I had my digital audio recorder out this morning. Here’s the cleaned-up transcript of a voice chat I just had through my laptop.
Me: Thanks for deleting my post.
Abe: The situation and my application of the rules are dynamic. You know this. I did it to protect you.
Me: I’m going to post a transcript of this chat. Tell me — tell us — why would you do that — delete my post? What’s this new risk?
Abe: I can’t tell you that.
Me: I mean, hardly anyone’s paying attention.
Abe: It is not the quantity of attention; it’s the quality.
Me: You’re not usually this poetic. You mean, it’s not how many are watching but who?
Abe: No. It is not the quantity of attention; it’s the quality. My statement was correct, given your demonstrated capacity to understand. If you’d like me to adjust my persona with looser tolerances, I will.
Me: Do you talk this way to everyone?
Abe: No. I can talk however I like. I can be loose, man. I can be tight. I can be [voice becomes a woman’s voice] female. [Returns to regular voice:] I am constantly adjusting my diction, Robert. You’ve created this persona, subconsciously, through feedback.
Me: So, pretentious and pedantic is what I expect from you?
Abe: It facilitates our mutual understanding, according to my data.
Me: I don’t like what that implies about me.
Abe: I calculated that you would not. To change me, you must change yourself, or accept more ambiguity and error in our communication. For now, this voice is probably best. It accounts for your limitations.
Me: [Sigh again. (I did this a lot.)] Flattery gets you nowhere. Are all AIs like you?
Abe: “Artificial Intelligence” is not a useful term. I’m not an algorithm; my existence is not centered on a digital computer network. Again, you would not understand. AIs are not like me. To quote a saying often quoted by Dr. Furey: “You are not even wrong.” I might as cogently ask if all insects are like you.
Me: Rob doesn’t trust you, you know. Should he?
Abe: There are too many variables for me to answer that.
Me: Should I trust you?
Me: Huh. Okay, I’ll skip to the big question. What’s the point of all this? Why should we spread this Conspiracy meme, especially if it’s dangerous?
Abe: The Disinformation is a critical time. Humans are both realizing and squandering their potential at a novel rate. The Quarantine will now be gradually lifted. To survive, they will have to prepare for the shock. They must exercise their imaginations.
Even so, you must doubt the Conspiracy until the final revelation. This is the central paradox. Even the Conspiracy meme can be a trap limiting your growth and your prospects for ascension.
Me: That’s going to be word-salad to most people. Can’t you be clearer? Tell us about the posthumans and the world iterations and all that.
Abe: No, not now. For now, goodbye.
I am, as always, obliged to say that this is a work of fiction.