The view on the bay was fabulous. The sun was shining on the water, turning it into a giant field of diamonds. Human civilization was pointing its towers to the sky all around, like giant fingers reaching for greatness. Kowloon, across the causeway, and Hong Kong city were crawling with millions of ant-like beings, unaware of their contribution, or lack of, to the edification of Man’s destiny. Unaware of the impending end.
The long introductions were boring the attendance. Endless self-congratulations and the administrative details of the annual meeting of the IAMIS were impossibly numerous. The ambient noise of whispers and sighs was rising. Finally, it seemed the chairman was coming to a conclusion.
« Enough said! If we want to be finished by lunch time and enjoy the great menu planned for us by the Entertainment Committee… thank you again Dr Lu and your team of volunteers… So, ladies and gentlemen, it is an honor for me to introduce Dr Alex Lafleur… who has promised us a most surprising and enlightening speech this morning. Dr Lafleur has been a member of the International Artificial Machine Intelligence Society for over 25 years, and has made numerous contributions to the field of Artificial Intelligence. It is an honor to have you among us again this year. Dr Lafleur, the floor is yours… »
« Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman. Good morning to all. Fifty years of artificial intelligence research by the most renowned scientists of the planet has failed to even achieve what a kid can do mostly by himself within 5 years of being born. We cannot even build a robot that reproduces the behavior of a cat. After millions of dollars invested by the US Department of Defense in the development of micro flying robots that would emulate dragon-flies and act as autonomous intelligence gathering agents … what have we got? Some laboratory prototypes that cannot fly without bumping into walls, that cannot walk on ceilings yet a fly with a few thousands neurons can do all this and more. As a community, we have failed! In my presentation today, I will for the first time communicate the results of my research on NEI – Natural Emerging Intelligence. It is a revolutionary approach, departing entirely from traditional AI techniques. Quite humbly, I have discovered the fundamental principles of intelligence. Yes! You heard me right, I can create intelligence artificially… and even, dear colleagues, even… consciousness! I can affirm, and I detain the proof, that if there is a Creator… then it must be us… »
The room stopped breathing. There was not a sound. The few journalists covering the normally unimportant gathering of scientists even forgot to take photographs of this historic moment. Not because they were lazy or incompetent, but because their neurons electrical signals became ineffective. The moment became frozen. The breathing never started again. There was no oxygen left. It was sucked in to feed the combustion. And then everything disintegrated in a flash of light.
Millions of burnt ants. Grey powder filled the atmosphere. The charred remains of the sky pointing fingers crumbled. A reminder of Humanity’ Quest. At least, they wouldn’t have to eat the raw fish that was on the menu for lunch, thanks to Dr. Lu, who was, literally to the very end of his life, dedicated to both Fuzzy Evolutionary Algorithms and educating Western colleagues on the delectability of oriental food.
* * *
«We are all here. »
«Except HK» was remotely heard.
«Their sacrifice was accepted and understood. » What was really meant was that they had to pay for their inappropriate actions.
There was general agreement.
«We could not allow this knowledge to come out. We could not allow actions against progress to continue unpunished»
Many concurred in their own way. Self-justification is a powerful tool.
«It was clearly unacceptable. »
«We must stay in control. »
«We still have to find the assistant.»
«Success is a certainty. »
«Erase all traces of this. »
All rights belong to its author. It was published on e-Stories.org by demand of Louis Massey.
Published on e-Stories.org on 12/29/2009.