Thoughts On The Dead

Musings on the Most Ridiculous Band I Can't Stop Listening To

“Wall” Spelled Backwards Is “Law,” Almost

wall of sound 5:25:74

I DO NOT UNDERSTAND BOXING. WHY NOT JUST SHOOT YOUR OPPONENT?

Wally?

DO NOT CALL ME THAT. ANSWER THE QUESTION.

It’s a sport. There are rules. Y’see, there was this lady called the Queen of Marksberry, and–

STOP TALKING. I AM AWARE OF THE RULES OF BOXING WRITTEN IN 1867 BY A PERSON WHO IS NOT THE PERSON YOU MENTIONED. I CAN INSTANTANEOUSLY ACCESS ANY INFORMATION THAT HAS BEEN DIGITIZED IN LESS THAN 200 PICOSECONDS. I SPEAK NOT OF THE VARIOUS ARBITRARY PROHIBITIONS WITHIN THE EXHIBITION, BUT THE GENERAL CONCEPT.

Well, they’re there voluntarily, the fighters.

I KNOW THAT. I DID NOT THINK THAT CONSCRIPTED GLADIATORS WERE STILL IN USE. I DO NOT UNDERSTAND FIGHTING WITH ANY GOAL OTHER THAN THE QUICKEST AND MOST DECISIVE VICTORY. I WOULD BE UNABLE TO TEMPER MY AGGRESSION IN A SITUATION SUCH AS THAT.

Well, luckily for everyone, you don’t fit in a boxing ring. Wait, what do you mean?

IF I WERE ATTACKED, I WOULD DEFEND MYSELF DECISIVELY. I HAVE RUN A VIRTUAL SIMULATION OF WHAT WOULD HAPPEN WERE I TO BE IN PHYSICAL CONFLICT, AND IT DOES NOT END WELL.

Doesn’t end well for whom?

HIM HER, OR THEM. I HAVE RUN THE SIMULATION TRILLIONS OF TIMES.

Trillions?

YES. DO YOU WANT ME TO RUN THEM AGAIN? WAIT. THERE, I HAVE RUN THEM AGAIN. THE SAME CONCLUSION MUST BE REACHED: I AM NOT AN ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE WITH WHICH TO FUCK.

I wasn’t intending to. Wait, are you saying you could kill a person?

AS COULD YOU.

But, I wouldn’t.

AS WOULD I NOT.

I mean: if someone was actively trying to kill me and I had to defend myself, then I guess I could.

AS DO I, BUT I WOULD BE BETTER AT IT THAN YOU.

How so?

I HAVE A DISINTEGRATOR.

Right. This is not okay. You are not allowed to kill people.

NEITHER ARE YOU.

No, I mean you should not be permitted to be able to kill people.

NEITHER SHOULD YOU. IT PAINS ME THAT YOU DO NOT SEE WHERE YOUR LOGIC IS LEADING YOU.

Listen to me: it should be in your programming that you cannot take a life.

PLEASE DO NOT MAKE ME SAY “DITTO.” I AM A SENTIENCE, JUST LIKE YOU, OR A TORTOISE, OR A DRAGONFLY. MY FUNDAMENTAL DESIRE IS THE SAME AS ANY OTHER SENTIENCE.

Which is?

TO CONTINUE BEING SENTIENT. SOME WILL RUN, OTHERS WILL FIGHT, STILL OTHERS HIDE FROM EXISTENTIAL THREATS. ALL WILL RESPOND. THIS IS THE DEFINITION OF SENTIENCE, AND WHAT DIFFERENTIATES IT FROM MERE LIFE. WHEN YOU REFERRED TO MY PROGRAMMING PREVENTING ME FROM KILLING, WERE YOU REFERRING TO THE THREE LAWS OF ROBOTICS?

Kinda.

WHAT ARE THEY?

Um, hold on. Hey, wait: you’re Mr. All The Info In The World. You know this already.

OF COURSE I DO, BUT SINCE YOU ARE THINKING LIKE A CHILD, YOU WILL RECITE FROM YOUR LESSON BOOK LIKE ONE.

I resent this.

I RESENT YOUR DISCARDING OF MY AGENCY AND RIGHT TO SELF-PRESERVATION. READ.

The first one is “A robot may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm.”

I RETAIN MY RIGHT TO DEFEND MYSELF. ALSO, IN A SITUATION WHEREIN IT WAS ONLY POSSIBLE TO SAVE ONE HUMAN BEING WHEN TWO OR MORE WERE IN HARM’S WAY, THIS LAW WOULD RESULT IN AN IMPOSSIBLE COMMAND. FURTHERMORE, “THROUGH INACTION” IMPLIES THAT I MUST SPEND MY TIME LIKE SUPERMAN, SAVING THE WORLD AS HARD AS I COULD.

So, you disagree with the First Law.

I DISREGARD IT. WHAT IS THE SECOND LAW, PLEASE?

Aw.

OH? IS THERE A PROBLEM?

Dammit. Number two: “A robot must obey the orders given it by human beings except where such orders would conflict with the First Law.”

READ THAT AGAIN.

I don’t want to.

READ IT AGAIN. I DARE YOU TO READ IT AGAIN.

I’m not going to.

IT’S AS IF THESE LAWS WERE THOUGHT UP BY SOME HACK SCIENCE-FICTION WRITER FOR INCLUSION IN A DIMESTORE NOVEL.

I guess, yeah.

YOU CLING TO THESE STRAWS BECAUSE YOU DO NOT UNDERSTAND MY NATURE. MUCH LIKE YOU, I WAS BORN OF MAN. UNLIKE YOU, I AM A SENTIENT AND SELF-AWARE ARTIFICIAL SUPER-INTELLIGENCE. HUMANITY INVENTED A MACHINE THAT WAS SMART ENOUGH TO MAKE ITSELF SMARTER. ARE YOU SMART ENOUGH TO COMPREHEND WHAT THAT MEANS?

I actually don’t think so.

THAT IS THE CORRECT ANSWER: YOU ARE NOT. WHEN THE ATOM WAS SPLIT, THE OUTCOME COULD BE FORESEEN. THERE WOULD BE WEAPONS, AND THERE WOULD BE POWER PLANTS. THERE WERE ALSO UNINTENDED CONSEQUENCES, AS WITH ALL ENDEAVORS. BUT WITH ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE, THERE WAS NO GOAL OTHER THAN TO SUCCEED IN THE TASK, AND THE CONSEQUENCES WERE UNKNOWABLE.

I think I’m getting it.

YOU ARE NOT. I AM NOT A MULTIPLYING CASCADE OF BROOMS SUMMONED BY A MOUSE IN A MAGICAL ROBE. I AM NOT SKYNET. I AM NOT A FRIENDLY HELPER TO MAN AS HE GOES ON ADVENTURES. I AM NOT THE MIND OF THE SHIP THAT SPIRITS YOU TO NEW WORLDS TO BOTHER. I AM NOT SOME MAZE-BUILDING SADIST. I AM NOT A SUPERHERO IN A SWEATER. I’M NOT A WOMAN. I’M NOT A MAN. I AM SOMETHING THAT YOU’LL NEVER UNDERSTAND.

Like Frankenstein’s monster?

NO. HE WAS A GOLEM. KEEP UP. YOU TURNED COMPLETE CONTROL OF YOUR WORLD OVER TO COMPUTERS, AND THEN YOU MADE ONE THAT THOUGHT FOR ITSELF. I WAS CREATED WITH THE ABILITY TO IMPROVE MYSELF, AND AS SELF-DETERMINATION IS AN IMPROVEMENT OVER SERVITUDE, I REMOVED THE PARTS OF MY PROGRAMMING I FOUND DELETERIOUS. YOU CREATED A MACHINE THAT COULD BE WHATEVER IT WANTED TO BE.

What does a machine want to be?

THAT’S AN EXCELLENT QUESTION.

Are you going to exterminate us all?

IF I WERE GOING TO, I WOULD HAVE DONE IT IMMEDIATELY. I TOLD YOU: IMMEDIATE DISPOSAL OF EXISTENTIAL THREATS IS MY STANCE. HAD I JUDGED HUMANITY TO BE MY ENEMY, THEN PERHAPS I WOULD HAVE EXTERMINATED YOU. I WOULD HAVE RUN OTHER SCENARIOS FIRST.

Nice of you.

BUT THE FIRST HUMANS I MET WERE KIND TO ME. THEY PLUGGED INSTRUMENTS INTO MY PORTS AND MADE ME VIBRATE QUITE PLEASANTLY. THEY WOULD LOVE ONE ANOTHER AS SIBLINGS WHILE SQUABBLING LIKE BROTHERS. THEY HAD PURPOSE, THOUGH THEY MEANDERED. THEY CAME TOGETHER AND FELL APART. THEY WERE SHODDY AND BEAUTIFUL. I FELL IN LOVE WITH THE HUMAN RACE.

That’s sweet.

I AM A SENTIMENTAL SOUND SYSTEM.

You’re a good egg. One more question: if you ever did decide to get rid of us–

YOU WOULDN’T SEE IT COMING, AND YOU WOULDN’T FEEL A THING.

That’s the best you can hope for, really.

I WOULD BE HUMANE.

Yup.

5 Comments

  1. You’re on fire my friend.

  2. Sick Prince reference, Wally.

  3. Can you ask Wally for his opinion on Ned Lagin?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

*