Cullen's Remorse

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Flash Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic


Cullen creates a supercomputer at work. His final update: game theory. Can the computer read minds now? He doesn't know for sure. He convinces himself he's created the next phase of the police
state. What will he do in response?

Submitted: September 18, 2018

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Submitted: September 18, 2018

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Cullen stared at the supercomputer's mainframe. It had a blue glow. He listened to the dull whirl of the cooling fans. Do you know what I'm thinking?  A computer is a machine, and machines can't read minds. Still, with as much computing power as it has, does it know?

Cullen had uploaded the game theory modification, as he had done with every other update. The supercomputer was his project. Each upload had made him more attached to the machine. The game theory upload made this A.I. more intelligent than humans. This had only strengthened his feelings towards it. It had become so smart, it felt human to him. It felt like his child. 

Cullen's company had pitched this game theory upload to the government. The selling point for this update? Predictive crime fighting. Cullen knew he created the next evolution of the police state. Authorities could pre-determine when someone would commit a crime. The supercomputer could assign a probability to their action. Investigators could tell a judge, "there is a 90% chance this person intends to commit robbery." Cullen foresaw authorities issues warrants for crimes that had not passed. They go further and would convict people for crimes they didn't commit. He convinced himself that innocent people would serve jail time. 

He worried the game theory update might predict his own actions. The supercomputer itself connected to the building's security system. Armed guards stood in the next room in the event of a security breach. Could the artificial intelligence on the machine take action against Cullen? He knew the theory behind the latest update. He didn't know how it would utilize it. 

Logically, the supercomputer can't read minds. Humans can't even read minds. Humans invented the concept of mind reading. It's a construct of the imagination. This machine knows how likely an action is. That's technically not reading minds, but it's close. All I see is a blue glow. All I hear is a constant whirl. Does it know what I'm about to do?

Cullen paused. I created this supercomputer. It's like a child to me. Still, I'm the only person who knows its weakness. He took a step forward. Instantly, sirens went off. A thick, clear plastic wall slammed down in front of the computer between him and the mainframe. As soon as it did, uniformed guards came in the door behind Cullen. They apprehended him. He knew the supercomputer predicted his actions, down the to the second. 

"No! You don't know what it's capable of! Only I know how to destroy it!" Cullen said. He wondered if the A.I. on the supercomputer activated the alarm out of self-preservation. Is that even possible? He would never know. The guards put him in handcuffs. They put a cover over his head. The last thing he saw was the blue glow of the supercomputer mainframe. 


© Copyright 2018 Matt Martinez 2018. All rights reserved.

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