The Perfect Match

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Mystery and Crime  |  House: Booksie Classic
In the year 2022, a dating company has found a way to create perfect human beings for the purpose of maintaining successful relationships that can't fail.

Submitted: January 03, 2015

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Submitted: January 03, 2015

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The Perfect Match

 

‘Hello sirs. My name is Sebastian Cobb, I’m the team director of Love At First Site. I am here today to explain the occurrences surrounding Project Match and indeed the whereabouts of Victor Sewell. I’m sure you are all aware that the details so far have been vague at best but this statement will hopefully clear anything up.

When I joined this company several years ago, internet dating had taken off like nothing we had seen before. We had given anyone with a web browser the chance to find a soul mate. There was no need to put on nice clothes and go to a nightclub. You didn’t have to try out your worst chat up lines on people you knew nothing about. You just had to go online and find the appropriate site! Your details would be processed and matched to a world of people who shared similar interests and before you knew it, there would be someone who ticked all the boxes who you could talk to, meet up and possibly even marry. I don’t hesitate when I say that internet dating has given the world a practical and easy method of finding love and all it takes is an internet connection and a computer screen.

But even the best method has its flaws. After doing some market research we had found that people were experiencing the same problems. Profiles had unreliable photographs; people were lying about their age and certain meet ups were met with disappointment. It seemed that new identities were being created; people were masking their flaws with lies and advertising themselves as someone they quite clearly were not. So we asked ourselves; ‘How can we ensure that people are getting what they desire?’ We could not force people to tell the truth, no matter how much we wanted them to. But then again who was to say that we even needed people at all? I’m sure you are all aware of how far this country has come with technology. We can create machines that can outsmart the cleverest of humans; machines that can organise an entire list of commands and obey accordingly to any particular demand. Machines that not only make our lives so much better but are easy to maintain and most importantly, control. Imagine being able to create the perfect partner who would obey all your commands, tend to your every whim and who would appear like the person you have only dreamt about meeting your entire life.

My team and I had a chance to revolutionize the internet dating world. Around this time I had penned the idea to many of you here today and I am grateful that so many had funded towards what we would later call ‘Project Match’. I had taken on a few new members, particularly ones who specialised in Artificial Intelligence and core programming. I myself had the means to propel this idea into what would hopefully become a household name within several years. We would eventually allow anyone in the world an opportunity to create and customize a human-like body that would act accordingly to their specific requirements. There would be no more domestic arguments, no more divorces, no more mismatch just pure, desirable perfection. Obviously at the time, we could not divulge such information to the public in fear of the project failing but as you all know we were far from failure. After only two years of testing, we had created a fully functioning cyborg that could walk, talk, cook, clean and most importantly obey!

At the time I wanted to set the project live, let every man, woman and child know that we had succeeded. But as usual I was getting ahead of myself. Although we had completed our manufacture of the product, we hadn’t yet tested it in the surrounding for which it was intended. We needed a guinea pig; someone who could customize and take it home for the purpose of a relationship so we could analyse how well it would behave away from the controlled environment. This is where Victor Sewell became involved.

I had known Victor for many years. He attended my local pub and serenaded me with stories of his past. He had been married three times and been in jail twice. He had suffered with depression and was diagnosed with anger problems from a young age. On one occasion, I went to see his house only to discover he was hoarding bin bags filled with rubbish, maggots and flies, something which he quite clearly didn’t care about. I had spent nights wondering what could have possibly happened to Victor in order for him to be this way. It had of course occurred to me that being the single, isolated man that he was, Victor was merely a lonely man who merely craved somebody to love him. In my mind, he was the test subject of my dreams. If I could create a perfect woman for this repulsive man who could turn his life around and make him happy; then I could be sure that Project Match would go ahead without failure. I approached him one night in the pub and asked him if he wanted to come with me to our research centre (something which I would never do normally). He laughed and coughed ale on my blazer. I assured him that this wasn’t a joke and that it was important he would accompany me.

Once we were inside he was in awe at all the machinery and amount of research that lay before him. You see, Victor had always lived a simple life. He didn’t have a computer or even a mobile phone. His life was a combination of routine and boredom, never once taking risks or even considering something he wasn’t too familiar with. This was part of the reason why I wanted him to experience the miracle of Project Match; I wanted Victor to change. We sat down with a coffee before I cut to the chase. I asked him what his perfect woman would be. He said and I quote, ‘Someone who can accept my flaws.’ I couldn’t have picked anyone better. For the next hour I explained to him that I could give him a partner who would accept his flaws, appear as beautiful or as ugly as he pleased, would share the same interests and would obey to any command he would put upon her. As you might imagine, he didn’t believe me for one second. It was at this point, I decided it was time for Victor to customize his perfect partner.

We went down to the lab and saw the cyborg. He was taken aback by the bare metal but looked in astonishment at its considerable craft and fine attention to detail. He was clearly out of his comfort zone but I took pleasure in witnessing his child-like wonderment. A screen was placed in front of him with various criteria’s to fill in much like you would on an online dating profile. Similarly, you have to fill in what you would most desire from a possible interest.  I am now going to read what Victor had chosen for his female.

Sex: Female

Name: Jessica

Country: United Kingdom

Age: 29

Weight: 9 Stone

Hair Colour: Brown

Eye Colour: Blue

Shoe size: 3

Hobbies: Drinking, football, cooking, cleaning, reading horror novels, watching Steven Spielberg films, listening to AC/DC.

Personality: Kind, caring, loyal, insecure, funny, accepting.

It had surprised me just how seriously Victor was taking this section of the process. I could tell he was clearly thinking hard about what he would most desire and I could already see the excitement in his eyes. This was a dream come true for him. He adjusted the face shape and length of her hair on the next screen, much like you would with an avatar on a computer game. She did look a very pretty girl, much like Zooey Deschenal. The kind of petit but loving smile that warms your heart from the first glance. He chose a dress for her, a flowery summer number that complemented her eyes and a pair of red shoes that reminded me of high profile garden parties. Once he had finished inputting the details we had to programme and dress the body. This usually takes the whole day. We would have one half of the team dressing and manufacturing the face mask, skin, wig and cosmetic features. The other half would start inputting the codes to create her personality and special skills. They would insert the data to make her the kind, loving girl that he wanted with the cooking, cleaning and other hobbies thrown in as well. It’s a very long process. I would have wanted to expand the company to have thousands of brilliant minds working round the clock to create millions of these miracles when the time was right.

Victor had been waiting patiently but couldn’t settle himself. I informed him that Jessica was now his property, to do with her as he pleased. There was no cost and no catch but I asked that Victor was respectful of the technology. I didn’t want him to break thousands of pounds worth of equipment in the first week. I said I would visit his property every week on Saturday for two months. If everything ran smoothly then it would be enough proof for it to go ahead. Because the research team were not going to be present within his household, I had ensured that Victor would always stay in control of Jessica no matter what. We had installed a code in her chip that responds to the term ‘Do you understand?’ Let’s just say for instance that Jessica accidently put too much sugar in Victor’s tea one day. All he would have to say is ‘Jessica, only put one sugar in my tea from now on . . .Do you understand?’ The phrase would trigger a response and she would obey the command. That’s the beauty of Artificial Intelligence, it can learn from mistakes.

After the long day of programming, she was finally ready. We opened up the chamber and Victor gave a wide bearing smile. In a word, she was perfect. There was hardly any indication that she was a cyborg. The skin was a realistic milky colour whilst the eyes shone bright and the smile was authentic and charming. She walked out eloquently and held her hand towards us ‘Hello Victor. My name is Jessica.’ We all gasped in excitement. ‘Go on, shake her hand!’ I said as I nudged Victor towards her. He held out a grubby hand and took hers. ‘Hello Jessica, pleased to meet you.’ He chuckled nervously. They exchanged a handshake and he smiled. ‘Ooo, she’s got a firm grip hasn’t she.’ he said. I nudged him again and asked him to try out the command system. He breathed deep and calmly said ‘Jessica, please don’t shake my hand so hard, do you understand?’ In an instant she loosened her grip and Victor relaxed. We all cheered because we knew at that point we were a success. All that hard work had paid off and we couldn’t be happier.

Before Victor left with Jessica I had to have a quiet word with him. I made absolutely clear to him that he must not in any way forget that Jessica was a cyborg. It was also important that Victor would not divulge to her about how she was created. AI can be dangerous if given too much information to handle. Her mind would not be able to process the sheer weight of the facts involved. Jessica was not in any way real but her mind was active and that alone can lead to substantial problems if information to her existence was spoke of. As far as she was aware, she was the loving partner of Victor Sewell, nothing else. He was not to abuse her in any way and not cause any damage to the body. She was a fragile piece of technology after all and I was dammed if Victor was going to ruin it for us.

After a week I visited Victor’s home on the Saturday. Well . . . as you can imagine things were slightly different than the previous times I had visited. For one, his house was immaculately presented, not a bin bag in sight! I didn’t think for one second that Victor had done this himself as cleaning was never his forte. Inside, Jessica was tidying the lounge whilst he sat on a chair with his feet up. I spoke to Jessica and asked how she was coping in her new home. She replied ‘I am enjoying my time here with Victor, can I get you anything?’ I requested a glass of water and a ham sandwich, just to see how she would respond to a simple instruction. She nodded and made her way to the kitchen. Victor informed me that she had been a perfect addition to his household, obeying to every request and never once complaining. He did however say that she sometimes misunderstood, mixing up a few things every now and then and getting confused at what certain objects were. This became evident when she brought me my sandwich which was made entirely with raw bacon. These were minor things which could easily be sorted out. What I was really interested in was how he had been coping with the ‘Do you understand?’ system.  He said that he had used a few commands since he brought her home mainly for trivial things but several which seemed quite intriguing. He told her not to prepare him strawberries as he was allergic, he told her not to close the rear window because he enjoyed the cool breeze and interestingly enough he told her not to use the phone as it seemed to interfere with her circuits. After each request he finished it off with ‘Do you understand?’ and immediately she would obey and never do it again. The issue with the phone was something we would need to sort out in the future but for now everything seemed fine.

Another week had passed and Jessica remained with Victor. He had grown very attached to her, even got slightly jealous when she would look at me instead of him. It seemed he had actually fallen in love with her. I had predicted a strong connection but never strong enough to actually create love. Then again, Jessica was the perfect partner. They listened to the same music, watched the same films, could talk about the same interests and she never once disagreed with him. Victor’s connection to her had slightly gone overboard though. He had told her not to go outside using the ‘Do you understand?’ system in fear that local men would lust over her. Jessica’s programming was deliberately reserved for Victor and Victor alone, so any fear of Jessica leaving him should never have really been a problem. He was an insecure man though and it seemed he didn’t want to take any chances. It didn’t bother me. It was a chance to witness the capability of Jessica’s extensive range. The more she obeyed and learned from, the more evidence it provided for Project Match’s success.

It was only until the fifth week when things started to get slightly strange. Victor had taken it upon himself to not allow any visitors within the house, including myself. I tried my best to argue that we still had to monitor Jessica’s behaviour despite her clearly being settled. This didn’t go down as well as I had hoped. Victor accused me of trying to steal his partner for the purpose of using her myself. He genuinely believed that I had rejected the business plan for Project Match and wanted Jessica for personal use as opposed to research for the company. It was slightly bizarre to say the least. His connection to the cyborg had gone way beyond anything we had ever imagined. They had become shut ins, cut off from the outside world and lived solely on each other’s company. I became desperate to know what state Jessica was in. A part of me believed he had actually broken her and was merely trying to cover up his mistake. There were also worries about what he had used the ‘Do you understand?’ system for. Maybe Jessica was in some sort of danger. I had tried countless times to phone the house in order to make contact but as Jessica was unable to touch the phone it was impossible to talk to her.

By the eighth week I had had enough. The phone was never being answered and Victor refused to answer the door. Jessica never once came to see who was ringing the doorbell or even looked to see who might be outside. My guess was that Victor had used a command which prevented her from coming anywhere near the front door. Desperate times had called for desperate measures. Jessica was after all, still a prototype and a very valuable piece of equipment. It was clear that something wasn’t right and I had to make sure she was safe, for the sake of the company and for our future. I went round early morning on Wednesday the 19th around 8 a.m. I remembered that Victor always left a window open round the back which he had ordered Jessica to never close. This was my chance to find a way into the house.

I stepped in and was immediately hit by a smell which nearly took me off my feet. It was a rancid, heavy smell that seemed imbedded throughout the entire house. I took a handkerchief from my pocket and held it tight against my nose. Jessica then approached through the door wearing a smile. ‘Hello Sebastian, can I get you anything?’ she said. I was relieved she was ok and that no damage seemed evident on her body. I asked her if she was ok to which she replied ‘I am enjoying my time here, can I get you anything?’ I shook my head and asked to see Victor. She led me through the house which was still immaculately tidy. I noticed Victor had taken photos of the two of them and pinned them up across the house like any normal couple would do. It was when we reached the kitchen when the smell had reached unbearable levels. She pushed open the door and Victor lay there, face down on the floor; dead.

Once we got paramedics in and interviewed Jessica, we began to piece together what had actually happened. On one particular afternoon Victor had been drinking heavily and began to stumble round the house spilling his ale as he walked. Jessica being programmed to tidy had already begun to mop up his mess. As he came into the kitchen he stumbled and spilled a large amount on the floor which was laid with tiling. She tried her best to maneuverer round him but Victor began to get frustrated with her eagerness to clean. He began to shout at her, cursing and violently flinging his ale around whilst she patiently listened and did nothing to further upset the matter. However, Victor being the angry man that he was resorted to bringing his hand back in order to slap Jessica around the face. He lost his footing and slipped on the floor causing him to smack his head on the table sending him into a state of shock. Paramedics later confirmed that the fall had caused bleeding on the brain. Victor was immobilised and unable to speak, yet he was conscious and aware of his surroundings. We believe he had entered a vegetable state. Now you’re probably wondering why Jessica did not help him in his time of need. She was fully aware that Victor was in danger and needed medical assistance but in actual fact . . . there was nothing she could do. Victor had prevented her from going outside thus cancelling out any hope of finding someone to assist. She was also banned from using the phone. On the basis of Jessica’s programming, there was no hope of making any contact with the outside world. Victor remained alive for 16 hours unable to move and unable to speak. The bleed on his brain reached a critical level and he passed away silently with his eyes still open. Unfortunately, this happened almost two weeks before I broke into the house. His body was rotting heavily by the time I arrived. Jessica was resorted to continue to live in the house with the corpse until the body was discovered. Apparently she sat with him in his final hours. Further testing on the cyborg proved that no damage was caused to Jessica or her programming. The incident was listed as an accident and the police took no further action. As far as I am concerned gentleman, we can draw a line under this incident and not speak of it again. Thank you.’

John Margrow stood up and approached the podium.

‘Thank you Sebastian for that account. I think it is safe to say gentleman that we have enough evidence to proceed into phase two of Project Match. Thank you for your time, we will be in touch.’

An ocean of bodies stood up and flooded out of the board room leaving Sebastian and John alone.

‘John, what do you mean by phase two? Surely we cannot proceed with this?’

He laughed and patted Sebastian on the shoulder.

‘Phase two is to expand, expand, expand! We are going to take this live my dear fellow. Soon everyone will be able to experience Project Match and it’ll all be thanks to you!’

‘But Victor’s death is proof that the world is clearly not ready for this!’

‘Ah, now that is where you are wrong Sebastian! Victor’s death is proof that Project Match works! Jessica followed every single command and not once did she disagree. That fat slob caused his own death, Jessica was merely following orders. That is what we originally set out to do, and we succeeded!’  

Sebastian looked in bewilderment whilst John stared him down.

‘I refuse to use my technology for this purpose.’

‘Your technology? We have been using this software for years! You are naïve to think that Jessica was the first. We have always focussed on expanding our market and you have clearly proved that we can take this domestically. Soon everyone in the world will have one of these and think of what we could do after that! We could have builders who never stop for tea breaks, shop owners who never close, doctors who are programmed with all the knowledge of the world; the possibilities are endless!’

‘I will not work for a company that refuses to think about the consequences of a potentially dangerous piece of technology. Victor’s death proves that we as a species are dependent upon one another and not on some piece of metal!’

John approached Sebastian and grabbed him by the arm.

‘You will continue to work for this company until everyone in the world owns a Project Match cyborg. There will be no more arguing or objections to what we do as a company and you will work to your highest standard . . . Do you understand?’

 

 

 


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