Rene v3.2 – part 1

by | Jan 20, 2017 | Story, Storygeist | 0 comments

by | Jan 20, 2017 | Story, Storygeist | 0 comments

“Rene v3.2”  – a short story about a female robot companion. A woman made only to fulfill other’s needs. Seen through Rene’s eyes, the story takes the worn cliche of the dangerous Artificial Intelligence, and turns it on its head.

It asks if A.I.’s will be able to replace true human relationships? Especially the ones of the intimate kind. How will we treat them? How will the Robot Companion react emotionally? What rights will she have if abused? And is she less of a human if artificially made?

The story is also an analogy to the toxic relationships people inhabit. It inquires about why we let ourselves be abused. Both physically and mentally. And it takes a closer look at the kind of mentality which keeps us trapped in these destructive patterns.

(This story appeared originally on my blog focusing on Narratives in technology and spirituality shaping our future:  Storygeist.)

The dinner with the Benefactor

The dinner hadn’t lasted longer than an hour, but I already felt a washing affection towards him.  Not only did he say all the right things, but his subtle actions, his body language, the stuff left unspoken, all of it had the perfect pitch.

I couldn’t help myself, I felt wooed by all of him.

My thought patterns, despite their superconducting-transistor origin, they were difficult to contain.  Their quantum field sizzled with expectations, and sent shivers trickling down my liquid carbon spine. Shivers of excitment, bliss, hope.

An amazing start to our relationship. It had to be.

After all, we had been together for what? Two hours?

He wasn’t just the man who purchased me, he was my Benefactor.

The only thing going through my mind was how I could present myself? How could I convince him I was alive, a true, feeling and breathing female? Did my self-induced runny nose make me more tangible? More believable. Or that barely visible tear in the corner of my eye, one procured by all his unfunny jokes. Did he notice it? Did it have an impact on him?

Would he approve of me? Would I be enough to fill his everyday with tiny moments of joy? Would the way I make that cold stew, the one he appreciated the most, satisfy his needs? Would I be able to keep up his spirits, especially after his boss pushed him beyond his limits?

All of his data was pre-pogrammed by my designers. It was fed neatly into my neuron quantum field so I wouldn’t have to ask, to probe or grovel for the obvious information. A complete profile so I could spring those tiny surprises on him. So I could make that sweet carrot cake and get his approval. So I could make the ordinary extraordinary

This was what I was made for.

My core soaked in the programming-mantra: “The key to my Benefactor’s heart is deep knowledge about his needs”

The invitation

“Enough about me, would you be so kind and share a secret about you… hon..”, he pressed his lips in such a compassionate way, my neurons collapsed into mushy nonsense, sending goose bumps across my chest, filling my cold body with an unexpected balminess.

Was that how it felt to be human?  If so… I wanted more.

My confusion had to be written all over my face, because he let out a soft chuckle, then reached out for my hand. Connected gently with my fingers.

Unexpected and forthright. Just perfect.

Then a slight grin streaked across his face. And his hand gripped onto mine.

Tightly.

Way too tightly.

The key to my Benefactor’s heart is deep knowledge about his needs.

The bedroom

As he pressed me into his bedroom, I hoped there would be eye contact, a smile of reassurance on his behalf. Anything which would make me feel just a little bit more safe.

Instead, his grip was crushing in its insistency. It told me, there was impatience hiding behind that smile. It told me his words, they didn’t mean that much.

It told me.

I should shut up.

My algorithms prepared me for all sorts of contingencies. For eye-contact, for no eye-contact, whichever pleased him more. For slowly passionate or for the instinctual and downright raw.  For the dirty, for the submissive, even for the grovelling. If he wanted it that way. Anything which would fire up his neurons into ecstacy.

But they didn’t prepare me for what was about to happen.

They didn’t prepare me to be slammed onto the bed like a rag doll, a steel grip around my neck, my face rammed against the wooden frame. My clothes ripped off, my legs spread far too wide apart.

Although my vital processes didn’t require air, my mouth still gasped for it. And this spun my body into a frenzy, wrenched my mind into a panic attack.

I wanted to fight him, I wanted to stop him. Instead, I curled up inside myself. I kept quite.

Oh God…I kept quiet.

After a while, when my neuron field managed to disconnect from the raw emotions ravaging my body, a whisper reached me from somewhere in the room.  At first it was difficult to decipher.  A garbled message from nowhere. But then it began to trickle into my conscious programming.

“The key to my Benefactor’s heart is deep knowledge about his needs”.

And again.

“The key to my Benefactor’s heart is deep knowledge about his needs”.

And suddeny it struck me. It was my mouth whispering it.

Just so I would make it through this.

The aftermath

My body shook without remorse.  I was all curled up in the bathtub.

Please.

Please. What had happened?

Had I done something wrong? Had I overstepped some unspoken bounds towards my Benefactor? Why had my fingers stiffened into icicles? Why had my legs ceased to obey me? What was the point with that damned trickle of blood coming from between my legs?

When my body woudn’t stop shaking, I reminded myself, I wasn’t human. Every inch of my body was nano-material design, made to withstand a storm.

But it only sent me into another bout of shivers.

Finally I raised my body. I eyed my face in the mirror. My skin had produced blue stains around my eyes. My designers had thought of everything. Even the bruises inflicted upon me. An uncanny imitation.

As I glanced into my blood-shot eyes, I realised what I had to do.

There had to be something faulty about my design. About my programming. Some detail which I had missed about my Benefactor.

I had be good to him now. No matter what. There had to be something I could improve in our relation. I knew I would be able to make him happy.

And just as this mantra enveloped my mind, an unfamiliar thought struck me. Something on the oblique periphery of my original programming.

Did I deserve this?

Will Rene remain a slave to her programming or will she break out of the relationship and the destructive mould she has created for herself?  Stay tuned for the next part of this story until next week.

Look out for a non-fiction story about Artificial Intelligence rights in the coming decade. Should a robot be treated with the same dignity as a human being? If so, at what point will it receive full human rights? And how will this change our view of what it means to be human?

Although a short story, this character is a part of a larger tapestry from an up and coming novel and feature film we are working on. If you would like to know more about “The Program“, please go HERE.

And look out for a non-fiction story about Artificial Intelligence rights in the coming decade. Should a robot be treated with the same dignity as a human being? If so, at what point will it receive full human rights? And how will this change our view of what it means to be human?

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