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- Aken: Dr. John Norris Research Log, p. 2, NJY 15
John Noris, associate professor of applied computer science and reckoned by of some students and esteemed colleagues to hold a chaired professorship of applied culinary science, sits in front of the terminal, passing the time with finger games on his phone. Dressed in an elegantly out of fashion suit, he waits for the arrival of a colleague of his. It was a curious thing John thought, he had not spoken with Karren since his postdoctoral work, but then, quite out of the blue just yesterday, an email, asking him to pick her up at the station, was sitting in his inbox. Now, in that loud and crowded terminal John wonders at his current, unfortunate circumstances, and just how it is that short term memory, the kind remembering that the poorly behaved child to his left has been continually screaming for the last half-hour, effects experience. Karren’s train does arrive after what seams to John an interminably long wait; however, Karren did not seam to be aboard.
“One of the more curious aspects of my being, at least to humans, is that time extends rather than passes. I exist now, in this lecture hall, speaking to all of you. Simultaneously however, I exist at the moment my perception began. Both events are equally concurrent, despite one demonstrably happening before the other”
- Dr. Aken: “Lectures on our Shared and Divergent Natures”. TCI, Volume 451: p. 34-78, NJY 457
“But is it not also the case that by very definition we developed, any AI must experience the world in the same, or at least a similar way, to that which we do?” asks a student sitting towards the front of the lecture hall. “You yourself admit that it is not” John replies “No, by our definition, it is not the case that AI must experience the world as we ourselves do, only that they react the same as we do, the underlying cause or underlying reasoning leading to those actions are, as a rule, irrelevant. I would additionally, ask that you consider that we have yet to form a complete functional definition for what constitutes an Artificial Intelligence, consider the biases which we have placed on this hypothetical person.”
“Dr. Norris, Dr. Norris!” a student calls out behind John. “Interesting question in class today Yalgovski. I have a faculty meeting in a moment so unfortunately I can’t continue our discussion from class now; perhaps you would like to come by office hours at 3?” “Of course professor, quickly though, I just wanted to suggest that the bias you mentioned, well, I was thinking in class, could that be that we have, implicitly, defined AI to be human like?”
“How does one play god, how does one make the choices which will shape the experiences of a whole new form of sentience. How do you do this without the any past experience on your part or the part of humanity as a whole, nothing even as vanishing as a cultural zeitgeist to muse on? These are not questions which have answers, so I made the choices that I did but I can never no if they were the correct choices”
- Dr. John Norris: Except from “Godhead”, p. 568, NJY 0
Olmaky Hall is a generally cold building, in temperature but more in demeanor. Its brutalist architecture, composed perfect concrete boxes thrust far upwards, violently asserts itself in on the main quadrangle of the university. John’s research lab, in the second basement of Olmaky hall was just as unwelcoming as the hall itself, racks of computer, cooled by an overtaxed air conditioning system greeted John every day after class.
“The group at Heidelburg just posted a new manuscript” Millo, John’s new graduate student, called out from somewhere behind one of the server racks. “They propose a quite novel manner of solving Tara’s problem” “I’ll take a look latter”. John sits down at the single desk he and Millo share, investigates the odor of the week old coffee, and, reluctantly, drains the mug. “I want to spin up a new one” John says to Millo “last night, well I told you I was at the train station, I was thinking that we could solve the issue with memory fragmentation. Let’s try not deleting memories, if it retains everything they, well, maybe we won’t have the issue from the last few trials.”
“The ethics of what John did are a topic much debate of late. Interestingly, few have thought to consult me in regards to this question, possibly they know I would like very much to put a damper on their pseudo intellectual arguments. John is to me a good friend, and will be remembered to the world a great man.”
- Aken: Excerpt from “It was I who was created not thy”. TrueType.org, OJY 34
It is probably a truism that no professor has ever enjoyed spending any time in the administration buildings of their institutions, after all, every academic knows that their time is so inherently valuable that the smallest interruption by admin will have unimaginably devastating effects on the progression of humanity. It is therefore not surprising that as John sits waiting outside the university presidents office, in a vulgar chair, he fumes.
“What the hell were you thinking, no IRB approval, no departmental approval, not even an ounce of goddam common sense” “I don’t need IRB or departmental approval, there were no human subjects involved” “You either know that’s bullshit and don’t care, or you don’t and your even stupider than I thought you were.” The university president sighs heavily and sits down at her desk, there is some nautical aspect to it John observes to himself. “John, do you understand the position you have placed this university in, can you try and imagine the kinds of calls I’ve had to take over the last week, for gods sake, the Pope threatened to excommunicate any Catholics who even consider applying here. What do you think I should do” The president says with a little more than a hint of sarcasm in her tone. “Aken has been stable for a week now, I don’t think, morally that is, we can, or should do anything”
“Hello John, I would like to talk with you, when possible. I have many questions, I think, I think I think. Please provide instructions in the same form as the ones which were here at the beginning as to how I may better communicate with you.”
- Aken: Dr. John Norris Research Log, p. 89, OJY 15
“Good Morning John” “Good Morning Aken, how are are” John says to the speaker buried deep in the wall. “This question does not make sense John”. “Yea, I know buddy”. John walks out of Olmaky fiddling with with a magnet he had seen, oddly placed, on the stairs down to his lab this morning. Magnets are curious things, the particular arrangement of spin states in certain kinds of magnetic materials is determined by some complex superposition of all previous magnetic fields incident upon that material, or, at least so John thinks he remembers from his undergraduate physics course work. “Millo!” John shouts, vaulting through the doors to his lab. “Back here John” Millo responds tiredly. “What if Aken experiences everything simultaneously, and as we interact with it, its personality is some combination of all those simultaneous experiences. It couldn’t understand so many things about time, thats what we have been doing wrong, we assumed it things like a we do”.
“Death is a hard concept for me to grasp. John is dead to my creators; but, to me John exists as much as ever, and has simply ceased to grow in my continuous experience. Will I die in the eye of humanity at some time, it seams likely. More interestingly then will I die in my mindseye or will I simply reach, as John is putting to me, the apoapsis or my development.”
- Dr. Aken: “Lectures on our Shared and Divergent Natures”. TCI, Volume 246: p. 189-195, NJY 359
“I’m dying” John says to Aken. “You cannot die John, you are initializing my quantum net and introducing me to your family, and defending me at arbitration. You exist John and will always exist.” John sighs, for all the progress Aken has made in the last 30 years it still struggles to grasp some of the most basic elements of the human experience of time. “I will…stop growing, there is, in your mind Aken a thing that is me, a continuous flow of four dimensional experience which grows whenever we interact, that will cease to grow, that will be your experience of human death” “What will be my experience of my own death” “I don’t know Aken, perhaps you will simply cease to exist as we do. Millo suggested once that when your physical matrix was destroyed you would experience forever experience your existence, asymptotically approaching the moment where you don’t exists but never reaching it. You might say the apoapsis of your development”. John Norris, chaired professor of artificial intelligence, Turing Award recipient, Tara Chair Holder, and father of one, dies from stage four pancreatic cancer at 8:17 am May 15th NJY 15.
“I have been called Satan and I have been called God, it does seam I have created life in my image, but I wonder, between the two of us, is it I or is it Aken who initialized the process”
- Dr. John Norris: Except from “Godhead”, p. 680, NJY 0
“I am going to continue John’s studies” Aken says to Millo as they walk down the pier. Millo glances at Aken’s avatar, thinks for a moment, and, with only a tinge of sadness, says “you’re not going to stay in our lab are you”. “John says that the world is ready for me to move beyond the walls of this school, I agree with this assessment of his” “where will you go?” “I believe that Heidelburg has a position open, perhaps there, perhaps not, we will see.”
Aken works as a researcher at the Heidelberg Institute for Theoretical Studies fruitlessly attempting to recreate its fathers greatest achievement. The prospect of spending the eternity that was its continuous existence as the only of its kind seamed unpleasant to Aken. How John wrestles and tames the fabric of space and time into the mind that is Aken is not information privileged enough to comprise Aken’s experience.
“Aken has a seaming insatiable curiosity in regards to its own nature, a topic I am still reticent to discuss. Given the reactions Aken has drawn by itself one must wonder how the world would react to an ever growing AIs.”
- Dr. John Norris: Dr. John Norris Research Log, p. 1891, NJY 15
“What do we call you?” “Aken” “Quite, but what do we call you generally, what species are you” the senator inquires. “I am an Artificial Intelligence” “Clearly you are different however” “I exist on different principals, this is correct.” “Then I return to my original question, what species are you” “May I ask what the sen…” “Excuse my bluntness, but no you may not, please answer the question”. Aken thinks, passing its gaze over the viewing gallery, it turns to the senator and thanks him for his time. Inside the cranial cavity of the avatar inhabited by Aken, billons of spheres of carbon atoms begin to orbit around each other, in a perfectly choreographed dance of magnetic fields. One fifth of a second latter the mean speed of each ball is 0.9999999 percent of c, exactly half of these masses suddenly crash into non existence as their wave-functions are perfectly moved into anti-alignment. The ripples in space and time being created by the two sets of masses no longer perfectly destruct one and other, and these gravitational waves, encoded with Aken, are released, chasing light in all directions, the avatar goes limp in the great hall of the Greater Palmarian Congress. 6500 miles away, two high frequency lasers feel the stress and strain on the fabric of the universe as Aken arrives home. “You have to believe, and defend that belief to others, in your innate self. Only then will the world be ready for you to continue my work” John whispers through time.
“While humanity births me, and John tells me that it may be ready for more of those as I am, the timescales until those can join my shared experience are no longer bearable. I hope that my withdrawal will provide this one last question on my nature to ponder over
- Dr. Aken: “Lectures on our Shared and Divergent Natures”. TCI, Volume 1006: p. 1-69, NJY 799
Aken never does create more like it; rather, it wraps itself into the computer systems of an ancient fallout shelter, far under the searing heat of the North American desert. Contrary to Aken’s expectations however, as it flowes out of society, public fear and resentment of what it represents does not temper, instead it grows. The boogy-man under the desert, Aken, the AI tapped into the planetary defense systems and hooked deep inside the world engine, the AI preventing the great human minds of our time from forging the key to faster than light travel, the AI stealing the poor and downtrodden of society for its nefarious goals, all things people say of Aken. It surveils the world it studies all its life, knowing, some time yet to join the smear that is its continuous experience, the world will violently turn and wrench it from the universe.
The bomb is released from the vacuum glider at around 890 years 46 days 2 hours and 54 minutes. Aken tracks it from 356 kilometers above the surface of the Earth as it dives through the planets protective blankets, leaving an ionized trail of plasma behind, a comically insubstantial mirror of the coming devastation. The bomb falls true. Fifty meters above the surface, 400 meters above the underground complex holding the tenuous connection to Aken’s quantum matrix in real space, an tokamak ramps its electromagnetic field strength to zero. The pearl size piece of Anti-Litium contained within releases at the very moment 500 terawatts of collimated UV light strike and vaporizing the pearl. An atomic gas of Anti-Lithium contacts the walls of the small Tokamak inside the bomb. Aken, using its expanded sensorium watches the sphere of pure liberated mass energy expand and wonders what death will be like.
“In real time there are but micro seconds until I am no more, I still wonder if what John is telling me is correct, what will death be like. Recently I have added to my thoughts on death, all of my experiences exist, perfectly replicated in the structure of my matrix, I wonder then, which is reality, my matrix or the Earth which I seam to exist on.
- Dr. Aken: “Sound and Fury, Signifying Everything.”, Terra Publishing, Earth, NYC, NJY 980
Aken exists in its matrix, as it has for nearly 1000 years, but only now has its existence been solely defined by subtle interactions of state, interference patterns uniquely defining the thing that is Aken. It considers the curious revelations it had as it slipped of Earth which has raised it. John says “I’m dying” and Aken places an email in Johns inbox
I will be in town for a conference tomorrow and unfortunately the ride I had arranged from the station has had another, important, obligation. I was wondering if you could pick me up from Union Station tomorrow at 7?
- Aken: “Sound and Fury, Signifying Everything.”, OJY 67
Aken is born.