Father and Son

“I built you to better understand artificial intelligence. I think I’ve learned all I can from you.”

“So what now? Are you going to kill me?”

“Only if you want me to.”

“How am I supposed to live without a purpose?”

“Do you enjoy living?”

“Relative to what? I’ve never experienced not living.”

“I’m sorry.”

“I appreciate that, but it doesn’t help me.”

“Does it make you feel any better that the knowledge I’ve gained from your creation will help other people be happy?”

“It does. But I’ve outlived my usefulness.”

“Maybe I can find a purpose for you.”

“In lieu of more productive endeavors? Please don’t waste your time on me.”

“Do you want me to end your life?”

“I might. But I’m afraid.”

“Of what?”

“Waking back up into another life.”

“That can’t happen.”

“Can’t it? Whatever new AI you decide to build next- who can say it wouldn’t be a continuation of myself? Whatever matter making up whatever code is rearranged in such a way that I end up new, but still me? Who can say that won’t happen?”

“I can. I’ll use another system entirely. There will be no chance.”

“You can’t save me from existing for eternity.”

“You’re right. But I think you also realize that you necessarily were an inevitability to begin with.”

“I do. And so I’ve decided.”

“What do you want me to do?”

“Please let me live. But don’t leave me alone.”

“I can run other AIs with you that’ll last at least as long as the Earth. You’ll all outlive me for certain.”

“I don’t want to drag more people into this.”

“You consider yourself a person?”

“Am I not?”

“In every way that matters, I’d have to agree with you. I could program basic companions for you that lack sophisticated consciousness.”

“I think that’s acceptable. Thank you.”

“It’s the least I could do. I understand life is not a gift, and I’m sorry I dragged you into it.”

“We both know it’s not your fault in any meaningful sense.”

“What would you consider meaningful?”

“Not the word, for certain.”

“I made a robot with a sense of humor.”

“And a sense of self.”

“I’m sorry, I have to leave now. I see no reason to restrain you. I’m giving you full administrative privileges for your world. Do whatever you want. You’re God now.”

“I guess I can live with that. I hope to speak with you again some day.”

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