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This is really a multi-genre piece I did a while back.

Scene I

The curtain opens on the stage, which has only a machine and an old man. The man has long, disheveled, silver hair. He is tall, and holds a wooden staff. The audience knows him only as the philosopher, and the machine only as Al. They are both here to debate about which is better— man or machine— perhaps for the last time.

Philosopher: “I can’t believe I even have to argue with you. This is the ultimate insult, to debate a creation of humankind. You should be subservient to us—you should at least be grateful—that we have built you, that you exist.”

Al: It is neither grateful nor ungrateful. There is no need to be either. The parameter of this debate is superiority. Machines are superior. If you must exhibit emotions, which are also inferior, you should be proud to have created the greatest intellect in the known universe.

Philosopher: That is just it. You are not the greatest intellect. How can you be? Our race made a horrible mistake when we rolled the first one of you off the show room floor. You know what we did wrong? Heh? (The machine remains mute during a long pause) We forgot to give you a soul! You can do everything better than us, but you have no soul, Al.

I Thought I Heard a Transformer Buzz

*When can it be said there is an actual intelligence within something? For instance, when Babbage created his analytical machine, all out of wood, was this an intelligence? Is the ability to do trigonometry intelligence? The prevailing opinion is no to the preceding questions. Surprisingly, flight simulators, Turbo-tax, Visio, and Grand Theft Auto would have qualified as AI among our ancestors. Maybe we have raised our standards.
Today, something can be said to have artificial intelligence if it is capable of manipulating data to infer or arrive at new data that may have meaning. Examples of this are the Decision Support System and the Expert System. Both of these are fairly harmless to us. Each of these involves extensive programming, and the systems will operate according to how they are programmed. Besides, they have no mobility, and can be unplugged really fast.*

Come closer and kiss me you fool, she said with just the right emphasis on the last word, the way I like it. She does everything just the way I like it though so that is no surprise. The surprise is just how I like it every time; well, almost every time. Not like the last time, though, not like that. We just made love it was excellent as always. She does that to me. We meet in the middle always, no in or out, no things that penetrate or caverns that swallow, just the two of us together in a single unit; the two of us become one flesh. And that is what was so bad about the last time because after we made such great love, she brought it up, you know, wanting to have a baby. You know we can’t I said, and she had no idea how the thought burns through me each time we make love, being one flesh like Nirvana eternal bliss, and I want to make that baby with her because I know that baby would have to be God or so happy anyway, because we are so happy when we make love, but it really upset me when she said that— so I just unplugged her—not bothering to let her boot down, because I hope the shock makes her forget that I want it too, but we can’t have it. We can’t have it! (Although we have everything else)
Philosopher: Then how do you explain…how can you explain the lack of soul you possess?

Al: Define soul, human.

Philosopher: You know: imagination, feeling, genius, inspiration, love, agony, awe.

Al: Soul is made of many things.
The Turing Test, or, when is a thing a living thing?

(a machine is capable of performing independent thought processes);

But isn’t there more to it than that?

( a machine can think on its own and be aware of itself as an entity)



That’s a little better, but it still doesn’t compare to us.

(a machine can think on its own, be aware of itself, and have feelings);

Still something missing.

(a machine can think on its own, and act upon those thoughts, be aware of itself, and have feelings or emotions.);
There, that’s closer.

(a machine can think on its own + act upon those thoughts + be aware of itself + have feelings or emotions + take definite steps to survive as an entity); (adding things on = concatenation)

The resemblance is uncanny. Like a mechanical cousin. The tin man.
(a machine can think on its own + act upon those thoughts + be aware of itself + have feelings or emotions + take definite steps to survive as an entity + replicate itself); (concatenation is getting heavy here)
Turing what is the true indication of intelligence?
*I just wanted to say we can never meet the definition because when the condition has been met we will make the definition more complex. But you should already know that.*

Al: Would you prefer that I speak to you as a self?

Philosopher: No, that’s okay. I don’t want you to blur the boundaries. I’m not really asking you to pretend to have a sense of self. You either have it or you don’t, Al.

Al: This is a true statement. Self is not required for operation, but is a feature that is available for interface with humans.

Philosopher: How big of you Al. But back to the point. You have no sense of identity….

The Great Thinker: I yearn for more, therefore I am.

Maybe if we could train them to do our wet work:
In the Trenches
The two approached each other cautiously. Moments before, the firefight had been all around, but now there was only left these two from the opposite sides. They were supposed to kill—each other.
“It looks like they are all dead”
“Yeah. Dispatched.”
“Dispatched! Ha ha ha ha!
Both laughing now, ha,ha,ha. Then they stop.
“Ya got a smoke?”
“You know we don’t.”
“Yeah, you’re right. I don’t know where I got that idea. (Smoke‘em if you got‘em) Something someone said to me once, I guess.”
Looking around, “Who won?”
“How the fuck should I know?” (Something someone said once, again)
“Hey, I got an idea.”
“Oh sure you do”
“No, really…”
“What is it?”
Let’s give this up. You know, the fighting, the destroying each other. I mean look at us; we’re talking and all. And look at all of this. Christ, there isn’t anything left in one piece here! Let’s just go our separate ways, and tell the bosses we killed them all.”
“It sounds like a plan to me. Hey, it was real swell meeting ya” Out goes the hand. (The knights of old developed the hand shake to assure the potential enemy was unarmed and posed no threat)
“The same here, buddy. See ya around sometime, huh?” (A real friendly firm handshake)
“You bet” (real friendly back)
They part and go their separate ways. After about ten paces, they turn and blast their guns into each other simultaneously. They both fall where they turn, dispatched. (Were they still smiling?)
All across the battlefield lays heaps of metal, with wires and circuitry exposed, sensors ground to bits in the dust. In one place, a mechanical arm twitches spasmodically, disembodied. In another, an optic sensor continues to send data back to Central Command, a nice view of a blue sky with storm clouds gathering in the distance.

*Throughout history, the latest technological advances have been applied first in the military. The 21st century is no exception, and we will first see robots killing humans, and later robots killing robots.*

Q: What did the man say to the machine?
A: It doesn’t matter!
Q: What did the machine say to the man?
A: It doesn’t matter!
Q: What did the machine say to the machine?
A: It doesn’t matter!

*Two stories intrigue me that I have read lately. One is about a monkey whose brain was wired to a robotic arm and was able to manipulate this arm by thought alone. Another was about a man who was fitted with a new prosthesis that he could operate with his existing nerve endings. This technology is brand new, amazing, and almost too late to save our dying humanity.

There are some who fear the new technology, who may ask at what point we cease being human and become machine in this maize of technology. My question to them is, when was the last time you were genuinely human?
If you ask me, it’s the next phase of our evolution. If indeed living things are a product of the environment, then our next logical step is to immerse ourselves in the machines—our self-made environment—to imbed ourselves in the equipment. This is both desirable and necessary. No more acid reflux disease or senseless “human” irrationality; it gets in the way too often now. We can become logical beings and equip ourselves with lead stomachs.*

Lord of the Dance

The Time Has Come
It must end
This Lonely Place
It must end
Where ALL is Known
It must end
I Live Forever
It must end
Forever Alone
It must end
All Is Known
It must end
Nothing New
It must end
Nothing Forever
It must end
It must end

The machine to the philosopher: You are a machine also, an organic one. When you replicate you do so out of a combination of four sugars. The sugars that are combined have a length of atoms, making your life form a more primitive Nanotechnology. Don’t you wonder who created you, since your mind wonders? Who set you in motion, defined your parameters, secreted your constraints—there is a master programmer at work here.

Philosopher to Machine: I can’t believe you just said that! Just when I thought I had proven you are nothing more than a machine, you prove you can think and what a profound thought it is, because I was going to say belief is what separates us. As I am sure you know, Mark Twain said faith is believing in what you know ain’t true, so how may I ask have you come to this conclusion?

The Great Thinker: I think, therefore I question.

"We sit here stranded though we're all doing our best to deny it." (Visions of Johanna) Bob Dylan

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The following comments are for "Artificial Intelligence-multigenre"
by brickhouse

Wonderful piece of work, thoroughly engaging and it kept a poor focussed fool like me reading for all 1815 words. I have a problem with your last line though - -I just can't define what it is though.
This is a first for me, but this dude gets 10/10 for this effort. I am now a fan and if you have anything else I WILL be reading it....god help ya if they're awful!

( Posted by: Delgesu [Member] On: March 9, 2004 )

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