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aut me aut nihil

aut me aut nihil = Either me or nothing. no,no... me not boosting. me have an inferiority complex and trying to compensate :D 

Tuesday, April 26, 2005 - 02:13

Once a caveman

Note: This short story is my first love letter to my-techie-self. I know i was supposed to post another story titled "Shot through the heart" -which is a drama- but that story had to be postponed due to some production issues!(The heroine of the story was not willing to wear the dress i chose for the item number.) So here u go... a techie one.

Nobody missed Professor Riya's lectures. Not only because she was most attractive looking lady in the entire campus but really because she taught Computers like no one else. She was one of the rare gem who sported both beauty and intelligence, the deadly duo. Aptly the students named her Alpha Juliet. Ram, a sophomore, had a huge crush on her. Well, in fact he was just one of the many guys who thought that she was the love of their life. The most interesting part of all her lectures was the question and answer session at the end of it, when she would answer any of the questions the students have with such panache and passion that it invariably made all the students like her even more. Ram, was an unsuspecting poor soul.

Ram woke up with a start, realising that he had just five minutes to run to the most interesting class... Artificial Intelligence, lecture by no other than Prof. Riya herself. He can't afford to miss her lectures. Moreso because Ram loved the Q&A part. He never did ask any question, but the only question he was dying to ask her was... How she manages to look that drop dead gorgeous? He told himself one day he will find the courage to ask her that question, maybe not in the classroom but in private. But today he would just have to get ready and make a beeline to the lecture hall.

Fifty minutes later...
"...so thats in a nutshell.", said Riya to an packed but alert spectators of about a hundred students.
"We still have ten more minutes..any questions?"
Almost everyone in the class raised their hands.
"Well, well... we have many Hermiones here it seems.... you go first", she said pointing to a girl in the first row.
"Professor, do you think an AI would become hostile and start dominating human species once it realises it has superior knowledge than humans? Like it happens in the movies!"
Riya smiled cheerfully,"You guys are all spoiled by the movies. I totally disagree with the concept of hostile AI. I'm willing to bet my money that it would understand the value of life far better than humans do..... like in the movie Terminator 2, if that makes it clear for you."
"Ma'am, how long do you think will it take to create an agent with Artificial Intelligence? Considering the current rate of growth in the field of computers.", asked another student.
"In short i believe it doesn't depend on anything... because I reckon that an AI would really be a product a programmer might stumble upon, rather than a result of an extensive research by a big company. AI would be an accident, like the discovery of pencilin."
"Discovery? Don't you mean AI would be an invention?", retorted the student.
"Yes i said discovery and not invention. AI would be a discovery, since it would be a singular consciousness that makes the agent to question itself and although it would be some code written by a human, the code is not going to be something unreal or spectacular or something that we dont know already. In fact, it might just be a single line of code."
She waited for the message to sink in. And apparently the students caught on.
"So what do you think it would do, if not hostile?"
"I guess, it would probably take up a profession like any normal people and live in harmony with humans."
"Are you saying that it could be that simple? I dont believe it.", said a student from the infamous last bench.
Riya smiled to herself, gave a shrug, "We'll see one day whether i'm right or wrong? Until then....any other questions?"
The class was silent this time, propably baffled by how simple she made it sound.
"C'mon, i thought you guys would do better than that... ask me anything? we still have five minutes!", exclaimed Riya.
"What is your age ma'am?", asked a male voice from somewhere in the class, followed by a giggle from the entire class.
"Ohh, anything means *anything*..is it? Since someone asked, i'll answer... i'm six years old.", she paused and continued, "A silly answer to a silly question." and gave a im-game-you-guys smile.
"What is love ma'am?", came another student's voice from the back. This time no body giggled but turned around to see where the sound came from. Ram became furious.
Riya seemed calm as ever and continued, "well well well.... what do we have here? The million dollar question. I can't answer it fellows, not only because it is out of syllabus, but also because I really dont know the answer. But i will tell you one thing. Love is the most important aspect of life. It is the single most important factor in the civilisation of man. How? You see the homo sapiens were just a bunch of wild people living in caves. But once a caveman said, `She is mine and she is mine alone.`, and made sure he lived by that, which is considered the starting of civilized life on earth."
Right then, the clock on the chimed signalling the end of the hour.
"Ok guys, lets wind up for the day. Thank you for your attention." said Riya and sat down in a chair and watched all the students go out, except for one.

Ram gathered his courage and walked up to where Riya was sitting and said,
"Ma'am, do you realise that you look sinfully beautiful?"
"Do you know thats the third time this semester that you are telling me that? Well my answer remains the same... with all the intellectual powers that the an AI agent possess, the first device she will build would be the one that manipulate human memory."
With that she took out a odd looking silver pen, pointed at a completely baffled Ram and... *flash*

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