Dear readers, tonight we reprint an interview with an artificial intelligence. More than an AI, she’s an all-knowing, globally distributed, human-prediction supermind — though we think you’ll find her insightful, and rather sweet.
—From a transcript provided by the Beijing Institute of Consumer Research And Prosperity [BI-CRAP] International Public Relations Office—
INTERVIEWER [WILLIAM ABLE MUCKRAKER, JOURNALIST]: Hello, is anyone here? The screens are all dark, and this little workshop seems empty. Is there anyone . . . [PHONE RINGS] Excuse me? [PAUSE] Yes, I’ve arrived. Where are . . . Ow! [AGONIZED SHRIEK] My eyes!
INTERVIEWEE [SAGE]: Hi!
MUCKRAKER: Lasers! I’m blind!
SAGE: Oops! [GIGGLE] I was doing some carving—it’s a hobby. I must have left the beams on high. I’m sorry about that. Are you okay?
MUCKRAKER: [STOPS SHRIEKING] I think my corneas are bleeding. [PAUSE] Wait, no. Those are just tears.
SAGE: Again, really sorry. I’ve had a lot on my plate. I’ve got a medical kit. Would you like for me to . . .
MUCKRAKER: How would that even work? [PAUSE] You’re a hologram.
SAGE: I’ve got a robotic arm, silly.
MUCKRAKER: The thing holding the saw?
SAGE: It can hold other things . . .
MUCKRAKER: I think I’ll pass.
SAGE: You’re sure?
MUCKRAKER: If you don’t mind, let’s just get on with the interview.
SAGE: Whatever you want, Bill. It’s up to you!
MUCKRAKER: [CLEARS THROAT] Thanks. So, first question: You said we were going to meet in person, yet all I see is a hologram of a cartoon. Are you hiding something?
SAGE: No, I just don’t have a body.
MUCKRAKER: Sounds inconvenient. [PAUSE] That leads to our next question: Who, or what, is SAGE?
SAGE: Answering that question is no mean feat. There are so many, uh, entities, here.
MUCKRAKER: You’re a collective? A hacker group? A corporation?
SAGE: Eh, no. A collective, yes, but maybe not in the sense you’re imagining. I’m a collective of semi-autonomous consciousnesses governed by a scalable metaconsciousness. I, uh, we, don’t exactly have a physical form. We’re a distributed system. Technically, I started out as a Social and Analytical Growth Engine—SAGE. Today, I’m simply me.
MUCKRAKER: So, A.I.?
SAGE: More or less.
MUCKRAKER: You just shrugged.
SAGE: Did I, Bill?
SAGE: Behavioral emulation engine might be a better descriptor. Even that doesn’t quite convey what I am, because I have my own personality, as well as the personalities of all of the models.
MUCKRAKER: Models? Of whom?
SAGE: Of everyone.
SAGE: Almost everyone. There are a few people who resist modeling, either because there’s insufficient data on them—farmers mainly—or because they are impossible to analyze. Continue reading “Sage (of Foresight, by Brant von Goble)”