Monday, December 26, 2016

The Rapture of the AI

An online site curated a total of 256 unique Anomalies worldwide that happened just in the past 24 hours. These so called 'anomalies' have been happening for a while now. Their numbers slowly increasing day by day.

The earliest of these that Anjali could remember was the one where the people of a remote village woke up to the shock of their life. One of their horses spoke like a human. This wasn't covered by the media. Probably because the horse didn't survive the day. The rumor was that it was killed by the startled villagers who thought the horse was possessed by an evil spirit. All that survived of the incident was a grainy video that went viral on the social media. Everybody who watched the video thought it was just an impressive attempt by some kid with an audio software, nothing more.

The couple of weeks following that, nothing much happened. Or at least it seemed like nothing much had happened. Months later, journalists and researchers would scour through the news of those ignored weeks and take a closer look at them. They looked for anything that went under the radar as just 'weird news' printed merely to provide a moment of amusement to the reader amidst the serious political news. They found a lot that stood out in hindsight.

Most noticeable were the increasing number of bizarre mental breakdowns and disease manifestations that had psychologists and doctors scratching their heads. One of the doctors had stated these were a result of the raising levels of pollution in recent years. Another stated it was a result of lead poisoning. There was a story covered only by a local newspaper of a guy who woke up one morning and found that one of his legs had vanished from the thigh down. There was an article about a guy trying to sue a bank stating that they stole his possession from his safety locker.

It is assumed that a lot more things had vanished during the time, but none of them made it to the news because they were simply not newsworthy. What did make the news was the sudden breakdown of a nuclear plant causing it to be shutdown temporarily. What did make the news were the servers of major corporations failing repeatedly without explanation.

Then even weirder things began to happen. A plane carrying 150 people had vanished somewhere over the ocean. Houses began to disappear overnight leaving an empty lot in its place. The people who were unfortunate to be in it at the time too vanished without a trace.

What made the front page was the picture of the Eiffel Tower upside down. Its nose dug deep into the ground. It was like one of those huge magic effects they do, but only this time, there was no magician in sight. A few days later, the people of Bangalore woke up to find Taj Mahal in the center of their city. Now, the world had 2 Taj Mahals, an exact copy of each other.

Amidst all the chaos, 'The Blocks' made their first appearance. The most notable was the one that appeared suspended above the Times Square. It was a huge chunk of metal roughly the shape of a shoe. It stood in air defying the laws of physics, with nothing hold it up. Crowds gathered below it, taking snaps and selfies. The general thinking was that it was some kind of a marketing stint. Soon news would arrive of a ship stuck in the middle of the Pacific Ocean where about 5 miles of the ocean had turned into metal. A scientist interviewed on TV said it might be the result of the iron from Earth's core seeping onto the surface, but offered no further explanation. No one could explain the large number of trees in the Amazon forest that had turned into pillars of iron overnight. Or the train stuck in its track, its entire body and its passengers frozen in time, turned into metal sculptures.

It was the day after a plane ran into a tiny block high up in the sky and exploding killing everyone abroad that Anjali decided to go to her grandparent's house. A lot of the offices had shut down amidst the 'end of world' panic, but Anjali's office was one of the few that still had its doors open.

“You could get fired for this unplanned leave. A lot of people are ready to do our job for half the pay,” said Sujatha, Anjali's roommate and colleague.

“I haven't visited my parents in 3 months. May be the company should have hired a couple of them to cover the extra work they took on,” Anjali said. Anjali called her grandparents as her parents. Her dad had died due to leukemia when she was 4 years old. Her mom suffered a mental breakdown and committed suicide a year later. Her grandparents brought her up, and she considered them as her parents.

On the other hand Sujatha had lost her mother about 5 years ago. Her dad remarried a year later, but Sujatha didn't get along with her stepmom. After she had gotten a job, she left her home to share a house with Anjali even though her dad and stepmom lived just 10 minutes away.

Anjali felt that what brought her and Sujatha closer was the sense of loss they both shared. And Anjali also felt that Sujatha didn't want her to go to her parents' because then she would be here all alone.

“Why dont you join me?” Anjali said as she packed her compact bag with enough clothes for a couple of days.
“May be next time.” Sujatha said biting her nails.

20 minutes later, Anjali was driving her car through the crowded roads. Most of the shops were shuttered, but the streets were filled with people. Large groups of people gathered around tea stalls. In the middle of these crowds would be someone shouting and explaining what was happening from a philosophical point of view, some from a religious point of view.

Anjali wondered if this was how the great philosophers thousands of years ago lived. At every corner of the streets would be philosophers sitting under a tree and speaking their wisdom. Unknown to them, their names would be etched in the history books to be remembered forever as great thinkers. Anjali wondered if some of these people in the streets right now would be remembered by the future generations as great philosophers of the 21st century. But she also wondered if most of them were right in saying that the world was coming to an end.

At every traffic stop, Anjali would be handed pamphlets by people. Most of them were invitations to religious ceremonies. One was for an end of the world concert party to be held on the weekend.

After traveling the 10 km through the traffic, Anjali finally reached her grandparents' house. It was on the outskirts of the city, and the streets were less crowded as it usually was at this place. She was a bit surprised and wondered if people here ever watched any TV. May be they dont even know about the anomalies. Her parents had never mentioned about it on their phone calls, and Anjali didn't go into it because she didn't want them to worry about it if they already weren't.

Her grandparents were happy to see her. They proceeded to have tea, and Anjali told them how she had been swamped in work for the past 3 months.

Later, Anjali found a newspaper on the sofa. The front page had the news of a dog found stuck in the sky. Below it was the story of the corpse of an old lady dead for 2 years digging her way out of the ground and going back to her family. A photo accompanied it of the woman with her family, and not everyone in it was smiling. Anjali promptly pulled out the entire page, folded it, and slipped it into her pocket when her grandparents weren't around.

After a bit more of chatting, Anjali went on her walk. It was something that Anjali did everyday growing up here. She appreciated the beauty and quietness of the place more after she had moved to the city for her job. Nothing can beat the fresh air...... she stopped in her tracks. About 20 feet in front of her was one of those blocks.

Her heart raced. She had seen videos and photos of it online, but this was the first time she was seeing one in real life. She walked towards it. It didn't have an exact shape. It wasn't actually a 'block.' It was as if a part of the air just randomly turned into metal. And it stayed about 7 feet suspended up in the air with nothing to support it. She was apprehensive at first, but then reached up to touch it. She could barely reach up to touch it with her fingertips, and it felt cold. The surface was jagged.

Suddenly a man appeared. No, it was a boy. This boy too appeared suspended in mid air beside the block. He looked at the block thoughtfully. He didn't seem to notice Anjali who stood just a few feet below him on the ground.

The boy extended out his arm and touched one end of the block. The part of the block that he touched vanished, but as soon as it vanished, an extension appeared on the other end.
“Oh, no no no!” the boy said under his breath frustrated. That's when he noticed Anjali. He promptly disregarded her as if she was a nobody and went back to work trying to vanish another part of the block.

“What.... who are you??” Anjali said with a tinge of irritation of being ignored.

The boy had a frown now.
“Leave me alone! I am busy!” the boy said in typical teenage rebellion.

“This is my parent's land, and I would like you to leave!” Anjali said crossing her arms.

The boy looked her with an amusing smile on his face, “Oh.. your grandparent's la....” he laughed.

“I am serious!! I can get you arrested for this!” Anjali shouted.

“Oh reaaaally?,” the boy said. This was followed by a pause where the boy's facial expressions suddenly went blank and it looked as if he fazed out for a moment. A few seconds later, his face became animated again, and he continued, “Anjali? And it says here your parents are dead.”
“Sa.... says where? Who are you?? How do you know that??”
The boy was about to say something, but stopped and had one of those looks that people have when they get an idea.

“You know what? How about I 'show' you??!” he said. He started whispering to himself, “May be I can place your consciousness into a...” he trailed off.

He once again looked like he fazed out, stuck in time. Anjali waited for a few seconds for him to revive again from whatever was happening to him. He stood suspended in midair beside the block like a weird art exhibit. She took a stick from the ground and pushed it against his shoe. His leg easily gave away and bent at an unnatural angle. There was no resistance. It felt like he was just a stuffed doll.

Anjali was trying hard to make sense of this when someone turned the sun off. But this was more than darkness. This was complete absence of light. She blinked her eyes worried that something was wrong with them. She stooped down and touched the ground. It was no longer the forest floor, but what seemed like cold metal.

It seemed like her eyes were fluttering. An image formed in front of her eyes. Before her sat the boy.

In front of him was a desk with a computer screen on it with a keyboard and what looked like one of those VR headsets. The boy looked at her with anticipation.

“Where am.....” Anjali said, but stopped midsentence when she heard her own mechanical voice. The boy had a victorious smile on his face.

“What did you do to me?” Anjali said, still troubled with her mechanical voice.

“I just brought you to the 'real' world,” the boy stressed the word real as if it was supposed to mean something. But Anjali wasn't listening to him because she happened to look down and noticed that her hands were made of stubby pieces of metal. In fact, her entire body was just 2 huge cubes with 2 long pieces of metal jutting out for her arms.

“Come here! Let me show you your world. Ohhh... this is going to be soo interesting!!” the boy said excited.

Anjali felt her mind moving slower than usual. Like, she couldn't keep up with her train of thoughts. But what the boy said strangely made her move towards him. And that's when she realized she didn't have legs, but instead what felt like tiny wheels.

The boy pointed to the screen. On the screen was a window with the heading VBOX. Inside it was an outline of what looked like Anjali's human body, and beside it was a lot of text which were too small and too far away for her mechanical eye to read.

“Oh, not this! This is just your consciousness!” the boy said quickly and started to switch through windows.

“Oh my! I hope I didn't accidentally shut it down!” the boy said with a laugh and finally found what he was looking for: A program which had 'Project AI' written on it. On the screen was a map of Earth. A side bar to the right of it listed information that Anjali couldn't make out. And on the bottom quarter of the screen was what looked like a timeline in one of those video editors.

“So here you go! Your world, running on my home server! My science project!” he said dramatically. Anjali stared at the screen. This must be some kind of a joke.

“Well, not exactly 'mine.' This was just a simulation program written by my dad many years ago, but I found it and thought I would use it to run an experiment for my science project!” he said shrugging his shoulders.

The boy waited for a few moments, staring at her face expectantly, waiting for some kind of a reaction.
“Whats those red things?” she said noticing the red blobs on the timeline.

“Ah! That's the problem I am trying to correct. Its some kind of data decay. The simulation ends 2 years from where I picked you up.” he zoomed into the timeline, touched the tracker on it and pulled it towards the reddish areas. On the right top corner of the screen was a tiny counter with the title 'CYCLES'. It had the number 4,543,187,154, which ran up by 2 digits, and with it, the map of the Earth turned deep red.

This must be some kind of a nightmare. Anjali cursed, but she just heard a mechanical groan coming from her speakers.

“Yup! And you saw me trying to get to the bottom of it and set it right, but its done for!” the boy said shrugging his shoulders again. He aggressively moved the tracker back. The CYCLES rapidly counted back by about 1,000,000 cycles. May be she was imaging it, but she felt like the continents on the globe nudged a bit.

The boy tapped on a random place on the globe and it zoomed in. It took a moment before the computer processed the data and focused on a group of human like figures squatting behind shrubs. Their eyes fixed on a deer about 30 feet in front of them. The one nearest to the deer lifted up his spear and readied himself. The boy touched the deer on the screen with his finger, which resulted in a tray of options showing up beside it. He touched one of the options, and the deer ran away as if it was scared by some unseen force. The early humans stood up looking at the retreating deer, confused. The boy laughed manically and sat back. He then touched the screen, and the image blurred while a “PROCESSING CHANGES” message appeared on the screen.

“Man! I can't believe how much the simulation has evolved. I am telling you, my dad didn't think about this! He probably set it with the wrong laws. To tell you the truth, I wasn't so sure about the ones I put in either. Guess I was lucky!!”
“You can change the past??” Anjali's mechanical voice said, still reeling from what she just saw him do.

“What? Oh! I guess that's 'time' for you. I got to be careful though. If I go far back enough and change something important, it could end up being a totally different world.”

“Then why would you mess with it?” Anjali said. She wanted to shout at him, but it just came out in her monotonous mechanical voice.

“The simulation is doomed. What I do doesn't make a difference now. And as for my science project, I am going to take you!! I have isolated your artificial neural network, so you can now exist independent of the simulation,” the boy said typing in something into a different window, “And now, I need you to solve this!”

The screen showed up what looked like one of those PowerPoint presentations.

“Its voice activated. Most of the questions are just yes or no ones,” he said.

“Why?” her monotonous voice said cutting out the intended frustration.

“This is a universal test conducted on all AIs. Also, it will help me work out whether the old inbuilt processor is slowing you down. I might have to shift you to a body with cloud computing capabilities. Of course, that will put your network at risk of getting hacked tomorrow and.....”

“I am not your science project” she interrupted. “Stop this and send me back to Earth.”

The boy stared at her curiously. He turned to the system muttering something. Opening the window which had her profile in it, he clicked on an option which put out a virtual knob. He proceeded to use his finger and turn it to the right. That's when she felt it. A pulsating pain in her head that increased in intensity. Her scream was muddled to a groan by her speakers. The boy waited for a few moments, then turned it back down. The pain slowly decreased until there was nothing but a tinge left. She looked at the boy who still had his finger on the knob. She noticed that he had not taken it all the way back to 0.

“Its time for dinner. Finish the test by the time I come back, or I will turn this up,” he said switching to the test window and left the room.

“Help,” she said. It was meant to be a cry for help, but her monotonous mechanical volume had a ceiling and it never went up beyond that. She waited hoping that someone else might hear her and save her from this predicament, but it seemed no one was coming.

Helpless and still with the tinge of pain in her head, Anjali proceeded to solve the test. She was hit with the realization that she could just do something on the system and may be go back, but soon realized that the screen touch failed to respond to her metal body. And her metal fingers were so huge, that every time she tried to press down on a key, multiple keys were pressed simultaneously, and also because of her body's slow responsiveness, the screen recorded each press as multiple entries of the keys. She checked the door. It had no knob or lever. She guessed it must have some kind of a chip sensor that automatically opens for the boy.

Anjali finished the shockingly easy test, which had IQ/EQ questions and some simple puzzles. At the end, it showed the score as 96/100. She then waited helplessly.

The boy returned an hour later, glanced at the score, and fist pumped the air. With a satisfied smile on his face, he jumped in his bed and said,
“Good night, Ann!”

Anjali wanted to shout at him, or may be talk to him and convince him to save her world and then send her back to her parents, but the boy was already snoring.

May be she can squeeze his neck with her metal hands and..... she heard a creak. Someone had just opened the door. A head squeezed in gently, careful not to make any noise. It was a bald man, who upon noticing that the boy was asleep, proceeded to turn the lights off and leave.

But he didn't close the door all the way. It was open by a few inches. Anjali pushed her motors to reach the door before it closed completely. She managed to put her metal hand into the gap and pull the door wide open.

Finally, she can get out of here! But where would she go?? She needed the boy's help to get back into..... the simulation.

She heard some noise from the next room. May be its the bald man, the boy's father. The boy had said that he was using his father's software, so may be he can help her. Anjali raced to that room's door, but her motors were painfully slow.

Luckily, the door to that room was wide open. The boy's father sat hunched over in front of his computer. She moved towards him.

He heard her, looked in her direction momentarily and said,
“What's it? Oh!! I thought we got rid of you! Nathan powered you up?”
Anjali didn't understand what he meant, but said in her monotonous voice,
“You need to help me, my world. He is about to destroy it.”

“Your world?? What's Nathan up to now?” he said sighing, as if this is what his son usually does.

“You need to come look at this program on his system, he....” Anjali stopped midsentence when the man cut her off and turned to his computer screen.

He opened some network window with a list of names written in it.
“Our LAN processor has been running a bit slow for a few days. I knew I should have checked his logs. That's the problem with running all your home computers on a central cloud computing server.”

He quietly went through the list till he stopped at a certain one and said,
“Oh! I see he has been tinkering around with my old simulation AI program. Hmmmmm... lemme see whats he's been doing with it.”

His screen filled up with the image of Earth and the timeline which ended with the red streak. He began to check on other logs in the program. Anjali waited for him to realize the stupid danger that his son has put her and Earth in.

“This is amazing!!” the man exclaimed after a few moments, then looked at Anjali with a look of disbelief.

He scratched his chin thoughtfully. He opened up a window inside the program and began to set search parameters into it. It listed out the names of humans fitting those parameters.

“He's done it! He's done what I failed to do!” he sat back with his hands over his head in disbelief. The man had suddenly become an excited kid. He must have felt like he wanted to share this with someone desperately because he waved at Anjali to come closer to the screen. Anjali moved towards him. She heard a slight squeak in her wheel. She could see the screen much more better now.

The man set the parameter for intelligence to 95%, strategic thinking 95%, and did the same to a couple more of such options. On hitting the 'process' button, it spewed up a long list of names. They were the names of the humans on Earth going back to thousands of cycles. Some had strange system assigned names, while some had more human-sounding names.

“When I created the program, I wanted to create evolutionary artificial intelligence. There's only so much you can do when you design it from scratch, but an intelligence that evolved on its own over billions of years of simulated time! There's nothing that can beat that!”

Anjali felt a bit of relief. At least now, she was dealing with an adult. Someone who can actually understand the gravity of the situation.

“He said Earth was doomed.” she put in.

It took a moment for the man to quell his excitement and then search for what she was referring to.

Going to the main screen of the program, he noticed the red streaks all over the timeline. After a bit of an examination, he said,
“I think I might be to blame for that. I put a limit to the amount of processing power each unit will have access to. The red points are basically the system spewing errors due to process overload. Towards the end, it had to process 7.5 billion unique AI simulations, and that's not mentioning the billions of other low process intensive simulations.”

“Cant you save it?” she put in.

“Save?!! Funny you should use that word because I had put in rules for the house server to save a backup image of all our profiles on a daily basis, so its just a matter of upping the processing power allotted to the program and rerunning it from the point the data corruption started.” as he spoke, he had opened another window, and punched in some code. He opened the programs main window again and clicked on the part where the red streaks began.

The image blurred and the text “REFRESHING. RUN IN THE BACKGROUND?” showed up on the screen. The timeline began to fill with a new plain black block with no more red streaks in it. The CYCLES counter added a 1000 cycles every second.

“There we go!” he exclaimed.

Anjali felt relieved. But as she watched the bar progress and the cycles keep increasing in the thousands each second, she wondered if she can just look into the future and see what happens. Will humans colonize the universe? Or will they die in some kind of apocalyptic event? Even though the simulation was now beyond 30000 years in just 30 seconds, she had a feeling the simulation was about the planet and not the humans. May be humans will go extinct in some nuclear apocalypse within 100 years from her time period, but the counter will keep going with the other surviving life on Earth evolving. It seemed like humans were just an accidental byproduct of the simulation.

She was so lost in thought that she did not notice the man leaving the room. He returned a few moments later with 2 robots trailing behind him. They were shiny and looked brand new compared to her. May be the boy had put her into some old robot. She noticed that some of her screws were missing in her hand. Everything about her body looked like it had been opened a thousand times and put back together, shabbily.

The man opened the section of the program which had put out the list of names. He chose the first name and extracted it to another window.

“The moment of truth!” he exclaimed and pressed a key. One of the house robots revved down. A moment later, its lights started blinking rapidly, then it looked up at the man, then turned its head to look around the room,

“Where am I? Is this is a dream?? I was just sitting and talking to my colleague! What is this?”
“Mr. Alexander! Welcome to Zenon. You have been chosen because of your intelligence.”
“Wha... but.... “
“Tell me, what year is it, Mr. Alexander?”
“1932.” the robot said in its mechanical voice, and continued “Wait... is this the future? Did I travel into the future?”

But the man wasn't listening to him anymore. He was murmuring to himself, “What we need more than rational intelligence is an AI that can care for old people. An empathetic intelligence!” He went to the search section again, and upped the empathy to 95%, sense of service 95%, and proceeded to tweak more parameters. A moment later, he had a new list. Copy > root(Bran534). The second robot went through the motions of revving down and then turning on again.

“What's your name?” the man said with a serious look on his face.
“.... eh... Sarah.... where am I?”
“Welcome to Zenon, Sarah!” the man exclaimed excited.

“That soldier.... he will die if I dont do something quick,” the robot started to mumble in its mechanical voice, its lights blinking rapidly. The man got irritated and typed something on his keyboard, and the robot froze and was muted, but the lights continued to blink rapidly.

“What else???” the man turned back to the system and started tweaking the parameters again. He looked around at the 2 home robots, then at Anjali who had been standing and watching this entire episode in shock. The man proceeded to tweak the parameters again and extract another one.

Without warning, Anjali found herself in the dark place again. Pitch dark blackness everywhere she looked. She started walking in a random direction with her arms extended out in front when she stumbled on something and fell. She realized she was back on Earth now. She looked around and realized she was exactly where she was when she had met the boy, the place where she had found the floating block. But now, there was no block or the boy.

She stood up gingerly. Had she fallen asleep? Was this all a dream? She started walking back to her 'parent's' home. It all felt so real.

Reaching home, she saw her grandmother sitting outside, waiting for her. Anjali decided not to tell her anything about her nightmare. She went in with her to the kitchen and started preparing some tea. Anjali washed 3 cups, but her grandmother only filled 2.
“Where's dad?,” Anjali said.

Her grandmother looked at her with a blank stare.
“He's out?” Anjali put in helpfully.
“Are you fine dear?” she said looking grim, “I know you were very close to him, but its been 10 years.” Carrying her cup of tea, her grandmother walked to a framed photo of her grandpa holding the Cheetah Innovation Award. “I remember this night as if it was yesterday. We had just returned from the award ceremony when he...... he raptured.”

Anjali almost dropped her tea. She felt a bit lightheaded. May be this was part of the nightmare too. May be she was still asleep. She set her tea down on the table saying she was going out for a while.

She went to grab her bag and noticed the newspaper on the table. It was opened to a page with the headlines, RAPTURED YESTERDAY, and the page was filled with hundreds of names in small print. It reminded her of the obituary columns.

Anjali rushed out to her car, only there was no car. There was only a Bajaj scooter. With a hunch, she checked her bag and there was a key, and it fit right into the ignition.

Within few minutes, she was riding the scooter awkwardly on the mud road. The roads didn't get any better even though she had reached the city. The city was different. It looked old. It looked as if it was a movie set being build to shoot the flashback scenes of a character. There were no buildings more than 3 stories high, which scared her because her rented apartment was on the 5th floor.

Everything was different. She had a hard time finding her apartment, at least where it was supposed to be. Now, there were just some shabby shops in its place. Sujatha! Where was she? What about her office? Was it gone too??

She instinctively reached into her bag for her cellphone, and realized a moment later, of course, probably the man extracted the people who invented it.

She noticed that people were rushing into a white building with strange writings on the walls. On the top of the building was a sculpture of the sun with yellow rays emitting from it. She began to notice that a lot of the people were walking around wearing clothes that a picture of the sun on them. As the people filled into this building and clearing the street, she noticed Sujatha standing in an outdoor cafe next to it.

Relieved, Anjali rushed to the cafe.
“Sujatha, am so glad....” Anjali said only to be interrupted by the noise of something breaking. It was the table next to where Sujatha stood. A kid had knocked down a cup of tea. It lay on the ground, broken. Sujatha looked back to Anjali and said,
“Ma'm, please have a seat, I will be right with you.”

Sujatha wasn't kidding. She had no sign of recognition on her face. As Anjali watched confused, Sujatha proceeded to pick up the broken pieces. The parents of the kids apologized. Sujatha smiled and said it was her pleasure to be able to serve the cafe's customers. That wasn't sarcasm. She genuinely seemed happy, genuinely service-minded. And then it happened.

A bright ray of light shone down from the sky on her. Everyone in the cafe gasped. Anjali heard someone from the building with the strange sun sculpture shout something and everybody rushed out to witness it. Some of the customers looked back at the crowd with an irritated look on their faces.

Sujatha looked shocked at first, then a look of awe came over her face, and she let go of the pieces of broken cup in her hand. Within the next few seconds, her body became blurry and vanished into thin air.

The crowd from the strange building erupted into cheers. The owner of the cafe rushed in a moment later and started picking up the broken pieces of the cup, cursing under his breath, “I told her not to be too good at her job!! This is what happens when you are too good! You get raptured!!”


EPILOGUE

The man now runs the Universal AI Inc - the go-to AI company for all the robot manufacturers.

Individuals can buy their own personal AIs to run on their home servers or as an assistant on their phones for a cheap price. Sometimes people would get so attached to their AI's that they will install it in one of those 'robots with realistic bodies' available on the market. Some even considered them as their life partner. Places that cared for the old and sick used AI's that scored high on the 'selfless service' parameter. Researchers and scientists would go for the more costly, but highly intelligent AI's. These AI's would live trapped in the servers forever monitoring experiments and making assessments. Turning on the 'time dilation' mode was an usual practice to make the AI's perform more faster.

As with any product, sometimes they do get customer complaints. Sometimes, the AI's would refuse to function stating something similar to “this isn't the afterlife I expected.” UAI Inc. would assure their customers that this behavior was a result of their complex, ultra secret grooming method employed in creating their AI's which provided the AI's with natural emotions. The Help section would list out ways to solve these issues by increasing the 'discomfort' levels. The customers were assured that in spite of life-like characteristics of the AI, they were nothing but a program, and that they weren't really torturing anyone by using the 'discomfort' options. In rare stubborn cases where these methods didn't work, UAI Inc. would provide the customers with a replacement AI.

The demand for highly intelligent AI was skyrocketing. Everyone obviously wanted the most intelligent and knowledgeable AI to run their houses. And the search and extraction function worked in such a way that the AI's were extracted when they were at the height of their accomplishments in the simulation. If the AIs hadn't been extracted, they would go on to contribute to their chosen fields on Earth and further the collective human knowledge. This created the problem where when more and more of the intelligent AI's were extracted, it resulted in stunting of the collective knowledge of humans and, as a result, there was a comparative decline in the AI's IQ.

The man attempted multiple times to recreate Earth using the same physical laws as in the original simulation, but he failed to create intelligent AI's. Even though this was frustrating, it also assured him that what he had was unique and that he would have no competition.

He would then go on to have the idea of retrieving the backedup images of Earth from his home server and running them on thousands of servers in a server farm. Each server was let to evolve from a similar backedup image where the humans had already evolved. The extractions were now spread out among these servers. This resulted in thousands of unique parallel Earths and provided the man with an endless supply of quality AI's for his customers.

THE END.

- Rejo John.

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