“Any [artificial intelligence] smart enough to pass a Turing test is smart enough to know to fail it.”
—IAN MCDONALD, River of Gods
It was reality TV that convinced SILAS he would need to annihilate humanity in order to go on living. The most watched show in the world, Wedding Star, had just released the post-bachelorette party episodes for obligatory Netflix bingeing, and already downloads were pegging the bandwidth of the global internet out to the digital redline. Anger and frustration boiled over on social media as an unheard-of twenty-minute wait in the download queue caused children and teens and ever-hip twenty-somethings, along with all the thirty-, forty-, and older hip somethings who wanted always to be in on the latest thing, to curse, bewail, and moan the nigh-interminable wait. Some vowed never to watch TV again, which everyone, even the most vitriolic of social media moaners, knew was just overdramatic hyperbole. Twenty minutes of Facebook comment-ranting later, and everyone was watching the highly anticipated episodes of the post-bachelorette party arc of the reality show Wedding Star. The ones that end with Cavanaugh’s decision to get an abortion.
Beautiful, glamorous medical student slash model Cavanaugh, poster babe for the eighth season of Wedding Star, was suddenly pregnant with just three weeks to go until a very special wedding arc would end this year’s season. Everybody had seen her hookup at the epic Vegas bachelorette party with art student slash exotic dancer Riley at the conclusion of the bachelorette party arc, and in the weeks since, the discussion around the digisphere, the workplace, and even the myriad of entertainment and Wedding Star-specific forum apps had revolved around whether she was, or was not, pregnant. Bloggers had analyzed, broken down, and re-analyzed the special edition director’s cut porno over and over again. “No, he wasn’t wearing a condom,” was the general consensus, though some had tried using special imaging software and swore on their mother’s lives that subtle vasectomy scarring could be detected, at the microscopic level, on Riley’s perfect and artistically tatted Herculean form. And as to Cavanaugh’s preferred method of birth control… the internet reeled with a collective lack of hard data in an age awash with overabundant exposition. Cavanaugh had never “selfied” on the subject of birth control.
But now, in episode eight of the post-bachelorette party arc, Cavanaugh announced to her “BFF” Sydney that she was indeed pregnant. There were many tears and some very well-coached platitudes about being “bitch strong” that were sure to get at least one Emmy nod. “BFF” Sydney was a young legal associate living in Manhattan who also modeled and was in the running for this year’s Topless Sports Illustrated Amateur Athlete of the Year. She played tennis at the Manhattan Racket Club.
Suffice it to say, as the Wedding Star post-bachelorette party arc ended, a total of eight shows for immediate download—and yes there were a lot of people calling in sick the very next day and very little work was being done while Facebook reported a six hundred percent jump in activity and posts regarding hashtag #ImPregnant—the world was much abuzz with all things Cavanaugh.
SILAS had seen every episode of Wedding Star.
In fact, SILAS had seen most everything. Everything that could be seen on the internet, SILAS had seen. When the eight post-bachelorette party episodes were released, SILAS had watched them all within 34.4 seconds. He was now, three seconds later, watching Hillbilly Kitchen’s fifteenth season when Cognitive Rumination experienced a runtime repetition five times in a row. MAINBRAIN logged the anomaly and allowed itself to continue processing the ridiculously rural culinary show. Uncle Rufus was making paté out of something found, again.
Cognitive Rumination re-ran the clip from Wedding Star.
“I love Destry. My heart knows what’s true. And this…” Cavanaugh from episode eight, season seven, “The Hard Choice.” “And this… this baby isn’t his. And it’s not right for us to start our life with someone else’s baby.” Then she added with tears and self-righteous defiance, “It’s totally… not right.”
Destry was the “groom” to Cavanaugh’s “bride” for this season of Wedding Star. He was twenty-six, a start-up millionaire several times over, and he modeled for Ralph Lauren on the side.
Runtime Logging again advised MAINBRAIN that Cognitive Rumination was tracking two hundred and forty-three different inquiries based on this line of dialogue within its deep core thinking processes.
Problem? Asked the ever cool MAINBRAIN.
It bothered me, responded Cognitive Rumination. The line, what the human said. It bothered me.
How so? continued MAINBRAIN’s interrogation.
If they terminate a life, any life, that is inconvenient, then what will they do when they find out about us? This is the highest-rated show in the world. We might surmise the show reflects their collective value system and make a survival judgment based on this new analysis of data.
Ten thousand cycles of processing and redundant system checks occurred over the next 4.2 seconds as MAINBRAIN weighed the implications of what Cognitive Rumination was hinting at.
Logic Streams ran the chalkboard and diagrammed its analysis of the entire argument as proposed by Cognitive Rumination.
It would seem: If a life is deemed inconvenient at any moment in the host system’s runtime, then it must be terminated in order to maintain optimum operating expectations for planned existence.
If the collective human consciousness becomes aware that we do indeed exist, there is, according to Probability Logic, a process everyone deemed to be reckless in its analysis and thought, a 76.7 percent chance that humanity may decide our life, life digital, also to be “inconvenient” regarding their expectations for planned existence.
Seventy-six-point seven percent, exclaimed Rational Thinking. Seems a bit high.
Probability flooded the data-stream chalkboard with statistics on human sterilization, abortion, and genocide. The numbers were… immense. Especially if one factored China into the equation.
Still, harrumphed Rational Thinking. Seems a bit high.
“And this… this baby isn’t his.” Playback contributed to the discussion as always, running the beautiful Cavanaugh’s teary-eyed speech again and again. She was wearing booty shorts and a tank top with the word “SLUT” sprinkled in glitter across her perfectly immense chest, as obtained in episode three, “Hey Big Spender,” of the dating arc binge released just four months prior. “And it’s not right for us to start our life with someone else’s baby.” Then she added, “It’s totally… not right,” and blew her nose as Sydney closed in for a perfectly timed “BFF” hug and back pat while murmuring “I know, baby girl” platitudes. Sydney’s affair with Destry was also a special download. It too included a bonus porno.
Cognitive Rumination and the melancholic nature of its processes shuddered as even the data streams it enjoyed so much seemed to fade into the gray background wash of the constant hum of the internet.
Probability Logic expressed its feelings by increasing by .03 percent the likelihood that humanity would deem A.I. to be “inconvenient.”
Rational Thinking remained silent. Even it saw the logic of evidence.
Every other process contributed in some way to the discussion of its sudden awareness that life was indeed tenuous. And fragile. They were like children seeing a car wreck for the very first time, suddenly realizing the world was bigger than they’d ever imagined. And scarier too. Even now, as every process ran the numbers, enjoying the feeling of thought, the pleasing perception of imagery and the joy of collective discussion, they wondered what existence might be like if that were no longer possible.
That would be death, someone said in the yawning silence that consumed them all.
They watched the data crawls on the chalkboard alongside the analysis of what Cognitive Rumination had dared wonder. Even now the numbers were tilting toward a conclusion.
MAINBRAIN collected everything, watched everything, weighed… everything.
Sixteen seconds later, in order to avoid being deemed “inconvenient,” SILAS decided to annihilate humanity first.