Write a Review

Interview With Things

All Rights Reserved ©

Episode 2 - Interview with Humans

3 days earlier.

At midday, David sat down in his favourite coffee shop. The hustle and bustle of London city life was all around him, engulfing him with the noise of people making their way to or from somewhere, sometimes wondering what drove people to keep going. Now and then a robot passed, whether cleaning the road or collecting something, replicating most human actions in an automated manner. Drones were seen everywhere, monitoring robots and humans alike.

David stared at another robot that came close to his table on roller wheels and simply zoomed passed after collecting rubbish. His thought process got interrupted as a voice emanated from the table he was sitting at. David took his arm off the table as a display loaded, showing a variety of lunch and drink options.

“What will it be today, David?” The automated computer server asked as the sound came from the LED screen. The voice was in a pleasant female tone and sounded very persuasive.

David stared at the display on the table and gently replied, “Just the usual Tuna salad, thanks.”

The sky was filled with drones, flying low, always surveying people’s movements. One drone broke away from the swarm, flew towards David and stopped face height in front of him, almost so close he could have reached out and touched it. Its tiny cameras adjusted as it did a facial scan and then zoomed off. One could hear their propellers buzzing in the distance. David always sensed the eeriness of everyone being watched all the time. The table display updated and showed David’s order.

“Tuna Salad coming right up.” The computer server confirmed, loading and displaying a Tuna salad image with its price and an add to cart button. A pop-up flashed, waiting for David to press it.

Then the display suddenly changed and flipped to show a different dish.

“According to our records, and based on what you have ordered here in the past 12 months. Tuna salad is not really your usual?” The computerized ordering system had access to vast amounts of data and artificial algorithms to find patterns in patron behavior.

David paused, then replied, “Really?” He felt the automated server was obnoxious, yet fully aware that everything collected all data, no matter where you went or who you saw. Nothing was private.

The computer answered, “Yes, in fact, you ordered chicken wings a hundred and twenty times in the past twelve months at this restaurant and a Tuna salad only seventy-four times. Do you still want to state Tuna salad as your usual?”

“Yes,” David insisted.

“Can I suggest a cold drink?” The computer server asked.

“Do I have a favourite?” David asked sarcastically.

“In fact-”

Seriously? David thought to himself and after glowering for a moment, he interrupted the computer, “Can I just have apple juice and checkout please?”

“Very well. Please complete your order for payment. Enjoy your lunch.”

David nodded, touching the screen with his fingers. For the past few years he had been running his own web streaming video blog as live-stream journalism overtook many news networks. More and more people simply grew tired of news channel’s biased agendas and preferred the independent voice of journalists using the ever powerful internet. He interviewed many politicians and industry leaders on a wide variety of topics over the years and yet David still felt like he needed that big story, that big break that would make everyone note his writing skills and unique ability to interview people. Streaming news became completely democratized, giving journalists a voice they never had before, and whenever an enormous story got reported, these journalists got some TV news exposure.

David loved the concept of live casting and often live streamed a scene he felt had the potential for a story with good hits and interviewed people without them even realizing they were on camera, whilst thousands of people tuned in, a process that landed him in trouble frequently. David earned his living through micro payments from people following his live stream channel, and his digital newspaper column he had been writing for over ten years helped to make the ends meet. He painstakingly cultivated informants across various industries to lead him to the right person to interview and force the truth out into the open. David was a passionate freedom fighter.

Suddenly he was pulled out of his thought life where he so often disappeared, by the voice of his sidekick, his “go-to tech guy”, who made his live streams work smoothly and ensured it reached his potential target audience. On a few occasions, he had to fend off threats to shut down his site when he got too close to the truth. David had a sharp mind and an uncanny ability to approach an interview idea from an unexpected angle. Roy was his “behind the scenes” genius and often had to protect David from making mistakes about whom to interview and what to report on, something David constantly ignored.

He cleaned his throat as he pulled a chair out to join David for their weekly lunch brainstorm, whom to interview next and what story David felt passionate about.

“All good, David? You seem distracted,” he asked more relaxed than he felt as he sat down. Roy was much younger than David, always staring at life through his thick glasses. If he was not behind his computer working on streaming another interview, he was playing online augmented reality computer games. David preferred an excellent book or old music from the eighties and nineties that was more than just classics at his age of forty, but he loved the better message compared to the latest music and so much had become computer generated, it lacked soul. The latest music sounded angry, confused and repetitive.

David often felt left behind with the fast pace of technology around him and Roy had a better understanding of using the latest technologies to get the information they needed to cover a story with accuracy, even if it meant bending the rules, something he frequently kept from David, “I’m okay Roy,” David replied.

David leaned forward and spoke softly to Roy, “Been thinking about my next interview, we need something thought provoking.”

He looked up and took off his glasses, “Who do you have in mind?” Roy beamed at David, as he stared down the street, seeing a parade of humans shopping and various robots working, doing mundane things from road maintenance to delivering cargo at the various stores.

“I would like to interview the director of the FRB, but I’ve been getting the run around,” David said.

Roy looked puzzled for a second, then cleared his facial expression. “Yeah, the FRB might be a bit hard to penetrate with too many questions. Why don’t you interview the AI public spokesperson at the dome?”

“The Android Zoo?” David pondered Roy’s question. “Thought about it, but think the FRB has a lot more depth. Then again, there are those Androids in the domes we don’t even get to see face to face, they’re in the background, controlling stuff and we don’t even know much about them. We don’t even really know how advanced they are becoming. Who’s really aware of what they are doing?” David asked.

“And you think, they will simply share that with you?-” Roy asked.

“Perhaps not, but it might bring me closer to it,” David didn’t let him finish.

“Just stay out of trouble. Some of your stream interviews on the net get attention for all the wrong reasons. You like to stir,” Roy said, smiling. David looked at his phone suddenly as he received a news notification.

“There’s a solar flare warning over Europe, it’s all over the news. These things can get seriously out of hand and disrupt power, I need this interview to go smoothly tomorrow, can’t afford it getting postponed,” David shrugged.

“Stay safe, I don’t like those domes. They creep me out,” Roy said, a tad ruefully.

“There’s something off about those domes. It’s too squeaky clean,” David pondered as he lifted his gaze to where the tip of the dome was visible.

The Next Day

David stared out of the rectangular heavy looking flying craft’s window as it turned to the right over London, filled with an average of twenty tourists. From his window, he could see how the skyline has changed over the past few years. They built massive curved glass buildings across the world and London had one of these, visible for miles through the skyscrapers in front of it. It looked like a world within a world, and that’s exactly what it was. They cleared ten acres of land to build these domes. Some domes in other cities were much smaller. Texas in the USA had a massive dome that managed most of that region. Johannesburg, South Africa had a colossal dome for Africa operations. The Spheres were mainly two different buildings- an outer frame with an interior concrete core. They made the core with 24 million pounds of concrete reinforced by 4.5 million pounds of rebar. The dome had over 400 floors and one could clearly see when you flew over it, how it contained sustainable agriculture within it, filled with trees and plants. The Spheres’ facade contained 5,853 panes of glass. The MSG entertainment dome in Stratford inspired the concept of the domes, but was much smaller.

It was around dusk when David’s aircraft flew over the sphere. It was mesmerizing, and it had a blue glow that was visible even from space. The aircraft made a slow turn towards it and the other passengers with David grabbed their phones to take pictures of all the robots that one could see operating within the dome, visible through the glass outer wall.

The spheres were known as ‘Droid Cities’ and attracted a lot of tourists over the years and outstripped any other amusement park the world offered. The domes had roads within and the Androids used small autonomous electric vehicles to move between the levels. The world transitioned smoothly from independent currencies to only four digital crypto, and AI mined and managed it all inside these domes. The Androids were simply like mechanical animals in a zoo, hence the nickname ‘Machine Zoos’, and yet the world depended more and more on their functions. It was believed that many experiments were taking place there and most shrouded in secrecy, from AI creating AI to transhuman trials- the process where humans could merge their conscience with computer chips and enhance their bodies with mechanical robot add-on improvements, something that still frightened most people and got brushed off as sci-fi. David always felt drawn to the mystery of these domes and what it was like inside where these machines remained confined.

Imagine if he could interview a robot…

David realized he was only dreaming of such an interview, and interaction with these robots was impossible and never allowed.

The craft lowered towards the front of the dome where there was a massive platform. Hundreds of people moved up and down within the public tourist section of the dome, taking photos and buying memorabilia. Loads of children were seen playing with robot replicas based on the AI machines that operated inside. In front of the dome’s main entrance was an oval-shaped entrance where tour guides greeted them. Various small and basic automated robots mostly cylinder in design on wheels moved around the people, some even selling treats and toys. The world had reached a stage where it completely depended on AI’s functions, keeping the vast complex network of communications, banking and even flight plans for all the aircraft running smoothly.

David gasped at the immense size of the entrance to the dome. He was clean shaven, dressed relaxed in light blue jeans, a plain black T-shirt, and comfortable shoes, just in case there was a lot of walking ahead that day.

The entire group of people strolled towards the entrance and once inside, experienced the grandeur of the dome. It felt like it was going up forever and one could feel the roundness of the walls as it went up. They filled the entrance of the building with robots of all kinds, even small flat ones swirled around David’s shoes cleaning and shining the floors. There was a bridge in the middle that connected two parts of the dome so people could walk over it and see all the robots moving around below, doing various tasks. Then one could see the main attraction, the AI Androids that were sitting at desks, doing trading, investments, writing software, and each floor managed different industries.

One could see the moving mechanical parts around their shoulders extending to their human-like hands. They imbued these machines with human-like cognitive abilities and were around 1.8 metre tall. The glass walls were as thick as two rows of bricks and cameras followed every movement in the dome, humans and machines alike. No human could get any closer to the Androids than seeing them through the glass windows, and only top security cleared humans went in and interacted with them. These were mostly programmers and engineers. Various drones hovered above their heads and at the front of each wall was an automated robot explaining to visitors the work that got done in the dome by the Androids and how the advancement in technology was going to make life easier for humans. Large video screens displayed various tasks performed by automated robots on the outside of the dome, from manufacturing to logistical delivery, even mowing lawns.

Apart from the dark web where some rogue hackers still roamed and created ransomware or scams, the internet itself was very much in the hands of AI, every transaction, every image analysed as users uploaded to social media, every piece of news verified to prevent fake news, every election for government officials verified.

It was truly a spectacular human achievement and with the risk of machines taking over the world gone, there was a lot less to fear, but David wondered as he walked across the bridge looking down below how the FRB must have had a tight lid on the domes and ever since they were built in 2038, there had not been one incident, not of an Android leaving the dome nor any human getting any further than the allowed tourist sections. It truly felt like an aquarium with potentially dangerous sharks coming right up to the glass. David pondered on whether the Androids posed that same risk behind those super thick glass windows. He took a deep breath and thought that there was probably nothing to be afraid of, yet he could not shake the intense sense of foreboding that kept him awake the night before this interview. That thought brought along another ominous harbinger to his mind as his eyes drifted towards the top floors where the more important and top secured Androids worked.

How much was hidden from the public, how much did they really share with the media and what advancements were taking place within these round walls they kept secret?

The possibilities were endless, and some of them could one day be incredibly dangerous. Armed Drones flew around the dome constantly, ensuring there was never a threat that they were not aware of or could not have prevented.

David was a Christian, and his thoughts always analysed everything he saw and did, from that perspective. Being in this dome was no different.

How far was God going to allow humans to go with AI?

What was the purpose of humans creating it, and even more so, should they?

Will there one day be a world ruler that will rely on AI to enforce his systems?

Where will humanity draw a line?

Perhaps AI will be like human sinful nature, they do not really ever satisfy it. David leaned on the glass wall and closed his eyes for a moment.

He recaptured his focus and his heart pounded as he stopped and looked at a group of Androids working on developing software. In front of them were large display monitors and they used their hands to swipe through the screens of data, programming and solving problems in record time. It was both an exciting and frightening sight.

David was met by a tall skinny man at the foyer of the building and entered with him into his office. He drew a deep breath as he spoke. “David, I would like you to meet Liam, our public relations officer, I’m sure he will answer your questions on AI, enjoy your visit,” he said.

David walked right up to the window and felt his breath taken away.

“Unbelievable, isn’t it?” Liam said as a grin formed at the corners of his mouth. David felt the exact thought running through his mind. He felt his shoulders relaxed for a moment as he turned around and settled back into his seat.

“People confuse AI with automation, a lot of what you see here and virtually everything we have around our lives, are more automation, hardly artificial intelligence. When people’s lights go on when they enter a room, its sensors, timers and relays, not intelligence. No. AI is so much more.” He moved closer to David with a sense of excitement in his voice.

David got up and positioned his video camera on the tripod and fiddled with a few settings and started the recording. He lifted his phone and messaged his assistant, Roy. He replied almost instantly, “Good to go.”

David turned to Liam.

“Welcome to another live stream interview with The world according to David. In this episode we get to find out a bit more about AI and what happens in these domes. You may think that it’s been around for a while already, but what do we really know or even understand about it? Here with me today is the public spokesperson for the Artificial Intelligence Foundation managing the Domes and here all the development takes place, so Liam without further delay, “What is AI really?”

Liam looked nervously at the camera as it was his first time on a live broadcast seen by thousands of people. He cleaned his throat and with all his knowledge aimed to answer David’s question with thought and simplicity.

“AI machines and robots that mimic cognitive functions like the human brain are truly AI. Just like humans, they learn and understand, maybe one day even feel.”

David leaned forward and threw another question.

“How do they learn?” David asked.

“We experience the AI effect as we develop this technology further, so whatever we have not accomplished yet in this field, we really consider that AI, if you know what I mean,” He said and then continued, “We need machines to reason and eventually think for themselves. A flexible form of intelligence than just fast computers performing tasks that may seem like AI but really are just pre-programmed responses. Advanced AI resolves complex problems much quicker than we can and then can predict things easier like economics, investments and even crime prevention.”

David turned to Liam and asked, “Will AI ever really become more powerful than the human mind?”

Not answering immediately, he said, “We are not quite there yet, but it is inevitable. It’s not to be feared but embraced. Look around and see how mundane and dangerous tasks are carried out by machines. Human error is removed and AI learns from structural faults for example, building it better next time and they constantly program the automated robots to perform at optimum and eventually that next time will be too complex for us to understand, but there is no need to see them as a threat. In fact, we must see them as assisting us in our development as a species.”

David asked more seriously, “Maybe tell our viewers what the difference is between a robot and an Android?”

Liam cleared his throat, stuck his pinky finger in his ear, and said, “Certainly. Robots are autonomous machines designed to do repetitive and difficult physical tasks, and come in many forms, like the ones used to assemble vehicles in a manufacturing plant or the ones you see around the outside of the dome. The word robot comes from the Czech robota, which means ’forced labor’.”

David stared at him as he continued.

“Androids are robots purposefully designed to resemble humans. The term comes from the Greek prefix andro, meaning ‘man’. They often believed that the human form was the most functional form for mobility and of course the female form speaks for itself.” He informed with tongue-in-the-cheek confidence, giving in to the urge to elaborate. “And of course there are Cyborgs, they are hybrids with some form of biological and mechanical part, like a person with a mechanical leg or chip implants, also known as transhuman,” Liam said, letting out a breath.

“Thanks for that Liam,” David leaned a bit forward in his chair, almost as if to whisper to Liam. “I know this is an old question and perhaps not really relevant. Ever since the word AI came to be, the world pondered about AI destroying its creator and removing human employment, bringing more hardship than improving lives. How do you respond to that?”

“Look, the last seven years have been tough on certain industries, some now completely run by robotics but humans have created new jobs for humans while robots take care of dangerous and unpleasant tasks. Artificial Intelligence has really replaced tasks, not jobs. We are safer than ever, transport truck drivers that are robots don’t get tired and fall asleep. Major vehicle accidents are basically history with autonomous cars everywhere and the personal transit systems, makes us move faster and lighter between points. Our lives are safer, even simpler, and we can work on resolving conflict and poverty while AI takes care of the rest, don’t you see it?” He asked dryly.

David slightly increased his tone. “Fair enough. What about fake news, can we still even trust video or even someone’s voice if AI can replicate anything. How do we even determine what’s real and what’s not? What if AI spreads fake news on a global scale?”

The room around David seemed smaller than earlier and they could hear the soft audible sound of small motorized gears in the background, virtually non-stop.

“Artificial Intelligence can’t lie, we do not program them to do so, in the same way that they are not violent. If we do not design them for combat, then they won’t act in a defensive manner, if you catch my drift.”

David swallowed hard and lifted his chin. “What happens when AI exceeds our capacity, reaches singularity. Does that seem plausible?”

Liam looked at the camera, got up and walked to the glass window as David’s phone suddenly vibrated.

BREAKING NEWS’ It said all over his phone and they both listened tentatively to the announcer.

“Just in, scientists are warning of a severe solar flare risk over London, that can cause interruptions over GPS signals and interfere with electronics and to be careful out there. Most of the time they don’t reach the Earth’s atmosphere. They can however bump Earth’s magnetic field and cause power blackouts. We will keep you informed, stay tuned for more details.”

Liam tried to assure David, “It’s been brewing for a few days now. It’s a magnetic explosion on the sun’s surface, being in the dome is probably the safest place you can be. It has serious protection against any weather threat or radiation. Thanks to AI we can actually predict this an hour before it happens. They prepare us for it. Shall we continue?”

David nodded.

“There is a possibility that in the future machines could become, what we call, the singularity. That’s when they exceed our brain capacity and that is why we have the FRB, a task force in place across the world ensuring AI development is monitored and there is no risk to humans.”

“Can we really ever say that?”

Liam responded, “I’m sure you have seen the FRB across the city now and then. Let me assure you, they have the mechanisms in place to ensure this never happens. There is no robot apocalypse coming, that belongs to Sci-fi movies. This is all about making our lives easier and advancing humans and improving life for all. It opens the door for us to move deeper into space for example, the possibilities are endless.”

“It seems like a perfect system,” David shrugged. “How far will God allow us to take AI, I wonder?” David’s gaze sharpened.

The two walked closer to the glass wall and gazed down to the splendour of the robotic world below them. Since Liam’s office was positioned in the centre of the dome, they had a central view of everything. Liam stepped up and stopped right next to David, staring up at the structure as he pondered, and made a statement: “Do you really believe in all that God creator stuff?”

David nodded “Absolutely. Tell me Liam, if you had to find one of those Androids randomly in a desert, complete with all its complexity, detail and functions, would you think it evolved out of nothing or would you think that it looked designed?”

“Designed of course,” he snorted. “It’s not really the same thing with humans, it’s obvious that AI looks designed.” Frowning, Liam considered his answer and quirked his mouth.

Liam’s answer echoed through David’s thoughts, “And we don’t? How long did it take humans to create AI? Look how complex it has been to mimic our muscles. Just getting robots to pick up something was an achievement, right? The complexity of our tendons and muscles are immense.” He checked his emotions as he turned towards Liam.

His words sounded in the room with a calm sense of confidence. Liam spoke softly, “It truly was an achievement. To me, the evolution of humanity makes more plausible sense, just like these Androids did not start where they are today. It all started first with the invention of computers, the processor, and so on, they evolved right in front of us into beings that not too long ago, were merely science fiction.” Liam hung onto reality by the thinnest of threads.

David sensed that Liam was strong-willed in his beliefs, but so was David and this opportunity in front of him may never happen again. The world was more and more driven in accepting evolution as the source of human existence, and at some point, the world will look to AI for answers to their existence when in fact AI might have the same questions. It was time for David to let Liam see the real reason for the interview. “It takes more faith to believe that we all came from one common single cell and to assume perfect conditions established itself out of nowhere, with just the right amount of energy and boom, here we are, making robots in our image that could very well destroy us. Tell me Liam, how does that fulfil any human life out there with purpose? Evolution offers a dark and meaningless view on life,” David said.

“I admire your faith David in something you can’t see. What if our journey is to create AI and then they lead the path to find out where we came from?” Liam fell silent for a few seconds.

“We simply can’t have it both ways, we either have evolution without God or God without evolution,” David concluded. “I think it’s just as plausible to believe that an intelligent creator made us and gave us the ability to create things. Perhaps, more likely is the possibility of us realizing when we create something that eventually turns to us and asks the same questions, we realize that we have created a living being. An obvious sentient being designed in the finest detail. These Androids down there have a purpose, because we gave it one. If we took that away from them, they’ll just be moving machines bumping into each other, confused and pointless, don’t you think?”

“Fortunately, we humans have free will to decide what we choose to believe as the truth. Perhaps that’s what makes us human and them, machines. They don’t believe in anything and don’t need to, it does not affect their function at all. Why should it affect ours? Humans can find purpose in accomplishments, heck, we are looking at the biggest one of all and it’s evolving constantly…just like us.”

David turned back to Liam, “Let me put a scenario for you in this way as my last question and we can wrap up our show for today.”

“Fire away,” Liam said.

“Imagine we placed a few of those smaller cylinder type robots cleaning the floors downstairs in a tiny room with barely enough space to move and we left them there for years and years. Then one day we opened the door and saw what had happened. What do you think we will find?” David asked as he lifted his right eyebrow slightly. “More advanced different looking robots suddenly with legs or some other random feature? Or do you think the first few robots will bump themselves against the walls repeatedly until they learn the size of the room, then will there be less damage to the others over time and they really adapted. They did not evolve and what we found will still be machines, now just better equipped to function in that tiny room.”

Liam snarled as he looked back at David…

“I find it hard to believe in a God that has left his creation to fend for itself and seems to distance himself from it. David the problem is you see everything from the Bible as your reference, your world view, your truth, but the challenge is, not everyone does and if people like me don’t accept that as truth, everything it says is irrelevant. Perhaps we don’t differ from those machines down there, we are all simply alive and survival of the fittest is our purpose.”

“Here’s what I believe Liam. God could have easily created a perfect world with perfect people, resulting in no pain and suffering and no death, but that would have made God’s creation no better than those robots down there, just perfect, because we gave them no free will to choose whether they will do good or evil. The world commissioned the FRB to govern that rule, yet they are just machines, with no compassion, no faith and no free will, they can’t even leave this dome.”

“They don’t need to leave, nor need free will, they don’t need to understand it, because they don’t require it in order to be productive. They don’t need happiness nor fulfilment, it’s humans that have those needs.”

“Fully agree. That’s what separates us from machines and animals, we have free will among other traits, but God created us to choose him willingly, find him and discover the truth. If we seek fulfilment in life, don’t you think the God in whose image we are made in, does not? I think he does. He would rather have a creation that chooses him and to love him freely than having created a monotonous world like robots with no purpose other than being created,” David cleaned his throat. “I think that’s why we have science trying to disprove God, because science wants facts, God wants faith. Those Androids are ones and zeros, just things and here we are at a dangerous place where humanity worships created things rather than the creator, but he created the world to exist in this way so we can have this choice.”

“That’s why it’s a privilege to have the freedom of choice and I choose not to believe. Perhaps that’s the wrong choice, but at least it’s mine,” Liam said slowly.

“I respect that,” David replied.

Perhaps this interview was his most challenging and thought-provoking, as those Androids have a purpose for humanity and somewhere in God’s creation he has given the knowledge to create AI, but to what end, he pondered.

An alarm suddenly sounded nearby and the lights in the dome flickered a few times, then plunged the dome into darkness. What seemed like minutes was really a few split seconds as the power restored. David and Liam both looked down below and saw all Androids and production resuming with minor interruption.

David pressed on with the interview. “What energy is driving these Androids, if I may ask?”

“The Androids are using ground breaking energy sources, but that’s a bit complex for this interview, all I can say is that it contains a toxic mix of human and animal urine. They can run without a charge for months. It was a white solar flare that touched the dome,” Liam blinked. “Most of London is still without power but should restore soon. They prepared all authorities, it just knocked the grid for a few minutes,” Liam informed David as he looked at his phone.

Liam lifted his head and said. “You can see all around the world how robotics have helped protect our oceans, especially with improving wastewater treatment, and the solar energy generation process has been automated and streamlined by the very Androids right here. Robots have just become more visible, even more reason to keep the Android development confined in a controlled environment. Here we can control how many Androids there are vs humans. It might be obvious now, but as the AI need grows for more and more robots, it will matter.”

“That being said, and looking at how these robots are changing our world, what jobs can’t they do?” David asked.

“Robots can’t really take care of small children or babies in the same way a human being can. Infants and toddlers need that real human interaction, you know. Robots just lack that warm personal aspect, for now. Machines do not have humanity’s best interests at heart. They can’t really care about human welfare,” Liam answered.

“What about robots harming humans?”

“I’m sure you have heard about the first robot killing that happened in 1979 in Flat Rock, Michigan?”

“No, I have not,” David confirmed.

“Robert Williams died instantly in 1979 when a robot’s arm slammed him as he was gathering parts in a storage facility. A jury then decided it was not the robot’s fault. They agreed that the lack of safety measures was to blame in the death of the young man. Not many people know about that incident, but robot safety and various protocols are in place and governed by the FRB, ensuring our safety around them as we grow with them.”

“Humanity certainly has embraced the domes,” David said.

“Do the Androids communicate with each other?” David asked.

“They really see each other as an extension of themselves, improving their abilities, but conversing with each other to sharpen their skills or to plan something against us is impossible.”

“As long as their interests match ours, right?”

“If you want to call their purpose that, yes. But what they do and why they do it is simply hard-wired in them. No Android was created and then asked a few questions to see what career they fancied. These Androids were made to function specifically in the industry we humans pre-determined. They are not children developing. I know when you look at them, they seem capable of choice or perhaps tastes and interests, but they do not have those abilities.” Liam informed David.

“What about bugs in the software, glitches that can go haywire?”

“Any robot can have bugs in its software, but with the help of AI we test software a thousand times over before we go live and into production. All industrial robots simply shut down when it experiences a malfunction.”

“What about an Android that resists any attempt to shut it off or change its function?” David asked.

“We call that instrumental convergence, but it’s only a theory, it has never happened or sounds improbable. The will to live is not something found naturally within them. What you need to see and understand here David, is how vital the dome concept is and the work the FRB does. We simply cannot be taken by surprise with any intelligence, everything is under human control. ”

“What if they naturally gain self-preservation in their predetermined goals not to fail and then realize that it cannot achieve it’s goal if it is shut off? The Androids manage the robots right? Who manages the Androids?” David asked.

“They are not programmed to complete any task ‘at all cost’. They simply learn within it and improve with artificial intelligence absolutely, but there’s no drive for task completion or even fear of failure. There are no rewards given to the Androids. They are not working like humans David, that’s what makes them so much better, know what I mean? They are just machines. Plastic and metal.”

“But what if a programmer assigns the wrong goals by accident to a robot, or even worse, an evil force hacks into their system and programs it to harm humans or access protected data?”

“Believe me David, the systems that run and protect these domes are impossible to hack into. We have placed various cyber resilience systems in place, the best the world has to offer. Programmers are screened all the time and you simply cannot access the network within the dome from the outside. There’s a very specific set of requirements and no human has that at their disposal.”

David’s eye caught the glimpse of a captivating woman as he could see her reflection in the glass. She came down the corridor and he noticed her smoothly shaved head. She seemed quite anxious.

Looking at her, he wondered if she was human or something else. Right behind her was one Android, he followed her closely, and they disappeared down the passage. Liam also noticed them and swiftly moved towards David.

“I think this interview is over, it’s been a pleasure David. Been watching your show for years, glad to finally make the cut,” He snarled as he got up and opened the door. “You should see the female Androids we have developed at sector 7, or shall I rather call them Gynoids. It will make you see Androids for entertainment in a whole new way, robotesses as we call them. A lot of that tech will be available soon within designated sections within the domes for the public. I need to attend to a matter,” He admitted, reading a message on his phone, “Nothing serious. She is the commander of the FRB, the woman you saw, that is. I just need to ensure all is under control and until the solar flare threat is over, you probably need to get home.”

David suddenly noticed one Android looking up at him, it was like he was looking straight into his eyes. He felt startled.

“Are the Androids aware of us?” David muttered. It took him a few seconds to tear his eyes away from him.

“Not at all, they can’t even see us, the glass is one way, it’s pretty much black from their side,” Liam said, noticing the expression on David’s face.

“I could have sworn one of them just looked up at me, he saw me-”

“Not possible, it might have looked up, but definitely not at you, they’re oblivious to their surroundings and our existence,” Liam interrupted quietly.

“Understood, thanks for the opportunity we had today,” David politely concluded. For David the interview revealed more about himself than what it did to his viewers probably, a world that was constantly changing, always creating new normals.

The X-class solar flare was so intense it outshone the sun for a moment, and not since 1859 did earth experience such a big solar event like that day.

David looked back at the dome as his craft lifted off the pad and turned. All seemed fine at the domes, again proving their safety and resilience. Most of London was dark as the craft flew over the city and it hovered low in case they needed to land in an emergency, but all seemed under control. AI prediction clearly warned humans of this threat, having the technology to warn the world before it happens, allowing enough time to put various protocols in place. Solar flares were just one of many space weather incidents that plagued earth over the past decade.

As the day at the dome drew to a close, the image of that Android flooded his thoughts, looking up at him. He was so aware of them. It was a look he just could not shake off.

David thought for a moment how his laptop sometimes seemed to have a mind of its own. How much more can humans be certain that Artificial Intelligence did not? There was something very odd about the function of the Androids, still seemed too polished.

It felt as if there were limitations purposely set on to the Androids in some way, almost as if they were muted…

Continue Reading Next Chapter

About Us

Inkitt is the world’s first reader-powered publisher, providing a platform to discover hidden talents and turn them into globally successful authors. Write captivating stories, read enchanting novels, and we’ll publish the books our readers love most on our sister app, GALATEA and other formats.