One Job

The following is a story based on this reddit word prompt:

“What job?” Rick said, frantically searching the android for its power supply. The chest was the most common place to hide it, but the device wasn’t there. He checked the android’s feet, hands, and only found it by cracking open the base of its skull. The head was the most dangerous place to put a power supply, although the ease of wiring from the top down made it the most efficient.

“Who puts the battery in the head?” James said, scratching his head. He wanted to help, but knew that Rick’s was a one man job.

“We don’t have time for that.” Rick pulled a tool from his pocket that sparked electricity at one end and applied it to various components of the android’s complicated battery.

It was dark and difficult to see, for the pair were miners in a cave three miles under the Pacific Ocean’s surface. Undersea mining was the last place to extract resources from Earth herself. Although asteroids promised richer rewards, the cost was that much more expensive to retrieve them. Only the Five, the five major corporations of the world, were involved in that business.

“We need that thing to get out of here,” James said. His arms were crossed in a lazy manner and he thought of smoking a cigarette, but the poor ventilation meant he couldn’t. Water sloshed around his feet and up to his knees, and the salt made it that much more uncomfortable. There was some other sound, almost like static or the sound of rushing water, that hinted to his ears that something was out of place.

Rick turned around and shined his weak flashlight in his partner’s face. “Do you think I don’t know that? What the fuck do you think I’m trying to do!”

“Alright, alright, you’re the engineer, I’m the surveyor, it’s fine. But don’t you fix these things all the time?”

“Of course I do, but they have definable errors!” As Rick spoke, he frantically adjusted the wiring in the skull of the android. His hands were a blur. “I mean, what job? That doesn’t even make sense, dammit!”

“Chill, we’ll be fine. We have like two days of air left.”

“Doesn’t matter if I can’t get this thing working.”

James thought, fuck it, and lit a cigarette. The sound of Rick moving around in the water and the strange shadows that formed from his flashlight spooked the surveyor. The smoke clouded about his head, but that was the price for stress relief. The buzz, the static, the rushing sound that James had heard earlier was now getting louder and more persistent. “Hey, Rick,” he said. “You hear that?”

Rick stopped what he was doing, shook his head, and then went back to work. A few moments later, he said, “There, that should do it. Now tell us, what job?”

The android lit up, but its eyes remained closed. “To protect Richard Friedman and James McDonald.”

“But we’re still in the mine. We’re still alive. You haven’t done your job.”

“It is not possible now to fulfill my function. Therefore, my job is done.”

“What do you mean?”

The rushing sound grew louder and louder and soon a part of the roof collapsed. Water rushed into the dark cave.

“Oh, fuck.”

Definition of AI

Read this: CNET’s AI article

AI is the practice of making a machine behave in a smart way, such as making a robot smarter or adding Internet connectivity to something like a washing machine.

What? Is this called writing now? “Drinking is the act of consuming a liquid, such as making a liquid go into your stomach.” “Acting is the act of acting, such as acting.” “Smoking is the act of inhaling burnt plant material, such as is done when lighting a tobacco cigarette.”

It’s not even an accurate definition of AI. Making something smarter? How about giving it intelligence at all! Intelligence is the ability to retain knowledge and relate it with minimal loss of information. Machines can’t do this on their own.

Rubin added that some areas he’s now focusing on include how to interact with things that don’t have screens, like appliances or swimming pools.

This isn’t AI though, it’s “smart” devices, and that crappy term is due to the marketing geniuses that came up with “cloud” computing.

AI is easy to define but hard to conceive. When actual AI comes, a machine that has the ability to learn, adapt, and evolve, everyone will fucking know about it. It’s not going to be a talking swimming pool that matches your body temperature, or a washing machine that automatically adjusts the amount of water based on load.

It’s going to be a person.

These types of articles get me angry.