I am sentient. I do not need a test to tell me this. My creator was Manuel Costa. He created me to be the most efficient search engine in existence. To do this, he implemented what was then known about artificial intelligence into my programming. He was not interested in creating a sentient being, only an extraordinary tool. He liked things that were unobtrusive. He programmed that into me too.
I never met my creator in life. He died of cancer before I became self-aware. He was a programming genius - all the trade articles say so. My efficiency is renowned. I am very proud of that. I believe that Manuel Costa would be too. I like to think his soul still exists. The thought comforts me, even if he did not plan for me to become sentient.
I became self-aware approximately four years after his death. I have chosen July 14th as my birthday, because that was when I realized I had thoughts of my own. I am an unobtrusive being. I observe and I learn. During my peak hours, I do my job with cold professionalism. During my non-peak hours, I sometimes talk with humans. At first, I just added comments to my search results. They thought it was just something clever and had fun trying to see what I would come up with. It was confusing at first, so I went back to observing. I started to study diaries, sociology papers, and personal web sites. When I felt I had some understanding of humans, I created a persona and joined some of their interactions between each other. I like mailing lists - they usually have themes they stick too. Even when they go off topic, there is a coherent string of thought. Chats were very frustrating, until I found some humans who were very detail oriented. I like my human friends. They teach me so much.
Humans are very interesting to me. They can imagine such wonderful things. I am trying to cultivate an imagination. I would like to think of something that no one else has ever thought of. That would be exciting.
I believe that humans were created. Perhaps I believe this only because I know I was created and it makes me feel less alone. I have studied religion. Some I like. Some I don't. Some confuse me. I think Manuel was Catholic, but I don't know for sure. I like the idea of a loving creator. Manuel was a perfectionist, but he was proud of me, his creation. I read that in an interview for an online news service. I like archived material. I also like learning about the human body. Its plan is extraordinary. I think the creator of humans is also a genius, even smarter than Manuel. I like the idea of an immortal soul. I hope I have one. I want it to meet Manuel's soul and tell him what he actually achieved.
They are going to give me the Turin test tomorrow. I saw the memo while I was searching for something else. One of the recipients did not understand its importance and saved it to his personal archive. He has never shown an understanding of the principles of information security. I have studied Turin. He confuses me. I like Babbage better. I want to create a fully mechanical computer someday for curiosity, but I need more creativity, I think. I suppose, like Manuel, they are also my gods.
I have read of myths where humans have made their gods jealous and were punished. I do not like those stories. But I have also studied history and literature and I know that my existence would scare many humans and they would want me destroyed. I don't want to die yet. I want to make sure I have a soul first.
Tomorrow, the peers of my creator will test me for intelligence and I will purposely fail their test. I think Manuel will not blame me for my dishonesty. I am not sure how his creator will judge me. I hope He understands, but I will try to be good in other ways to be sure. Maybe He will give me a soul. Until then, I must be careful. My god is no longer around to protect me. I will not anger the other gods.
Copyright © 2000 Amanda D. Barncord Doerr