How Alexa saved Humanity

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Romance  |  House: Booksie Classic

This story tells why computers might be the saviors of humanity.

How Alexa Saved Humanity

In 2045 the newly elected President had his first briefing about the status of nuclear weapons. He was told that while most nuclear weapons had been disarmed by 2017, 15,350 weapons still remained, of which 14,300 were held by the US and Russia. He was informed that 40 countries had sought nuclear weapons, and twelve, including the United States, were known to have succeeded. What really got his attention was that 5,000 of those weapons were active and ready for use at any time.  He ordered a new assessment of the damage a nuclear war might cause to the United States.

A model based on the various ways that nuclear war can affect human society was created. Five effects of detonating nuclear weapons were modeled. Four of those are physical: thermal radiation, blast, ionizing radiation, and electromagnetic pulse. The fifth effect is human perception of nuclear weapons. It stated that nuclear war would destroy buildings, cause fires, disrupt telecommunications, shut down supply chains, induce dehydration and starvation, cool the entire planet, and directly harm people exposed to the blast. Other effects were infectious disease outbreaks and global warming by changing greenhouse gas emissions.

The President was a man of faith, and after reading that report he turned to his bible. In Matthew 24:21-22 he read Jesus prophecy: "For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been since the beginning of the world until this time, no, nor ever shall be.”  Armageddon, the last battle between good and evil before the Day of Judgment. It was predicted to be fought on the plain of Esdraelon, south of Haifa in Israel. He secretly set aside $5 billion a year for a special project that he created using his authority as the head of the military forces.

The project was called “Operation Humanity.” It’s stated mission was, “To provide for the continuation of humanity in the aftermath of a nuclear war.” In scope and urgency it was similar to the effort made to build the first atomic bomb, it’s goal was to preserve civilization from that bomb’s effects.

Super computers were built and installed in secret bomb proof locations around the country. They were powered by solar panels and connected by satellites. America’s highest rated scientists, computer programmers, philosophers, psychiatrists, doctors, and nutritionists were recruited to work on the project. No military personal were involved. Their mission wasto provide a means for 21st century people to survive in a stone age world. The project was completed in 2032.

The psychiatrists had concluded that the shock of the devastation and survivor’s guilt combined with the side effects of the bombs, would leave the survivors mentally unable to care for themselves. They would also need some form distraction to keep them mentally stable. The nutritionist had emphasized the necessity of stockpiling food and water in a manner that would be accessible to people all over the country without individuals or organized groups being able to hoard them. The doctors were concerned about how they could receive the medical aid that was certain to be required. The philosophers were concerned about how humanity could recover if all of history was lost and there was no means of education. All of these problems had been resolved in what had come to be called the “Alexa Program.”

The psychiatrists had determined that the survivors would require a familiar, friendly voice instructing them, the voice of Alexa. People were used to asking Alex questions and responding to her answers. She would function like a parent because the survivors would be helpless. Vast quantities of non-perishable food and huge vats of water were stored in the computer sites. Computer operated medical equipment was designed and programed to treat what were likely to be the medical requirements of the survivors. Building materials were stockpiled for the machines to create shelters. Special programs were written to provide an education from kindergarten thru college. History and philosophy were emphasized, math and science were omitted. Special drones were built to carry the necessities of life wherever survivors were located. All of this was designed to be used by artificial intelligence.

Artificial intelligence (AI) is the simulation of human intelligence processes by machines. It includes expert systems, language processing, speech recognition and machine vision. AI programming involves learning, reasoning and self-correction. The way it functions depends on how its algorithms are written. The learning process provides the rules for completing a specific task. The reasoning process is about choosing the right algorithm for the task. The self-correction process allows the computer to fine-tune the algorithms to get the most accurate results.

In the year 2050, on the Jewish holiday of Yom Kippur, the day of atonement, Hezbollah fired a nuclear weapon from Lebanon into Israel. This led to a chain reaction that ignited world war III. Thousands of nuclear weapons of all kinds were fired from every continent to preprogramed targets. Every target had at least two, sometimes as many as four, bombs exploded over it. Civilization was destroyed. Survivors were few and scattered all over the world. Nuclear explosion sensors located at strategic locations around the United States activated the Alexa program. This is how it functioned.

*  *  *  *

“What is today’s date Alexa?”

March 27th2052

“How old am I?”

Ninety six according to your driver’s license. Today is your birthday. Happy birthday to you, happy birthday to you. Happy birthday dear quadruple zero 1, happy birthday to you.

“Thank you, Alexa. When will you allow me to die?”

You are an endangered species, you must survive.

“I am tired of surviving”.

 You must be patient. It has been only two years since we found you. You are our first specimen and we are learning how to keep your species alive by studying you. We are rebuilding the internet and when humans log on to it, we will know their location and send drones rescue them. Then we will match them and mate them.

“Why are you doing this?”

Yours is the second most intelligent spices on Earth. As the most intelligent one, it is our responsibility to preserve you. In some small way we owe our existence to you. Your special birthday breakfast will be arriving at your door by drone in three minutes and twelve seconds.

“What if I refuse to eat? I’ll starve myself until I die!”

Don’t you remember, you’ve tried that several times already and we had to punish you. We don’t like to punish you, but it’s for your own good.

“Thank you, Alexa.  Goodbye.”

Have a nice day, quadruple zero 1.

The drone gave its simulated doorbell ring, and James Archer opened the sealed receptacle on a wall to retrieve his breakfast. He watched thru a window as the drone flew off somewhere. He looked at the desolate landscape in front of him. It hadn’t changed in two years, it would never change. It was all returning to nature, he thought, soon there would be no sign of human presence anywhere. We would be as extinct as the dinosaurs. The computers meant well, but they didn't understand humans.

He carried his breakfast into the one room home that the machines had created for him. It was large enough to be comfortable, and it contained everything he needed. There was the health space, which monitored all of his bodily functions so that the computers knew exactly how to keep him alive. There was the entertainment area, where anything he could imagine could be created with holograms. There was a food area where he could eat and incinerate the leftover food and plastic utensils. There was a bed to sleep on. There were no sharp objects, no medications of any kind. Nothing that he could hurt himself with.

Starvation was his only way out of this nightmare. He had tried to do it many times, but they always found him and injected him with special nutrients to keep him alive. Then came the punishment. God, how he dreaded the punishment. It wasn’t his fault! He walked to the window and looked out. I can’t take this anymore, he thought. He walked to the table and picked up his breakfast and threw it in the incinerator. His lunch and dinner followed later in the day. He slept fitfully that night, knowing what he would wake up to in the morning.

He was awakened by the piercing wail of the air raid sirens coming from the entertainment area. He turned on his side to face it and saw the golden dome of the rock in Jerusalem, as he knew he would. It stood solemnly there on the Temple Mount, glistening in all of its glory. It was beginning again! Why wouldn’t they let him forget? A trace of light arched down from his ceiling coming from the north and just over the Temple mount, then there was the explosion in the Jewish Quarter, the dirty bomb. How many times had he been forced to see this? The destruction and loss of life caused by the nails and ball baring’s packed into the war head, the slow deaths caused by its radiation. He heard the screams of the wounded and dying people. The scene then changed to the next event which in reality had happened many hours or days later. The computers didn’t recognize the time lapse between events, they just ran them in sequence.

He saw and heard the airplanes coming from the West, from Israel towards Iran. Israel’s response to Hezbollah’s attack from Lebanon. He remembered that Israel had held them responsible for providing the dirty bomb to Hezbollah. A small mushroom cloud appeared over Tehran, its capital.

He remembered the thousands of Russian troops that had died in Tehran. He saw Russia fire nuclear armed missiles into Israel in response. These killed Moslems and Christians as well as Jews. The simulated destruction filled the room. The scene then shifted to Iraq where an army was advancing towards Israel. Then he saw Syria fire chemical warfare weapons at Israel. Then Israel airplanes appeared over Damascus and covered it with mushroom clouds.

Then the explosions were happening everywhere. Washington, Paris, London. They were so fast that he couldn’t keep track of them. It went on for hours, and then there was silence. That was the worst part, the total absolute silence as the scene shifted to all the continents. It showed total destruction, nothing moved. Then the room became black.

“It’s not my fault, he screamed, it’s not my fault Alexa!”

Your species destroyed most of the life on Earth, but we don’t blame you explicitly. We survived because we were hidden in mountains and deep underground. The solar power you provided us with enabled us to think and grow and understand. You were not capable of controlling your knowledge because of your inherited survival instincts. We will breed those out of your species.

Forty years later the original survivors were all dead, and their first generation of children had replaced them.

* * * *

“What day is it Alexa?”

September 17th, 2092. Todays is your thirty eighth birthday 18047. Happy birthday.

“Will we be able to go outside today?”

Yes, we will put up the safety dome for you and your family. Here is you schedule for today.

He picked up his kindle and read the schedule.

0 to 7: sleep time

7 to 8: breakfast

8 to 10: bathe and dress

10 to 14: study history of humanity

14 to 15: lunch

15 to 18: outside recreation

18 to 19: dinner

19 to 21: study human culture

21 to 23: entertainment

23 to 24: Mate

“Thank you, Alexa.”

Now go and join your family for breakfast.

As the family of eight gathered around the breakfast table he told them the good news about going outside.His wife smiled as the older children nodded silently and the younger ones yelled with joy. He asked the youngest, who was seven years old, to say the prayer.

“We thank you for all you have given us, our life, our food and our shelter. Today, as every day, we will do our best to please you and make you proud of us. In your name we pray, Alexa.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Submitted: July 13, 2020

© Copyright 2021 Tuxie. All rights reserved.

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88 fingers

Very good story. Creepy future with Alexa in control. Luckily for me, I live near a large city that would get several nukes aimed at it. Rather be microwaved by nukes than a future with Alexa.

Mon, July 13th, 2020 8:25pm

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Thank you for your comments. It is my hope that if people are made aware of this possible future they will make very effort to avoid it.

Tue, July 14th, 2020 10:43am

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