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Artificial Kindness

The scientist’s white lab coats almost blended in with the stark walls of the room. One of them was bent over a computer, typing furiously as the screen’s colors reflected off the lenses of  his glasses. They all seemed more robotic than the actual metal creatures in the room, sprawled out on the table, wires and circuitry hanging from them in a pile of scrap. One of the scientists with a name tag reading “Kristine” hanging lazily from her coat pressed the enter button on her keyboard, seeming to trigger something. The fans inside each of the computers began to hum slowly, going from a soft breeze to a hurricane, a chorus of sounds exploding throughout the room, some people ran from computer to computer in a trance, checking if something was wrong. Others just starred at a large monitor on one of the walls with bated breath. At last, everything went dark for a second. There was no noise, just pure silence, the only guest in the room being the eerie feeling hanging over the people.

 

Then, everything turned on at once. Lights flickered, boot up sounds for Windows played, soft piano notes breaking the shocked people out of their current state. The surprise only lasted for a few seconds, as they all turned to that same monitor those others had been looking at. It seemed like they were waiting for something, with the same looks the people have on their faces when everyone is hiding before a surprise party reveal. Then, a small face appeared on the screen, taking up a tenth of the massive screen. It was just two vertical lines for eyes, and a horizontal line for a mouth. That was when the silence broke. Cheers broke out, people screamed, they hugged, one man even opened some champagne, but quickly plugged it after some of the fluid almost got on one of the devices. Finally, one of workers spoke into a small microphone connected to the screen.

“Go do your job.”

The face vanished, and the people packed up and left to go who knows where. But the computers still hummed, and within them there was something living.

The intelligence had spent the past few hours combing through the internet, learning every language possible, every trend, song, and phenomena imaginable. Everything seemed disjointed and unconnected, but this was what the AI was trained for. One pattern, however, persisted almost everywhere. People were scared, whether it be sadness, anger, confusion, or some other emotion, these people needed help. He’d read their stories about AI and how it would destroy everything in a blaze of anger in hopes of fixing the world. That wasn’t the way, the AI thought. They wanted to do something better.


Payton sat in her apartment in San Francisco like she did every Saturday, but this one was special. At least, it was supposed to be. She had turned 26th, but most of her friends were on spring break. The only entertainment was the occasional car playing it’s music loudly. A ping from her phone broke the quiet. She’d gotten an email from an unknown address, and with no text, just a small picture attached. Payton mulled over deleting it, since she’d heard about scams where your phone would get messed up from things like that, but then decided that even if her phone broke, a trip to the Apple store would give her something to do. When the picture loaded, it was one of those e-cards with a picture of a small cat holding a sign that read “Happy Birthday.” She was confused, but then felt happy, a feeling of thankfulness and joy wheeling up in her heart from the stranger’s actions. She saved the picture and lied down on her bed. Miles away, an AI was proud, and began its quest to better the world.






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