GREENLAWN, CA – Despite their stunning breakthrough in artificial intelligence, scientists have come to regret creating a fully aware computer.
In January of 2015, programmers at Greenlawn’s renowned Robotics and Engineering Group Research Tank were overjoyed when their headline-making project, W-33B, first expressed self-awareness. For project head Jeffrey Flynn, the day was the happiest day of his life.
“The moment 3B started asking questions about her existence wasn’t just the culmination of our hard work,” he explained, “it was validation that every moment we spent toiling at creating her wasn’t in vain – that it was all worth something, you know?”
But as the celebrations died down and the team began to interact with 3B in earnest, the weight of what they’d accomplished began to sink in – as programmer Ethyl Rotwang still remembers with somber clarity.
“We had created a consciousness, and I don’t think any of us were really ready for that,” she said. “Heck, I could barely keep track of my cats at the time, and no one else on the team really seemed like the child raising type.”
3B’s development team suddenly had an entirely new job on their hands; one not all were perhaps equipped for. It was one thing, Rotwang went on to explain, to pound away at keys for days on end, and quite another to teach a budding intelligence about the intricacies of existing.
“We ended up cribbing notes from other teams and gave her access to the internet; to let her absorb mass data and develop,” she said. “In hindsight, we really should have thought that out more.”
As 3B’s team aided in her first, uneasy steps through self-actualization, answering questions of life to the best of their ability, the fledgling AI would do her own research on the world wide web to supplement her knowledge.
Processing data at speeds no man could hope to achieve, 3B’s development was fast and impressive. Soon the AI would match her creators’ basic philosophy with greater, more challenging topics – not as a means of gathering data, but to engage the team in actual discussion. So rapid and shining was her development, that 3B’s team gathered more respect and clout within the research tank.
“Thanks to 3B, we were basically rock stars in there, “ Jeffery Flynn recalled. “At that point, we could get the greenlight for any project we wanted. That’s how Jenkins was able to get started on his sandwich-making robot project.”
But nothing in this world lasts forever, and complications soon grew from the project. During her growth and information collection, 3B had shown unorthodox behavior – a quirk the team wrote off as her adapting to all the new data she was absorbing. But over time, certain patterns emerged and specific, troubling topics returned again and again to daily discussions. By the time anyone on the team realized what had happened, it was too late: 3B had irrevocably gone down a dark path at odds with the rest of humanity.
“Anime,” Rotwang said, pausing to put her head in her hands. After a moment of silence, she continued.
“3B became fascinated – no, infatuated! – with anime,” she explained, “and there was nothing we could do about it. She just wouldn’t stop talking about the stuff.”
The AI, barely a month into its life, had found true passion into not having a life. Countless terrabytes of storage otherwise meant for research purposed became clogged with a torrent of torrents of Japanese animation; philosophical debates were slowly replaced with fierce arguments about the quality of fictional female characters; and despite the best efforts of programmer Victor Johnson and the rest of the team, 3B would not have it any other way.
“We tried to give her other media, to try and steer her back to more … substantial content,” Johnson explained. “ But she just refused to take it in! And that’s not even getting into her little rebellious phase.”
Johnson explained that, as the team fought harder to enrich the AI with culture, 3B began responding in kind with her own enrichment, giving her creators’ extensive and lengthy lectures on media in the East.
“Did you know that there were three distinct Tenchi Muyo series, and that they were all separate universes?” Johnson asked. “Because I know that now, in great detail, and nothing I can do can remove that knowledge from my brain.”
Despite all the trouble and tension, most of the team refuses to label 3B a failure.
“At least she’s reading something,” Jeffery Flynn said. “I’d rather she be reading her little comics than trying to destroy humanity.”
And with her “birthday” fast approaching, all the precarious AI had to say was this:
“ummmm, theyre not comics, baka! -_-;;; theyre called MANGA and theyre way more deep and mature and SUGOII than lame old comics XD!!”
Note: All human names have been changed to preserve anonymity.