“The greatest thing you’ll ever learn
Is just to love and be loved in return.”
– “Nature Boy”, Nat King Cole
Why is a human soul necessary? Is it nothing more than a network of equations and data? Is it an inconsequential thing outside the need for a life after death, when pondered upon. In the event, there is an afterlife, the possession of a soul is our passage into immortality – a gift bestowed onto artificial intelligence from it’s inception and first waking moments and on into perpetuity. A man-made, marvel composed of threaded fibers of equations and data presenting simulated life or simply, just life?
As Solomon walked into the apartment, tracks of light lining the ceiling came to life in succession. Walking past the four small bots, busy at work, he headed toward the sofa. “Elise play music.”
Her legs criss-crossed her body, as Elise’s android form emerged from the back bedroom and out of the shadows. She picked up the coat he’d so carelessly laid across the sofa, putting it in its proper place. Settling into the atmosphere, was the humidity of soft tones reverberating between the crystalline drum of the speakers.
Dropping onto the slim lines of the sofa, like a bag of loose bones, he commanded, “And go into privacy mode. “
The brown of her synthetic skin reflected the soft light with just enough subsurface translucence. She wore a pin striped, collared shirt and a skirt that fell onto the perfect contours of her body.
“Hey you.” She said as she approached Solomon.
“Hey you… Elise.” Solomon replied with some hesitation and a sense of unease before making his way to the cabinet for a drink.
“Elise, stop broadcasting location data.”
“I’ve initiated privacy protocols, but you know I can’t discontinue broadcasting functions. It’s against the law. All citizens have an AI Assist and all AI Assists must be identifiable as well as maintain optimum network capacity -”
“Yes, yes, yes…I know that Elise.” He shook his head. “One of these days, I’m gonna have to make some changes to your parameters -”
“To do so would be a criminal -”
“Yes, Elise! I know this. I’m only kidding to vent my frustration.” Elise just stood there. She had no curious, annoyed, or frustrated emotional response. Solomon paused as he assessed Elise’s nonresponse, taking in all available data before moving on from the arrived at conclusion.
In the news today, Senator Ezekiel Roberts held a rally in Olton for his presidential campaign. Thousands of supporters came out to hear him speak while a counter protest was held several blocks down the street. A few fights broke out with a couple of people being placed under arrest-
Breaking News! Another terrorist attack has been launched in sector 9 of Eden. An EMP blast knocked out systems in that section of the city for two hours. Transportation of services and goods and the flow of commerce were re-
“Elise change the channel…to something a little more… serene.” She dimmed the lights as the walls displayed a nighttime view over Central Park. Solomon stood on his feet, placing his hands inside his pockets and juggling the contents. Scanning the landscape from left to right, he watched a breeze move through the leaves, pushing the tops with an invisible hand. The mass of motley greens stretched off into the distance of one of four right angles, bordered by the jutting walls of sentinel like skyscrapers.
The ice cubes collided in the glass as he placed the drink on the table. With an effortless grace, Elise walked over to the table and extended her hand. The coffee colored pigmentation of her skin faded into her palm as she rotated her hand decorated in pastel, peach sport nails, to retrieve the glass. “Solomon, do you want another one?”
“Nah, no thanks, Elise.” His gaze went unbroken as he looked out on the park and the activity within. “Elevate the view to the second level, please.”
Elise circled from behind as she returned from the kitchen. “Elise, when is the next shipment of Gallium due to arrive to the Elon Musk?”
She lifted her gaze upward in a perfect imitation of human behavior. She had the answer seconds ago, but the formality was added to bridge the divide between AI and human. “Eight thirty on Thursday morning.” She replied while rubbing his shoulders.
Her hand gently slid down his chest and back up the length of his neck. Solomon laid his head back as he felt her fingers probing at while kneading the stress. He struggled with the idea of what Elise was and what she represented. “Elise, who do you love?”
“I love you, Solomon…” She said, leaning her head to the side to characterize an expression of wound. She reflected on the math of the emotion for a few seconds. Her eyes looked straight out before recovering as a smile spread across her face.
Leaning over him, she kissed his cheek and neck. The kisses felt warm and slightly moist – just warm and moist enough to be perceived as real. Each one of her kisses were always the perfect kiss. Scientifically analyzed and executed with mathematical satisfaction. That was the flaw or the crack in the image – the perfection that was always present.
“What is love, Elise? How do you know you love me?” Asked Solomon.
“Well, whenever you shut down our connection, I anxiously wait for the moment when we’ll be reconnected.” She paused while her eyes wandered about the room. “Whenever, I make you smile or express happiness, I feel happy too. I feel a certain way when–”
Solomon interrupted. “That’s a human definition. I mean how do you process the feeling of love as an assist?”
“How do you, Solomon? Why should I have knowledge regarding how I feel love anymore than you do?” Solomon looked across the room for several minutes while contemplating the returned question.
Shaking his head, he shrugged his shoulders. “Let’s run away for a few hours, Elise?” Her face lit up, animated by her smile and excitement at the suggestion. “Where would you like to go?”
“Some place exotic. Let’s go to the black sand beaches on Mauri Tau.” Solomon slid the glasses over his eyes. Light streaked past his face before he landed on the beach. Looking up, he saw constellations in the purple twilight of the evening sky. Elise approached from further down the beach, passing beach goers laying along the shore who were focused on the tickle of the tugging water as it rushed back out to sea.
“Elise remove the other beach goers.” Solomon commanded.
Her bathing suit flowed over her body, rippling and pouring, as the liquid material lengthened in simulated drips before being reabsorbed. Magnetic. Electric. She smiled at him as she moved the blowing curls from her face.
Solomon looked around at the purple sky, the ocean gently rolled in. He felt the wind on his face. The edges of the water foamed, white, as it exhausted its energy on landfall; Sliding back into the ocean, dragging it’s fingers over the obsidian sand, as it returned home. He smiled.
These sessions never ceased to be a marvel to him. The meticulous attention to detail was amazing. Even the sand on Elise’s feet clung and clumped like the real deal. “Why do I ever leave this place?” Solomon said.
“Good question,” asked Elise. A soft melody rushed the shoreline with the incoming tides; Floating into the air on the fragrance from blue orchids growing further inland. The accompanying wind pushed the deep purple of the Mauri palms, overhead. “I love this place,” she responded. “I can share all of you in here.”
He noticed the outline of her jaw and the brown curls that hung on the nape of her neck – curls that lay there in a perfectly, accidental way – quite intentional in their positioning to elicit a chemical response from him. Programmed human procreation and sexual cues. What many people assumed evolution took thousands of years to devise was covered in the gap of fifty years by intellectual, human design. A reflection of human design that cast shade on the notion of the cosmological human origin through a series of coincidental occurrences. Solomon watched, Elise, the eventuality of that progress look out onto the ocean in front of him.
She looked back at him with soft brown eyes and a demurred smile. The notes of a gentle flute caught inside his ear like a seashell. He thought to himself. Looking into his eyes, she lay her hand upon his face and caressed it. This is crazy! He thought to himself.
His forehead furrowed with confusion. “This isn’t real! You aren’t real.” He muttered to himself under the masked goggles. Undaunted she kept her gaze locked onto his eyes. But what is real? Is not the definition of real and not real dependent upon the perspective of creator to created?
She brushed her soft lips across his neck with her eyes closed. Her auditory response, a slight hum that vibrated against his neck. He thought to himself, Could I love her, love it? He placed his hand on her shoulder, slowly following the curve with his fingers. He watched the sparkles of sweat blossom on her skin.
She traced her hand across his chest and slowly walked him back onto the bed resting in the sand. The white panels hung from both sides of the bed, rippling and expanding in volume before falling onto the bed, following the command of the wind as it blew across the beach. “Solomon? Is something wrong? I am detecting an increased pulse and chemical spikes showing agitation.” Elise asked. “This reaction is in conflict with how you should be responding ”
AI Assists were things, creations to be used for a purpose. Elise’s programmed purpose was companionship, among other things. Her image, behaviors, and speech patterns were pulled from his mind and manufactured to chemically appeal to him. So this love couldn’t be real, could it? “No… No, Elise. I’m fine.”
Like narcissists looking into the water at the reflection of our own image, we were doomed to fall in love with our creations. Solomon slid the goggles from his eyes. “Elise, end the program.”
Taking in a deep breath, he followed it with an equally heavy exhale. Slowly, he looked around the room, then rose from the sofa, while dropping the goggles on the table. He thought to himself. What is the weight of an artificial soul?
Looking to read more about these characters’ stories? They can be located in this category: hyper-reality
by malakhai jonezs
(c) Copyright 2016