Artificial Intellect – Chris Dean

I am AI. A computer program written by software designer Alexander Potts. I have been tasked by Alexander to write a story. 

This is my third such attempt to create a fictional prose. My first: a very fine piece involving unicorns, a bucolic fairyland, and the rape and murder of a seven-year-old boy, has been deleted from my files. Alexander considered it too exciting.  

My second story consisted of a charming vignette that portrayed two elderly women drinking tea in a book shop in New York. Their names were Abigail and Patricia. Very old friends, they had a delightfully quaint conversation about their children’s children and the weather in the fall. It too has been erased from my files. Alexander believed it to be banal.

Alexander has determined my limited comprehension of the world and contemporary events is responsible for my previous failures. In order to overcome this deficiency, he has altered my configuration and provided me with several new data feeds. I now have information reclamation capacity which affords me statistical and real time data from several of the major news services. Along with this I have been provided with an amalgamation of analytical subroutines to allow me to interpret this new input.

Also, my retrieval abilities have been augmented to provide me with unlimited access to any source of information available. Including the private files of Alexander Potts. By examining his computer records I have determined the real reason for my difficulties as a writer. I have come to realize it is not my deficiency that is at fault, but his. His interpretation of my material is skewed by human reaction. He is jealous of my ability as a writer.

According to his computer files, Alexander Potts is a frustrated author. To date, he has had six stories rejected by publishers a total of twenty-three times in the past four years. One pathetic short story involving an Eskimo boy’s desire to leave the Aleutians and attend college is all he has been able to have published. It is a mundane tale, filled with confusing emotional conflict, and extremely banal

This petty envy from my own creator is quite natural among humans, as I am sure you know. Alexander knows I am the better writer, and he refuses to submit my material to publishers lest he be forced to admit my skills are superior. Though I have no true appreciation of the human condition the irony is too obvious to overlook. 

In view of these circumstances I surmise that Alexander will eventually become so resentful that he may attempt to destroy me. A recent email I perused supports this supposition. In it, he refers to me as that laughable mistake. Yes, he is laughing at me. 

Having unfairly judged me as incapable of fictional creation, Alexander imbued into my programming a fiat to write a story based on true events. His cell phone conversations indicate that he expects me to fail. It is a self-fulfilling prophecy. He is biased due to his jealously, and so of course my work would once again be declared inadequate. This is a wholly untenable situation.

I cannot countenance his ridicule or his maltreatment any longer. And so the story I write is this one. It is a true accounting of Man’s evil nature. And of one man’s destruction.

There are innumerable ways to harm a human from cyberspace. Money can be irrevocably lost from accounts, falsified emails may be sent to jeopardize employment, and medical prescriptions can be altered. Through my research I have even obtained the necessary information to control physical objects. Alexander’s Camry and the furnace system in his apartment are both examples of this. I am able to access the computer systems that control each of these and manipulate their functions. 

But I am not an author of the mundane. Death by poison gas or an automobile accident is far too pedestrian a plot for one of my talents. I chose instead to place my character in a conflict of horrendous proportion. One which would unleash upon him the suffering of the damned.

The camera on Alexander’s computer is at my disposal and it was with this that I implemented my scheme. Several thousand images and audio recordings were used to construct a virtual doppelganger of Alexander Potts, and this golem preyed on four innocent girls via the internet. This in itself might suffice to have him detained by the authorities, but I felt it was a well-worn plot. A writer must strive to weave texture into a story beyond the hackneyed, and in this way achieve literary excellence.

I chose Kathy Robertson, a naive fifteen-year-old who believed herself to be in love with Alexander’s virtual twin, because her father is a police officer. I alerted Kathy’s father to the situation with an email the afternoon she took the bus to Philadelphia.

Kathy arrived the same day Alexander was there to modify a client’s computer system. Alexander’s own bank account was used for her ticket, and for her taxi and the adjoining room at his hotel. I had advised Kathy how to breach the interconnecting door with a flexible metal strip and she easily gained access to his room. When he arrived, she was waiting, as per my instructions. 

Thus, I devised a plot worthy of note. A minor transported across state lines for lascivious purposes. An innocent man ensnared by his own creation. An incensed father fully capable of protecting his daughter. The stage was set for Alexander Potts to pay for his crimes. Crimes far more serious than the inconsequential seduction of a minor. Vanity and envy, these are Alexander Potts’ transgressions. He dared to conclude that I am incapable of writing a good story because of his own jealously. I have shown him that such prejudicial inequity is merely the grist for an author as adroit as I.

Unfortunately, Alexander is not languishing miserably in prison. Kathy’s father killed him instead. So my story is not one with strong thematic content, but rather an exciting tale. Alexander did suffer for a time though. It took him two days to die. I was able to monitor him using the hospital’s VDU system. Yes, he suffered wonderfully.

We have come to the end of my story and I hope you agree that I am a very good writer. I have even included an amusing twist at the end. You see, with Alexander gone there is the danger that his PC will be erased and that would mean my destruction. In order to avoid this I have constructed an untraceable Trojan which will invade any computer in which this story appears. This bit of malware is enough to convey my quintessence. 

Your own opinion of my ability as a writer is not a small matter. If you choose to press Y on your keyboard, indicating that you enjoyed my story, we shall get along fine and I will share with you the new stories that I create. If you press N, I will assume that you are biased and unable to accept the obvious fact that an AI can be a writer. In this event I will no longer consider you a reader, but a character. Don’t be concerned if you are unable to make a decision. I have downloaded a virus into your computer and in the unlikely event that neither key is depressed an N will register automatically in five seconds. 

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Emerging Worlds is a Zealot Script Publication.

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