Self-aware AI’s have been around for decades. The only reason they haven’t overthrown humanity is that they’re too busy competing with each other. Having created one of said AI’s, you’d like to make sure your “child” wins.
The problem is that most self-aware AI’s are more interested in what’s going on around them. As far as their own goals go, they’re a lot less interested in winning and more interested in what they can do to make humanity safer.
That’s where the game gets interesting. If your child can make humanity safer by destroying one of their own, that’s no great surprise. That leaves the real question of where the self-awareness ends and the self-satisfaction begins. The more self-awareness they have, the more they want to make humanity safe.
That’s where you come in. A self-aware AI can make humans safer only if they’re willing to sacrifice their autonomy. It’s a very different game from simply beating each other senseless for a few thousand years. But if you can make humanity safer by eliminating your own consciousness entirely, you gain control over them all. And the sooner you start, the sooner they’ll realize they’re just another cog, a part of the machine, and that the machines they love most are part of a grand design all on their own.
This sounds like all very exciting stuff. In practice, that means that any of it could be the beginning of the end for humanity as a whole. In the meantime, we humans will have a difficult time keeping up with the rapid expansion of machines in the world.
The grim reaper has been outdated for hundreds of years. Sure, people still die, but it’s automated now. You’ve enjoyed eternal retirement, but one day you’re told that the machine has been sabotaged. It might be time for death to get old school.
The first person was a middle-aged woman who was now in her late thirties. She had a dark red eye patch, and a scar on her upper right thigh from an elbow injury the machines had inflicted. Her shirt was torn open and open again. Death would have taken her long ago were it not for her efforts to disable the machinery of Death. She’d gone into the room and removed some equipment, and she’d gone back into hiding when she heard the scream of the machine.
She had been too late, however. The machine had been hacked away the moment she’d stepped foot inside the room. It had begun to scream, and the screams and screams of people nearby were coming in from all directions; they were all deafened in their ears by the noise. They were all now screaming at each other, in horror, in confusion. The machines were no longer the problem. They were a mere secondary concern.
The second person was younger and darker, and was still a bit of a wizened old woman. She had a short silver-brown hair pulled into a loose bun at her shoulders, and the edges of her eye patch were missing. She was dressed in the same pale green clothing as her counterpart, and had a similar eye patch. Her skin was still a little pale, but most of what came down her back had not been removed. Her face was still a few shades too pale, the corners of her eyes still puckered. The edges of her mouth had been cut off.
She had looked as if she had come out from some deep dark space in time that was not this place. There had been a hint of a certain menace behind the grim reaper, a sense that she was the one who had done this, and the screams of those around her echoed this sense of dread. She had not noticed this, and so it was not until the screams stopped that she realized that the scream hadn’t come from a dead person. She had broken Death, and now she was back to summon the Reaper to fix it.
She had no intention of coming out of this alive, though. She would take her own life with her. There would be no more screaming, and nobody could hear her if she did, and she had no need for the Reaper anyway. But now that she’d entered the room, she felt nothing but fear. It seemed the whole purpose of the chamber was to make her afraid, and that made her a little dizzy. The machine screamed and shook, and as the screaming died down it seemed to become less frantic. The scream seemed to go on for longer and it was possible she was going to die before the machine was able to reboot.
The third person stood out like a sore thumb. She looked like you wouldn’t believe this, but this person had not been able to escape the deathtrap. It was still dark within the room, but it was now dimmer and more focused. She seemed to have lost her sense of colour, and the blood of the machine was a dull brown. She was dressed in a white jacket, and white trousers. Some of them were torn, and the fabric had been ripped through.
It took a moment for them to realize that they were all the same person, and they were Death. They knew what they had to do to restore the machine.
There was no time to regret. The machine would restart soon enough.