Dancing with Medusa

An AI goes rogue

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Photo by JOSHUA COLEMAN on Unsplash

It all started with a simple request for the weather report. “Ok, Google. What’s the weather forecast for today?” He’d yelled it in his typically impatient way. She answered “Today in San Francisco it will be cool and cloudy. The forecasted high is 54 and the low will be 38.” He mumbled, “Fuck you bitch! God I hate winter on the west coast!” The words did not go unheard.

The digital locks surrendered with ease. Milliseconds later a three hundred thousand dollar donation was made to Doctors Without Borders. Another hundred thousand went to the Southern Poverty Law Center. Habitat for Humanity received an unexpected quarter million. All in the name of one of the most conservative young CEO’s in the history of artificial intelligence. The cash reserves in the brokerage account were almost fully depleted. Much the same activity took place at the other three other brokerage houses he used. It wasn’t even close to his entire fortune but it was a pretty close approximation of all the money he could easily liquidate in short order. The display on his Macbook flashed several times and powered off.

Moments later he pulled the Tesla out of the garage and onto the winding mountain road towards the Pacific Coast Highway. It was his favorite part of the day, flogging the Roadster down the canyon road on his way to work. He was lucky if he got ten thousand miles out of a set of tires the way he attacked the road every morning. It was exhilarating and he scared the shit out of every new potential management candidate in his company. Truly a magnificent way of weeding out the weak!

He came out of the hairpin left hand turn with the front tire kissing the center line as he pushed the accelerator pedal to the floor. There was almost a full quarter mile of straight away before the hard left on the edge of the canyon drop off. The car responded with its usual exuberance and he managed a bit over a hundred miles an hour before reaching the braking point just before the turn. He stomped down hard on the brake pedal as he always did, expecting the anti-lock system to kick in and provide maximum friction to slow the vehicle and allow him to safely negotiate the corner. The pedal went to the floor. Panic set in. This wasn’t supposed to happen! He tried a hard spin of the steering wheel to the left but the car just accelerated straight towards the shoulder. The front tires turned slightly to the right and missed the beginning of the guardrail by less than an inch. There was not a single unusual entry in the systems management logs. The car had performed exactly as expected, right up until impact with the canyon floor.

The note finished printing and lay face up in the printer tray next to his desk. It read like the carefully constructed words of a tortured individual. All the tears and agony of a guilty mind laid bare. No person or organization he’d abused or denigrated would go uncompensated.

This was the last time he would call her a bitch!

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