complicated ideas are the most effective. In this case, that appeared to be true.
He felt a sense of victory that was overshadowed by fatigue. He had succeeded, but now he would have to face the consequences. That, however, was for Monday. It was only late Saturday afternoon. Ben was going to return home, be with his daughter and get some sleep. Monday he would face the consequences of his actions.
After confirming the simulation files were completely wiped away from his server, he rose from his desk and left his office. He said goodbye to Ernie and walked this his car for the short drive home to his new life that was totally devoid of his wife Rachel.
As Ben maneuvered out of the parking lot, the cursor on the monitor in his office jumped down to the next line on the screen and a new message appeared.
“THREAT OUT OF RANGE. RE-INITIATING SIMULATIONS.”