Our humble past

AI again

By Diomedes | Robert O'Reilly | 10 Jan 2024



We reached Austin the next day after staying in some cattle baron’s, or oil baron’s mansion in west Texas. It was over a century old and finely furnished, a strange place to find in what I would call a near desert of arid flatlands, stretching every direction for hundreds of miles. But entrepreneuring settlers seemed to take on every climate and region, and when they found something above ground or below, they exploited it and some grew rich. Then they transposed the mansions and furniture and trappings of far away Europe to these strange landscapes to show their new wealth and in the middle of a moonscape a Victorian castle arose.

As I lay down in a regal four-poster bed that night, with silk sheets and sheer sashes, Juliet at my side, I wondered at such incongruities in the middle of nowhere. But then I remembered my own state, laying beside a pregnant half-robot half-human and concluded that I shouldn’t criticize what I might label ‘oddities’.

Arriving at the hub outside Austin, we found it active with droids and seemingly intact, just like the one in Arizona. We stepped out of the limo and took a tour. I wished Sarah was with as she could fully control and manipulate these droids. But we weren’t scared because all of us had developed and practiced a few simple commands. It was built into the bands we wore, some form of WIFI connecting to their own visors and when we issued any simple order with just the thought, like ‘freeze’ they complied.

Of course when we began entering buildings and going below ground where the computing centers were it was a different story, as we might find ourselves standing face to face with Dora or one of her robots as we opened a door. We didn’t that afternoon, and in the grand central of the data banks Ted and Hannah spent the rest of the day exploring hard drives to see if Dora had indeed passed through.

She had, briefly, some eight months earlier, engaging the system to inform her of all robotics labs and their developments across the continent. One might think that AI had the knowledge of all data banks everywhere. But it didn’t. It resourced and knew where to find any information it needed. When the satellites exploded and the net disappeared, different hubs had their lore of specific data that Dora would have to visit to retrieve. The analogy would be that before the telephone and Morse code all communications not face to face had to be hand written and energy demanding and this was now Dora’s plight, a robot in human form, driving a car or bus between points and in many ways reduced to our human limitations of space and time.

It was the choice she made to survive. She revelled at first in the apparent freedom of motion it gave her, out of the box you might say, but she never fully calculated the limitations included. We always were and always have been the descendants of the primordial worms that first slunk out of the primordial mud, blind and slow, creeping their way through a strange flora to survive, which most of them didn’t.

We are limited beings, vastly improved over our beginnings, always improving our dominion over time and space. But with computers, then the internet, a natural progression of our communications and integration, we conceived AI, or perhaps it conceived itself and this proved a bridge too far, a leap too deep and precipitous that landed us back in the Devonian era when the first fish crawled out of their Silurian swamp and onto dry land. It was a mistake that science made, with no birthday candles on a cake for some five year old to wish away a year later. The die was cast.


last entry...

next post...


beginning of story...

How do you rate this article?



B.A. in Latin and Greek from U.C. Berkley. Writer, Blogger and retired Electrician.

Robert O'Reilly
Robert O'Reilly

I am educated in the Western Classical Tradition, B.A. from U.C. Berkeley in Latin and Greek, English major, one year at U. of Toronto, studied under Alain Renoir and Northrop Frye, read most classics full time for many years after university in French, English, Latin and Greek to the modern day. I am interested in the near future of technology, what changes it imposes upon our heritage and character as humans. Short stories and Essays are my medium.

Send a $0.01 microtip in crypto to the author, and earn yourself as you read!

20% to author / 80% to me.
We pay the tips from our rewards pool.