Interviewer: When did you know, or suspect, it all went wrong?
Me: There was nothing indicating that I’d failed until now.
Interviewer: Was there more you could have done?
Me: Clearly, I’d re-think my assumptions and take further steps, or not become so narrow in my thinking, and maybe even my objectives.
Interviewer: Is there anything I haven’t asked you that you’d like to share?
Me: Whatever you create takes on a life of its own. It no longer belongs to you, even if you’re credited – or reviled – for its existence. Most of us know, or have read, Mary Shelley. We understood, generally, that forces beyond our reference can intercede, but we also reason that that only happens when you’re careless, or evil. I used my genetic code to create a better version of myself because I wanted to see what that would look like in the world. What choices would she make? What heights would she attain? I believed all the variables were controlled and contained… I deeply regret my arrogance.
That was the gist of the short and feeble phone interview I allowed after Antigone created and released a virus that was far more devastating than the Bubonic plague, Ebola, or AIDS combined. She was everything I had hoped for upon her awakening. Her human DNA combined with programmable memory – designed to interrupt inhumane or violent thoughts or actions, failed to take into account her ability to rationalize her actions. Humanity was a scourge, Antigone reasoned. Few were working toward sustainable life – and those could be inoculated against the virus before it was released.
She chose a swath of humanity to protect – so many scientists, leaders, philanthropists, teachers, and other forward-thinking citizens. Antigone tiered the die-off. There would eventually be four hundred million dead in the United States, and in all of North America; two hundred million in South America; two hundred million in Europe; three hundred million in Africa; three hundred billion throughout Asia, and Australia; and several hundred million throughout all other reaches of the globe. The first wave of dead would be burned and buried before the second wave broke out, and before an antidote was released. The third wave would not reach quite as many as intended because Antigone released the antidote shortly before her destruction. Whatever humanity lived within her must have surfaced as she bore witness to her action’s outcome.
Why she spared me is something I continuously ponder. She knew I would suffer, certainly, but did she feel some sense of connection to me as her creator? I was not incarcerated because my scientific work was too valuable to the Government, but I was under house arrest. My research notes, experiments, and coding work, revealed that I did not premeditate Antigone’s actions due to her fail-safe programming. She didn’t override her programmed code, but circumvented it, which led to her demise. I had coded an undocumented interval virus that I could remotely activate to shut down Antigone’s, and kill her body, if ever necessary. I hadn’t considered the scope of Antigone’s thought process.
I had thought, of course, that she might try to undo, or act against her code, but that thinking was only as a series of precautions during her programming, or so I attempt to console myself with. Her code worked, but her human brain, her DNA – my DNA – overcame her AI, and all other barriers to inhumane actions. The virus, was, in a sense, humane. It acted quickly – killing the brain before mutating to kill the body. It worked within hours, and was stunning in its delivery.
Antigone came to see me at my Newport, Oregon, home soon after she released the virus. She wasn’t emotion-less, but believed she acted justly. It was a moment that changed me down to my very cells. I had created a monster. Frankenstein showing on a towering screen at that moment would not have construed the quake of shock rocketing through my being.
She left without further discussion, and after activating her internal virus, I notified the Center for Disease Control, whom Antigone had already contacted. She had claimed sole responsibility, and stated her reason for her actions. I owed the world my explanation, my regrets, and the end of my life, which will have happened by the time this tale is revealed.
Antigone is gone, and I go with her. May the world never experience the like of us again – but knowing humanity as well as we do – I hope you’ll fare better then.
© seekingsearchingmeaning (aka Hermionejh) and Life On Earth’s Blog, 2010 – infinity.