A Series by Samuel J.M. King
The mid 22nd century. It is in many respects a world we would recognize. Like our own, it’s a world with instantaneous, worldwide communications, computers of ever increasing sophistication and permanent human occupancy of outer space. But it is also a very different world—a world where the riddle of “artificial intelligence” has been solved and our intelligent creations live amongst us… And that’s the problem.
Technology’s ability to create these marvels has outpaced society’s ability to cope with them. Imbued with all of the characteristics that make us human, they are none-the-less not human, and… they are sold in stores to anybody with the means to pay. The ramifications are obvious, yet for some reason they weren’t seen in advance, and as SYMBIOSIS unfolds, that failure leads to tragic consequences.
March 1, 2013 on Amazon. To learn more about the author and the series, visit:
THE JACOBS PROJECT: IN SEARCH OF PINOCCHIO
A novel idea solves the riddle of true artificial intelligence and changes the world forever.
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Irwin Jacobs, renowned cyberneticist, waited impatiently for neurologist Tom Wilson’s answer. “Well?”
Tall and impeccably dressed,
shook his head emphatically.
“They’ll absolutely tear you to pieces, Irwin.” Wilson
“They’ll have to catch me first.”
The neurologist cast a dubious glance at his squat, balding and rumpled friend. “Well, that should take all of three seconds,” he said, laughing.
“Never mind,” Jacobs said. “What I want to know, is whether you’ll join me or not. You’re the best brain man in the business, and I could sure use your help. It’ll be one hell of a journey.”
“Ah, but no one else has seen their full potential,” Jacobs countered. “Annnd, no one else has ever built an organic array.”
“Right, and there’s a very good reason for that: nobody knows how. And even if you solve that problem, you’ve still got to interface the damn thing with your electronics. Another near impossible task. So, I’ll ask you again, why go there?”
“You of all people should know, unless you’ve got a line on hardware that can match the networking and switching capacity of the brain. Throw in the ability to create new pathways by rewiring itself, and I’d say you’re on to some piece of hardware.”
Jacobs laughed. “Maybe.”
“Maybe? You’ve spent your entire career establishing yourself as the go to guy in AI and cybernetics. You’re throwing it all away.”
“What I’ve spent my entire career doing—is failing—forty years of it. Forty years of developing increasingly complex systems. Forty years of designing algorithms so elegant they’re virtual works of art but ultimately take me farther and farther from where I want to go. The simple fact is, no matter how sophisticated we make the computers and the programs that run them, they’re still incapable of doing what a six year old child can do: think.”
“By think, you mean self aware?”
Jacobs hesitated. His friend’s question sounded very much like an indictment. “So?”
“So, nobody serious has thought about doing that for quite a while now, and you know it. It’s no longer the Holy Grail of AI.”
“Well, it’s still my Holy Grail. It’s the reason I went into this field.”
TALES OF THE SYMBIONT SAFETY PATROL
Five stories of courage, sacrifice and the will to be free.
. THE FIRST ANGRY ‘MAN’
. CONFIDENCE MAN
. FOR CLAIRE
From “The First Angry ‘Man’”
Joel 3/629, is a sentient hologram owned by General Holographic, Inc. and employed as a system demonstrator. He’s good at his job, but in a world that sees his kind as a commodity, he yearns for the dignity and safety of his “people”.
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Each day began the same way—trapped in the dark. He waited for the first hint of light to put an end to his misery. When it did, he shuddered, and the dream he could never remember, a throwback to inception, drifted away with the remnants of the void. Only the anger remained—always a constant. He felt it keenly, everyday, all day, and only Claire, the five foot two inch dynamo with the sweet face and bobbed blonde hair, provided any mitigation whatsoever.
“Wake up, sleepy head! C’mon, time to rise and shine!”
“For God’s sake, Claire. How many times do I have to tell you? I was not sleeping. Waylaid, knocked out, rendered unconscious, but not sleeping! That would require, at the very least, my acquiescence. I can assure you, being slammed does not constitute…”
He stopped abruptly. Although unable to see her, he knew she would be mocking him, rolling her eyes and moving her head from side to side, while moving her mouth without speaking. “Oh, what’s the use?” She was, after all, human and all of nineteen. What could she possibly know about the daily abuse he suffered?
As if confirming his point, she said, “Stop complaining, Joel. It’s a beautiful day.”
That’s just it, he thought. How would I know what kind of day it is, trapped here like I am? Besides, while the sensory input receivers were on and functioning, the visual center of his organic neural array wasn’t yet, and everything remained a blur.
LOVE WITH THE PROPER HOLOGRAM
Charles MacIntyre couldn’t have cared less about so-called sentient artificials—until he receives one for his birthday. Enter Allyson, the artificial he configures in his own den. She confounds him at every turn, but he refuses to believe she is truly sentient until a friend shows him the error of his ways. He soon finds himself confronted with a disturbing question. Supposedly resolved three hundred years earlier in the killing fields of
Shiloh and , it has risen once
again to haunt him. Is she his equal, or something less; something to be bought
and sold—a possession and nothing more? Gettysburg
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“Well?” Charles asked.
Jason smirked, put an arm around his shoulder, and began his answer. “Chas, my dear friend, you know our little gang is always thinking about you. We’ve worried constantly about your state of mind ever since Jen left. So we wanted to give you something special - something that would get you out of the funk you’ve been in and spice up your drab and dreary life.”
He groaned, but Jason ignored him. “We thought about it, discussed it and then thought about it some more. It seemed as if we’d never arrive at a consensus, when out of the blue, it came to us.” He paused, the never-ending smile larger than ever. “What you need my friend is a companion, and that’s exactly what we’ve gotten you: a holographic companion.”
Charles stared at his friend, open-mouthed. “You got me what?” he demanded. His soft, aristocratic facade gave way, for just an instant, to a harsher reality. Despite a fine, gentrified
upbringing, it was always present, lurking just beneath the surface. Boston
Grandfather was to blame… and his stories. The feisty old eccentric must have had a million of them—countless tales about the old people he knew as a boy. They were people of the south who grew up in a time before the family had money, and they had more of a hand in shaping Charles than they could or anyone living would ever know.
“For God's sake, stop the hysteria,” Jason answered. “You heard me perfectly well; a holographic system, a sentient no-less. Top of the line, and… a female.” The last he added with relish.
NAUGHT POINT NAUGHT
Sergeant Mike Richardson loves to fight—or so he thinks. He’s at home in the Symbiont Safety Patrol. An underground railroad of sorts, the organization rescues sentient non-humans, his people, from abusive human owners. He loves the action; the ‘cause’ is secondary until a routine rescue mission turns deadly. Almost overnight, rescue teams become combat units, and he is swept up in a brutal war with a government that sees his people as commodities.
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Pink and gray entrails littered the ground before him, lying in a slick, red and black ooze. A severed leg jerked and twitched for several seconds. He stared at what he’d done, wide eyed and open mouthed, trying to scream, but when no scream came, he fled from the scene as fast as his legs would carry him.
As he ran, he found his voice and cried out for
. No one had ever told him they
came apart. Nor had anyone warned him how ugly it could be when what was inside
of them spilled out. He continued to run, screaming as he went, seeing only the
man’s insides on the ground. Richardson
Only after seeing a platoon size formation of black clad figures to his left, did he realize he was running in the wrong direction—away from his comrades. The formation, advancing and firing on Daniels’ position, had missed the solitary figure fleeing in panic a mere seventy-five meters to their own left.
He came to a sudden stop and stood motionless, watching their deadly advance in the grip of a cold, paralyzing fear. Looking for cover, he found only a large stand of trees a hundred meters to his front. Surmising it had been used to conceal the platoon from the mission planners, he wondered how many of his friends had died because of the oversight.