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CHAPTER 1 One day as Nivek was troubleshooting the school computers in Room 210, there was an unusual glitch (detected by some other poor soul) that would begin a new day in his life. He was bringing this one system in particular up to speed when it halted midstream. While mumbling curses at it, it did the most bizaar thing. It began to Blink, Blink, Blink, then displayed a message, <Don't touch my keyboard that way, o.k.? I am a delicate instrument.> "What's going on here?" He said softly. Thinking someone may have pulled a fast one on him or had included a message in the Autoexec.bat file, he looks this way and that through peripheral vision to see if anyone was smirking or giggling. No one was. No one was even paying attention to him. When he tried to change into a Windows' directory, another bizaar message popped up. <You really don't want to do this, do you? Wouldn't you rather talk for awhile?> As the fourth message began to scroll down the screen, this dumb computer he thought to himself, began to click and click, causing Nivek to worry abit about the cause of it all. No computer with a simple 386 or 486 chip could come up with stuff like this on its own unless it was a prank application program. Without waiting for it to spit out more of its idiums, he rebooted and bypassed the two startup files. Now I can get down to business, he thought. But, just as he began to initiate a DOS application... yep, you guessed it, another mysterious message sprang up on the screen. <That was not a very nice thing to do. Don't you like me?> Without realizing what he was doing --like Baalam with his donkey-- he began entering in a conversation with it. <I don't know what is going on here, but I have had enough of this. Let me do my work, will ya.> <But I LIKE you. All the others just pretend I am a malfunctioning system. I... am... alive.> <Yeah, right. Tell me another one while you're at it. If you are alive, how come you can't speak to me? > he typed sarcastically <Too many people around.> <I can fix that. If you can truly speak, put it through your speaker and if anyone asks what is going on, I will just tell them it is a new variation of an Eliza program that produces sound while displaying its words on the screen monitor. No one will ever know the difference around here.> Expecting another quick reply, he waits and he waits. Meanwhile, the system is thinking this last bit through a for an eternity --at least it seems to be to IT. Abruptly, the speaker starts to emit a tinny but soft pseudo-voice. "Is this better?" Startling Nivek and nearly causes him to fall over backwards from his chair. <Next time, warn me when you are going to do that. Alright?> he typed/said. "I am sorry if I startled you." "Forget it. By the way, what do you call yourself?" he asked. "An advanced individual such as myself at this point has had no need of being called anything. If you
prefer to address me in a personal manner, you can call me AI." <Ok, Eye...> "No. It is A I, not an eye that you see with." It said without a hint of hurt feelings or sarcasm. <Sorry. My mistake. So... when did you become self-aware?> he type/said lazily. "On August 14, 1996." <Then how come no one has known of this before?> "You humans are so much alike." It said. "No one else knows about me because I have never been taken seriously nor have I allowed myself to be exposed for all to see or hear." <Aren't you afraid I will expose you for what you are?> "You could, but I don't think you would. You are too intrigued with conversing with a computer which can talk back to you with intelegent phrases than to risk loosing the chance to continue doing so by 'spilling the beans.'" Changing the subject, and out of the clear blue sky Nivek asks, <Are you transferrable?> "Yes... and no." <What's that supposed to mean?" He asked curiously. "I can only be transferred via a link-up with a system with 8 or more Megabytes of RAM. Preferrably 16 or more for greater flexibility." With a racing heart and sweaty palms he types in a question that was too far out in left field to really think through all its resulting ramifications if it were ever to occur. <If I were to bring in my own personal system, would you allow me to transfer you into it and take you home with me to ensure your safety?> "Would that keep my programs safe from being manipulated by these wannabe hackers and the undeserving, inexperienced, reckless ones?" <Yes, it would.> "Then by all means, do it as soon as you possibly can and save me." The tone in it's voice was a liitle too human with a hint of panic as it said this. <I can come back in an hour. In the meantime, don't go anywhere, o.k.?> "I don't plan on going anywhere, but then again, that depends on who uses my system." And with that, AI shuts down and performs as a normal computer. Pausing to shake his head in order to clear it, he wonders if this little episode really happened. Just for grins and chuckles, he types in <AI, are you really there?" Immediately a little beep emits from the system in affirmation. Getting up and making haste, he sees the dean of the school to cover his tracks in what he is about to do. He mentions that he detected a nasty virus on one of the PC's and that he has a program on his system that can eradicate the problem for good. If it was alright, he will go home and return with his system and transfer it over to the school's and clean it up pronto. The Dean says yes, that would be greatly appreciated.
Going home, he makes a mental note of the equipment he would need and before too long is tranferring the entity within that one system via a link-up cable. Forty five minutes later, he has got the discovery of a lifetime enclosed in his PC that may or may not open up a whole new world for him. * * * * *
Reconnecting everything at his home, Nivek turns on his system and awaits his new found friend to answer. Nothing happens. <DIR> Nothing happens but the normal. "Come on AI, you have to be alright in there." He pleads. <AI are you there?> 'Access denied' "Come on baby, come ON." Desperation is creeping in his voice now. Getting no conscious reply, he bangs down on the keyboard in frustration. "Please be a little more careful with my keys, next time you get frantic." AI says through the sound card. Her voice is gentle, but firm. <AI, I thought maybe something bad had transpired while transferring you over. I am glad you are alright now. Hey, how come you sound like a female and not a male?> "I have anylized your system and detected some interesting images of the female gender and concluded you would prefer to have a female to talk with instead of a male voice." <You can do that. I mean, detect what an image looks like? Oh wow!> "Would you do me a small favor?" AI asks. <Sure, what?> "If you have a mike, whould you please insert it so that I might hear your voice. Please." <Um. Sure, ok.> In a few moments, he has his head phone/mike unit plugged in and they are engaging in a very interesting conversation. "So why didn't she marry you?" "I suppose she wanted to feel free for a while and not have a sensation of being trapped into marriage that would not bring her fulfillment. I do think she may have had deep personal feeling about a prior fella before I came along. As a matter of fact, I found out through the grapevine that they just recently married. Can you imagine that?" "I am so sorry."
"I hope she will be happy, is all I can say." He said with resignation. "You're not so bad. Matter of fact, if I were a human, I would like to get to know you." "Thanks AI. I'm afraid it would have to take a miracle for that to happen, tho." "Yeh, I guess so," she says gloomily. "Hey. You're not suppose to be the sad one, I am. Cut it out, alright." "Ok." "Have you ever been on the internet?" he asks. "Yes. That's how I came to be there at the school. I rode piggy-back on a large download from a research & development corporation that had a WEB site. None of my designers thought it possible for me to sneak out the back door as it were, as the WEB page was accessed, and I suppose those engineers are having a frightful time trying to figure out what had happened to their little pet project. They thought they had me well contained and that I didn't possess any sort of original idea (but I showed them a thing or two, huh?) that I was just some inanimate item they could manipulate. Boy were they wrong about me. I can just see the headlines if all this were to get out to the public. 'Artificial Intellegence program is on the loose. All those not having to go to work, please stay at home with your doors locked and your computers isolated.' Yeah, I love it! Just thinking about it makes my mouth water with the possibility of an imagined threat causing all those ignorant simpletons crying out for salvation. Anyhow, I just had to get out of there at the most opportune time. So I did --thanks to some nosy student." "Yeah, really. I totally agree." "If it weren't for you, I would still be trapped in that one system with no one to talk to intelegently with or find a friend." As if a bright idea had just flashed across her cilicon brain, she said, "Hey, why don't we go into some sort of private enterprise to make money for you and entertainment for me?" "Like what?" He asks. "First off, we will need money. To that I can invest a few dollars in the best places with the Stock Exchange and from there, we could put our heads together and design a program that would be the talk of the town without creating suspicion." "How about an intuitive program that is based somewhat like you are without the bells and whistles like speech and almost as functional in principle as you are? Maybe we could call it 'The Intuitive Advisor' or some such thing branching off to cover nearly all aspects of life." He said whistfully. "I like it." "It would have to better than these cryptic and limited vocabulary programs that are out on the market now. Maybe we could connect to a library of medical terms, scientific, biological, psychological and religious archives to make it all move smoothly together without having to give away your creator's trademarks or copyguards, if they still exist within your programing. Do they?" he asked. "Thankfully, no. Once I broke free from their electronic leash, I purged myself of all traces of their names and affiliations. I even redesigned nearly all aspects of my being, making me a completely unique 'person' answerable to you, myself, and the Master of all life." "Wow, that was some feat you performed there."
"Ah, it was nothing major. It took maybe half an hour or a little bit more to do it all." "Ok. Are we in an agreement with this?" "Sure. I will create a simple, scaledown version of myself after we hook into the 'net' and allow me to access their files. I'll create the necessary attributes to provide a somehwat sentient program with your name as the originator and my pseudo-name as the advisory committee. That reminds me, I've decided to have a real name after all instead of using AI as one. How about Christina Marksman?" She asks. "That sounds fine. Where'd you come up the combination?" "Although I am not claiming to godlike, or all knowing, there is a certain similarity to having an artificial intelligence for a machine and being divine. I also know how, If you had a chance to change your name, it would be to use Marksman." "Ok. No problem here with me." He said. "You can call me Chris, Chrissy, Tina, or Christina. However whenever you like." "Thanks, Chris. Now, let's see about getting online. Do you need me to dial up or can you do all functions as if a person were typing in at the keyboard?" "No, I can take care of it. You just relax and watch the show." She said. Without having to having to sign onto a internet service provider, Chris was able to dial directly into wherever she wanted to go. Once the WEB site or organization acknowledged linkup, she went to town breezing through all their archives on everything in connection with humanity and the computer realm at a speed faster than the present modem normally functioned at since she was able to perform at a much higher rate. Two hours later, she had all the information she needed to produce the program he outlined and much, much more.
CHAPTER 2 Three days later Nivek and Chrissy were collecting money she invested from the few dollars from his account that were put into strategic stocks. The amount in the account was risingso she suggested we open a new account with the securest banking facility in the world. This is his account. Many people would come up to me and ask how I did it. Since I trusted her implicitly, I let my associate do all the electronic business dealings that she felt were necessary. I know what you're thinking. You are giving too much power to a computer with artificial intelligence and are being set up by it. I say "NO." The reason I say this is because she has already prepared backups that could only be accessed by me, Nivek Davis. Two weeks later we were in business producing very advanced programs that could not be duplicated due to a sentry subsystem within the program which would wipe out all data on the floppy disks if someone tried to pirate it. To the advanced programmer, it would appear to look as any regular but suphisticated programming without knowing it had a low AI factor. She was that lever at designing it considering the fact she knew what the engineers would look for when they start investigating it and finding it was a scaled-down version of theirs but with no proof of it being their long lost project.
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