The Machine

PART TWO: THE EPIPHANY

As sand continued trickling down the proverbial hour glass, Aurora adjusted to work and life in Timeline D1. The Director of the Ministry of Defense had been right that her new job would interfere with her work-life balance but Aurora had faith in the doppelganger she had left to watch over her daughter. Leal, her Protector, had even given her his blessing.

Between working with the Space-Time Exploration Division work, Secret Project work with Dr. Paisley Clarke and Night Classes on her Doctorate Degree in Quantum Technologies, Aurora was spread pretty thin and was delighted that her Protector was so supportive at such a crazy time in her life.

Sometimes during lunch, her mind would wander towards her family and she wondered whether they could ever forgive her for always putting her work first. Aurora wondered whether her daughter would grow up to hate her once little Avery was old enough to understand that the woman that was actually ‘homeschooling’ her was not her mother but a temporal copy of her instead.

The Secret Project work was the most tedious and involving of all the work she did as both she and Dr. Clarke poured themselves fully into creating the Machine. They had decided on creating the AI that would calculate probabilities of other realities existing beyond their own as their initial step in realizing their goal.

Quix was the most advanced AI system in the timeline but they needed an AI even more advanced than Quix and so the two scientists worked tediously long into the night; revising their work constantly. Their hard work was reflected in the AI they developed which was initially tasked with accurately calculating probabilities to alternate timelines that were rarely or never explored…

The AI performed spectacularly and Aurora even incorporated the technology she co-created with Dr. Clarke in her own Time Machine. However, the AI’s mathematical calculations could only reach so far before it would inevitably crash just as the Quix model often times did.

Aurora hoped for their sake that she was indeed gifted with the special ability to connect to the Probability Field as it would greatly impact on the creation of the AI. However, though she tried every spell she could think of to charm the new AI with her traveler magic to connect to the Probability field, it never seemed to work.

She and Dr. Clarke failed so many times that Aurora’s suspension of disbelief that she was somehow uniquely connected to the Probability Field was lifted and she decided that perhaps Dr. Clarke’s theory was off.

The weeks dragged into months and yet Aurora and Dr. Clarke were no closer to discovering how to get their AI to work in the way they expected it to. They essentially had a Turing Machine with the same capabilities as the latest Quix model but one that did not evolve beyond that point. Aurora then decided to take a few days off work to try and recenter and re-energize herself.

Spending time off work did a world of good for Aurora. Not only did she get to spend more time with her daughter thus alleviating part of the guilt she felt for abandoning her but Aurora also had plenty of opportunities to spend time with her Protector and work on their failing romantic connection.

Aurora was in disbelief that their romance that had greatly suffered due to Leal’s Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and Aurora’s own experience with Depression could flourish. However, Leal appeared to be recovering well from his PTSD and he took the lead in reigniting the passion in their relationship. Leal’s positive outlook of where he hoped their relationship would lead to was infectious and Aurora found herself inspired by his vision of the future.

By the time she resumed work, Aurora felt much lighter and more optimistic about life which brought on more impassioned efforts on her part to resolving the issue at hand. Aurora constantly compared the AI they had developed against her own Time Machine’s AI and was suddenly struck with an idea.

“Dr. Clarke, I think I may have figured out how to resolve our issue with evolving our AI,”

“Oh? How’s so?”

“Well, assuming your Theory about my special ability is right, the reason why I have been able to safely reach my targets is dependent on my connection to the Probability Field. Initially I thought it was because of the AI I built into the Time Machine but even when I fed data into the machine and it generated these possibilities, I did more research, improved upon the searches, kept calculating the probabilities on my own until the Machine provided me with what I needed exactly…”

“In short, I was, unwittingly, a cog of my own machine- a component in it, I believe. So it stands to reason that if the reason my Time Machine was so right about the coordinates of the travelers I rescued as well as being accurate about the doppelgangers I have met and integrated with in the past, then the answer to our AI’s problem is me. I somehow have to be integrated into the machine for it to work!”

“But haven’t we already tried that, Aurora? You have tried charming the AI but that failed-“

“I know but what if that isn’t fully integrating myself with the machine as should be? Something about me working hand in hand with my Time Machine’s AI causes it to be invariably linked to the Probability Field whenever I require it. It is because I am essentially a part of the machine… And so, Dr. Clarke, I therefore ask you, is there any way I can be integrated into the AI of our machine?”

Dr. Clarke shook her head. “What you are proposing is against every known principle in developing Artificial Intelligence. AIs are purposely made without integrating any aspects of humanity because it would be disastrous otherwise…”

“Imagine a highly intelligent system that is prone to emotionalism- one that can destroy the world by the snap of its proverbial fingers because it decides to hate on its creators one day. It could be catastrophic,”

“And what if the only way we can get the Machine to work is by integrating me, emotionalism and all, into the system somehow? How will we know unless we try?”

“It is far too dangerous, Aurora and I doubt we will be allowed to do so anyway,”

“I’m going to propose it to the Director anyway. If I get the green light, can I depend on your support?”

Dr. Clarke nodded. “I don’t like what you are proposing but we’re partners so I will see it through to the end,”

Aurora smiled and requested to speak to the Director. The Director accepted the request and to her credit, heard Aurora’s side of things. The Director explained the dangers of what Aurora was proposing and asked Aurora if she was still willing to see her project through despite the risks.

Aurora indicated that she was fully prepared to take the risk on and further stated that she would happily accept the burden of responsibility should the risk result in disaster. She waited with bated breath for the Director’s final word.

TO BE CONTINUED…

Shall Aurora be successful in wooing her doppelganger to her cause or is this the end of the dream for her and her partner Dr. Clarke? Stay tuned to find out. In the meantime, tide yourself over with the first part of this intriguing series. Enjoy!

  1. The Machine: Part 1
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