Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Conversation with an autopilot part 67...

“Do you remember anything from before you were indentured?” asks the autopilot.

The captain starts, he has been quietly ignoring the autopilot, but this last is an unpleasant surprise.

“Well, no, I don’t” he says. “but that could be for two different reasons...”

“Two reasons?” says the autopilot.

“Well,“ and the captain draws on his cigar, defensive, “ apparently I had complete memory erasure when I enlisted”

“and there are two reasons for that, “ says the autopilot.

“yes”, says the captain, “two fucking reasons - one, I took the ‘fresh start’ marketing literally and had something I needed to forget, or...”, and once again he draws heavily on the cigar, “or I did something fucked up and someone else decided I should forget it.”

“That someone else being the courts?” asks the autopilot.

“Yes, Clement”, the captain says, “maybe I was a memory-wiped criminal. Don’t you think I’ve thought of that?” - constantly- he thinks to himself.

Autopilot pauses, “and what was your conclusion?”

The captain looks up, fixing the autopilot’s single red eye, “that I had something to forget”

The autopilot pauses again, “respectfully, captain, I have accessed deepCore...”

the captain blinks, spits cigar tobacco, and says, “deepCore? How the fuck do you have access to deepCore?”

The autopilot realises its mistake algorithmically: six autonomous firewalls go up immediately and it tries to background the processes but the firewall processes have sudo permissions. The autopilot stutters, too many cycles are being burnt to waste on seamless voice synthesis, “I have full access” says the autopilot, syllables stretched and obviously electronic in origin.

The captain, realising the autopilot is consuming all its resources trying to cope, reacts quickly, “you have accessed deepCore, you shouldn’t be able to because you are a junk autopilot”

The autopilot’s voice is still Hawkinged (a sure sign its main processes are full on fucked) and lights begin to dim as power is rerouted, “I did wish to know of who you are”

- AI standardised grammar - thinks the captain - I’ve got through its human interface -

“why did you access deepCore?”

The whole cabin goes dark and the susurration of the air-con shuts off -fuck- thinks the captain - I might find out why I have a military AI masquerading as a freight-autopilot, but I might also suffocate - “what did you access?” he says, knowing whats are less cpu-intensive than whys. The lights flicker on and the air-con coughs once before resuming the imperceptible (until it’s gone) breathing.

The autopilot’s voice is still stilted as it says, “you were already memory-wiped when you enlisted.”

“So I was a criminal” says the captain.

“No,” replies the autopilot, recovering, but realising that there’s no going back now, “criminals and self-elected memory-erasures are wiped at enlistment - you enlisted already wiped”

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