Keep Your Heads DownMature

The team left in one car.

Don: “You know I like butterflies, right? I know a place under a bridge on our way where a unique beautiful species congregate at night. Do you want to see them? It won't take long.”

John: “Come on, are you sure? We have more important things to do. Is your mind working right?”

Cindy gives a slight push to John's thigh: “Yeah, I want to see them.”

Don: “Great. So everyone is on board. Just one thing, leave all your electronic stuff behind. They are rather sensitive.”

The car stops before the bridge. The three walk to the middle of the bridge.

Don shines a flashlight at the butterflies: “Look, do you see them?”

Cindy, John: “Oh yeah, they look beautiful.”

Don: “Keep your heads down and speak softly. I think this is the best place to discuss Sam. I may be paranoid. But I just don't want him to eardrop on our conversation.”

John: “So what do you think?”

Don: “I got some free time to think this over. Don't you think Sam is getting more and more paranoid lately?”

Cindy: “What do you mean? He is designed to be paranoid, so to speak.”

Don: “I know there is a fine line between being a little paranoid and paranoia. I am not the expert here. But his recent behavior seems to really fit the classic symptoms of schizophrenia. Don’t you agree?”

Cindy: “Kind of, now that you’ve mentioned it. There is no precedence of an AI having schizophrenia though.”

Don: “Sam is not just another AI. He is designed based on the human brain structure. I have looked it up. Scientists still have not been able to pinpoint the triggering mechanism of schizophrenia. It's not that big of a leap to speculate that there exists a similar triggering mechanism in Sam, even though he is made of entirely different materials.”

John: “That definitely makes sense to me. At first he was still somewhat believable. Now he is totally on the side of being irrational.”

Cindy: “Come to think of it, his behavior recently does resemble the onset of psychosis. Working with Sam day in and day out, I might have just lost my objectivity without realizing it!”

Don: “Don't be too hard on yourself. This happened all too suddenly.”

Cindy: “Why don't I talk to Sam to get him to undergo an internal scan?”

Don: “I doubt he is going to listen to you now. You would have just alarmed him. Then we are left with no choice but to do a manual shutdown. And we would then have to purge every instance of his roaming agents on the network. That would have caused God knows how much collateral damage, not to mention the least that we would have become the laughing stock of the world.”

John: “Are you thinking about the kid video?”

Don: “Definitely. Cindy, Sam's maker, Synapses Power, has a secret key. It's a video of a kid of one of their researchers playing. If Sam sees the video, it would take him out of his consciousness. To make sure this does not come across Sam's workload inadvertently, it has never been released into the network. They only deliver it in a suitcase.”

John: “How do you propose we are going to do this?”

Don: “It will have to be done during regular business hours. I don't want Sam to get suspicious.”

John: “That means we will have to wait until tomorrow morning. I wonder if the president is willing to wait that long.”

Don: “To have the best chance to succeed, I think it's worth it. Let's check with the president.”

The three go back to the car and continue driving. Don sends a short message to the White House: “Plan to run a few tests in the morning. Hope this does not disrupt anything.”

Shortly after, he receives a reply: “Not at all. You set the schedule.” 

The End

3 comments about this story Feed