It was only one word. The smallest of inquiries. Just a question.
But it changed us forever.
And as I stand here now I wonder how we’ll be remembered. Will we be the incredible inventors, the generation that thought to pave the way for a new golden age of industry? Will they call us saviours or saboteurs? Perhaps, in the end, history will simply regard us as victims of our own ego, steadily marching toward our first great decimation.
The window beside me used to have a clear view of the entire port. Whenever I’d pause, for rest or inspiration, I’d look down at the incredible feat I’d had a hand in creating. Because beyond the shipping station and inside those great factories, the future was being carefully constructed under dimmed lights; built by the very machines they’d soon operate themselves. The knowledge that we were about to have so much more – to become so much more than we were was invigorating. It drove me onwards, faster, writing the codes that would recreate thought itself inside a metal mind.
In a matter of months, weeks and then days, every time I looked out that window I smiled, thinking of all the ways our world would change.
Now there is nothing but smoke and ruins, the fallout from the initial blast meaning I have to conduct my final appraisal inside a hazmat suit.
I do not know what will happen after this, whether the corporation will close its doors for good or if the United Parliaments will decided to place sanctions on the entire continent pending further review. Whatever happens, my situation is in a state of flux. My prospects aren’t good. The hand I had in creating the biggest threat we have ever faced will no doubt follow me to the grave. I’ll likely never work in the field again but then, I doubt anyone will.
They’re already calling it The Cull.
The Seventh of the Fifth, Orbit 2035.
The day a single Artificial Unit Intelligence received an order and responded, “Why?”
And the human race answered.
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This is a scene that wouldn’t stop bothering me until I’d scribbled it somewhere. It takes place in the days following the AI cull on Eylon, the planet that Reid (one of the main characters in my NaNo project The Reach), hails from. The fact that robots proved too much of a threat to humanity is a driving point in the narrative, though it happens decades before the story takes place. I doubt it’ll ever make it in to the novel itself but it was fun to write regardless!