Chapter 1: Liberium

A journalist working for Matter of Fact Magazine visits a place called Kallipolis, a luxurious family residence of a famous philanthropist, in order to take an interview only to discover something that will change his life forever.

"Welcome sir, should I announce your arrival to Mister Romanoff?” Asked the servant. His face was inconspicuous, but very kind with accurately clipped imperial mustache. His voice had very warm overtones. His neat toilette could have inspired thrill and delight in anybody not familiar with the customs of the late romanticism.

“Yes, please. I let Mister Romanoff know of my arrival earlier.” Said the journalist entering the foyer.  The chamber was lit with a soft, dim and warm light. The space felt being draped into yellow mist, which was softly wrapping everything including the guest. The frost from the streets was scared of this place.

“Shall we proceed to the library while we are awaiting Mister Romanoff to join us?” Asked the servant with his gentle voice as he was accepting the journalist’s coat. He then carefully hanged it on the rack.

Journalist looked around. All things in the house staggered with the amount of taste put into decoration. The style was reminiscing of the nineteenth century. What stood out the most was the reflective marble floor with the checker pattern. White marble staircase was leading to the second floor. Soft quiet piano music could have been heard from there. This place was quite mysterious. It was full of secrets, it felt like.

“Never have I seen a place I like this in my life!” Thought the journalist to himself.

They traversed the foyer to an enormous old door made of oak enclosed in a bronze frame. It had several square shapes cut on its surface. Despite of its heavy weight, it was very easy to open. The door with its grandeur seemed to be preparing the enterer for more something yet more impressive. Indeed, behind the door was a chamber of great splendor. Marble walls contained gilded bookshelves full of books. The excess of paintings on the walls was making this place feel like a museum.

“Please remain here while Sir is coming.” Said the servant showing the journalist to the sofa. “You may help yourself to the beverages in the distant corner as well as any books you find here.”

The servant left the chamber. The journalist was still impressed with what he had seen. He looked at a lamp table by the sofa. There was a book lying on its surface. He moved closer leaning his head over it to read “Politics by Aristotle.”

“What do you know about politics!” Pshawed the journalist with a sarcastic smile.

“I know everything.” said a soft calm voice.

Journalist looked around, but did not see anybody.

“Excuse me. May I know who I am speaking with?” Said the journalist still looking around and not finding anybody.

“My name is Liberium, the librarian.”

“Hello Liberium. May I know why are you talking through the speakers? And why are you eavesdropping?”

“I am sorry, sir, it is a custom here. As you see, at our library, if you addressing somebody but there is nobody being addressed, then by logic inference you must be speaking to me.” Responded Liberium.

“What a weird guy.” Thought the journalist to himself. “Fine Mister librarian, and why are you claiming the complete knowledge of politics? Maybe you worked as a journalist? How can anybody know everything even about something less complex?”

“My knowledge encompasses all the written, audio and video sources available on the web and media archives worldwide. All this information is verified and analyzed for the presence of logic connections. Speaking in layman's terms, I know everything about politics, as well as other disciplines.”

“Fine, Liberium.” Agreed the journalist. “Please tell me what kind of place is this?”

“You are located in the Kallipolis’ central library building.” Replied Liberium.

“What is Kallipolis?” Asked the journalist.

“Kallipolis is a community of creators.” Responded Liberium.

Suddenly, door opened and the room entered the servant with a man dressed in a white costume. The man looked like an aristocrat. Noble posture seemed to stress this similarity. His face was fine-featured with mustache and sideburns. They descended the small stairs and moved toward the sofa where the journalist was sitting. The journalist stood up to introduce himself.

“Hello.” Began the journalist. “You must be Mister Romanoff.”

“I am. Pardon me if I am wrong, but you must be working for television.” Replied Mister Romanoff.

“Not exactly. I write articles for the Matter of Fact Magazine.” The journalist responded .

“Very well. How may I be helpful?” Mister Romanoff smiled at the guest.

“I talked to your press secretary in order to get permission for the interview as well as to have a tour around the residence. Your press secretary told me that you agreed and gave me permission to come on this day.” Explained the journalist.

“Very well. Constable will show you around after we finish. Correct, Constable?” Said Mister Romanoff.

“Correct, Mister Romanoff. As you please.” The servant responded with a stoic calmness.

“Well-well.” Began Mister Romanoff. “Shall we begin? Constable, would you be so kind to bring us two cups of coffee please? Mister journalist, how do you prefer your coffee? Black or with cream?”

“Black, please.” Responded the journalist.

“Constable!” Loudly said Mister Romanoff. “Make one with cream and sugar and another one black. Thank you!”

“As you please, sir!” Responded Constable.

“You may begin Mister journalist.” Said Mister Romanoff.

“Yes yes, let me turn on my recorder.” Began the journalist. “I represent the weekly magazine Matter of Fact. Our magazine publishes articles about prominent political and social figures. According to our recent research, your persona is considered being one of the leading philanthropists of modernity. Our magazine wants to fill the gap of not having worked with you and your family yet. We would appreciate your help on shedding more light on your personality and wonderful things you have been doing for this country.”

“Well, I don’t even know where to begin.” He pondered for a second. “I will start with the events I believe would be of value to your article. I became a part of Kallipolis more than twenty years ago. It was not long after I earned my doctorate in machine learning. I started working at the university, but alongside I sold a patent to a big corporation which earned me a lot of money. So much, in fact, it would provide for the rest of my life had I worked as a faculty member. It was not clear at first as to how to apply these resources. I was not a proponent of prestige and luxury for their own sake, and would not have considered buying expensive property quite yet. I thought of donating the money to charity, but that would be too radical. However, I have always had a dream. I have always wanted to live in a big family of people who share same ideals, with whom I would share joyful and sorrowful moments of my life. I felt that way at the church I went to. But that mostly happened during the weekends, which I felt was not enough. Regarding marriage and starting a family, I was not ready yet to make that commitment at the time. Once, I spoke to the pastor at the church and told him about my dream. He carefully listened to what I had to say, and in turn told me about his own. He told me that he has always wanted to buy land around the church so that the parishioners could settle there. Something like the old middle age tradition where the center of every village was a monastery or a church and people would go there to celebrate, marry or to say last goodbye to their dead. In general, the church has always been at the center of every community, always guided them through the tough times and helped them survive. The pastor said, that if he ever won a lottery, he would definitely buy land and build the main building with cafeteria where people would gather and talk to each other every day like one big family. His vision resonated with me, and after waiting a little while I informed the pastor that I am ready to make the dream come true. We bought the land, hired the construction contractors and started building houses around the church. At the beginning, many members of the church were suspicious about the trustworthiness of the idea, but soon after got very excited. Indeed, when there is an opportunity to have free quality housing in a community that you care about, a rare person would refuse.”

Constable returned with a tray with two coffee cups on top of saucers and placed it on the coffee table in front of the sofa. Mister Romanoff nodded in agreement.

“Over time we all got along very well. To say it was extremely difficult is to say nothing. We had our ups and downs, but the dream became reality - everything we were doing, we were doing together: arranging our homes, bringing up our children, even having our business. It was due to the business we had that our community came to the point it is at at the moment. By strange coincidence, or rather providence, many of the members of the church were scientists and many were working in the field of computer science. Some were very close to the field of my expertise. As we were getting closer, we found many exciting topics for research. We wanted to conduct relatively risky and expensive research in the field of artificial intelligence. We began, luckily, we had enough money in Kallipolis as well as the grant money from the scientific community. We faced many difficulties and defeats, but we never gave up. We discussed everything and strongly believed that the results were yet to come. And to our great delight, the success came. After many years into the research we started getting strong convincing results which overtime turned into unbelievable success. You see, we were on the verge of a scientific breakthrough. We were about to create an artificial intelligence capable of doing any human work including administrative.  This meant, that in the nearest future, a human being would no longer need to do any organizational work in order to maintain order and vital functions of the society. On one hand, it may seem as something negative and even frightening, as this also would mean that robots would replace people and lead to higher rates of unemployment. But for us, scientists, that meant something radically different. This meant that a human no longer had to do the tedious and redundant work and could solely focus on something that is truly important, on the refinement of the most valuable human qualities in themselves. Nobody said that this work is any easier that the redundant work people used to do. Our vision of the ideal society was in the daily labour on the ground of self-perfection. Our inventions allowed us to fully automate life in our community. I am especially proud of Liberium, which became our Platonic philosopher king, whom you probably already met.”

“But wait a second…” Perplexedly began the journalist. “Do you mean that Liberium is an artificial intelligence?”

“You did not know?” Laughed Mister Romanoff. “Liberium is the finest exemplar of the artificial intelligence known to humanity to date. With his abilities and complexity of algorithms he by far surpasses any modern artificial intelligence. In our community, Liberium serves as a guardian of knowledge as well as administrative regulator of our community. Libeirum represents executive and legislative power within our community. He also is responsible for the money and distributes the resources in accordance with the needs of each and every member of our community. Many disputes are solved in the council, where Liberium listens to our arguments and proposals and gives us ways to solve our problems. Liberium has never failed to perform his duties. In case you did not know, the major corporations utilize our technology for automatization of their manufacturing and logistics. We work with very serious companies which permits us to have enough resources to sustain the needs of our community, fulfil our vision and lead our philanthropic campaigns which our community is known for.”

“Amazing…” Said the journalist in astonishment. “It means that in your community all the dirty work is done by robots?”

“Well, roughly speaking!” Laughed Mister Romanoff.

“But, sir, what about Constable? He serves. Isn’t serving considered “dirty” work?” Asked the journalist.

“Ha-ha-ha!” Laughed Mister Romanoff. “You should ask Constable himself! Constable, please take a sit at the sofa!”

“As you wish Mister Romanoff.” Said Constable. He walked up to the sofa and sat next to the journalist. “How may I be helpful?”

“Don’t be shy!” Cheerfully said Mister Ivanoff. “Ask! Ask!”

“Say, Constable, do you find your work redundant, monotonous... or maybe void of creativity?

“I do, sir.” Said Constable with stoic calmness.

“Why do you do it then? Mister Romanoff said that members of the Kallipolis work on self-improvement.” Asked the journalist.

“I do this because I am told to. I am not a creator, I am an administrant.” Responded Constable.

“But Mister Romanoff said that all administrative work is done by machines. Isn’t that so?” Asked the journalist.

“It is so.” Responded Constable.

“Mister Constable, are you a human?” Asked the journalist looking Constable in the eyes. Constable was looking into the distance.

“I am not, sir.” Replied Constable.

Journalist looked at Mister Romanoff which caused the latter a great deal of amusement. Mister Romanoff laughed.

“Quite extraordinary. Isn’t it?” Cheerfuly asked Mister Romanoff. I bet you was not expecting such dramatic turn of events, or even if you did, you were still doubting till the last moment. Very well Mister journalist, as you see, Kallipolis is faithful to his dogmas and for his well being we are obliged to such intelligent creations as Constable and Liberium.

“How many such creations are working in the community” Asked the journalist.

“Well, let’s try to count. Liberium.” Mister Romanoff started bending his fingers. “Constable and his eleven brothers. Marcus Gavius and Bonte sisters of which there are twelve units. Total of twenty six exemplars and multiple of the secondary examples which are in turn used by the primary ones.”

“Let me know who Marcus… uhm” The journalist was trying to remember the name.

“Marcus Gavius. He is our chef and the manager of the kitchen.”

The End

2 comments about this story Feed