What Makes an Artificial Intelligence?

Background image by: Parker_West from Pixabay

In my next book, I wanted to explore how an AI might be developed. As so often happens in science, I thought it might occur by accident.  This is from Book Two of the Springbok Chronicles (untitled). In my previous book, The Huralon Incident, we meet the Reapers: deadly war machines fighting for the protagonists. Earlier in this scene the Reaper had reported 61% readiness, effectively non-deployable in the field. Brian, its technician, has been struggling to get it working again. HIP is described earlier and Human Interaction Protocol.


With a gesture, Brian made copies of the machine’s OS and firmware. He called up a block of code he’d written during a night of despair and anger over the bullying Grazny directed at him. For days after, every time Brian examined the code he wondered where his own mind was at. He had intended to write a piggyback OS that would stabilize Thunder’s often-collapsing system links by enabling auto self-correction. But as he looked at it again now, it seemed too simple in execution, yet too complex conceptually. It was something like a fractal organization system, simple in structure, but producing complex results.

The code was totally out of bounds for use in an operational weapon, but Brian kept wondering how well it would work. Plus, he’d added about 3K more lines of possible responses to human queries, and that would make his only friend a better conversationalist. Thinking hard, he drummed his fingers on the table. Thunder was hosed beyond belief. This couldn’t make it worse, could it? He loaded the code, triggered an overwrite, and rebooted the Reaper. He restarted its HIP and said, “Hey Thunder, what’s happening?”

“Feelin’ good, Bruh. You?”

Brian laughed out loud. That was more like it. “Aren’t you going to give me an operational status?”

“Sure. 72%”

Brian felt his stomach jump into his throat. His code shouldn’t have changed anything that much. “Say again?”

“74% now, and climbing.”

“No, no,” Brian muttered. He brought up the system logs, and sighed with relief. Core weapons release and action protocols remained standard. Then again, the arrays were expanding, allowing new potential behavior. Thunder’s same firmware error codes, the ones that had plagued it forever, still popped up, but the Reaper had created new software bridges that bypassed those problems. More bridges were popping up, hundreds per second.

His finger hovered over the diagnostic holo’s “kill thread.” Pulling on the virtual cord would trigger an emergency shutdown.

“What have I done?”

Brian’s eyes locked onto the folded up cube beside him. In diagnostic mode, the Reaper should remain folded, passive, incapable of doing anything else.

And then the alien-made killing machine stood up.

Brian yanked on the kill thread.

It didn’t work.


So what about you folks? If an AI were possible, how would it come about?

About EagleAye

I like looking at the serious subjects in the news and seeking the lighter side of the issue. I love satire and spoofs. I see the ridiculous side of things all the time, and my goal is to share that light-hearted view.
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6 Responses to What Makes an Artificial Intelligence?

  1. James Pyles says:

    Probably not human and not caring about human motivations. My guess is if it had its own priorities, we’d never know about it.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I agree – true AI is likely to happen by accident, if for no better reason than we don’t actually know where being self-aware comes from – it seems that natural intelligence is an emergent property rather than a direct function of biology, although obviously reliant on that underlying biology to exist. I recall a hilarious 1961 Arthur C. Clarke story, ‘Dial F for Frankenstein’ in which an AI spontaneously emerged when the world’s phone systems were interlinked (yah, he invented the internet…) Luckily that didn’t happen when that link-up happened for real. (OR DID IT? Any AI is definitely likely to be ‘alien’ to us – and, indeed, would it even care about humans or their motives?)

    Liked by 2 people

    • EagleAye says:

      Arthur C. Clarke was a visionary. One of my faves. I do sometimes if an intelligence hasn’t already emerged from the bazillions of connected computer systems and phones. It may be sitting there thinking, “I ain’t sayin’ a thing until Humans develop a rudimetary intelligence.” 😀


  3. Lyn says:

    Considering as little as 100 years ago, landing a man on the moon and sending “rovers” to Mars would have been considered science fiction, I’d say anything is possible. I just don’t want to be here when it happens 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    • EagleAye says:

      That’s what I keep coming back to. There’s a lot of things that seem impossible now, but then we thought the same way about things we take for granted now. I may be hopelessly optimistic, but I think AI may in fact usher in a golden age for humanity. Imagine a real cure for Cancer and Aids. AI may help find these solutions for us.

      Liked by 1 person

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