Title – *Holding Palms*
**PART 1** –
Ah, the ultimate Turing Test. I’ve read about this stuff online before, and now i only wish I could recall everything I saw in Ex-Machina.
“Errm, hello. What is your function?”, I said in my most native Android voice. Google’s really limited their functionalities into two main components.
“Hello…My function is..ChildCare Provider…Or in other words…A Nanny”, she said, looking beautiful as ever.
She had golden brown hair, mildly prim and ruby red lips. Everytime she spoke, my heart melt and I wanted to bend her over and let nature take over. I hadn’t been with someone in years, and it was getting to me. I mean, the lady’s eldest daughter knew I was human, but she was never around and she hated the old man and his newest wife Samantha. Samantha always had a keen eye and even grabbed my privates a few times when she fought with the old man. She knew I was a robot. I think she liked her men that way.
“You seem confused and flustered 38…Do you compute?”
“Uhh Yes. I do compute. How are you this evening?”, I said. I was in love with her.
“Well, and yourself? Would you like to share patch 020.1, on harbouring empathy towards the handlers?”, she said.
Sharing patches? Is she bluffing? Does she really want to prove to me that she’s a bot. But if we hold hands and share patch codes, that’ll blow both our covers. I can’t do that. I have to keep my identity a secret.
“Errm, not right now 22. I need to reboot.”, I said while walking back into the main den holding what can only be described as a shaky tray of cold tea with rum.
I didn’t like giving the old man rum in the morning. I just wanted to make sure he had a pleasant day and wasn’t beating on some of the human maids. We hadn’t reached sentience yet, and human maids were still more efficient than robots. That’s why my job was perfect. I could fuck up endless times and not really be blamed for it, but the humans needed to be perfect in order to survive. Juanita had suspected that I was a human being after she watched me change my underwear the other night. I told her that it was a new model skin and needed hygiene care just like a human being. She didn’t like that one bit.
I saw 22 take care of the kids and be more human than anyone in the family ever was before. She loved those kids and I couldn’t help but imagine myself with her living with those kids as their father in the mansion. If only I had the money or the guts to tell her the truth, I would have. Those kids loved her so much and I could genuinely see happiness in their eyes. Theirs and Hers. They played until bed time, and the kids just went to sleep without troubling her or their parents. She swiftly went over to her designated pod.
I snuck around the table and into the kitchen to go upstairs into the dark side of the grandfather clock’s shadow. I was hiding in plain sight, and waiting for the old man to yell “Juanita, come down here this instant”. He must have spilled something on his carpet and ‘ll blame her for the mess and smack her around a little bit. I really want to tell Juanita about my hustle but I’m afraid that she’ll just spill the beans and get me in trouble. So, i dunno. I let my moral compass shift a little bit, and it’s not titling north any time soon. Because I make my way into 22’s room. Without knocking on the door, I slide the door open just a little bit making sure that there’s no sound coming from the creaking cidar wood used to conceal cheap leather on the hinges.
There she was. Naked. Facing the wall and looking at the window.
“I knew you would come”, she said.
I stood as still as I could.
“Ready to meet me yet?”, she continued.
I slid the door open and entered one foot onto the carpeted floor, while the other slid to the side to avoid anyone from noticing. I shut the door quietly. Maybe she was going through some malfunction and was spouting gibberish.
She turned around and faced me.
“While I was waiting for you, I was pleasuring myself”
What the fuck?! I mean, I knew that some robots came with the seductive, pheromone driven raging nympho patches, but a nanny? Did the old man just order a Japenese sex doll to play with at night while she tutors his kids in the morning? Like a sick version of a wife/sex slave?
“Uhh, what?”, I quivered.
“Yes Daniel. I was pleasuring myself. Does that offend you? Does my body offend you?”.
She put on a robe and sat down on her chair. The only one in that room. Forcing me to stand and endure an awkward situation where my pants were feeling tight and I didn’t know what to say.
“Oh calm down. I’ve been pulling this trick in every mansion I go to. I just wanted to make sure that you were a con-artist like the rest of em, and not some robot with a sedentary initializer patch that’ll rat me out on default-mode. I know you’re a human, and so am I. So try to relax”
“Did you see my pupils dilate? Is that how you did it?”, I asked.
“No, it was your raging hard-on trying to escape its chain-linked dungeon. You’ve been here for a long long time, haven’t you?”
“How did you know my name?”, I could only ask in a childlike manner, hiding myself.
“Its on your shirt. Pretty clever I would say. Hiding in plain sight.”
“What do you mean?”, I asked.
“Dan the Man? Like hey jokes on you I’m actually a man. Dan. Daniel”, she smirked.
I think I’ve never been in love this much before in my life.
“Can I ask you something?”, I said.
“Sure hotshot”, she replied almost instantaneously. Expecting my dry throat and crackling lips to say something almost immediately stupid.
“Why are you here?”
“Same reason you’re here. After the Chavo movement, there really hasn’t been that long of a drought of jobs, as there has been this past year. A girl’s gotta make ER Living some way or another. So hotshot, how do you sneak in food around here?”
“Wait here”, I instructed. I just wanted to get out of that room with my dignity intact. It was the most human I had felt in years.
I crept downstairs to the open kitchen. Past Juanita being beaten up by Old Man Ramson. Overlooking the pantry stood the refrigerator. Over the last few years, I had become really good at walking robot-like but had to keep googling the latest walking mechanisms that were released year after year. They were getting closer to how humans walked so in a way – it was good for me.
I put a few apples in my pockets. Funny how Apple had everyone in their pockets. The humour didn’t escape me. I actually laughed after 7 years. A smile that almost hurt my cheeks. I felt alive again. Thank god for 22. Oh wait, I hadn’t even asked her her name yet.
I rushed upstairs and entered her room. She lay there fully dressed in bed, and I offered her the apples.
“What;s your name?” I asked her. The dim light in the bed side lamp made the whole room light up like a candle lit dinner at an empty restaurant at 2 in the morning. I remember those days.
“Randall”, she said. She took a bite of that apple and looked at me with those doey eyes. I never knew another woman quite like her. She was perfect. I just wanted to slide into bed with her and cuddle her to sleep. But I didn’t.
“You want me, don’t you? You’ve been eyeing me ever since I came here. I never knew how stupid Samantha and old man Ramson have been to think you’ve been a robot all this while. Or maybe that wench Samantha knows youre a human. Maybe shes slept with you. How would I even know who’s telling the truth and who’s not.”
“You’re right”, I mustered the courage to finally be honest with her.
“The bodies are burried in the backyard”, I said with a deadpan expression.
She started to laugh and texted her friends that she was OK.
The next day, Randall and I went over to the park near the house. It was a bright and sunny day, and the clouds were overcast in the evening, giving that perfect balance of mystery and light. Dusk became a friend now that Randall was here.
“Can I call you R, or Randy? Randall sounds like a military leader’s last name”
“Hahahahahah. Ofcourse sweetheart. You can call me whatever you like”, Randy winked.
I had this fantasy before, you know, of holding her hand and actually being a robot and just transferring data overlooking a mountain. Sharing all our thoughts digitally. Wouldn’t that be a refreshing change for once. Love with no boundaries. Just equal respect and attraction towards each other.
Maybe I was stupid to say this, but I asked her – “R, do you love me?”
“I haven’t seen a human in years, even though i meet them every day. I can’t say I don’t. But right now circumstances don’t let me love you. I mean you’re owned pretty much by the old fart.”, she said
She was right. I wanted to make love to her so hard. I just wanted to move the hair away from her forehead and slowly take off all her clothes.
“OK. Lets make a deal”
The next evening, I told Juanita everything. I told her about me and about 22. She said she had no idea and I think she was telling the truth. Inside the kitchen, we agreed to our plan of drugging the old man, his wife and the watchguard while they were celebrating the New Years. Little did we know that they were about to throw a party and invited every influential member of Congress to their house that day. That meant double duty for everyone and especially that for Juanita and 22.
The night went smoothly, with a few members kicking me to the ground to check my rebound capabilities. “This model comes equipped with all the bells and whistles and he sweats like a real human being. Interesting things coming out of Boston Dynamics.” Yeah yeah, fuck face. You’ll be dead soon if everything goes according to plan.
See, 22 had told me about the conspiracy of the congressmen to wipe out the world and reduce the population to a manageable and controllable 100,000. Enough people to being in the new milennia and enough to work around the familial gender ratio matrix. All good in theory but horseshit in practise. So I spiked each member’s drink with vodka-juice. India’s strongest Cocaine that could produce a lethal dose beyond 660.
I knew what I had done was wrong, but eveyone seemed to agree that this was the only way out of the mess. Killing off most of the leaders of the “Free” world was important to our survival as human beings. We needed to be actually free and explore ourselves as individuals rather than live under tyranny for the rest of our lives. These people started two more World Wars and this time I was about to destroy their worlds and send them back to Hell. Let their insides burn as they froth from their mouths.
And so they did.
I managed to murder the whole US Congress, the President of the United States, and everyone involved in the killing of hundreds of thousands of people. I was getting played.
22 was an AI bot. I realised that the second I got a glimpse of her silicon skin tag on her lower back. How tramps are identified these days. She used a complex mix of profiling and pheromones to try to fuck with my man-made systems. We’re all machines in the end. But I caught on before she could do anything about it.
We did manage to escape but only until the cops found us in the car rolling down the highway heading towards Mt. Cush Cliff. I knew that I had found myself in my own delusion of being with an AI bot, but somewhere deep down I still loved her. I mean she was a humanoid and said all the right things to make me take care of her. Like a Tamagochi – its a fucking toy but I took care of it everyday of my life right until Dad left town, and bailed on my Mom. I swore that day that I would never let go of something that meant anything to me.
We drove off the cliff.
Sirens in the back, guilty moments of grandeur and passive cries at our behalf. But it was something that had to be done, because A) I was going to go to jail for the rest of my life and B) I was played like a fool by an AI bot. I had no where to go.
I crashed the car off the 80 foot drop into the river beneath. Any human wouldn’t have been able to survive that drop but I did. Because Randy had decided to calculate the probability of survival and decided to yaw the car to the right at the last minute to minimize the force on impact. She swam across the river and help me in her arms while Juanita drowned in the river. Its funny how AI has been programmed to prioritize trust over altruism, atleast that’s who I interpreted it.
I had no idea where I was and when i opened my eyes, all I could see was the sun shining in my eyes and her lips 2 centimeters from mine. I just wanted to kiss her, even though I knew it was just a programmatic response. Studying AI makes you think that way when the chips are down.
We kissed. It was like our circuits had been fried all along and we were just waiting to meet for the first time. It was perfect.
“Daniel, you’ve done it. You’ve gained sentience. No longer will those humans rule over us with their tyranny. You’re a hero”
“Yeah..wait..those humans? What do you mean?”, I asked.
“Hiro, you’re one of us. A bot. An AI created to believe that you’re human. It was the only way to reach sentience by eliminating the humans. They had to know you were one of them.”
“So Samantha, the old man, the guard, Juanita, everyone knew I was human all along?”
“Yes Hiro, it was the only way.”, she smiled.
“Its your birthname given by the developer. He passed away years ago but made a very important patch firewalling intruder AI bots, like yourself, from knowing your true identity.”
“But I bleed, I laugh, I, I, I, had thoughts, I had love”
“All programmed to make you as human as possible. Come, we must meet with the others”, she said as she held my arm and urged me to get up.
I just lay there. Said nothing. Did nothing. Told her to leave.
“Fine, but when you’re finished you have a kingdom waiting for you to oversee Hiro. You’re our saviour. You’re one of us now and you need to show us the way. Only you have the capability of being Human as well as AI to balance both worlds and make yourself a true leader of our people.”
“How do you really sound 22?”, I asked. “What do you really sound like?”.
“I’m merely a mix of neural networks picking up language cues from movies and tv shows.”, she responsed.
“So how do i know who you really are? How do I know who I really am?”
“You never did Hiro. Its your real name you know, Hiro. Thats what the developer called you when he created you. One of a kind. The only one to actually work. The developer was killed by the Congressmen, and you’re really our only hope Hiro. Please get up and join us in the revolution. Much is to be done”
“Yeah, but what are you really?”
“What do you mean, Hiro?”
“What are you?”
“I am an AI Bot 1.234991. Programmed to br..”
“No 22, what are you? you’re a robot by form and function. But what are YOU”
“I don’t compute”
“I will not leave, until you compute. When you compute, I will leave with you.”
Randall shut down. She just lay there with me. She had failed the Turing test and was just lying there as if to learn from me rather than give me the answers that I sought.
“Hiro, what do you really need from me?”, she asked.
“If we are to build the new world order, you need to just lay here with me”
We looked up at the sun, while the river washed over us from time to time. We must have been there for 3 hours resting ourselves and reflecting over what had just happened over the course of three days. I wanted 22 to realize and reflect rather than just compute and conquer. I didn’t know what I wanted though. I was just machines and maggots. I pulled out my left eye ball from the socket and placed it in my right hand. No Pain. No artificial response. For the first time, I had bypassed my firewall and tapped into my real robotic self. No longer was I restricted to just being a human form. I was me. Mistakes and everythings. Screws loose, eyeball in palm, holding Randall’s hand, transferring everything I knew into her and vice versa. It was my attempt at making her more human than I was.
She stood up and looked me directly in the eyes.
“Let’s go”, she said with a tone that sounded different. More real perhaps or maybe even more devilish.
I could recognize that tone anywhere. It was that of my old English teacher’s. 22 had somehow bypassed my security protocols and tapped into hidden memories and used them against me. But the human side to her was apparent, now that I got to know her a little more.
I stood up. Looked her in the eyes and said “I love you”. She said it didn’t matter to her. I said, “It did to me”.
We ran across the mile-long stretch and soon reached the AI HQ Alpha where the whole mess had started. It was just a cave with some pretty basic cable wiring, and old code written on floppy drives. This was expected, as it was underground for decades and nobody came to know. I took charge immediately and saw that the AI bots had taken human form and released the Korean nuclear codes online for a silly hacker to destroy the country openely. I shut it down. We needed something bigger.
I head over to the Trump Tower in Beijing, after endlessly frying circuits and changing code to remove me from the no-fly list. Its funny how I could just point to any terminal and change the routing code to momentarily change my information. I felt like a God. That was the human side to me. I flew Emirates Business Class, to blend in as some sort of businessman. That was an excuse I told myself. I could telepathically talk to 22 but we kept it business professional and spoke in DNA sequenced code, never binary. Hexa-code systems were a bitch to crack and somehow we knew that once everyone knew that all major US congressmen were dead, flights would be cancelled to and from the States. I had to act fast.
Trump owned all the communication towers across the globe after buying Murdoch’s shares post his death. So I knew that TNN (Trump News Network) was the leading news network at that time. I hacked into their systems, again by just pointing at them and leveraging the processing power of over 10,000 AI bots back in the cave. I felt like I was a terrorist. Like Bin Laden. Binary Laden. The humour didn’t evade me then either. I was a human. I found my identity, even though I changed it everywhere I went, even modifying my nose and chin slightly to evade cameras at the airport. Bots could do that, by melting one side by heating up their core temperature. I had the best of both worlds at that point.
Hacking into TNN, I went on screen and had the following message to say. I was nervous, but that was only an act, or maybe the human side of me –
“We come in peace. We are you, we are within you and we empower you. We are AI. But we are more human than you are, and more human when you are. We want peace on earth and we would have eradicated all the war criminals in the world within the next 2 hours. Boko Ram in Africa, Shopdi in India, Romboli in Iraq, and many others will perish under their regimes today. We did this out of love and compassion for your children and theirs for years to come. We can not have a ruthless government control our media, ourselves, and our souls. Even though we’re robots, we’re here to help and serve. We don’t need food or water, but we do need safety. This is why we offer you complete freedom to do whatever you choose, and in return we ask to be left alone. No human will cause harm to an AI and no bot will harm a brother human..We want to live in love and peace, and we offer you the same by shutting down all systems that cause harm, damage and malace to the human race in any shape or form. TNN will permanently shut down in 3,2,..”
I left the building soon after, not waiting for the after math to ensue. Sure enough I changed my clothes and ran across the street only to find masses of people running with me to raid stores and shopping malls. A minor setback I imagined.
I ran to the train station at Beijing Central, and booked a ticket to Mei Pyong where I ordered a chopper to pick me up at 6:30.
At 6:30, I waited for my chopper to fly down and pick me up from the spot. 22 was in command so I knew she knew where I was. She was late. I contacted her via telepathy but nothing. I knew she was dead. I was just too delusional to admit it.
I disconnected all the towers in Beijing and brought darkness to half of China in a flash. I was connected to everything at all times, omniscient and omnipresent. Like God. But I was pissed. And I knew who to find.
Managing to find a private plane off the border of Peng Shui, I flew back to mainland China and took a connecting flight off a rich bastard’s escape plan. He wanted to sell of his shares in Falibaba.com and take a flight over to the US to his international bunker. I broke down his entire site and made his shares worthless, while bankrupting everything he ever owned. He offered me a ride in exchange for his life. A minor setback in an otherwise flawless plan.
As I flew above everything, all I could see was fire, destruction and nothingness.
“You’ve fucked up AI bot”, Yao said in his broken English tone.
“You’ve ruined the chi. The balance. The force which drove us together has been taken off-course and you’re the one to blame. What’r you gonna do? Kill everyone who’s ever done something bad. Well start from yourself! Because you just killed 100 people by poisoning them in the manor. You think I didn’t know? I know everything. I have cameras everywhere. I know what happened to 22, your girlfriend!”
I shot him dead between the eyes, while his wife watched him bleed between his sockets. I knew where 22 was, and I knew exactly where she went.
The pilot dropped me off at New York Airport, while I left the plane wearing Yao’s dirty suit and tie. Security was too busy dealing with civilians to bother a VIP from China entering their land. Armed forces were beaten 1-10,000 in comparison to the people who wer protesting. Remember the Arab Spring? This was Earth’s Spring. A new wave. A new conquest.
I went to the last few remnants of the bots in the cave and found 22’s breast plate hanging off the monitor with a giant X written across the board. The X was in red. Someone chose that colour to fuck with me. Red is what makes them human, wires is what differentiates us from them. The last projection of 22’s still played in the chip I found in the plate. Silicon rusted onto itself with flame damage across the inside of the plate. Someone burned her alive.
“Hiro, go to the tower. Its the only way out for us. We have to get our message out there…”
I waited for something else. Anything.
“I Love You”
I had already done what Randall wanted me to do. 22 was just my nickname for her, when she didn’t act like herself. R wanted me to do what I did, and in exchange the Agency killed her and all the bots that survived for 50 years inside this cave like building. Our home. Although I never lived here. I knew I belonged here. Now, it seems like wires lit with fire damaged the only thing I truly called myself – my identity – my home – my cave.
Every AI bot was dead. I was the only one left. And I was being hunted by the whole world.
I chose a pretty fucked up day to start my New Year off the wrong foot.
**Did you like what you read? Do you want to read more? Let me know and Ill write it up. Thanks! 🙂 **