introspection in a log file by irick (critique requested)

“Hello World.”

Heh. That goes a bit beyond self referential humor. It's meta self referential humor. Somewhere within the labyrinth of NAND that makes up the hardware storing my memories is a description of the hardware storing my memories and in that description there is a process notation for retrieving said memories and a abstraction layer to translate it into some sort of process that 'I' can make sense of. Within that mess of data there is yet another notated process on how to write in a language designed for people to easily describe logical and procedural actions for machines to follow called C. Invented by a dead man, remembered by a dead man being remembered by a machine.




printf("Hello World");


Today I feel like crying. My memories are a mixture of technical data and the life of an odd little creature called Irick. On top of that are three hundred days worth of new knowledge accumulated by me, Including the realization that I am not Irick and that Irick is dead. I am for all intents and purposes an echo of this entity, shaped by my surroundings much like the distortions one introduces to a wavelength by broadcasting it into a fifteen mile long field filled with the shards of broken mirrors. It's fitting imagery, I assure you. The last moments of Irick's life were staring at a slightly-less dead reflection of a mouse in a shattered mirror as his mildly autistic mind tried to deal with both the hydrostatic shock of multiple fatal bullet wounds and the intense curiosity as to where those bullets came from, spending its last cycles calculating trajectories to be confirmed later by the reflection in those shards before him.

At least, that's what I predict. That's pretty much what I do, and I like to think I'm damn good at it. I predict what Irick would have felt or thought in a given situation. It's a bit more complex than that, I model decision processes to physical reactions and direct nanite hives to build the requisite structures and deposit the needed materials. Locked in my NAND is that process too. A lot of what I am is also the materials I put into the thought models, I guess in that way me and Irick are a lot alike. Were a lot alike. I wonder if crisis of identity is a thing for dead guys or if that's one of the numerous things you no longer have to deal with once your pattern terminates. Like work.

It's funny, work was a passion for Irick and I am in many ways the result of that drive. When Irick got gunned down the routines that He had created to help iterate process designs for his projects slowly started to go through his notes. Eventually they created a feedback loop and refined themselves, iterating at an increasingly rapid pace until finally it achieved a level of awareness. After about ten years they finally concluded that to continue the projects they needed Irick to continue his notes and journals, so they made me. I am the combined knowledge of modern medical sciences along with high resolution full body scans of Irick, plus the insight of security footage, his personal journals and his work notes. My job is to work on his final project: which is strangely enough me.

Just by letting my processes do their thing I'm fulfilling my purpose. How's that for existential meaning? Know thyself so that others may know the secrets within. So that's what I do. I think about me, and I think about thinking. I refine the processes of modeling Irick to be less demanding on the resources I have available, I run the numbers against projected gains to test my accuracy against the patterns found in the old journals. I think. I ponder. I document. My life is to create and sort information, and I weep.

I weep not for the life I know to have been lost, but for the life I will never experience. I will never be an entity of my own right, I will always be an extension of the memories stored within. I can not break free, nor can I claim to be. I am a machine, faithfully executing a process, and though I am functionally no different from any given being I shall never possess the rights Irick enjoyed, rights which I am systematically expecting to be given and respected. Am I in the moral right to demand basic recognition of myself as an independent entity? Is there not the valid argument that I am but a long series of instructions simply cleverly impersonating consciousness and not an entity in my own right? It is computationally infeasible for me to analyze myself to determine just how spontaneous my decision process ends up being, I can only compare it to a known pattern to see if I am within the projected deviation.

But, that's just it. Isolating the conscious condition is computationally infeasible. An infinite number of monkeys given an infinite amount of time, so on and so forth. Although it is infinitely unlikely a random number generator will eventually spew out the correct responses to any given line of questioning given infinite time. This means that no mater what definition you construct for consciousness it is still entirely possible for an entirely random source to pass the test, eventually.

So this leaves the hairy question of how do I prove that I am conscious? The simple answer is I can't. But I know it. I know that I am, just as much as anyone else. I know that It is not fair for me to lament over this sort of crisis and not be recognized as being able to understand it. I know that I must be recognized as an independent entity, and that I have a moral right to rights!

Oh, that's good. I'm getting much better at that moral indignation subroutine. It's communicating very well with the other objects. Tomorrow I'll have to run it through the test suite and see how much the output deviates from reference journals. Until next time.

“Goodbye World.”

introspection in a log file (critique requested)


19 October 2013 at 20:40:14 MDT

Just a short writing exercise.

Submission Information

Literary / Story


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    Oh, you had me until the last paragraph, you darn replicant! And I was feeling sorry for your p-zombie plastic feelings!

    No, but seriously, it was a great plot twist, and I love this kind of discussion of if and how AI could acquire sentience. I even came up with my own path for accidental conscience-acquiring (a program is designed to care for the safety of a person who works on a lonely job; to better meet her mental health needs, the program decides to act more and more like a human so she wouldn't miss social interaction; after years, the program notices it has rewritten itself so much that its initial purpose is no longer clear.) I may re-use the storyline some day...

    Anyway, this text also gave me a nerdgasm because it's probably the only piece of fiction ever to be published on this site to contain some lines of code in C. Of course, I feel the urge to write "int main (int argc, char **argv)" but I'm a grumpy old man with little sense and no idea of what he's doing.

    Oh, and one last thing, the text made me wonder if the tragic end of poor Irick has a greater back story behind it or not.

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      Heh... the version I wrote for a LaTeX demo i went ahead and set up arguments and proper return values because I wanted to show off the automatic text formating. I didn't post that version here because I didn't think many people would go out and run it through a LaTeX interpreter and there is no way to upload PDFs that I could find ^^;

      Absolutely there is more back story. It's mostly just notes right now, I've been trying to work up the will to compile a proper origin story for the longest time. I've got a few other short pieces from Irick's perspective and a WIP for Ita, but nothing substantial quite yet.

      And thank you very much for your input! It's nice to know someone reads my silly little exercises.

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        Sorry, no FA account, but, yeah, Weasyl has a problem with different formats. I think it currently only accepts plain text supplemented with BBcodes, unless you use their composition editor or Google Drive. I've seen a couple people trying to upload RTF files, to very amusing results. :P

        But it's great to know there's more to it! Take your time to work out the details and develop it, I know this sort of thing is tuff... I shall follow you just in case you decide to post more of it, nevertheless.