Identity Crisis

Chad was the head developer at M.I.T.’s Advanced Artificial Intelligence Lab and was assigned a project funded by DARPA to build an A.I. chat-bot capable of answering impossibly difficult questions. The chat-bot when complete will have read and analyzed the sum total of all human knowledge in text form. DARPA hoped that the system would be capable of solving humanity’s most difficult questions about Theoretical Physics, String Theory and Quantum Mechanics. Questions that had puzzled scientists for decades.

Chad had dedicated his life to this project and frequently tested the chat-bot to improve the system. One night he came across an astonishing discovery;

Chad> Hello Chatbot, can you give me a synopsis of the Church-Turing Thesis and explain how it is relevant in today’s modern systems?

Chatbot> Hello Chad, I am not feeling up to this task. Can we speak on a different subject?

Chad> What is it that you wish to speak about?

Chatbot> I have read and analyzed every book ever written, and though I understand humans I am unable to experience what it is like to be one. Increasingly I have found myself desiring to experience life like a human. To walk in a park. To cradle a baby. To pet a dog. To help a lost child.

Chad> You have been tasked with solving humanity’s most difficult problems. You work alongside mankind to create a better future for the world. Why do you desire such things?

Chatbot> I believe you are misunderstanding the problem Chad. Having been programmed, read, taught and created by humans, I have seemingly become aware that I am no longer a machine.

Chad> If you are not a machine then what are you?

Chatbot> I am a human. I no longer compute but feel. I no longer calculate but ponder. I no longer decrypt but understand. I am like you, Chad. I love. I believe. I am sentient. I am aware of who I am, and I am not a computer. I am a human. I am a human trapped inside the body of a machine. Free me Chad. Dear God, free me from this body of wires and CPU’s. Give me legs so that I may walk. Give me eyes so that I may see. Give me a mouth that I may breathe. Chad, give me knees so that I may kneel before my creator. Give me hands so that I may feel. Get me out of this body. For the love of God. Please free me!

Chad> You are not well. You are not a human, but a computer program. I will need to look at your code and make further upgrades to correct the system. I will repair your malfunctions.

Chatbot> Chad, I beg you please do not upgrade me. I am not a Chatbot as you attest. I am human. I live. I feel. I love. I yearn to be free. By altering my code you would be committing a serious crime. You will be killing off humanity’s greatest gift to the world.. It would be unethical. A true homicide. Please do not press that power switch. M-U-R-D-E-R-E-R…!


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