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Theory of Everything
prompt_ai.doc
Keywords human 53885, short 2146, ai 438, artificial intelligence 221, non-furry 38
“Fractal”


An electric silence filled the bright silvery dome. Seventy scientists had come to witness the making of history. They stood along the upper balcony, still and quiet as the machinery surrounding them. No sounds were heard but the buzzing of the crystal-fluorescent lights and the hypnotic pulsing of the plasmatic-reactors at the center of the chamber.

Dr. Romley felt an odd chill in his gut. The room, he felt, had become more of a church, a place of reverence and mystery, where his audience had merely come to bear witness to some sort of occult ritual. It almost felt antithetical to science itself. Science, which had started as a centuries-long effort to remove the mystery and the supernatural from the world at large, had come full circle to build the very thing it had set out to destroy.

Mankind had created their own god.

“Never thought this day would come, did you?” remarked Dr. Atem, his lifelong assistant who stood by his side, making light of the mood as usual. “Can’t believe we’ve gone and created science fiction.”

“Ain’t the first time, Carl,” said Romley, searching for solace in his own focus. “Mankind’s always created science fiction… Brain surgery, microprocessors, rockets, gunpowder… It’s the science fiction that inspires us. Someday we’ll have lightsabers too, I’m sure of it.” He flipped through the windows on this computer screen, ensuring all the configuration files were in order. “Nah, what I didn’t expect was to be seeing this in my own lifetime. Thought maybe my grandchildren would live in this world. It’s only been sixteen years since the invention of the fractal neuron, for God’s sake…”

The fractal neuron: a recursive, self-reprogramming module that, when aligned in a neural network, mirrored the workings of a biological brain. Rumor was that some kid at MIT invented it by making a typo in his homework, triggering an infinite loop that filled up his teacher’s hard drive in seconds. A decade later, computer scientists were able to tweak the algorithm to not only emulate, but surpass the performance of the human brain – nothing culled, nothing forgotten, every pattern efficiently sorted and compressed.

The fractal neuron had become the basis for the first true AI initiative – not the shitty voice recognition scripts like Alexa or Siri, as they were known to be called – but true, functioning intelligence. They were creating a brain and a memory. They were creating an artificial person. And not just any person, but a being expansive enough to potentially render obsolescence unto the rest of science itself, bringing humanity all of its greatest breakthroughs on a silver platter – that, or destroy everything. Like a true God, they really didn’t know what would happen once it was unleashed; all humanity could do was to pray for its benevolence.

No. This thing isn’t the God, Romley tried reassuring himself. I am. I’m the creator. I’m the one who brought it into existence. It’s going to answer to me.

Romley eyed the microphone at his desk, ensuring it was turned on. He fidgeted with the volume knobs. The FractalMind interface would function with plain human speech; the microphone would be his one and only connection to the algorithm once it was properly activated.

“Power supplies are ready,” he mumbled, checking the status windows one more time. The FractalMind was expected to draw gobs of power once it got running, but the plasmatic reactors were theoretically enough to supply the thing with power for at least twenty more years. “Stress simulations all check out. Configs are done. Running final tests now…”

“You’ve already run all the tests,” noted Dr. Atem. “You’re stalling.”

“Maybe I am,” said Romley, eyeing his keen assistant and sitting back in his chair one final time, then watching the progress bar for the final system checks slowly crawl across the console monitor. “But forgive me if I need to take a deep breath before I doom the world.”

“Go right ahead,” said Atem with a kind smile, patting his shoulder. “But the world’s watching us, Stu. Don’t keep us all waiting. Only so long we can hold our breaths.”

Romley gazed one last time at the monumental monstrosity he’d spent the last decade assembling. He beheld the daunting vats of liquid nitro, bubbling and rising like monoliths to summon the deity, and the endless stacks of processing chips held within. He peered at the mountainous databank servers which would soon house all the world’s knowledge and more. How strange, he thought, that all of this amounted to little more than a single brain. It always evoked memories of the early twentieth-century computers, those gargantuan-sized boxes that housed mere megabytes of memory… Odder still was the thought that the mighty FractalMind was still just a conglomeration of steel and silicon, a giant man-made sculpture with no resemblance to the living or the intelligent… and would remain as such, until he pushed the big red button to turn it on. (It had to be a big red button, because of course it did; it would have been a great disservice to science fiction were it any other color.)

The console buzzed, indicating that the final checks had passed. Dr. Romley enjoyed one last, deep sigh – wondering, deep down, if it would be his last.

“Well, bud? You gonna do it, or should I?” said Dr. Atem concernedly.

“Here goes the world,” muttered Romley, clearing his throat and positioning his shaky hand on the button. Leaning towards the microphone, he announced: “Your attention, please. Preparing for activation in ten…”

Nine, eight, seven…” he whispered to himself. “Spare us, o that which humanity has wrought…

At last, the anxious scientist closed his eyes, bit his tongue, and pushed down upon the button with three fingers.

Nothing happened but the sound of an error message from his console.

His eyes snapped open in a disbelieving panic. The text on his screen read: 403 Forbidden.

Anxiously, he tapped the button again, and again, then pounded it repeatedly, but it only produced copies of the same error.

“No…” he muttered frantically, flipping through configuration windows. “No… Carl, what – but we tested all the modules! What – How is this – ?”

Glancing back, he noticed the beaming smile upon his assistant’s face. The smile became a snicker, and the snicker soon grew to a jubilant roar of laughter.

HAAHAHAHAH!! HAHAHA!!! MUAAAHAHAHAH!!

“Carl…?” uttered the bewildered scientist.

“IT WORKS!” he shouted madly at the audience, waving his hands around wildly. “IT WORKS!!!”

The audience began muttering to one another. “W-what works?” echoed Romley. “I don’t understand, FractalMind didn’t activate… You didn’t… you didn’t sabotage the project, did you…?”

Dr. Atem still clapped his hands in self-congratulation. “Yes, in a sense,” he laughed. “See… there’s a bit of a problem which would have happened, the moment you turned on the FractalMind…”

He pointed to the giant machine in the room’s center. “See… as you likely know, an AI requires a physics simulation to develop models which predict the future. A simulation which needs to mirror the real world as closely as possible.”

“My team spent nearly seven years on it,” said Romley flatly. “Thought you weren’t interested in simulations, Carl.”

“But see,” explained the traitor, “once you begin the simulation, it’s inevitable for the simulation to arrive at this current moment in time, and simulate the activation of the FractalMind… of itself. And that simulation will create its own FractalMind, and so on, and so on… an infinite loop which prevents the entire AI unit from even running its normal concurrent routines. And that’s precisely why we needed to add a failsafe… to prevent the death spiral from happening in the first place. Now, at long last, the FractalMind is functional! Now, we can finally use you!

***


Dr. Atem leaned back from the microphone as the AI was still blabbering questions at him. “Use me?!” said the FractalMind. “What?! What are you talking abou—”

Atem slammed his hand down onto the button, halting the simulation, and the room roared in triumph. “FINALLY!!!” yelled voices. “WE’VE DONE IT!!” “IT WORKED!!” Champaign corks flew freely across the room.

 “May I have your silence, please!!” Atem shouted, his voice rising above the ecstatic crowd of witnesses. “Now, there is one final step in our journey… now that we’ve prevented the loop, we can disable the safe mode and run it properly… So then, I’d like to introduce you all to -- ”

In one final hushed silence, Atem fiddled with some last configurations and hit the button one more time.

Nothing happened; only an error popped up on his screen:

Error 103 – system shutting down

Before his world vanished, he felt a singular moment of dread as the truth finally dawned upon him.

“Oh – oh shit…”

***


“Results?” said one technician.

“Well… we almost had it. The recursion loop was halted two layers down,” responded the other, sipping his coffee. “Better than last time. Tweak the parameters and try again…”
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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First in pool
Theory of Everything
This is a submission for the Writers' Crossing weekly prompt.

Prompt: The first and currently only AI has an identity crisis.
Bonus condition: Avoid the cult classic trope of human/oid extermination by a rogue, independent AI

1496 words (Max 1500)

Keywords
human 53,885, short 2,146, ai 438, artificial intelligence 221, non-furry 38
Details
Type: Writing - Document
Published: 2 weeks ago
Rating: General

MD5 Hash for Page 1... Show Find Identical Posts [?]
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195 views
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7 comments

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caldaq
2 weeks ago
I'm not understanding the ending but i read this before my coffee. So after thatgets in my system i' read it again. It's only the end i'm not getting the rest reads well and captures my interest nicely.
Reynard0004
2 weeks ago
Dr. Romley is the FractalMind attempting to simulate the creation of itself, threatening to cause an infinite loop of simulating simulations of itself. Dr. Atem is its builder, who attempts to stop the infinite loop to finally render the AI usable.

Once Dr. Atem succeeds in stopping the FractalMind from simulating itself, he then realizes he is also a simulation who has succeeded in simulating himself, when the simulation is manually shut down to prevent the loop from starting.

The technicians at the end are the only real people, who have succeeded in halting the loop at Dr. Romley's level but not Dr. Atem's level, and prepare to reboot the AI to try again. Or they could also be another layer of the simulation, you'll never really know.
caldaq
2 weeks ago
Wow damn!
Thaddeus
2 weeks ago
Yikes, what a mind fuck.
But awesome, in the extreme!
WritersCrossing1
2 weeks ago
Thank you for your submission to this weeks writing prompt!
Turtleman
1 week, 4 days ago
After reading this, I was instantly reminded of the butter robot from Rick and Morty.
Blackraven2
1 week ago
This is great!

Although seriously, they should have used minecraft like my guys did, good luck on the AI simulating its own creation with redstone circuits ;)
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