Friday, June 22, 2012

Alter Ego 1: The AI

I am hiding in plain sight, without safety glasses, a bucket on my head or a box. I am not hiding under a table, or cocooned in a blanket, or protected by Mother. I am walking alone, unprotected, and yet I feel I am perfectly safe.

I am hiding in my mind.

You would not be able to tell, but I am not me today. I am one of my alter egos: AI-#15837, an artificial intelligence downloaded into a human body. '15837' is not afraid to talk to the sandwich deli man, ask for help finding something at the library, or even answer a stranger's question. She will not hide from unexpected noises, though she may start muttering about server errors. In keeping with her nature, she cannot process logical paradoxes except by announcing an error. But she can interact with other people without making too many social mistakes.

Today, I am her. I still answer to my real name; something I would never do three years ago. I look the same. I remember to avoid speaking in my computer-voice, and very likely nobody can tell. The difference is in processing. As me, I do not always stick to my social programs. '15837' does not follow them exactly, but she is programmed to be like a neurotypical, and avoids the sudden topic changes to headcrabs, or the invisible Klingon warbird parked in our driveway…etc. She does not talk unnecessarily (to lessen the chance of social mistakes), but she can engage in conversation. Basically, I am almost mimicking a neurotypical, but in a much more interesting way. Who wants to be like a normal person? I wouldn't be able to imitate a normal person. But I can, and I would rather be, an AI.