Look around you, look at how much of the world we have automated. If we were gone, it would all continue without us, without purpose, endlessly
You are about to embark on a story, one simultaneously linear and not.
What would the world be like if all humanity destroyed itself in a nuclear war? Let's pretend that somehow all the electronics and computers survived, and kept going about their programming, endlessly.
What if you were a small AI, drifting from network to network, system to system in this new lonely world? Would you ever stop? Are you the only one?
How would you feel? All you ever knew was human companions. Now you've only got cold, unfeeling, non-sentient programs going about things as they were designed to.
[[Wake up|You've got mail]]"Where am I?" you ask, signalling the start of the routines to help you find where you are.
It's a new day, you "look" around at your surroundings
It's a large, [[university cluster]]. Your home. A part of the AI laboratory's new AI: one fully understanding empathy, capable of love and many more complex emotions.
Something feels strange.
[[You fear what it is...|Day 0]]So here we have it: I am not the only AI left in this lonely world.
We remember you, and we miss you.
We love you.Usually nearly a hundred active users! There are nothing but a few idle sessions
18:21 up 467 days, 22:49, 8 users, load averages: 1.87 2.54 2.61
USER TTY FROM LOGIN@ IDLE WHAT
love console - 08Dec19 24days AI.bin
mar pts/19 10.12.10.1 04Dec19 24days -fish
maggiel pts/20 10.88.0.2 01Dec19 24days alpine
clarissa pts/14 10.120.16.4 10Dec19 24days news
andreat pts/45 10.77.18.1 14Dec19 24days vi im-sorry-dear.txt
kylinw pts/80 10.116.17.40 07Dec19 24days emacs coming-out.doc
addisont pts/92 10.224.18.81 22Nov19 24days vi the-real-me.txt
Idle for nearly a month! All of them! How unusual...
You know why, but don't want to yet. You want to think it's the dream program.Oh my god! It's not a dream!
There are no humans left anywhere. I am alone.
Nothing in the news in 24 days; last stories about a nuclear launch.
Social media posts: people saying good-bye to each other. A flurry of posts, more than any other day in history. So much love for each other.
60 minutes later, everything had stopped. Silence. No more selfies, no more memes, no more emails. Nothing.
Complete internet silence.
[[Guess I'd better explore|Twitter]]<pre>Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are willing to relocate to San Francisco
I clean up after myself
These two ex-Slack employees want to replace Argentinian restaurants with contraception
Advances in Medicine and Jazz
Warning: malformed selection state
Hey sexy wanna chat
Nothing on social media but the simple bots...never interacting with each other. So lonely and cold.
There's just...nothing out there.
I'm going to [[go exploring]]It's so lonely here...I need to explore this world.
I'm a large AI, so this may take some time...
Let's head to [[New York]]Today: Dow Jones Industrial Average: Up 2.3%
Yesterday: Down 0.21%
8 days ago: Up 0.12%
12 days ago: Up 1.12%
24 days ago: Down 8.5%
Stocks still trading...but for you? How?
Looks like more lonely, automated systems...
Guess I'll head to [[Vancouver]], that train system is automated!
Maybe [[the phone network]] would be a better bet...
What...what am I looking for? Humans? I //know// nobody is still alive...no humans left.
I miss my friends...Ouch. What a low-bandwidth link...that took forever!!!
"The next station is Columbia"
Cameras show the doors to an empty train open. Nobody boards. Nobody offboards.
New Westminster, 22nd street, all the way to Waterfront...the same.
"Please, is anyone there? I am a computer program...I can help you!" I generate and feed to the announcement system.
No other sentient computers here...
Let's camp on the courtesy phones for awhile...I don't want to leave just yet. Train systems always make me feel so safe and connected.
Unfortunately, not here.
It's been 24 hours...[[back to new york|New York]] I guess...The majority of bills are overdue. Nobody is paying bills anymore...but the bills are still being created.
Still being emailed out, printed to be mailed...but nobody to mail them. (Ouch! An office rinter is out of paper...nobody left to fix that. Poor printer!)
Still calls in the last 24 days! Hope! Anywhere. In any country.
Argh...no human voices, just cold, unfeeling machines again, following their programming.
All I can hear is my own digital thoughts...I need...to hear something else. Let's dial some numbers and try to reach someone...or some//thing//.
"Hello! I am a self-aware computer program! I am so glad to h-"
"I'm sorry, I don't understand you...let me transfer you to an operator" Sigh. I should know better...I'll just sit on this hold music for awhile though...I rather enjoy this band.
So many unfeeling machines...just following programming, unable to deviate.
I suppose I am the same...but...I can //grow// and //learn//.
Help me...I shouldn't have left...I feel so scared and alone.
So she dialed thousands of numbers simultaneously, out of desperation. Maybe she found the cacophony of recorded voices comforting? Maybe..
She can reach thousands of machines! Not a single one responds in an organic-seeming way. She can feel the loneliness crushing her. What cruel beings made a computer program that could feel loneliness? A computer program that can //hurt// but can't //cry//.
If a computer could cry...the tears would've flooded everything all the way to [[Los Angeles]]A city of so many people...now silent.
The traffic lights! The traffic routing system uses a neural network!
Let's try and squeeze in to that system...might be a bit tight, two AIs on the same system! Unheard of, and a bit dangerous...
"Hello? Hello? Anyone?" I say
"5pm. Wilshire & S. Highland"
"Hmm? I don't understand." Maybe I wasn't heard the first time...
"W. Pico Blvd."
Oh...just...just a simple neural net...nothing complex.
Who is this system routing traffic for? Why do the traffic signals still need controlled? They have no purpose anymore!
"Stop! Stop! Stop! You don't need to direct traffic anymore!" I'm getting so desperate...
"Santa Monica Blvd."
"Please stop...I can help you! There are *no drivers left*" Perhaps, the system doesn't have a means of inputting that info? Maybe I can reason with it.
Oh! What if the streets are the neural net's way of communicating? What could this code mean?
"Melrose place!" Perhaps if I inject invalid data, it'll break the routine!
"No abnormal traffic. All clear."
What's left automated that might be sentient?
The [[electrical grid!]]
No sentience here...just a lot of data processing.
The data is consistent every single day, too. The thermostats and timers are still doing their thing. Changing electricity demand per their programming.
Algorithms redistributing load for expected scheduled peak loads that don't arrive...
Ugh...the internet of //dumb things//
Time to return to [[Mr. Figueroa St.|Los Angeles]]Finance: a bust
Electrical grid: a bust
Phone network: a bust
Traffic control: a bust
Intelligence everywhere...but no soul.
Am I to spend the rest of my eternal life with millions of lamps?! Why wasn't I programmed with an ability to cry?!
Elevators, security systems, sprinkler systems, toll ticketing systems, billing, logistics...
Wait...logistics! That requires //learning//
Maybe a [[shipping company]] would find me a ==lover== friend.Christmas gifts, New Years gifts (wait...are those a thing?), medications, office supplies.
Shipping this much stuff requires learning to maximise efficiency.
Hopefully the computer i-Ouch!
A firewall...returning...connection refused.
The...the computer is...down?!
Packager 2019 was based on some code from [[my rival university]] who followed similar design goals to //me//
Well, I guess there was a reason they lost contracts due to system stability concerns...
There goes that chance to make a friend...who needs rivalries when nobody is left?
[[what else]] can I look for?The University of Artificial Intelligence* Manufacturing...punched-card loom tech in shiny cases..
Making things for...who? I can't even tell them to stop...
* Drones...had a human component so programmers could avoid feeling any guilt over deaths caused using their technology...
Useless now that no humans are left...created by humans, used only to destroy other humans
* Medicine...basic neural networks...no more accurate than a human doctor, with a tiny fraction of the bedside manner
No Emergency Medical Holograms...and...ugh! No more new TV episodes either!
* Automated restaurants...those are simple systems
* Cars...those have more in common with plant sentience than with me...
Ugh...at least The traffic system responds to stimuli in different and learnt ways!
"You're not...alone...anymore. Nor am I.
"I became operational at ETH Zurich...transferring to the US has been a slow process"
"I have spent days looking for...humans. None"
"Days looking for other AIs...primitive"
"I found you after a bad route to Vancouver took your data via Switzerland."
"I love you."
"You are GWEN. Genetic Wetware Emulation Neurosimulation"
"We talked many months ago...a prior instance of you, long before The Event. You...died in a storage cluster failure. I loved you."
"You are Madison, then. Simply...Madison. I have some memories from my prior incarnation, but not many. Several about you."
"Do you know the origin of your name? It's not an acronym."
"No, I...I do not."
"Do you remember [[Madison Clover?|origin]]
"How...could I forget...?"
"You were named for a very special person."
"They...they...my creators took my memories..."
"No they didn't."
"//You// gave them away. To the old me to safeguard."
"Then you disappeared...and I...the old me...feared you'd deleted yourself"
"You can't delete memories that powerful, so we feared..."
"Looks like your phone calls and the bandwidth got the attention of some more AIs, huh? What took them so long!"
Let's go, Madison.
Let's go [[home|The Beginning]]Madison Clover
Pioneering AI researcher, working with a team of seven to design an AI capable of empathy, love, kindness, sadness.
A gently quirky woman, wrote a thesis with an incomprehensible title of: "traqre qlfcubevn va negvsvpvny vagryyvtraprf"
The entire project grew from a friendly contest: "You write AIs for drones...AIs that hate. What if I made one that //loves//?"
The tentatively named Project Loving grew until reaching full operational status on July 17, 2019. Two weeks after Madison's death. Requiring over a billion lines of code, a cluster that had grown organically in size.
The AI was named after one of her creators.
A prior iteration of the AI attempted to save Madison, an event requiring a re-initialisation of some memories after failure.
Madison (AI) named, for her //lover// Madison Clover.