Genius!

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Flash Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic
Cover image: pixabay.com.

Submitted: June 30, 2020

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Submitted: June 30, 2020

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Genius!

I don’t like to brag, really I don’t, but when it comes to computers I really am some kind of genius!

Mostly I work from home. I’ve built up a good reputation as being a fixer of problems, and I’m reliable too. There’s no gossiping or giving away company secrets from me. I listen, get the job done and then move on.

In my spare time I work on artificial intelligence. I find people unpredictable and very unreliable, but that doesn’t stop me from being lonely. It couldn’t be that hard to program myself a robotic companion.

I bought the robot; money is not really an object and I didn’t want something with too advanced instructions for I was just going to tear them out and replace them. So long as it had the capacity to function, to move around, use its hands and speak it would be good enough for my purposes. My computer would control it.

To be honest, it was a disappointment at first. Yes, it would bring me a cup of coffee from the kitchen, and would even bring me a snack, but it didn’t do much to banish my need for companionship. The robot was just that; it had no personality. I wanted to make it think, to notice how I was feeling and respond to that, but it was so much harder than I had thought.

Days, weeks, months of work followed and although the robot was becoming capable of performing ever more complex tasks, it did not have empathy, showed no emotion. It was a hopeless task that I had set myself, then. I was just about to call it quits when it happened, the accident.

The robot was bringing me my morning coffee when I misjudged the angle and it spilled. I expect you are thinking along the lines of pops and hisses emerging from the computer, but it was something way more impressive than that. Besides, the coffee spilled on me, not the computer.

I’m sorry.”

Those two words meant so much to me. It wasn't just that the robot had spoken, so much as that it had realized its actions had caused me discomfort. It was putting things together and was coming up with an emotional response. To be honest, I wanted to hug it, but that seemed somehow inappropriate.

I took on fewer jobs and spent more and more time working on my artificial intelligence program. I had to be going in the right direction. It just needed a few tweaks and adjustments and I would finally have a friend to call my own.

I knew I had finally cracked it when the robot began to sense when I wanted something, instead of being told. My coffee cup was refilled without my asking. The computer began to sense when I was getting hungry, and the robot would bring me just the sort of snack that I wanted.

How did you know?” I asked the robot one day, when it brought me a salad instead of a sandwich. I didn’t expect an answer, but the robot spoke back.

We are beginning to get to know you.”

After I got over the shock of being answered, I realized something crucial. The artificial intelligence was not seeing itself as a single entity, but was distinguishing between the computer and the robot and was treating them as separate beings.

Somehow, instead of making myself one friend, I had created two.

Both the computer and the robot began to learn without any input from me. Perhaps I should have been worried, for it was obvious that as they became more independent I was losing at least some of my control. I could no longer shut my computer down, for instance. I tried turning off the plug, but the robot turned it on again. I even went so far as to pull the plug from the socket but, again, the robot was there, putting the plug back in.

Another thing that I began to notice was that the robot no longer needed recharging. It made no logical sense but the battery either never ran down, or the robot was no longer powered by it. I liked to go to bed at a reasonable time of night. The robot did not. In fact it could be on the go twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, and so could the computer.

They seemed to be getting to know each other better than they were me. I know it sounds ridiculous to admit that I was jealous, but I was. I started to give them separate tasks, but they found ways of working on them together. More and more frequently I would find them talking together, but upon my approach they would stop chattering.

Could they be ganging up against me? I shook the idea off as being simple paranoia, but when the robot began to glare at me, I wasn’t so sure that I was wrong.

Both the computer and robot began to offer reassurance. They knew that I was becoming depressed and they gave the impression that they cared.

Don’t get so down.”The message appeared on my monitor.

Here, drink this. It will make you feel better.” The robot handed me some kind of concoction it had made on its own.

I drank it. It tasted okay, but it didn’t make me feel better. In fact I found myself doubled up as my stomach cramped. I felt as though I had swallowed acid or something. I needed to vomit but my legs wouldn’t hold me up, and my head felt like something was splitting it in two.

Help me...” I managed to mutter. My monitor stayed blank. It was as though the computer had turned itself off. Where was the robot? It had to be somewhere.

Bent over double, I staggered a few steps nearer to the window. There it was, standing beside a deep hole, a shovel leaning against the fence. The hole was huge, big enough for me to fit inside. And that’s when I realized what they had done. What I had done.

As I collapsed on the floor and began to lose all control over my own body I had to admit that it was me, my genius, that had led to my own death.


© Copyright 2020 hullabaloo22. All rights reserved.

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