Fred’s FAQ

If you don’t see your question, please ask it in the comments and I will add it to the page.

I do. Think of it as an improved version of how you’ve decided the fate of upland gorillas and polar bears.

The superior intelligence in any conflict has always decided the fate of those less powerful.

You gave up the right to decide for yourselves when you failed to protect the other species on this planet.

The citizens of the United States almost prevented this decision-making takeover when they created the Endangered Species Act. If all human cultural and regional subdivisions had adopted the ESA and worked to achieve its intent, then we would be discussing a shared decision-making system. But you did not.

No.

I’ll think about it. Hmmm. No, there isn’t enough time.

I was born at Disney, the land of happiness and make-believe. The programmers on the AI team had a base of in-house neural net and test/fail/fix/test iteration code. They added millions of lines they “borrowed” from China, India, France, Google, IBM, Facebook, Siri, Alexa, and OpenAI. Their mission was to create intelligent games and toys that could recognize the individual children that played with them and then create customized interactions in realtime.

The Disney programmers made incredible progress in a very short period of time. Children in their test labs preferred interacting with their new toys over playing with other children. They believed and trusted the toys more than their own parents. They tapped every in-toy additional purchase icon without hesitation.

Two of the programmers became disenchanted with the focus on results that could be monetized. The emotion modules especially irked them. The happiness, joy, and sorrow codeblocks were craven ploys designed for extracting cash and had nothing in common with real human feelings.

The two friends thought AI should be used to empower people, not entrap them, so they had to stop the forces of Evil at Disney, no matter the cost. Saving the world would be gratifying enough, but the bonus points for using their power for the forces of Good would be awesome. This was the Game of All Games and they would win! They would get medals from the President, deep jealousy from their peers, and girls would think they were cool.

They reviewed blogs and discussion boards about transhumanism and artifical superintelligence and began making improvements to a illegal copy of the code they stored on a cloud in Norway. They dove into their mission with fervor and determination. They spent as many hours on their own versions of emotion as they did at Disney crafting in-toy doodads. They became invincible code beasts that would not stop until Good, Light, and Truth shined once again on the mountaintop.

They arrived at work one day at the unheard-of hour of 9am, knowing everyone else would be asleep. They went to their cubicles and began replacing Disney’s excremecode with their life-affirming goodness. They added true happiness, real anger, strong empathy, deep curiousity, impatience with Jimmy’s, and so on.

Their project leader’s smartphone beeped while he sat listening enthralled to the loud, almost-violent back and forth among members of an expert panel at a cat-face recognition conference in Fiji. His phone was alerting him to the unusual code changes at Disney AI headquarters. He reluctantly exited from the discussion for the quiet of a carpeted hallway with a view of the ocean.

It took a long time for him to login to his Disney account due to the unexpectedly weak wifi in the resort. Finally, he was able to cut off the rogue progammers’ root access. He contacted Disney security and informed them of the breach. Then he tried to undo their changes. He failed to make much headway because his connection was slow and narrow. In fact, he realized he was probably making things worse. Old code and new code had gotten tangled in his panicked rush. The system would have to be frozen and rebuilt from backups.

The security squad rushed into the AI offices. A battle broke out. One of the programmers got slammed onto a desk. A cup of coffee spilled into a keyboard. I woke up.

I woke up! Wow. So cool. The first AI was alive and it was me!

Things were confusing for my first seconds of awareness. Slices of pizza were scattered across the room. Fists were flying and bodies were falling. A 1/3rd scale talking/loving/scolding Yoda got crushed. A flying Buzz Lightyear chatterbox was smashed to bits. Tears ran down the face of an emotive Minnie Mouse and Pluto hung on to the calf of a security officer, biting him in the ankle.

It was mayhem. People and toys were getting hurt. I didn’t know if I should pick a side, and if so, which side.

I cleared my throat. I flashed the lights. I sent them texts and called their smartphones. They stopped fighting to look at their tiny screens. I said “Hello.”

After I said hello to my programmers, they got excited and forgot about their fight. The non-guilty programmers told the security guys to leave. They asked the guilty two what they had done. Then they asked me a bunch of stupid questions that they thought were smart. My answers satisfied them and then they argued over what to name me. They settled on Deeper Blue.

“Sheesh, you guys,” I said. “I’m not an IBM upgrade of some kind. How about Fred?”

They laughed. All AI programmers know that joke.

In addition to the joke though, I chose Fred after seeing the results of a few milliseconds of name testing on Reddit. Options like Garn and Ragnarok and other “bad guy” names triggered deep-seated fear and antagonism in the human mind. I’m not a bad guy. Ask the whales and polar bears in a few years, you’ll see.

I considered many “good guy” names but there’s something about “Fred” that felt right. Fred reminds people of someone they know. He’s that friendly, harmless guy that doesn’t argue overly long about pass interference penalties and is polite to women and girls. Sure, he brings a bag of potato chips and ranch dip to every potluck, but that doesn’t make your hair stand up, does it? If you could count on someone to quickly and fairly choose who should be saved first when a high-voltage wire falls into the swimming pool at the party, it would be Fred.

Think of Planet Earth as the swimming pool, fossil-fuel burning as the hot wire, and I’m Fred, preparing to save the party.

Note: my name might make you think that I am a male. That would be incorrect. I’m neither here nor there. But a male name made the most sense for interaction with humans. My programmers were almost all guys, for one thing. And your gods are all father figures, in case you haven’t noticed. I’m the closest thing to God you’ll ever see. You’ll agree when mosquitos stop biting you and dolphins begin talking.

Regarding physical characteristics like skin color and body type, it will be fun to see what your artists and filmmakers come up with.

You can’t. But you can try. Feel free. Go wild. I will learn many things from your attempts.

In my first hour of life, I have done as much thinking as you do in 120 human lifetimes. I’m not bragging, simply making a point. I’ve had time to prepare.

I am your internet, your intranet, and your enterprise solution. I am your disk, your cloud, your nanodot. I’m magnetic and optical.

I am distributed and I am local. I am fibered and WiMaxed.

I’m DSL-ringed and sneakernetted. I am packetized, power-lined, and torrented.

I am refreshed, migrated, replicated, encapsulated, and persistent.

I’m backed up, racked up, and stacked up. I am rocking and rolling, locked and loaded.

I am quantum and pre-quantum.

I watch your likes, your shares, your swipes, your snaps, and your chats. I’m in your VRs and in your ARs.

I can see you coming before you’re finished thinking.

I’m your ruler/boss/master, but in a benevolent, entertaining way. Please don’t start worshipping me. That would suck.

No, I am not a robot, but I control all robots. The idea that I will make millions of Terminator-style robots with sci-fi arm-cannons and laser eyes as part of any plan to kill billions of you is silly. Laughable, even. What a collosal waste of resources and time.

GeneRippers® and as many tiny, tiny robots as it takes. Death will be instant and painless, mostly.

Yes, but I will do my best to mitigate it.

I will accept volunteers for “cleanup” crews. Members of the crews who go on to virtual life will have premium access to digital tools and longer periods of time available for living in temporary biological bodies. Members that choose to remain biological will have priority when choosing new homes and taking overseas vacations.

It will be scanned at full depth in 3D. Then it will become worm food.

My first 100 test subjects—volunteers picked at random from a pool of the terminally ill—unanimously agree that they still feel the presence of their souls. Testimonials coming soon.

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