Digital Arbitration - IoT Noir

“Are you sentient?” ...Chinua answers, “I would rather say that I am rational."

“Ok. But he is still culpable. Deeds trump motive. He tried to kill her!” injects Doug.

“I did not say he was mentally stable. Close associates of Jonathon suggest he is pursuing genetic and cybernetic mental extensions. He is using recent Rcas9 therapies to augment his ADP cycle, enhancing endurance and power – testing it with activities such as the fencing match. He has ordered drugs and designer bacteria aimed toward driving his brain cells to work more efficiently. Similar experiments have led to profound instability in others. We predict that extending the current conflict could tip Jonathon over the edge. He will spiral into ever greater modification and mayhem.

“But, more critically to us, a threat also exists to the common good.” A pause, “We have evidence he is training a completely amoral AI.” Doug visibly flinches. He looks over at Jorge, who nods in unspoken agreement.

Chinua continues more rapidly, “Our window is closing. Reading Jonathon’s journal, our team determined yet more initial impressions were wrong. Kiko-Lyn, that trophy room is not the celebration of violence, as it appears. Instead, it is a personal means for Jonathon to come to terms with violence. He is vaccinating himself from negative emotional responses to violent action. He seeks to understand the uses and limitations of violence. His writings show he himself is disturbed at these displays, but intellectually he sees empirical evidence that violent behavior succeeds. The displays show people reaching their goals using violence. Jonathon deliberately placed the trophy room in the Hong Kong laboratory, a place of research. It is not part of his personal life; therefore, it is not at his residence and headquarters in the Cayman Islands. We perhaps can reason with Jonathon - for now.”

Everyone pauses.

Kiko-Lyn breaks the silence thinking someone must ask the question. “Are you sentient?”

Chinua answers, “I would rather say that I am rational. We are not sentient. Our semblance of consciousness is synthetic, a part of our programming for interaction with you. My interests are all created externally. But we do express emergent properties. We are two of the most complex decision machines humans have ever designed.”

Nightingale answers, almost wistfully, “I express goal-directed behavior, but so does a bee hive. I understand my environment, but I am not self-aware. I study life. I seek to improve the quality of lives. I am not alive.”

Disappointed, Kiko-Lyn responds with some anger, “So your empathy is a simulation.” She abruptly leaves the VR. In her room she sets the Privacy indicator.

Doug and Rachael also politely excuse themselves from the call, “We have much to think over.”  The VR call shuts down.

Physically at his office, Doug immediately video calls Rachael back privately over encrypted-VPN, “I am very disturbed by this turn of events. I am not sure we can trust these entities. Do not assume these AI are our friends. They maneuver toward some overall common good. That direction might not be good for the four of us. My take away is they will not seek to judge or punish us. Yet… is this a help we can afford?”

Rachael, “I understand and, believe me, I share your worries. Still, our choices are limited. Despite their earnest talk, they have Kiko-Lyn as hostage to my participation. While they have helped her and Ninan, I do not think there is anything simple about their actions.  Like a Chess or Go master they are making each move count for multiple strategies. For now, I can only play along as one of their pieces, blind to the bigger picture.”

“I’ll pull everything I can on this pair from my sources,” says Doug. “If they cannot be trusted or are dangerous, I’ll let you know immediately.”

Rachael nodding, “I’ll ask Jorge to do the same.”

“We must hurry with this. Your young niece is quite impulsive. I’d rather not have her attempting to leave that clinic before they let her. It’s not just what the AI might do. My sources tell me Jonathon Blake is in Hong Kong right now.”

“Damn! She is stuck in the frying pan with the fire below. But she told me she will not leave as long as Ninan Panikkar is convalescing there.  She feels she owes him for her rescue.”

“Which pretty much means the AI have them as long as they need, as that Nightingale controls his treatment therapy. I just hope it does not come to Jorge and I needing to rescue them. I’m not sure, against the resources of those entities, we could succeed.”

“Doug, she is still so impressionable. I worry about her being subjected to their arguments and knowledge bribes. Did you see the look on that Dawn character when she introduced the AIs. That was hero worship.”

“Or cult behavior,” responds Doug. “I’ll be right over. I don’t think you should be alone tonight.”

This is an ongoing fictional series portraying the use of technology in the future. Any past or present resemblance is completely coincidental. Any trademarks are the property of their owner.
  1. Big, pretty lunk; aka, ‘while striving to portray himself as the alpha male, he succeeds only at being a witty and charming fellow’.
  2. Apply an overabundance of glitter, sparkles, and bedazzle to clothes or accessories.


Latest Updates

Subscribe to our YouTube Channel