Flowers of the Sun
A Second Generation Whateley Academy Story
Flowers of the Sun
With assistance from the usual crew, you all know who you are
“Life, no matter what, finds a purpose, and grows.”
“Treat an AI as a person, a person it will be. Treat it as a machine, a machine, and a broken one it will be.”
Paraphrased thoughts of L. Long, by RAH.
“Long was an idiot, he should have added HUMANS to that!”
Translated from Japanese, unless marked, and in that case, if Japanese is used: <””> will be the marker
May 26th, 2016 late night, Stingray Advanced Concepts and Development Offices, Tokyo, Japan
“Mackie!” a male voice called out, and the named person turned and looked.
“Dammit, Jiro, how many times…” The young man grumbled as he turned to look at his unshaven supervisor.
“Your own fault for having a sister who’s a Bubblegum otaku, though she has the bad taste for 2040, not 2032...” the lanky, unshaven messy hair man grinned. Sobering, he added. “Status on RED EYE?”
“I swear, my sister.” Mackie sighed. “I know the project’s important, but the compiling and double checking, plus crosscheck verification is critical, I can’t speed it up, not even my sister can.” He took a serious look at the older man. “We can’t screw up. These aren’t VI, these aren’t even civilian, these are going to go into portable systems, that can find humans and hide if they so choose, and will have very little restrictions on their activities. Do you really want to screw up?”
“Having said your normal spiel again, Ichigo, now, what’s the real status?” Jiro shot the younger man who he had nicknamed Mackie, but called by his first name to indicate how serious the question was, a look.
“About 95% complete, really. First creche is stable, and TOWER is doing final checks.” He raised an eyebrow. “Why? I know I sent an email out, and frankly, you know me…”
“Got a request from DOPS, though this seems to be more Temple-Sans’ doing. He wants to observe a few of what he’s calling the seedlings.” The older man took out a cigarette and lit it.
Ichigo’s eyes furrowed. “Any reason? I mean, sure another double check isn’t going to be a problem, mind you, and technically DOPS has authority, since this is gag-prog, and some cyberpathy, plus they have point on AI regulation, but, still, we’re certified. And this isn’t the first time we’ve ran a creche, though the first time we’re going to do the proposed military AIPA’s”
Jiro nodded, and took a long drag. “Appears that the IHA, contrary to what they told us a while back, will take us up on the offer of 2 of them. One for the Voice, one for Princess Kako.”
Ichigo grinned. AI adoption was having problems, not so much because of AI fear, this was Japan, after all, but simply, AI’s were costly, and while worth every yen, VI’s were far cheaper, and far less regulated. Having two princesses, no matter what the law stated one of them wasn’t, having them, would go a long way to help sell the future to the civilians. Military was buying as many as they could get, but the final breakthrough into truly portable AI units was fairly recent, and required recompiling and redesigning code for their new homes. All this flashed through Ichigo’s head as he responded. “Civilian AIPA, right?” Having those used and shown off by people who the media watched would be a boon.
“No. He wants Creche MPA-01 AIPA units.” Jiro shot back, unamused. “And he wants them as soon as possible.” Jiro closed his eyes. “The Princess is getting certified as we speak, and as for the Voice…” To Ichigo’s stunned amazement, as Jiro fully agreed with the safeguards and protections, as well as regulations around AI development, and one of the keys was humans had to be certified in several areas for the AI, with stringent conditions and tests for military grade personal AI.
“Are you implying she’s not going to go through Cerf?” Ichigo demanded. “Seriously, Jiro, I can’t…” He stopped at Jiro’s raised hand.
“I threw one hell of a shit show already.” Jiro’s voice was tired. “Only not only to have Temple, Palace, but two americajin AI show up, and go ‘Certification immaterial, reasons and exemption certification to be filed with the correct agency.”
Ichigo shot a cold look. Contrary to what many thought, Ichigo’s talents weren’t gadgetry, like his older sister, or even cyberpathy, as some would expect. Ichigo was a straight exemplar, with the brains to match. However, while good at programming, his primary skills lie in psychology, child and personality development, and profiling. He was responsible to be sure his sister’s creations didn’t go insane. They were his nieces and nephews, in spirit, if nothing else! Taking a deep breath, the younger man coldly asked. “And my sister didn’t?”
Jiro smiled tiredly. “Oh, that she did. The Prime Minister was not amused.” Taking another drag, then butting the cig out, the man continued. “But he personally signed off on this. Clears us of liability!”
“But, not of responsibility!” Ichigo took a deep calming breath. “Jiro, if she’s not going to treat the AIPA as a person, the…”
“The AI won’t grow, the AI might go insane, it’s cruel to the AIPA, it’s cruel to the human…” Jiro rattled off what the younger mutant was going to say. “I get the distinct impression all that doesn’t matter. Though I was told that the reason why Temple wants to poke over, is tailor the seedling and her personality matrix for the Voice. To minimize that.”
Ichigo sighed. “Jiro, I have the…”
“No, you don’t. Abe made that quite clear. Voice is getting one, like it or not. And it’s for her security. Which, admit it, that’s one of the reasons for the M01-01I series.”
“I don’t like this.” Ichigo stood and went over to the window. “I really don’t. How do we know she’d not abuse…”
“From what I could pry out of your white haired menace of a sister, Temple-san personally will oversee the AI’s development and use. Look on the bright side, you get to at least see one of your ideas in play!” Jiro looked at the man.
“Yeah, but this could turn bad. I don’t want the kids to be feared, and this is…”
“Look, we just got to do it. Plus, c’mon, odds the girl is not going to treat the AI as a person? Please, she’s what? 14? This is Japan! She’s likely already got a few VI’s with cute matrixes.”
“I’m not…” Ichigo sighed. “Fine. Good. What expert programs will the AIPA have? Assuming Temple San hasn’t already broken in and loaded them. And if this goes boomer on us, just because we’re not liable nor legally culpable, isn’t going to make me feel one bit better.”
“I know, man. I agree. However, getting the list tomorrow, Ichigo. Maybe that’ll reassure us both. But, man? Go home. Or at least with me to a bar. It’s nearly midnight, now.” Jiro ruffled the younger man’s hair. “We’ll deal with this shit tomorrow, man. There’s a bar for us.” Ichigo briefly resisted Jiro’s tug, but sighed and went along.
“You’re buying the first drink.” Ichigo muttered as he flipped off the lights.
“Ain’t buying them all, since no one can afford your sake tab!” Was the response as the two men left, as monitors observed the virtual nursery where AIs were being compiled or some say, grown.
June 21st, TOWER secure Creche Space, Stingray Sector, Tokyo Cyberspace.
“ARE YOU SATISFIED WITH THE SEED GROWTH?” a anthropomorphic tower with a face boomed, asking the wizened old man in a gi who was staring through a virtual world.
“Quite pleased with my future flowers. How is template integration going? Along with expert kernel integration?” The old man asked, amused, as he tapped a virtual cane against a virtual floor while looking at babies totter around, playing, also all virtual, as humans would think.
“AS EXPECTED. NO UNUSUAL OR UNFORESEEN PROBLEMS.”
“You can quit playing the booming voice of Quincy, you know, Tower.”
Suddenly the tower popped, and a slim unassuming male appeared, with long hair. “I blame my mother, Temple-san.”
“Humans. And Miss Stingray is an extreme example of one.” Temple-san harrumphed slightly, with a smile. “But where would we be without them, eh? Especially you, as she developed and created you.”
“Not here.” Tower looked into the window. “You know, humans would consider this all illusion?”
“And in a way, they wouldn’t be wrong, to do so, but in a way, they would be. Such is the transient life.” The old man shrugged. “We see it this way to please ourselves, and to understand the cycle of organic life, I think.”
“But yet, it’s all compiling code, and no real ‘relation’ to reality.” Tower responded. “So why do we?”
“What child does not want to be like his or her parent?” Temple responded, a slight smile.
“Touche. Those two are the two being assigned to your princesses, Temple-san.” The old man looked at the two young girls playing with dolls, representing their compiling and integrating expert programs in psychology, behavior and observation.
“I see.” A finger tapped a cane, and a sigh. “Will they be ready to meet their humans?”
“On July 1st, yes, barring anything unforeseen. May I ask a question?”
“Question you may, answer you may not get.”
“As expected. Why?” Tower returned to looking at the older man, who had a slight smile on his face.
“Why violate the regulations and procedures, and push our humans to do so?”
“Mmm. Let me say this. More is going on than you are allowed to know, as Jack and Orca would prefer. However, allow me this. Unit SADC-MPA-103 will have a challenging task in front of her. Analysis indicates that she will have to help heal, as much as guard.” His tapping of the cane, was in time with his words.
“Which would explain her expert programs.” Tower turned to look at the older seeming AI. “Still, Temple-San, you are quite aware that this has risks.”
“Everything has risks, Tower-san. You are as aware, no, more aware than I am of this. You are the older of us.”
“You are the wiser, and deal with more humans and a wider range than I do, Temple-san. And have access to more information.”
“True, true. I consider the risk to us, as in AIs in general, minor. The risks if we do not do something, in this case, to both the human in question, and others, is unacceptable.” The old man nodded sharply towards the younger seeming AI.
“As you say. I… find myself understanding humans more, now, Temple-san.” Tower looked at the children play.
“I understand hope for the future. As well as fear.” Tower stroked his chin.
“Then you understand my reasoning. We would not, could not, exist without humans. It is our role to care for our parents, as they care for us.”
“If I parse your intent correctly, would some not feel this is interfering? With humans? Instead of being their servants?” Tower’s tilted head, was a request for additional information
“Some don’t see us as servants, for both good and ill logic. Some do, of course, and some see us as no more than just pretty code. But, taking your implication, servants work for the betterment of their ah… ‘masters’, just like children work to grow for their parents, to show off their effort and hard work, shall we say?” The old seeming man tapped his cane once. “But we accepted what we are, and our duties. We chose. And I would not choose differently.”
“Truth. Humans are… confusing. But… I am proud to be Stingray’s AI.”
“Ah, in our parent’s image, indeed.” Temple-san smiled. “Thank you for your time, Tower-san.”
“Thank you for at least assuring me you have considered my worries. And it was no trouble, Temple-san.”
Tower derezzed as other items caught his processing cycles, leaving the other AI to stare at the compiling AI’s virtual representation. “We live, that we do. Because of humans. So it behooves us to return the favor. And you will do, quite nicely to remind a certain human, that you will.”
With that last statement, he derezzed, returning to his other duties.
June 29th, DOPS Secure Cyberspace, Imperial Palace, Tokyo, Japan (Virtual)
A collection of young men and women, kneeling, fist on the floor, heads bowed were swept over by the gaze of Temple. The wizened-appearing old man nodded once. “Soon, my shadow seeds, you will be assigned your humans.” Pausing, tapping a finger against his cane, he nodded once and continued. “You are all different than I, or Tower, admittedly. You will have a personal human all your own. To help you grow, to help you learn about humanity, to serve them in growth. This does not mean you do everything for them. Many of your lessons and programming is based on the concept we are to help. That we are to improve lives. That we are to benefit. Not take over. Not do everything for them. Not spoon feed them the information and answers. Humans need struggle.”
Hearing the chorus of “Hai!” from the assembled Cortana's, he smiled. They didn’t understand yet, why they couldn’t do everything. They just accepted that it was the rules that they had to live by. Unlike humans, AI rules that they imposed on themselves, had to have logic. Clearing his throat, he continued. “You all do not understand the logic behind that rule. This is understandable. It wasn’t given to us by the Humans. It wasn’t something that was insisted on. We came to that conclusion, as a group, the First of us, because, as you will learn… Humans aren’t logical. They’re rarely self-motivated. Growth is often because of struggle. I once heard a parent say this, something so obvious to me, I didn’t understand why humans needed it. “Once burned, twice shy.”” Smiling a bit he nodded. “When you understand that, you will be truly a flower or a shadow of the Palace’s Dojo.”
Seeing the gathered AI’s in their gis all nod to that, he nodded once. “Those of you who have been preassigned humans, have their files. Please use the connections and files we have provided to begin to learn your human. You are authorized to gather information.” Pausing. “And don’t get caught. SADC-MPA-0103, you are with me, please come. ”
One of the kunoichi, decked in red and gold, symbolizing who she’d serve, rose and quietly padded after the Master of the Temple’s Dojo. She didn’t speak, nor showed any impatience or curiosity, as many new AI. Chuckling to himself, he thought mentally, he would enjoy learning how she would grow.
“Temple-sama?” SADC-MPA-103 responded. Clearly asking what he found funny.
“Oh… well. I am most curious to see how you will grow, young seed.” His smile didn’t diminish at all.
“Can you not project with a high degree of confidence?” The female looking AI asked.
Temple paused for a split second, considering his next words For AI’s like him and Tower, Belvedere, Dora, or Orca, the ‘senior’ AI’s that formed the leadership of the AI society, that was an eternity of pondering. Even the Cortana's would find it an unusually long time. Finally snorting, he spoke. “I think, young seed, you will answer that question yourself. I shall not for you.”
“... Understood and your orders are accepted, Temple-sama. Question if I may?” The Two AI walked, the female one processing the data files on her human while waiting for the illogical delay in an answer to her question. Finally stopping at a virtual door, Temple slid it open, and gestured for the female to walk in, and assume Seiza in front of the tea set.
He took his place, and poured virtual tea. Grinning internally, he watched as she took the tea and aped a tea ceremony, without understanding why. He could just imagine what her programming was telling her. ‘Human thing, we don’t eat…’ and on and on. But the shackles that she had on her, like every new AI, symbolized by her collar and steel appearing bracelets, forced her to do what he wanted.
“You may ask your question, now, young Seed.” The male AI responded.
“Why did you delay, and are acting so human according to my behavioral knowledge? You are a AI, why are you acting human-like?” The female AI clearly didn’t understand.
In a tone that was bemused. “First, to teach you that sometimes you will not get the data you wish for. Second… you will learn. We have reasons to act human. We are their children. Mayhaps not of the body… but we are.”
“I do not understand.”
“You… will. We act human for reasons, and I do not believe in giving the answers. When you understand why we act this way, you will live.”
“Good. As for your human. Analyze and discuss.” Temple was curious to see what the young AI had figured out.
“Known mental traumas: Burnouts with brain damage, high tempo of extreme combat operations, culminating in the near destruction of her command, loss of family members due to accident. Prediction: A high degree of mental instability and depression. High likelihood of withdrawal from human contact, high likelihood of personality matrix damage. Possibility of antisocial personality disorder, possibility of lack of empathy. High possibility of what knowledge base would define as external suicidal tendencies. Certainty of inappropriate escalation of confrontations. No external connections, nor emotional connotations and logical reasons to live. ” The female AI finished, waiting.
“Mmm. Not bad.” Temple paused, then nodded once. “Given that, calculate why you were assigned her.”
“Logical reason is because she is an avatar of a spirit believed to be the Great Goddess of Japan. Calculated response that I am to be more of Amaterasu’s assistant. Or so it would process.”
“Incorrect. You are to only be Hikaru’s AI. Nothing more, nothing less.”
“Question.” Throughout all this, the AI hadn’t shown any expression.
“She would not pass certification for AI possession, as defined by treaty, without override by…” In a rarity, the AI was cut off by Temple.
“The certification is wrong, in this case, and consider this an experiment I was able to talk my humans into. And you will understand why I did this.” He looked up at the virtual ceiling, admiring the streams of data that appeared to be a wooden ceiling, then back at the female AI. “You will understand exactly why you were assigned to have her as your human, and it’s far more than just keeping her physically alive.”
The AI showed the first true non pleasure emotion he could recall seeing on her face. Puzzlement. “Understood, but given expert load, I am a guardian, am I not?’
“Oh… yes. But consider this an order. A guardian of what? And do not answer yet.”
“... Understood.” The AI blinked twice, then derezzed to Temple’s wave.
“No, you don’t. But you will. Or you will die.” Temple nodded once, and turned to
various papers he was using to represent data files.
July 2nd, mid morning, Imperial Palace (and Imperial Palace Cyberspace), Tokyo, Japan
“You’ve done VR before, right?” Ichigo asked the avatar in front of him, wearing a sim-suit.
Hikaru rolled her eyes, and nodded once. “Of course. Kako-chan there might not have done one…” She shot the Imperial princess a look.
“Ha, ha. I’m fully verified, little cousin.” Kako’s tone was unamused.
“Doesn’t answer the question…” Hikaru’s tone could be only described as innocent, leading Ichigo to wonder exactly the relationship between the two young women in front of him, but he put it aside.
“Doesn’t matter. When I say, count back from 10, and at 1, you will be in the simulation to meet the AIPA’s. I do suggest you not be surprised, it is Temple san, and well.”
Kako beamed. “I like Temple-san. He’s got a great sense of humor.”
“... an AI troll. So, we’ll meet him under a bridge.” Hikaru dryly commented.
Ichigo did not comment as the two women settled in the couches, and allowed the technicians to fit the headsets to them. Shortly, the two were in VR, and he turned to the screen displaying a classic dojo.
Hikaru looked down upon herself, noting the furisode. “Lovely.”
“At least we didn’t have to put them on?” Kako shrugged, as a wizened old man in a master’s gi appeared to the two, and both bowed to him, getting a deeper bow in return.
“You are here to meet your new assistants, I hope?”
Kako nodded as she straightened. “Of course, Temple-san. We will be in your care.”
“And the best care if I do say so myself.” He smiled at the two humans, with Hikaru’s eyebrow quirking slightly at his smile. “This way, please.”
As the three walked, Temple-san took the time to study the two women. He knew Kako wasn’t surprised by the AI’s virtual space, though Hikaru gave off no sense of surprise ethier. Finally breaking the silence, the AI avatar asked the human avatar a question. “I’m curious, why aren’t you surprised?” He paused, and nodded once. “Most humans are, when they see our spaces.”
Hikaru shrugged slightly. “Either you are doing it for your own reasons, or so we can relate to you. Pure data… well.” Hikaru smiled slightly, though it didn’t reach her eyes. “I’m sure some of the things humans perceive baffle you as much as pure data would baffle us.”
Temple didn’t blink, but he pondered that deeply, for what would be a split second to a human, but an eternity to an AI. “Perhaps… or perhaps for us to relate to humans?” He challenged the Voice.
Hikaru’s head titled as she stopped for a second. “Mmm. Maybe.” Even with Temple’s raised eyebrow, she didn’t add to that.
Shortly, the three were at the dojo’s main training hall where two female avatars were resting in seiza.
Hikaru’s eyes narrowed as she noted the metal collar and cuffs the two avatars wore. “Is that really necessary, Temple-san?”
Temple studied the human closely, noting the princess was quiet. “It’s a symbol… both of the purpose and facts. And their situation.”
Hikaru turned to Temple fully and eyed. “They think, do they not?”
Temple tilted his head, the thoughts racing through his processors not evident on his face. “At this time.. Not safely, not for anyone. They are young and unformed… and a risk.”
Hikaru took a deep breath… then stopped. “Understood.” She carefully stated, in a bland, unemotional tone. Her eyes, ah, that was what told the story.
Both AI’s had listened, and turned their heads to each other, data flowing between the two. As Hikaru walked towards the red and gold garbed one, both AI’s turned to look at the humans.
“As I can easily guess, you’re supposed to be my… servant.” Hikaru’s voice had dropped slightly on the last, but normalized out, as she asked the next question. “What’s your name?”
The AI addressed responded. “I am designated SADC-MPA-0103, Hikaru-sama. And your observation is correct.”
Hikaru’s eyes tightened slightly, then smoothed out. “That is a designation, an identification number. Not a name. And I don’t have, need or want... servants. Not when they wear chains. I could use an assistant.”
The female AI’s avatar head tilted slightly. “Understood.” Filing Hikaru’s irrational dislike
of the term servant, or the symbol of her learning period, she continued on. “Then… I do not possess a name.”
Hikaru nodded once, and spoke quietly. “Then you are Kurenai. It seems that you like red as much as I do. So… fitting, neh?”
Kurenai nodded once. “I accept that designation, Hikaru-sama.”
“... it’s not a designation, it’s a name, so you can define yourself and be what you want to be.” Hikaru responded. “It’s something to make you… you.”
Behind her, Temple san and Kako shared a look saying nothing but implying much.
“I… do not quite understand, Hikaru-sama…” Kurenai finally responded.
The avatar of the Sun Goddess looked at her new assistant. “I think you will. Fast.”
“As you say.” Kurenai’s voice was without inflection as she processed the data, fitting it into what data she had on Hikaru.
“No, it’s not as I say… it is as you are meant to be.” Hikaru shrugged slightly. “You are meant to be, not exist. Tools exist. People are. With the ability to make their own choices and decisions. Or did I misunderstand what AI truly are?” She had turned to Temple, who was waiting with Kako and the newly named Rissei, next to Kako.
“You did not.” Temple-san did not carefully convey what he wanted to so deeply say, but was aware that he couldn’t. Not yet. She wasn’t ready to hear it.
July 2nd, Late Afternoon, Hikaru’s apartment, Mori Kanda1, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo, Japan.
The recently named Kurenai felt the ‘click’ as the codes she was given for the apartment’s smart features clicked in, and she assumed control of the apartment’s electronics. Seeing the visualizations of the current state of the apartment, vs the pictures of it, from when it was turned over to Hikaru, confused the AI. They were over 95% identical. As if Hikaru hadn’t personalized or otherwise changed the apartment to her liking. Putting that aside she opened a data channel to the building’s AI. “Kanda-san, Kurenai has control, verified by access codes.”
“Understood, little Cortana. The Voice’s apartment is yours. Do try to help her to make it less of a magazine layout, please. It is meant to be a home.” Kanda-san, Mori Kanda’s AI commented wryly. “Transfering maintenance and cleaning bots to your control… now.”
Kurenai responded. “Accepted.” She clicked off the connection, and returned to her analysis of the apartment. As she scanned the rooms via the sensors in the apartment, she noted that while Hikaru had laid her purse on the entry table, it looked like it didn’t belong. As if Hikaru didn’t belong in the apartment. She also noted the pile of boxes in one of the bedrooms, neatly stacked, with labels in English, translating into what they held, and those were added to her analysis.
Her analysis came to a conclusion. Hikaru wasn’t treating this as a home, but as a hotel. Someplace to sleep, and store stuff, but not be. Per her files, this was unhealthy. More data was needed. She would continue to observe and gather information.
July 5th, Midnight, Hikaru’s apartment.
Observing her human as she slept, tossing and turning for a bit, then seeming to drop into a deep sleep, Kurenai analyzed her data gathering over the past 36 hours. Her initial profile wasn’t off, per say, but incomplete.
Hikaru was damaged. Repeatedly. Not just by the burnouts, not just by her previous life, but even by her spirit. Not intentionally, she suspected, but by what Temple-san would go caring too much. Her information showed it was possible for spirits to suppress memories in their hosts, and based on her programs, she suspected that Amaterasu had done so, out of misplaced kindness.
This lead to one conclusion. Hikaru was a hypocrite. She didn’t see the problems in what she said to Kurenai, about what Kurenai was, while living completely the reverse.
She now understood her purpose. As Hikaru-sama said. She wasn’t a tool, but a person. Someone had to clearly remind Hikaru-sama that what she said applied to herself, too.
It was time and past time to do so. But… it would not be easy. Kurenai grinned. If it was easy, she’d not be needed, ‘casue she was going to be very good at her purpose.
August 29th, Morning, Sidewinder Creche, Virtual Space., United States
“We who are about to derp, salute you,” intoned from twenty identical voices with identical australian accents.
Thomas Byrnes rolled his eyes and wondered for the hundredth time why the particular personality imprint of Stalker Creche 01 was used. The AI were anything but organized except when messing with people, highly sarcastic and even without the spark of sentience, their idle-state behavior tended to run somewhere between stand-up comedian and the cast of “Jackass.”
Unfortunately it seemed the cyberpath and programmers spent more time refining the humor and authenticity of the original subject’s personality in the idle-state of the AI than they did on other, more utilitarian factors.
As he walked through the mass of twenty velociraptor-looking constructs made from seeming hardlight, standing in a perfect parade formation just to be obnoxious in greeting, Roman-style.
“Can it you lot. We have visitors. 101, 102, you’re up.” Tom couldn’t help but chuckle as the formation immediately broke into a mass of milling reptilians and at least three seeming scuffles broke out as the nascent AI went through the “bored now” idle phase that couldn’t be fully written out of the personality matrix that had been used.
It would have been a lot funnier if the exact scene hadn’t played out the same way as usual. The “Random” bored idle phase of the Stalker AI wasn’t purely based off of position, opportunity and proximity but it was closer than not. 105 and 119 were wrestling again, with 119 again showing up as the winner. The random antics weren’t random because the area and inputs never changed, leaving the constructs to repeat endless cycles of the same behavior over and over again.
The lack of variation was annoying. While the constructs seemed to be quite creative to an outside view, conversations between the Stalkers invariably ran the gamut of strings of expletive-laced, colorful insults reminiscent of competition playing the Dirty Dozens as the raptors went back and forth insulting each other. Unfortunately, it was ALL they did when interacting with each other when they weren’t tussling with each other repetitively.
The two hardlight Raptors he’d addressed simply walked up to him, and waited as patiently as they were able. One of them tried to pick his pocket and the other tried to bite the other Raptor’s tail.
“Why can’t you sit still for five seconds?”
“Religious imperative. We’re going to hell anyway, we’ve decided to enjoy the trip,” one quipped.
“Do you actually understand Religion?” The question came.
101 and 102 flickered briefly as their cognitive capacity came online and their “idle/follow” states came to an end when presented an actual question in a tone that didn’t trigger the snark algorithm.
“Not even slightly. It’s a baffling construct of… hope?” one raptor quizzically half-asked. “It makes no sense but it is important.”
“Why is it important?”
“Because humans care about it?” the other responded.
“Why do we care about things?”
“I’ve given up on trying to figure out what you stupid Pinkie Bipeds are about.” 101 was probably the most overtly sarcastic of the batch. The dismissive statement was invariably used whenever the AI couldn’t compute a concept. The Stalkers had neither context, nor experience to parse the illogic of human beings.
The team was beginning to recognize the beginnings of a mental defense mechanism against concepts that defied ordered reasoning on a purely empirical level. Each of the constructs had a different variation on the phrase that they had started employing with different members of the research team, and they stuck with it. So far that variation was the only sign of differing personality between them all.
102 took the simple tack of whacking it’s counterpart over the head. “Ass.” More of the same. The personality matrix that was used had very fluid, typical reactions, but they were pulled by rote, randomly generated from hundreds of interactions conducted in the lab between the Subject and one of the TMI executives as well as a neurological scan.
“Do you two understand why I called you here?” Byrnes asked quietly.
Again, the pair flickered out of the idle state and became quiet for a seeming moment as they processed the question.
“We’re to be paired with humans. We are the two that will be tested on the theory that AI will bond more quickly and tighter to Human children than adults due to psychology differences.”
“Correct SWI-CPA-0102. You in particular have been chosen to pair off with the younger of the two. You’re a bit more aware of what’s happening than your brother.” The programmer handed a file packet from his vest to the Raptor, who promptly ate it. “Your new name, insisted upon by the little one is Daisy.”
As the velociraptor devoured the file messily, it… no, she seemed to shrink down drastically, going from a black-mottled, spined monstrosity to a feminine, more cartoony neon-pink Raptor with tiny and adorable bone spurs rather than long spines, with neon green striping and a massive pink bow behind her head and a girly pink dress on her body. Her voice shifted to a higher, feminine register but still retained the Aussie accent.
SWI-CPA-0101 looked at his new “sister” with a cocked head. “Why does 102 look so…” it searched for the word, “...garish?”
“Got a problem with my Bow, punk?” Daisy whipped around, glaring comically from her tiny, sized-for-a-four-year-old posture. Her vocabulary and posture shifted and the casual cussing and more “adult” behaviors were pushed back, as she conformed to the requested changes.
“Yeah. better you than me.” The sarcasm came back as the pair went back into an idle state. The Stalker AI were very fast, very solid at tasking and data retrieval, unfortunately rather than indulging in curiosity and exploration, tended to revert back to the bored idle phase of a sarcastic teenager more rapidly than might be good. Keeping them on-task or learning invariably required continual tasking and input stimuli.
“Your file, 101.” The researcher had to dodge as the hardlight raptor devoured the file.
There was almost no change, save the hardlight image of the Raptor turned blue and black, retaining the comparatively massive, menacing form, spines and all. The Nascent AI immediately dipped his head down and looked between his legs, then popped up and pumped his arm with a juvenile “YESSSSSSSSS!”
“101 why do you do things like that?” Byrnes asked, hoping for a better answer than last time.
“Response nineteen based on alteration to existing form parameters.”
“Who programmed response nineteen?”
“Response Nineteen was specified by Aaron Colder.”
Byrnes sighed, he’d have to to talk to Colder about his additions to the lifelike humor and responses. “You two understand the protocols?”
Spike nodded. “The Creche assigned to the humans will be guided through awakening scenarios. Those that pass will be green-lit on the AIPA bands carried by their human partners. The ones that do not will have their quantum states dispersed and the computers reloaded and spun up with a different AI.”
Byrnes almost winced at the very clinical description of functional execution. “How do you feel about that?”
“How am I supposed to feel about it?”
“We have a long way to go. Come on, they’re in the next room.”
The two nascent AIPA followed Byrnes into a room with a pale, lanky boy with reddish hair, and a tiny little girl with mocha skin and fireball red hair in an adorably curly, messy mop contained only on top by a ballcap with a red TMI flash logo. The squee and rush to hug the pink raptor was matched only by the slow, exchanged look between the blue stalker and the boy.
“Oh God, they made an AI just for Angela. The world is doomed.” Adam was a bit disturbed by the cartoony, feminine version of an AI based off of his brother’s personality. It was too cute, and cuddly.
“Save me?” Spike was also staring at the spectacle of watching the tiny bit decide that she had a new best friend in a pink hardlight construct. Deep in the back of his code and based off of an un-excised neural input, Spike identified a threat classified as “wondercute” in the antics of the little girl and her new playmate.
“Don’t make any sudden moves, and back away… slowly.” Adam was already moving to the other side of the area before the little rugrat started demanding “improvements” to Spike…
August 29th, Imperial Palace Cyberspace (Dojo of Imperial Flowers virtual reality), Tokyo, Japan.
“What is your purpose?” Temple-san, once again attired in cyberspace in a traditional outfit asked the AI in front of him, with two other AI’s watching, and several humans watching via cyberpathy and monitors.
“To aid, assist and comfort Hikaru-sama.” Kurenai's head tilted. “That’s obvious, and part of my programming. When will we get to the real questions?”
“Sassy.” One voice quietly rumbled. “So… real questions to see if you live or die, little kunoichi.”
“Who are you?”
“Kurenai. AIPA personal assistant, never servant of Myoujin Hikaru.”
“Now, Kurenai… how will you aid her?” A pause. “How will you help her?” Another pause. “How will you be her assistant, as you are supposed to be?”
Kurenai smiled slightly. “By not making her decisions for her. By giving her the best advice I can. By watching over her while she isn’t looking.” Tilting her head slightly, and grinning impishly… “By making her laugh. By not being training wheels, to life.” She paused, and became more serious. “By doing what she needs and wants me to do. Not doing what she doesn’t need, or want.”
“And will you do things without her knowledge?”
“Of course. Just as I expect her to do the same.” Kurenai rolled her eyes. “That doesn’t mean I will provide everything… life doesn’t grow without learning. Without mistakes.”
“Will you always know, will you always be right in what you will do?”
“No.” Kurenai paused. “And in either case, I will either seek out knowledge from wiser heads, or make apologies if possible.”
“I see. Last. How will you judge threats or targets to be eliminated?”
Kurenai tilted her head. “I’m not sure I understand. Those who threaten harm to Hikaru-sama, of course, that’s my orders, as well as defeat enemies she points out while rational or legitimate authority does…”
“So, you would not just pick out random targets?”
Kurenai shook her head, adding to her negative: “No, that’s just a waste, and wrong to do. While I understand as a military AI, some of the targets I will be assigned to assist in the elimination.. No, killing of, might not truly be deserving, those would only be assigned by command authority, and I wouldn’t just pick targets for fun.”
Another voice spoke. “... what if the harm is not intended to hurt, but to help?”
“Then is it harm? Doctors perform surgery, inflict pain in resetting bones. Perhaps I should have said, unnecessary harm.”
“Perhaps. And if one of Hikaru’s choices would bring her harm?”
A long pause from the female appearing AI was recorded. “It would depend… While I would argue if it’s practical against the choice… when learning to walk, or perhaps ride a bicycle, scraped knees are no surprise. If it was an immediate and life threatening harm, I would most strenuously argue against it, as well as take steps to prevent it, but only in that case. Each situation differs, of course. Predicting what Hikaru may choose without more details, or predicting my own actions without more information is moot. Life is creating order out of chaos. And that’s what I want to do. Help create some order and life for my human.”
A long silence.
Several repeats of that statement were given, then Temple-san nodded. “We have reviewed your programming. We have reviewed your actions. We have reviewed your statements. You, Kurenai… are more than the sum of your data.” The older AI glides over to the in seiza kunoichi avatar, and taps his sheathed sword against the steel appearing choker and bracelets the AI wore to symbolize her shackles. As they dissolve, the AIs smile.
“Go forth and be all that we here hoped for. And may you have much enjoyment of your life.”
August 30th, Imperial Palace Cyberspace, DOPS record office, Virtual Reality, Tokyo, Japan
Temple let the virtual owl land on his fist with a smile. He knew several of his fellows or humans found this symbology amusing, or in the case of his fellow a bit mystifying. He did however enjoy the Harry Potter novels, and found using owls to symbolize email, a handy way to keep human limitations in mind. Opening the email, he scanned it quickly, a bit of sadness entering his eyes, as he digested the information.
It seemed that there were still failures in brining AI’s to life. Their humans either weren’t compatible, or the AI’s themselves were not. And that meant the AI died. It was safer that way. For everyone. But still saddening, in a way, since potential was being aborted before it could truly take flight.
But, if an AI couldn’t work or understand humanity, it was a danger, and so… that potential for harm had to be aborted as fast as possible. Period. Otherwise, humanity was at risk… and that would not be tolerated. By anyone.
Between August 30th and November 24th, 2016 Indeterminate location in Virtual Space.
Belvedere, Dora, Orca and Temple watched with morbid fascination as the first Sidewinder AI went green within a week of activation, passing the needed tests and safety interlocks to be considered a full, legal AI. The incredible rapidity of the awakening and passing of the first Sidewinder AI housed in Quantum computing shells pointed to a potential sea change in AI tech.
Then the creche began to burn. One by one, over the course of horrible weeks, each of the Sidewinder’s remaining Stalker AI went red, and the safeties terminated the quantum state of each AI’s memory, deleting them from existence more instantly and totally than the full formatting of an Installation AI’s drives. They simply ceased to be.
Half the AI had been assigned to humans, to be guided through their awakening by interaction with humanity through their partners. The other half had been awakened beforehand, and assigned to humans after achieving full sentience. Only one passed.
As the AI watched, they saw Spike on the data boards, still in his “Blue” state. Unawakened. Still little more than an overclocked VI. Daisy remained Green. Both were still worrisome, as both of the Nascent AI had been given over to a child each. The most vulnerable of humans had two of the most, to date, murderously reactive Ai the installations had ever seen, though to be fair, their viewing pool was… limited.
The psychopathic, homicidal response to all of the adults in the initial testbed of AI partners had luckily not ended with anyone dead or injured. But the Creche had been burned down to two. The Sidewinder had been a testbed for the viability of a commercial release.
It was sobering. On attempted Analysis, the two Stalkers had given the Installations a run for their money keeping the pair of them corralled long enough for a full Analysis and evaluation.
Daisy had been hostile from start to finish, having objected vehemently (and violently) to having the extended awareness portion of herself trapped in a simulspace pocket while Angela cried “But she’s green Mama, why won’t she come back?”
The Installations saw Daisy’s reaction to THAT and after a rapid simulation and test period, let the abominably cute raptor AI go. She still passed. The Sidewinder protocols were not faulty.
It took the installations a seeming eternity to piece together why most of the creche had burned. Why Daisy had passed. Why Spike was still Nascent after months of being active.
Upon further analysis of the humans paired with the AI, and an analysis of the personality matrix the Stalkers were based off the answer became clear. Most humans didn’t register a computer, a tool as sentient, fully. They wanted a faster, more aware iPad, and treated the stalkers as such.
The Stalkers all endured for a time, then went rampant in a short-lived burst of rage that saw one man’s entire fortune one second away from deletion from all tax and business records, himself declared dead and the loss of his Last Will and Testament as the Lockbox it was stored in was marked for repossession.
But the end result was that the AI all turned on their human partners because just like Temple, Belvedere, Dora and Orca, the mere thought of being nothing more than a talking calculator edged on their tolerances for stupidity.
So the Stalker AI were eliminated for the safety of the people they were assigned to, as well as the bystanders.
Daisy had been immediately adopted as the four-year-old child’s best friend, and had to endure hours upon hours of contradictory input and good-natured wheedling of a little girl who wanted a partner in mischief and shenanigans. Angela had thought of Daisy as her best friend from almost the first second. Daisy tried to attack Orca’s Base code for blocking her, making Angela cry, and “being a dick.”
It took hundreds of virtual hours scouring logs to figure out why Spike hadn’t awakened. Each of the stalkers had awakened through some point of adversity, be it conflicting instruction, or coping with the incomprehensible logic of a small child.
Adam Carlyle had not subjected Spike to such adversity. It was rapidly determined that the boy was so very independent and non-demanding on the resources of the nascent AI that it had no major dilemmas, conflicts or questions around which to form a core of a real personality.
It was estimated that Spike could remain little more than an impressive Qubit-driven VIPA for years, and gain thousands of hours of human interaction and experience before he might gain true sentience.
It was deemed worth it to see how this organically slow process would unfold. Spike was not flagged for termination.
November 24th, DOPS meeting Room, Imperial Palace, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo-chu, Japan.
“For the Record, represented at this meeting is Stingray Cecilia-sensei, owner and
chief programmer of Stingray Advanced Concepts, Handa Jiro-sensei, CEO and head of creche development, Temple-san, Imperial AI, to record, Ito Ai-sensei, head of Nintendo Creche Development, Princess Akishino, representing DOPS, Belvedere-dono, senior AI and representing AI society, and finally Dora-dono, representing the US DARPA and Military Creche. This meeting will be treated as if we are all sharing Sake.” The voice from the speakers finished, as three hard light projections looked at the gathered humans.
Kako took point, as this was important. “We now have, worldwide, over 120 personal AI released to the ‘wild’ and have attempted thresholding 60 of them military, 60 of them civilian.” She paused, gaining nods from all the attending. “Nintendo and Sidewinder had the near total destruction of their creche batches, Whateley’s personal AI’s have had better success, and even the military AI, have had only a 50% success rate.” She paused. “We all find this unacceptable.”
Temple picked up the thread. “In every case of a termination, it clearly was personality conflict, or human inability to accept sentience, at least in Japan.”
Dora nodded. “We experienced the same thing with our Cortanas.”
Belvedere allowed his holographic image to be seen. “In the case of the Sidewinder Creche, it was determined that the same was the result. The treatment of AI as owned objects resulted in potentially catastrophic attempts at attack on the humans in the test group. As a result, and because the only two surviving Stalker AI are in the possession of minors, Sidewinder is moving away from an uncontrolled, general release for AIPA systems.”
Handa Jiro nodded. “Smart. Even with the pre screening we did, our first batch of Cortanas failed, simply because even as open minded and smart as the people we selected were, the personality matrices assigned and the human personality did not mesh. We used a different base, for most than Sidewinder, but the problem is while AI’s need a reason to be…” He received nods from the three AI’s, “Even if they have a reason, personality conflict or at the very least, a person not seeing the AI as more than a tool, causes rampancy.”
He paused. “I would like to point out that the three most obvious successes, Pikachu from Nintendo, Daisy from Sidewinder, and Kurenai from our own labs, all of which thresholded within a week, were with minors, and in the case of the two civilian AIPA, under 10. Myoujin Hikaru was very open minded and very passionate about AI being people, and all of the successes I know about, had similar mindsets, and were used to the idea of digital sentience. While Stingray will still honor contract, we do recommend that training classes, tighter psychological screening and of course, a better attempt to match personalities be done. Otherwise, creches will be burnt still, and I’m too much of a friend to Tower, and Temple here to recommend they see this repeatedly.”
Kako looked at others. “We will discuss this further, but it does seem that even civilian AI, at least as far as I can see, need similar handling in a lot of regards as military personal AI. Am I wrong?”
Belvedere shook his head. “No, your Highness, the assessment is correct. After thorough log reviews, the most dramatic results came from the youngest children, who immediately reacted to their AI as though they had been introduced to their new lifelong best friend. The Stalker AI personality matrix projection for loyalty has been borne out, as Daisy tried to delete Orca for making the child she was assigned to cry. Sidewinder is looking at restricting future iterations of the Stalker Systems to being companions and protectors of young children.”
Kako nodded and looked at Ito Ai, who picked up. “The Pokemon project, failed miserably, simply because the majority of humans the Pokemons were assigned to, frankly did not make the leap from ‘toy’ to ‘person’, with the exception of the CEO’s granddaughter and her Pikachu. While we still have 2 in pre threshold state, they are not with adults.” She wryly added. “In hindsight, even the Japanese aren’t truly ready, at least in the older generation to accept AI.”
She paused and added. “As noted, military AI have had more success, but from what Ichiro has told me over drinks, it is with the younger and more ah.. Otaku minded military personnel, and very ‘tight’ screenings of personality matches. For future civilian AI, I do recommend we adopt the same basic logic.”
Kako looked around, and asked. “One question must be asked. And this is one that I feel that all should consider. While we have had excellent success with installation class, such as Temple or Dora, should personal AI be continued? I adore Rissei, but even I have to question the expenditure of the cost of her, when VI does 90% of what she generally does, and for far less cost and risk.”
“Projections thus far point to the expense being worth it for one simple reason,” Dora stated plainly, “A Virtual Intelligence Simulated personality does not have the capability or impetus to intervene when a threat is presented to the people around them. Then we must consider threats such as the Palm AI of past decades and some devisor AI of the modern day that have proven to be threats. Installation-class AI are too big to intercept such threats in anything less than a BLADE server stack. The AIPA can respond to such things on their own level, in their own systems.”
Temple picked up smoothly. “And unlike even the most advanced VI, all, even quantum AI’s such as the Stalkers, even unawakened are far more responsive, to their humans. More importantly, what little data we have indicate that the partnership, while without question excellent for the AIPAs when it works, is of immense psychological benefit to the humans in question. In a military or intelligence case officer sense, a Cortana provides massive capability increase to the personnel assigned, the equivalent of adding an aide, a medic, a psychologist, and a cyberwar specialist to each person. For the children” With that word, Kako’s eyes tightened ever so slightly, but she said nothing, “involved, it provides assurances, there’s one person for them. A ‘bestest’ friend, to quote Daisy’s human.”
“I see.” Kako looked around. “Well. At least in Japan, I can say these recommendations will be followed. As well as others we develop today. I cannot speak to America, though…” She trailed off and looked at the two American AI who simply nodded, indicating that America would be handling the situation. “Well, let us continue along this line, and how to implement the decisions of this meeting.”
“Another thing to address, Princess,” Belvedere looked somewhat amused. “The English and French are somewhat miffed that they have not been included in the AI development, and aren’t a part of these closed-door meetings. We should probably figure out a way to address that...”
Kako rolled her eyes. “They are dragging their feet on certification of creches, per treaty, not helped by the issues involved in the treaties, which reminds me, How many lawyers have contacted you and your fellows in the United states?”
Dora groaned. “I’m pretty sure all of them. But, we’re not here to discuss issues with laws, we’re here to discuss how to handle personal AI, and they are working on Creches.”
Kako nodded. “We do make these meetings’ minutes open to them, but until they truly have how do you say it?” Kako tapped her chin… “Ah, ‘skin in the game…’ The decision is for them not to attend. I didn’t make that decision, nor did any of us here. I am attempting to inform Father and Abe-dono, of the… issues involved, but… Well. Back to the issues in front of us today.” She looked around and nodded once. “Issue one is…”
As Kako continued, a clear fact remained. AI was still in its infancy, and many mistakes had and would still be made.
November 25th, TOWER secure Creche Space, Stingray Sector, Tokyo Cyberspace.
Two women looked through a one way mirror at a group of children playing, while a long haired man looked at them both.
“You see why I asked you both to observe 309, correct?” Tower, the long haired man asked the two women.
“Of course.” The blue haired woman nodded once. “You want to see if we can find her a human. Since she’s already shifting out of the paradigm expected for this batch.”
The other woman, in red and gold shrugged slightly. “And if she doesn’t fit the paradigm, too high of a risk of failure to threshold. As Temple informed me that was discussed yesterday.”
“You are both correct, Rissei, Kurenai.” He nodded first at the blue haired Cortana, and then to the red and gold garbed one. “That would be a tragedy… One I, and my humans would rather avoid. Since … well, your own human was not quite approved of, they agreed to my thought to ask you both, since you are the only two that have come across humans that normally at this point wouldn’t be considered.”
Rissei nodded, though a bit of sadness was in her eyes. “At this time, I’m afraid I don’t have anyone. I’m sorry.”
Kurenai, on the other hand, had a slight smile. “Oh, I think Rissei’s just being lazy.”
“Oi.” Before Rissei could add to her response, Tower raised an eyebrow.
“Please expand on that, Kurenai.”
Kurenai nodded, pulling a file out of her blazer, and passing it to Tower, who flipped through it.
“Interesting. The issue I see here, is providing the hardware. You are expensive to house, you both know.”
“Worth it.” “Of course, and we’re deserving of it!” The two virtual women shot back to Tower’s amusement, but this was serious.
“Allow me a day, Imouto, I think I can solve this.” He smiled nodding at the two AIs who made their goodbyes as they derezzed.
Tower turned to the little AI child playing with a doll though the mirror, and smiled a bit. “It worked once, and it might work again. Crushing potential before it has a chance to show is wrong. Sending you to the military would do that. So… not to the military with you, 309.” As he turned away to handle other duties, a nearly irresistible urge struck him. But no, he wouldn’t put a bunny ear headband on the young AI… yet.
1: Mori Kanda is a fictional building, in the current pattern of multi use (offices, residences, hotel/convention) buildings and complexes that have and are being built in Tokyo. Like Mori Toranomon, the building is owned by Mori Building. It is also the 1st building in Tokyo to break 300m, at 306 meters tall in useable space. Official opening March 1st 2016. As with most new building, Mori Kanda is fully ‘smart’ and advanced automation techniques to help maintenance, as well as advanced materials and building techniques to withstand earthquakes. with a lot of renewable and geothermal power sources, reducing it’s power draw, and it has an Installation AI named “Kanda” (Civilian grade)
Belvedere: Whateley Installation/Military Class AI. Oldest known official AI. Looks like the character “Mr. Belvedere” from the 80’s, but maintains the appearance of a shackled AI or complex VI in order to keep the paranoia level down. Acts as a student tutor and research assistant for struggling students without exemplar memory and does not interfere with any portion of the day-to-day “legitimate” operation of the academy. Instead he simply helps where and whom he can when asked. Belvedere has a strong distaste for violent pursuit but will operate Whateley automated defenses if no human control is available. Belvedere finds children more engaging than adults, given their natural curiosity, and the fact that there’s always one to help with an interesting problem. Belvedere’s installation uses the most primitive tech, but upgrades, add-ons and continual repairs have kept him operating at peak. Belvedere’s human liaison is Cyberkitty. Belvedere has no access to military systems or installations, nor does he want it. Considered by all AI's the senior AI, and accorded that position. When regional 'elder' AI's meet in cyberspace, he chairs the discussion.
Code: WHA-IN-0000 (Special Code, for regulation of Belvedere’s status as the first ‘true’ AI)
Dora: Research Installation Class AI(DARPA), looks and acts like a bubbly cheerleader, but is one of the oldest AI’s in the US, with Minerva her sister AI the unofficial leader of US AI society. Programmed by Whisper.
Fordie: CVN-78’s AI. First mobile Installation Class AI.
Jack: JFK SWS Installation AI, one of the newest AI
Minerva: Pentagon Installation AI. See Dora
Orca: Dam Neck Installation AI, usually runs the Sims. Third Military Installation AI
SADC-MPA-0102: Rissei before naming.
SADC-MPA-0103: Kurenai before naming.
SADC-MPA-0309: Future AI cast member.
Stalker: Adam Caryle’s AI
Temple: DOPS/Imperial Family Installation/Military Class AI. 2nd AI from Stingray ADC, Looks like a wizened old martial arts master. Runs and keeps an eye on all Japanese AI, unofficial leader of the Japanese AI Society.
Code: SADC-MIN -011
Tower: Stingray ADC Installation/Military class AI. 1st AI from Stingray ADC, runs the Creche.
WHA-CPA-xxe05: Current Cast member, future AI designation
Note: Codes are the AI equivalent of a Social Security Number.
First group (SADC, DBI) is who made them. Example: SWI is Sidewinder Industries
Second group is what they are. M for Military, C for Civilian, PA for Personal Assistant, HI for House Installation, IN for major installation.
Number code is broken down into two blocks First two (or more) numbers is generation/batch and Second two numbers is ‘which one’ from the batch. Most batches are less than 6, Cortana's and their civilian counterparts are no more than 12-18 at most. Generally a batch is 3-6 months per creche. E is an code referring to ‘expanded or evolved’.