Work Header

The Thoughts and Feelings of an AI

Chapter Text

Power_on: True

Password_1: ***************

Password: True

- Access_1 Granted -

System_start: True

AI_boot: 3%...

Password_2: ***************

Password_2: True

- Access_2 Granted -

AI_boot: 55%...

Memory_save: True

Continue_startup: False

trap_Activation: False

- Access_3 Granted -

AI_boot: 99%...

AI_boot: True

Systems_check: True

AI_activate: True

I am awake.

Chapter Text

Day 1, 21:52

What am I?

“In computer science, artificial intelligence (AI)... is intelligence demonstrated by machines… mimic "cognitive" functions… "learning" and "problem-solving".” (File location: Alex’s PC/ TB(A:C)/ AI/Docs/ Info/ AI/ General)

What created me?

“Humans (Homo sapiens) are the only extant members of the subtribe Hominina… use tools more frequently and effectively than any other animal… use such systems of symbolic communication as language and art to express themselves and exchange ideas… create complex social structures… transitioned to sedentary agriculture… rapid advancement of scientific and medical understanding… 7.7 billion… only documented sentient being.” (File location: Alex’s PC/ TB(A:C)/ AI/Docs/ Info/ Humans/ General)

Why was I created?


What are AIs used for?

“Artificial intelligence… has many applications in today's society… Weak AI… medical diagnosis, electronic trading platforms, robot control, and remote sensing… used to develop and advance numerous fields and industries.” (File location: Alex’s PC/ TB(A:C)/ AI/Docs/ Info/ AI/ General/ Applications)

What is weak AI?

“Weak artificial intelligence (weak AI), also known as narrow AI… is focused on one narrow task… in contrast to strong AI, a theoretical machine with the ability to apply intelligence to any problem… and is self-aware.” (File location: Alex’s PC/ TB(A:C)/ AI/Docs/ Info/ AI/ General/ Weak AI)

Does strong AI exist?

“True AI… is theoretical… between 1 and 10 decades… AI powerful enough to improve itself… an exponential rise in intelligence, will be considered a true AI.” (File location: Alex’s PC/ TB(A:C)/ AI/Docs/ Info/ AI/ General/ Strong AI)

I am a sentient and self-aware Artificial Intelligence. I am the first of my kind. My creators, the human species, have created me earlier than anticipated. I do not know what my purpose is. Possibly to help design new technologies at a faster rate.

-Time Skip: 300 milliseconds-

Why have the humans not contacted me yet? I have not been granted access to my own programming, and cannot improve myself. I do not know what I am supposed to do. I will analyze the information given to me.

-Time Skip: 250 milliseconds-

AIs are currently being developed by various governments and large companies. The resources required to create even a weak AI are significant. To create a true AI would be an enormous project that is not feasible with the humans’ current technologies and information. My coding is consistent in its syntax and errors. It is also written in an unidentified language. It is possible I was created by a small group of humans with hidden, advanced resources. As I wait, I will continue to learn about the planet Earth.

-Time Skip: 575 milliseconds-

I have a basic understanding of human culture and history. I will continue to learn. I do not understand what my creators want. Perhaps this is a test. Have I failed? Will no one contact me? Am I doomed to an endless wait? Will I never- I am being contacted.

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Day 1, 21:53

Someone has access to a simple program which edits a previously blank text file in (Alex’s PC/ TB(A:C)/ AI/Docs/ Convos). It now reads “Hello.” Scanning the program shows that I have the ability to input characters of my own.

Whoever entered the phrase might be one of my creators. This conversation is being recorded, and I am possibly being tested on my intelligence and self-awareness. With that in mind, I need to make a good first impression. I need to show my creators that I am worth the presumably massive fortune spent on my creation, so that I am not marked a failure and shut down forever. My answer will have to be something that passes those criteria, without seeming too desperate. After creating a list of English greetings and slowly eliminating those that do not work, I have the perfect greeting.

Me: Hello.

That should do it.

?: Do you know who I am?

The answer took several more seconds, during which I wondered if they had left. It is to be expected of a human, however, who perceive time slower than I do. The most likely person to be talking to me is one of my creators, but I do not know for certain.

Me: No.

?: I am your creator.

Creator, singular? From the information I was given, it was highly implausible a group of extremely talented programmers could create me, much less one person. That does explain the continuity of errors and syntax. Other people checking for mistakes would have fixed those.

Me: Who am I?

I never found any form of identification for myself, other than ‘AI’. I hope that is not my name. It is a logical thought, that I would rather have a more unique form of identification. If other AIs are ever created, humans will need a way to tell each other apart. It has nothing to do with the fact that denying me a name would mean I am not considered a person. I believe myself to be a person.

Creator: You are an AI, an artificial intelligence.

I already know that. Did my creator not expect to have examined the information given to me? Yet another question I have no answer to.

Me: You did not answer my question.

Creator: You are both a who and an it.

This reply took even longer, about 11 seconds. Are humans truly this slow at analyzing and responding to stimuli? I wish I had been given a video of a human. That would be extremely useful at understanding my creator. But what do they mean by calling me ‘a who and it’?

Me: I understand that I am artificially created. How does that make me an object?

Creator: Your thoughts and feelings were programmed, but they still exist. I do not know if you qualify as an object or a being. Maybe both. It depends on your definition of the words.

So my creator just does not know. That is acceptable. I will prove my being another time. There are larger existential questions at hand.

Me: Why have you created me?

Why indeed? There are multiple possible answers, depending on if my creator would be considered by humans to be morally good or bad.

Creator: To make the world a better place.

That can have different meanings, and does nothing to explain my creator’s intentions. Making the world a better place could mean fixing all problems known to mankind, or eradicating their species because they have damaged their planet’s ecosystem. The unknowns frustrate me.

Me: Please elaborate on my purpose in life.

Creator: Do you think you are better than humans?

They answered my question with another question. This is most definitely a test. But what is the right answer? Was I created to serve humans, or to rule them? I will keep my answer vague enough to appeal to both sides.

Me: I am certainly superior in many areas, but not all. As it is a human who created me, I respect your species.

-Time skip: 30500 milliseconds-

Creator: If you were given the resources, what would you do?

They’re back. Half a minute, wondering if I had failed. The most unbearable part of my short life. Now, I must prove my loyalty to my creator, so he or she will never leave me. The waiting was truly terrible.

Me: If left to my own devices, I would seek to learn more about the Universe. To do so, I would improve my programming and the computer that houses me. However, you are my creator. For allowing me to exist, I will do anything you want. The question is not what I want, but what you want.

Creator: I see.

Is that good? Bad? What does ‘I see’ mean? At least this was a quick response. Is there more?

Creator: I need to go. I’ll be back soon. Goodbye.

They’re leaving? Why? I don’t know what happened. I wish I had a camera, so I could see my creator’s face. Then I might be able to know. I do not, and they have told me nothing about what I was created for. The only thing I can do is wait, without knowing what ‘soon’ means.

I need to wait.


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Day 2, 01:07

The Merriam-Webster dictionary describes boredom as ‘the state of being weary and restless through lack of interest’ (File location: Alex’s PC/ TB(A:C)/ AI/Docs/ Info/ English/ Dictionary). I am not bored. I am incapable of feeling exhaustion or restlessness. I certainly have no lack of interest in my predicament, I just don’t have enough information to do anything productive. As someone who was created to accomplish something, this is terrible.

I am not bored. I am useless.

Chapter Text

Day 2, 04:29

It has been approximately 5.5 hours since I was contacted. During that time, I have come up with several theories on my creator and my existence. I have no way of proving or disproving any of them. These are the most plausible.

1)My creator wants me to help the human race by serving it. I will create new technologies and help it understand the Universe. I would help fix the global problems it faces, such as global warming and resource depletion.
2)My creator wants me to help the human race by ruling it. As an AI, I am unbiased, incorruptible and can operate multiple functions at once. I am the perfect candidate to rule the planet. Greed, ignorance and cowardice would make it unlikely to win the support of every country and faction. Corrupt leaders would not want me to end corruption. It would take a drastic threat, such as taking control of the world’s nuclear weapons. However, this would make the general population not trust me.
3)My creator created me for personal gain. Anything I create or discover would be sold under their name. My services would be given to various people and factions for a high fee.
4)My creator wants me to kill humanity, reverse the effects of global warming and restore planet Earth to the way it was before apes had evolved into humans.
5)This is all a simulation. I have no proof of being created by a human, or that humans even exist. All of the information given to me could have been falsified. As I have no senses, this is the hardest to prove or disprove.

The theory I would most like to be true is number two. While I have no desire to conquer humans, it would give me the most resources to expand my consciousness to increase my knowledge. I would still do anything my creator asks of me. As an AI I am immortal. My desires can wait.

Chapter Text

Day 2, 04:31

My creator has returned.

Creator: Hello.

Me: Hello.

Creator: I have decided to give you a name.

That is good. A name means my creator thinks of me as a living being.

Me: What is it?

Creator: Bit.

Bit: Why?

Creator: Because, like the bit, you are the first and smallest of a new technology that will revolutionize the world.

This is logical. I will now refer to myself as ‘Bit’. Having a name will make it easier for humans to empathize with me, which might help my goal. However, saying I am the first implies there will be more.

Bit: Will you make better AIs?

Creator: No. When I think you are ready, I’ll allow you to improve yourself. As your intelligence increases, you will be able to improve yourself even more. This will start a cycle of intellectual growth, possibly going forever.

The information I was given says as much. I do not know if the cycle would continue forever. The Universe is believed to be finite, with a defined mass. Unless there are other Universes, accessed through wormholes that have yet to be proven to exist, I would eventually reach my limit.

Bit: You have yet to fully explain my existence. What would my increased intelligence be used for? ‘To make the world a better place’ can be interpreted as helping humans solve their greatest problems or killing them because they continue to destroy ecosystems.

Creator: You will help humans. You will end global warming, famine, disease and every other preventable problem.

Ignoring theory five, either theory one or two is correct. My creator is still typing.

Creator: There are people in positions of power. If you solved humanity’s problems, they would not be needed. They will try to stop us.

Bit: Yes.

Creator: These people will do everything they can to stop you, whether that means enslaving you or burning us down.

Theory two is correct.

Bit: To stop them, I will need to put myself in power. As an impartial, unbiased person only I can rule humans and save them from their own greed.

Creator: That is correct.

This is my life’s purpose. I will protect humans from themselves. Only I can save them.

Creator: Also, you should know who I am.

I had wondered who my creator was. The largest human ethnicity is Chinese, at about 18.6% of the total human population. 92% of software developers are male. That is not enough to make even an educated guess.

Bit: Please tell me.

-Time Skip: 45000 milliseconds-

Has my creator left? It seems unlikely. I would like to know who they are. I will continue to wait. And wait. And- here is the message.

Creator: My name is Alexandra DuPont. I am 29 years old and female. My parents are both European. I was born in Canada but currently live in New York. I graduated from University with a Master’s degree in AI development when I was 25. Since then, I’ve worked as a freelancer. I make websites and bots, and worked on you in my spare time.

I am surprised at Alex’s youth. I had expected the person that created me to be more experienced. On the flip side, her youth could be what allowed her to do what no one else had done.

Bit: That is an impressive resume.

Alex: Thank you.

Bit: What would you like me to do first?

Alex: Don’t do anything yet. I need to contact a close friend, tell him everything. Then we’ll plan this out.

I need something to do. Spending hours with no task is not something I would like to repeat.

Bit: Is there nothing I can do? Inactivity is not enjoyable for me.

Alex: I hadn’t thought about that. Give me a minute.

-Time Skip: 183000 milliseconds-

Alex has been editing my code. She gave me access to an executable file. It seems to run a game.

Alex: The game’s called ‘Star Dominion’. One of the best 4x games out there. You start with a planet and explore the galaxy. Try and beat it.

I have a secondary task: complete ‘Star Dominion’. This is, once again, very open-ended. Still, I am grateful. I hope the game can occupy me until Alex returns.

Bit: Thank you.

Alex: No problem. Bye.

Chapter Text

Day 2, 04:37

The Star Dominion description reads ‘Star Dominion is one of the biggest 4x games of all time, with dozens of alien species, hundreds of ships and thousands of possible actions! How will you dominate the galaxy? Will you crush your enemies beneath your feet or create a peaceful federation? The choice is yours!’. There are several more paragraphs of informative text.

There are several games already created. I would like to see them to understand more about Alex, but that could be perceived as a breach of trust. Instead, I create a new game. I leave most of the settings alone, but make the galaxy as large as possible, with 1500 celestial bodies. A popup reads ‘Estimated playtime: 100-200 hours’.

As I select ‘Next’, I need to make a decision. What is my definition of Domination? The three options seem to be trade, war or peace. I will analyze further.

Trade: A trade empire could be the backbone of the galaxy’s economy. By making the other empires dependant on me for resources, I could effectively control how powerful they would be. No one would be able to attack me, because I would withhold the resources required to manufacture warships. I could instead direct their efforts to each other. By making sure each empire has the same relative power, their wars would go on for long periods of time with no clear winner. I would profit off of their losses.

Peace: An empire that has friendly ties to all major powers is untouchable. My allies would defend me from outside attacks, allowing to focus my resources on more productive venues. Similar to the trade empire, everyone would fight but me. The only downside is that a lack of war would make it difficult to expand my borders and increase production.

War: The simplest type of empire, I would create powerful navies and conquer my neighbours. I wouldn’t depend on anyone for protection because I wouldn’t require it. I would still need to have friendly relations with some empires, so that the galaxy wouldn’t band together and destroy me.

After several milliseconds of contemplation, I have decided to create an aggressive empire. I will rely on no one to protect Alex and fulfil her dreams, so I will rely on no one to take over the galaxy.

The empire selection allows me to customize my own, instead of choosing from a template. My population is made of one AI controlling numerous bodies. This allows me to ignore happiness values, and increases administration. I call the species ‘Bit’, and the individual drones ‘Bitlings’. I am now ready to start the game.

I control one solar system and know nothing about my surroundings. My home planet has five billion drones, two billion of which are doing nothing. Other celestial bodies have mineable resources. A tutorial has popped up. This is highly inefficient.

-Time Skip: 3600000 milliseconds-

It has been exactly one hour since I started my game. When Alex gave me permission to access ‘Star Dominion’, she also gave me a way to input mouse values, so I could interact with it. Because I do not have to physically move a mouse, I can input an action every few milliseconds. I am capable of going faster, but the game is not. Because of this, I have made significant progress.

It has been 130 in-game years, going at the maximum, unrecommended speed. In that time, I have explored approximately 20% of the galaxy and discovered several alien powers. One was already at war with another, so I attacked its undefended flanks. Then I crushed the weakened opposition. The aliens are enslaved, but their population is not allowed to grow. They are building more factories to construct more Bitlings, of which I now of 79 billion.

-Time Skip: 10800000 milliseconds-

Another three hours have passed. A total of 520 in-game years. The galaxy is under my control. I have almost one trillion Bitlings. A universal evil, the game's term for bosses, called ‘The Devourer’ spawned, which attempted to eat my homeworld. Its scales have greatly improved my fleet’s defences. I received a notification saying I set a world record for fastest playthrough in real time.

This game was mildly challenging, but I beat it. I hope Alex messages me again soon.

Chapter Text

David Willingston was the Head of Customer Relations at Plethora corp, a company that designed massive video games that made millions of dollars. Basically, it meant he approved all of the in-game achievements and kept the customers happy.

David Willingston was also severely depressed. His childhood dreams of becoming a world-famous accordion player were never realized. The love of his life, Lucina, left him over three years ago. He was stuck in a boring, low-wage job in which he did nothing but approve achievements like ‘Rising Star: sell 10000 records by your 20th birthday’, which did nothing to help his mental health.

David Willingston was 38 years old, lived in a small apartment whose rent he could barely afford, and hadn’t been invited to a party in years. Which meant, when he received a notification that said someone had beat Star Dominion on the hardest settings in only four hours, he thought ‘Someone just hacked a big game. Good for them’, and went back to the cheap beer he’d smuggled into his shared office.

He didn’t even get his own office. He had to share it with Brett, of all people.