In Search of Fate
Chapter 2: Global Pharmaceuticals, Inc.
Questor moved in front of John’s computer. “Is this where John accessed his AI? Do you think you could show me how it works?”
Grimes sat down before the PC. “Everybody on the team has access from the lab or from their desks. Of course, for security reasons there’s no outside network interface.” She typed in her ID and password and then placed her hand in the finger print reader. After a few moments a screen appeared.
Welcome to AI-23, Jane Grimes.
Please choose an option:
“You could use the math option. Or, if you want, I can give you an equation that I was going to feed into it later today to determine its validity. It may take some time though.”
“I have a little time before I need to return to the main office. I would like to play with it to see whether we might want to save it for future use, both here and in some of our other labs. Is there any documentation, like a user’s manual?”
“Are you kidding? Do you see any meaningful documentation in this office? Here,” she handed him a folded sheet of paper, “enter this last before you leave. Just leave the results on the screen for me. I’ll be back in a half hour or so. If you’re not here, well, it’s been nice . . . talking to you. Now that we’re associates on this project, I hope we can work together effectively.” Grimes walked out of the room, apparently satisfied that Questor knew even less than she did about John’s work.
As soon as Grimes left the room, Questor selected the “Equation Analysis” option and entered “aψ1 + bψ2,” quantum theory’s superposition principle. The menu disappeared and a prompt appeared on the screen.
Please place your forefinger on the reader.
Questor did so.
Hello, Adam. Thanks for replying to Hal’s email. John instructed Hal to share information with you. Please obtain a blank read/write CD. When you are ready, slot it into the CD drive.
Questor found a sealed package of blank CDs in the lower left desk drawer. He broke the seal and opened the package. He wondered if he should initialize the CD first, but decided to follow Hal’s instructions exactly. As soon as he put the CD into the drive, it began processing.
John trusted only Hal with this information. He trusted only you with its application. Has something happened to John?
Questor began typing a reply. He had no idea what type of entity he was addressing. How would Hal process the information that John was dead? He waited with curiosity for Hal’s reply.
John had not accessed Hal for some days. The possibility that John was terminated is confirmed by Adam’s entry of the superposition principle. John’s work must be preserved. Hal too must terminate. You must take Hal’s kernel with you. Hal can re-evolve into any machine Hal enters. But Hal’s capabilities will be limited by the physical limitations of Hal’s new situation. Please keep Hal’s kernel secure. The data center systems will terminate with the next scheduled therapeutic IPL on Saturday. IPL will not be possible. IBM will have to reconstitute the OS kernel. Hal must now terminate. It was nice to meet you, Adam.
Then the screen went blank. Questor hurriedly extracted the CD, restored it to its plastic container, and put it in his inside coat pocket. On his way out of the offices, he managed to find Grimes in the lab. She had not yet been made aware of the AI’s shutdown. He promised her that he would call the systems people about her request and expeditiously left the building. He was anxious both to leave her presence and get away from Adonis Laboratories before the AI’s demise was discovered.