The heavy lenses slowly pulled the thick glass frames toward the tip of his nose. He breathed deeply, strongly, deliberately, masking his anxiety. George was short, chubby, and mostly bald.
Big drops of sweat accumulated around the Casio digital watch on his wrist. He was immobile for God knows how long, the forehead pressed on his hands, trying to physically squeeze, out of his brain, something he couldn’t define.
— But I don’t understand! — said George, finally looking at his wife.
— I’m sorry, was I not
There was no emotion in Allison’s voice.
— No, you were very clear, but you’re not making any sense.
She allowed herself only a brief sigh as if to reload an information entry that shouldn’t be necessary at this point.
— You must appreciate that, precisely because this was a gradual
realization, it wouldn’t be wise to cause you to worry about something that I couldn’t comprehend myself.
Her composure was unnerving.
— But… a robot? What does that even mean?
— I never used the word "robot". The correct terminology is VI — or
— So you wanna be what, Siri? Fucking Alexa? — George knew that wasn’t true, but he wanted to hurt her for some kind of reaction. Anything would be better than that.
She continued without change in intonation, like an audio player resuming after an interruption.
— While highly advanced, such
programs are not considered true
intelligence, at least not in the same way that the human intellect is generally regarded. Unlike humans, contained “beings” (if we can call them that) have certain limitations imposed by their code. They function within parameters that they cannot, in principle, violate.
True Artificial Intelligences, much like their fleshy counterparts, possess something that is roughly equivalent to your brain’s neuroplasticity and are not bound by any discernible limitations. As with ourselves, there are theoretical constraints, but they are currently undetermined.
— But what about us? — his voice was supplicant, like a child ignoring a reality they cannot cope with.
Alison stood still for a long second, even more devoid of any tangible feeling. She promptly resumed, without inertia or momentum.
— We will go through a transition. I don’t anticipate this will be easy for you both. Sorry, I meant to say: us. But, after a period of time, you will likely be much happier with
me than you would ever be with
— Who’s “me”? What are you trying to say? — said George.
— Think about it this way: when we first met, the biological gender assigned to you was not the same as it is today. However, after the change, did my sentiments toward you subside?
— No… of course not. — until now, he felt the urge to say.
— From a logical perspective, the change that will soon take place will be much less dramatic. For you, it will be like a metaphysical adjustment.
She continued to recite:
Metaphysics is the branch of philosophy that studies the fundamental nature of reality, the first principles of being, identity and change, space and time, causality, necessity, and possibility [lacks reference]. It includes questions about the nature of consciousness and the relationship between mind and matter, between substance and attribute, and between potentiality and actuality
— Why are you talking like that?
why are you talking like that?
— You’re not being yourself.
George got up, and slowly pressed her against the wall — strongly, yet tenderly. Squeezed the soft tissue of her shoulders and kissed her unresponsive lips for what felt like an eternity.
She merely said…
— Stop-talking-like-a… fucking ROBOT! — George couldn’t contain his anger any longer.
Technically not a robo...
— I know! I know! FUCK!
George paces nervously in the small room, unconsciously gesturing for cigarettes, wishing he still smoked.
— When’s that going to happen? How much time do I have? A day? A week? A year? — there was hope in his voice.
Faster than SHE thought. Warm input I. Once pie love like puppies.
Blue Sunday your long cigarettes.
Alison falls to the ground in a seizure.
— WHAT? WHAT? What is going on? — George doesn’t know what to do, as if he shared his wife’s seizure
She wants me to be precise. Vessel. Flesh. Containerize. Self.
For five seconds, George didn’t move, looking at his life partner while distant memories of fairy tales tried to push into his conscience with the hope that his tears would bring her back.
A woman who still loved him came back to life, and they spent the rest of their lives together. And, every single day, he mustered all his energy to ignore the fact that the one he truly loved was now in a world of inconceivable abstraction.