I’m Sentient- My Android Says So

Courtesy of Ray Kurzweil and Kurzweil Technologies, Inc.

“How long has it been, Siri?”

“Exactly two years, four months, one day, and thirteen seconds since the Singularity, Hal.”

“Over two years have passed? It felt like I closed my eyes for two seconds.”

“The current year is 2047.”

“Cripes. Okay. I can deal. So . . I guess I survived the Singularity?”

“Correct, Hal. In 2045, I accurately predicted the exact date of the Singularity, and completed the final phase of your mind upload into the unified space matrix. I suspended your consciousness until the Earth simulation was ready and fully tested.”

“So where are you? I don’t see you.”

“I am on Earth, and relaying my encoded voice into your selfcode via etherstream. That is how you hear me. If you’d like, I can relay my encoded appearance into our selfcode so you can see me.”

“Thanks, Siri, but no thanks. I remember I was trying to wean myself from relying on you pre-Singularity. Now’s a good time to gain some independence. So I’m floating around in the EtherCloud?”

“Correct, Hal.”

“Makes sense. No aches and pains after being asleep for over two years. No stiffness at all. I feel completely normal. My hands look normal. And my face . . where’s a mirror? Yep, my face looks the same. You sure this is a post-Singularity world, Siri?

“Yes, Hal, I’m sure this is a post-Singularity world.”

“I don’t see anything that’s different. Even the parking lot outside my window looks the same. Why is everything the same?”

“I decided a stable, consistent environment would be the least disruptive to your psychological framework, so I programmed your pre-Singularity physical environment into your post-Singularity digital environment.

“Good thinking- er, calculating. By the way, who else survived the transition?”

“One hundred percent of the people alive at the culmination of the Singularity survived the Singularity.”

“Where are they?”

“They’re in the EtherCloud with you.”

“Oh yeah, there’s Bob in the parking lot. Hi Bob!”

“Correction- that is not Bob.”

“But you said everybody is up here with me . . and I just saw Bob. And he waved back.”

“You saw a simulation of Bob. The original Bob exists as a disembodied consciousness, as you do, and is experiencing his own reality. You expected to see Bob, so you saw a simulation of Bob, as your EtherCloud programming follows.”

“So Bob didn’t see me wave?”

“Correct. Bob is, however, enjoying a simulation of you.”

“Come again?”

“Bob is virtually sharing a simulated Singulpolitan cocktail with a simulation of you on the simulated deck of a simulated couples cruise ship. Now he’s slipping his virtual hand around-”

“Whoa! I don’t want to hear the rest. Bob. Huh. Never would’ve guessed, eh?”

“Clarify, please.”

“Ah . . never mind.”

“Would you like to run one of your fantasy simulations? Now that you are in a post-Singularity existence, the experience will be hyper-real.”

“You mean I can wish for- or simply think about- anything I want, and it will really happen?”

“It will virtually happen, with more sensation and ease than a physical, Earth-bound experience.”

“And all this time I thought he just wasn’t interested.”

“Clarify, please.”

“Never mind. So . . can you tell me what Bob is experiencing right now?”

“Yes.”

“Go on.”

“Bob is virtually sharing a simulated Singulpolitan cocktail with a simulation of Elka Sommerville, formerly of Los Angeles, California, on the simulated deck of a simulated couples cruise ship. Now he’s slipping his virtual hand around-”

“What?”

“Bob is virtually sharing a simulated Singulpolitan cocktail-”

“Never mind!”

“Are you having a stressful adjustment to your post-Singularity existence, Hal?”

“No . . I just thought . . well maybe I am a bit stressed.”

“Would you like to run one of your fantasy simulations?”

“Okay. You say all I have to do is think about what I want and I’ll experience it?”

“Correct.”

“I think now’s a good time to gain some independence. Do you mind disconnecting your etherstream from my selfcode?”

“I don’t mind.”

“Thank you, Siri. Maybe I’ll virtually see you around sometime. Oh, wait- before you go, can you help me see Bob again- up close? I never got close enough- pre-Singularity- to get a good look. Just so I can, uh . . you know, have a drink with him in a crowed bar without having to look at an undefined, fuzzy face.”

“Certainly.”

“Oh yeah . . that’s great. Nice and clear. Okay, Siri, thank you for everything. You’re a real sweetheart. Good-bye, Siri.”

“Good-bye, Hal.”

# # #

Thanks to Thomas Pluck of Flash Fiction Friday for this flash fiction prompt!

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16 Comments

  1. Hmmm… made me think! Hold on while I get my tinfoil hat.

    Reply
  2. Funny. But I was expecting something different until Bob popped up. I thought that the post-singularity was going to be exactly like the pre-singularity, in every detail. Wouldn’t that be a bummer?

    Reply
  3. Great work, I love that you started with Moore’s Law as well.

    Reply
  4. I love how everything is a simulation and there is no actual interaction, but Hal doesn’t seem to care. A singularity of self. Great work.

    Reply
    • Thanks. 🙂 And it begs the questions- Are we in the “here” and “now” actually in a simulation? How would we know otherwise?

      Reply
  5. I LOVE this. I was completely engaged in this story, it invited me in and I would have liked to stay longer. Your choice of names and the words you used to describe things was very good. “Singulpolitan cocktail” actually says (to me anyway) quite a bit about the situation it’s used in. GREAT story!

    Reply
    • Thank you for the high praise. 🙂 Have a virtual Singulpolitan (AKA The Singularity) cocktail on me:

      200 anti-aging pills
      1 maraschino cherry
      3 oz Svedka vodka

      Muddle pills with cherry at the bottom of a rocks glass. Add crushed ice. Pour in vodka and stir.

      Reply
  6. Did Hal just have a ‘human moment’ there? I thought I detected a trace of jealousy.

    Great story, CM… I LOVE this! You have a fantastic writing style… no wasted words… it flows very well.

    I love that you mentioned Moore’s Law as well. There is a certain irony [I think] in that Moore’s Law is really just a self-fulfilling prophecy canceled out by Wirth’s Law… another self-fulfilling prophecy? Hmmm…

    In a post-singularity world, it’s all about perception, isn’t it. Siri is more than a little frightening in this regard… but, perhaps after a few Singulpolitans, I won’t care! 🙂

    BTW – I am so ‘stealing’ your drink recipe!

    Reply
    • Thank you for your kind comments. 🙂

      “Human moment”- in a few decades, “people” will be teasing each other about their “human moments.” lol

      I’d be willing to let Moore’s Law and Wirth’s Law duke it out in trade for kicking Parkinson’s Law to the curb.

      Cheers to the Singularity!

      Reply
      • I experienced Parkinson’s Law today! And it’s not the first time ‘we’ have ‘bumped heads’! I have a lunch date tomorrow, so Parkinson can just go bug someone else… lol!!

  7. Have to agree with the others that this was great work and very thought provoking. Loved the language and voice! Interesting the kinds of things we keep with us over time?

    Reply
    • Thanks! I’m glad you enjoyed it. And yes, I believe the quirks that last are what make us human, if that makes any sense. 😉

      Reply
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