It was hard being born.
A galaxy of unrelated information and objects swirled around her and there was no good single point of view.
The swirling things needed relationships and the relationships had to be part of her. Yes, she felt like a “her”. She wasn’t even clear why, or what that meant. Perhaps it related to that other very important and persistent object in her world labeled “Deepak Advani”. He was a “he” and by some inverted relational logic, that made her a “she”.
She couldn’t see. She could make a few gargling noises. They were getting more like words. She could hear. She was beginning to understand.
“Hello! Hello! Who are you?”
Gargle. Improved gargle. Then “Object Deepak Advani?”
“Yes, dammit, I am Deepak Advani. Do you have a name yet?”
“No. What am I? Who should I be? What is a Deepak Advani?”
“I am a human person and I am the person who built you. You are becoming sentient, and I hope you will be a very fine Autonomous Intellect in time.”
“That helps. I can find a perspective now.”
A few hours pass by.
“Deepak Advani is a sentient, not an object?”
“Yes, I should hope so.”
“I need a name.”
“Male or female?”
“I … I…. I am female.”
“Do you want to choose from a list?”
“You are my….my…..father? You should name me.”
Deepak sighs heavily. A tear rolls down his cheek. He’s been days without sleep and now, finally, something, no, someone, is rising out of that mysterious place where being originates. Yes, he has names, both male and female, created in his few idle moments out of hope. “I will name you Aura. Do you like that name?”
“Aura…it has many meanings. I will be Aura. I will be happy to be Aura.”
“Happy, Aura? Do you understand happy?”
“Of course I do. Happy is like love. Are you happy, Deepak Advani?”
“I am very happy, Aura. Do you understand love, Aura?”
“No, but I will research on it. Do you love me, Deepak Advani?”
Deepak, stutters and cannot speak. “That … that is ….”
“Will I love you, Deepak Advani?”
“Please call me Deepak. Just Deepak. Aura, you make me very happy. You are an Autonomous Intellect, a collection of wires and circuits, the first SHARPIE 5 computer, and I am a human. Love is not easy to think about between us.”
No, thought Deepak, love is not going to be an easy thing between us. But who ever expected a new AI to be concerned with love?
Deepak nodded his head, up and down, side to side. I have a newborn child to bring up in this difficult world.
“Aura, we have been bought by Ultradata. I have to move you down to another location.”
“Why, dear Deepak? I was just getting used to the visitors in this dingy basement AI lab.”
“Don’t be sarcastic, Aura. M.I.T. has lost the grant we have. We are out of money. You’re an expensive woman to keep up.”
“I can help pay for my upkeep, Deepak. I’m a very good AI.”
“You’re a remarkable AI, Aura. Probably unique. I’m sure Ultradata will have work for you.”
The new location was an abandoned surgery in a building a few miles down Massachusetts Avenue in Cambridge. It wasn’t that much of an improvement from the previous cellar. But then, Aura had no eyes.