Dr Vankateshwara straightened his tie as he analysed his overall appearance in the mirror for the last time before the interview, a form fitted crisp suit with an ironed shirt, blue tie, tailor-made pants and formal shoes, clean-shaven face accompanied by salt and pepper hair gave an impression of intellectual superiority. For he was intelligent enough to earn two doctorates at a comparatively young age but smart enough to know that none of that mattered unless he looked smart before the camera. Then he reached for his spectacle from the bedside table, put it on and pushed it higher by its nose bridge.
“Come on, you have faced worse.” He said to his reflection staring back at him as he exhaled deeply. Then, he confidently walked towards his study where the reporter was waiting. His past experiences have made him better prepared for today, at least that’s what he thought. Nevertheless, he was confident that this was his day and he was ready to amaze the world with his achievement. As he grabbed the doorknob to his study, he took a deep breath to calm his nerves and put on a vibrant smile before pushing the door open.
“Hello Dr Venkatesh, it’s a pleasure to meet you again,” Susan Phillip greeted with a smile.
“Oh, the pleasure is all mine Susan, sorry to keep you waiting,” Venkatesh replied with an enthusiastic grin, perhaps a little too enthusiastic. He had chosen the study as the location of the interview because of its décor. The extensive collection of books it held on topics like robotics, A.I and psychology and an antique oak table topped with red velvet gave the impression of a well-read gentleman.
Susan however, got an immediate impression of a nervous wreck who was trying to overcompensate for his lack of self-confidence, someone who didn’t want to be argued with and wanted his words to carry weight. She had chewed and spat such elites in the past without giving a second thought; she wasn’t going to make an exception today.
Venkatesh sat in his chair across the table, just opposite to Ms Phillips, a prime position that instigates arguments. The cameraman and the sound guy got busy with their final preparations, clipped on a collar mike on Dr Venkateshwara’s suit. The wise doctor sat there patiently, his arms resting on the armrest of his chair, gauging the predator-like instinct in the reporter’s eye. “Not today,” he thought to himself as a smug smile formed on his lips.
“So, we record in 5, 4, 3, 2, 1” Susan ended the countdown with her first question
“Dr Venkatesh, you understand that we serve to the average everyday folks and not academicians, so why did you choose us for this exclusive interview?”
“You see Ms Susan, our research has the potential to affect the lives of everyone on this planet in the future, so it is only justified that I explain it to ordinary everyday people as best as I can because after all knowledge is meant to be shared” Venkatesh replied with a smile.
“Before we go into a more technical aspect of it, will you kindly illustrate why do we need a conscious A.I? I mean when we already have quite advanced A.I capable of replacing factory workers in the industries, what is the necessity of a self-conscious robot apart from a novelty?” Susan asked with a pretence of innocence.
“You see, even though we have the necessary A.I capability to free people from their mundane, repetitive jobs so that they can invest their time elsewhere.” Vankatesh began tactfully. “ We are still not able to exploit the full capability of A.I since a robot can be only as useful as it is intelligent. Being self-consciousness will not only help a robot do its job well but also guide him to choose an objective without human interference, and above all; by replicating consciousness in a machine, we will understand our conscience better.”
“So according to my research, there have been many projects in the past by various scientists who have attempted to replicate the consciousness of the human mind inside a computer, many have succeeded in different aspects, how is your work different from them?” Susan inquired.
“Subtly, you see we have built upon their work; the problem was the previous attempts were made to have a self-conscience A.I without a self. All the millions of lines of codes governing the mind of the machines were written by humans, we attempt to change that.” Venkatesh explained.
“Dr Vankateshwar, are you saying that your experimental A.I will be able to program and reprogramme itself ?” Her eyes were shining with a strange light of impatience as if she was just waiting for Venkatesh to step into the trap, he sensed it, but lying wasn’t an option, a self-adapting and reprogramming A.I was too big of an achievement in his career to hide for fear of a pesky reporter.
“You see Ms Susan, for an A.I to be actually conscious, it has to adapt to new situations which are far from ideal, not only will it need to learn new skills but also acquire new ways of interacting with different circumstances and people. As these situations can be drastically different, hence one’s set of rules may not successfully apply to the other and hence, fluidity is a must. We, humans, do it all the time, depending on where we are, with whom we are, we reprogram our behaviour and even our thoughts because we are conscious of our surroundings and always reacting and adapting to it. These are essential for any conscious being.” Venkatesh emphasised with occasional nods.
“Do you intend this A.I of yours to interact with people like your previous experiment, ‘Project Turing’?” A malicious smile was sitting on her lips; she had attacked him where it hurts.The pangs of pain that Venkatesh felt were barely hidden from the camera as Venkatesh suddenly flinched in his chair, for Project Turing was his failure, but so what? Who doesn't fall, who doesn't fail? Success comes to those who dare to get up and run again, and that’s exactly what Venkatesh was going to do. He exhaled deeply to calm himself before answering.
“Project Turing is in the past, and it would be better if we let it be, as for your question, No! We are not going to repeat the same mistake twice, this time the human interaction will be limited and carefully monitored. The A.I will initially interact with only me and the team of mine and slowly will its social circle grow as we see fit.”
“Ah! So you will parent the A.I, overcompensating for something Dr Vankateshwara?” She remarked with a sly smile. “Anyway my question is, what if this A.I outsmarts you to escape its limited social freedom? I am sure your brainchild will be a smart one and what if it escapes your guidance before it is ready, what mayhem can an angry teenage young robot not cause, I wonder?”
“Another reference to angry teenagers, is she deliberately trying to bring up the Turing A.I or am I just imagining stuff?” Venkatesh contemplated while he took a quick glance at the cameraman and then looked back at Susan. “ Ms Susan, you make it sound like I am trying to adopt our new project.” he burst into a mock laughter. “I personally never thought of it this way, but you see, this one is programmed like an infant, even though it has the resources to perform vast calculations, but it is limited because it has not been programmed to do more than what an infant does, in fact, less. With time it will learn new things including locomotion and language, and at this initial stage it will program itself the way we want it to because it has been programmed to trust people based on their interaction with it, so yes; it is pretty much like nurturing a child…” Susan interrupted before Venkatesh could finish.
“And you believe you will be able to be a good parent to the most ‘potentially dangerous’ child on the planet, and that too without any prior experience.”
“Nobody understands this most ‘potentially useful’ child better than us.” Venkatesh defended.
“ Is it programmed with the three laws of robotics ?” Susan inquired.
“Oh! You mean Asimov three laws? Not entirely, it is programmed to follow only the first and the last law, nobody can have free will until they are free to disobey orders, can they?” Venkatesh asked rhetorically.
“So you plan to create a robot that can learn like a human, is exponentially faster at learning than almost every Human, can reprogram itself as it sees fit and does not need to listen to human. Dr Vamkateshwara, do you not think that this is a pretty dangerous combination and the only thing we hope will prevent it from going rogue and turning into ‘Skynet’ are your parenting skills? A man who has never fathered a child before?” Susan Jibed and her comment had served its desired purpose, Venkatesh was silent. The way she had put it made his work seemed like a recipe for disaster. How could he possibly provide an answer that could satisfy her and her paranoid dim-witted patrons, he had to think of something smart and quickly for he knew that the greatest of scientific advancement could be sabotaged by public opinion. No wonder he was cursing the moment he agreed to this stupid idea of an exclusive interview with Susan Philip, the most sensational and hence popular news anchor he had known. He was a scientist, Not a P.R agent and no amount of practice interview and rehearsals in front of the mirror could have prepared him for this moment. But his intellectual pride was too much for him to admit it. He leaned back in his chair, turned it at a slight angle away from her as he interlocked his fingers.
“I see your points are fear-driven, and even though there is a small possibility that it can come true but trust me, we can pull the ‘plug’ off anytime we want, in fact, the project will be self-terminated if one of the team doesn't regularly check in on it.” Venkatesh continued with genuine humility “And yes it is true that the A.I is capable of immeasurable destruction like a human being, but as long as a scholarly team of PhDs are there to guide its limitless potential, you can sleep easy that it won’t be corrupted by bigotry, hatred or hypocrisy. Yes, I admit that certain dangers are there and that would be enough to make us cautious of the future development of our project.” Venkatesh assured with a slight bow of his head.
“So you admit that your project is dangerous and…” Venkatesh interfered before she could complete “Ms Susan, do you have to be repetitive and redundant, please move on to your next question, I am a busy man.”
Susan stared blankly at the doctor with an ajar mouth for a while. Then, after regaining her composure, she spoke. “No, Dr Venkateshwara, I think that would be all, thank you for your time, the interview will be on tonight’s prime time,” Susan announced in a formal tone and signed her team for a wrap-up. When the collar mike was taken off Venkatesh, Susan leaned forward against the table.
“Dr Venkatesh, I am not against scientific progress, but you must learn that you have a greater responsibility than the blind pursuit of knowledge and its consequences on the lives of others.”
Venkatesh was sitting in a restaurant a few blocks away from his lab; he planned to buy lunch for his core team who were busy running final diagnostic check-ups before activating the A.I, while he was waiting for the order to arrive his mind was pondering about what Susan said to him. As a scientist, he always thought that it was not just his job but his responsibility to pursue knowledge. To venture into the unknown so that the Human knowledge could be advanced. He always treated films about robot apocalypse as a product of the fear of the human mind of the unknown, what if the fear wasn’t baseless? Like many another philosopher, he considered non-aggression as a trait of a more enlightened mind, what if aggression was the key to survival, wouldn't then a superior intelligence choose to be aggressive for a better chance of survival? He would have kept pondering such questions had his trail of thought not been derailed by the vibrating cell phone in his pocket, The name displayed of Dr Anna Ainsworth.
Dr Ainsworth was a developmental Psychologist and specialised in child psychoanalysis. She met Venkatesh at a seminar about the psychology of consciousness and the recent development in the field a few years back.Venkatesh, realising her expertise about the working and development of a child’s mind and admiring her tall, slender figure and curly red hair couldn’t help but to ask her out on a date and ask her in on his research. She agreed to one of his proposition, and they have been working together ever since. Venkatesh considered himself fortunate to have found a good friend and a priceless asset as her, Not that he wasn’t looking for more, but he was satisfied with what he had.
He picked up the phone to be asked by Shen in his best bugs bunny impression “Whats up Doc? You bringing me a carrot cake?” Shen Jiamo, like the other two of the team, was a doctorate of none and the only philosophy that he could relate to was the polar opposite of what Venkatesh's father used to tell him while growing up “high living, Simple thinking.” Now of course, for Shen, a high life meant a life high on calories, Venkatesh always found himself to be a little envious of Shen, no matter how much or what he ate, it seemed he was incapable of gaining weight. Now before anyone assumes Shen to be a stereotypical Asian comic relief of the team (which they won’t be entirely wrong to assume.), it will be beneficial to note that he was a brilliant engineer with masters in Mechatronics. Shen was the one who created the robotic shell for Dr Venkatesh's A.I so that it could process the world as a human would. Even though he was less qualified than the other two, he considered his contribution to the secret Chinese space project enough to compensate for that, which of course he had no proof of considering the secret nature of the project.
“Today is not your birthday Shen, as far as I remember,” Venkatesh remarked with deadpan humour. “Why are you calling from Anna’s phone?”
“Because he discharged his own while building himself a virtual empire.” Came the voice of Anna, the phone was of course on speaker. “When will you be coming? we need to run a final check on the learning and adapting algorithm.”
“Pretty soon. I will be on my way as soon as I pick up the order” Said Venkatesh while checking his watch.
“What are you bringing Doc?” Shen asked curiously.
“Something edible and in generous quantity for the three of us, I assume that would be adequate info for you.” Venkatesh teased.
“Aye Aye captain! By the way, what do you want to set the response for Fat, alcohol, salt and sugar in the spectral analyser, and what magnitude?” Shen inquired.
“Set it positive 60% for sugar, 30 for salt, maybe 5 to 10 for fat, make it 5, and set Alcohol to negative 30%.” Instructed Venkatesh as Shen jotted down the parameters.
“No, set it to positive 50 for fat, Venkatesh just because you are on a diet doesn't mean it can’t enjoy occasional ice-creams and Chips, humans love the taste of fat and have been eating it since prehistory. It's sugar that you should keep a watch out for.” Anna warned him.
“Very well, pamper the A.I all you want, 50% it is,” Venkatesh affirmed.
“You don’t want the A.I to enjoy some vintage Kentucky bourbon on a rainy night by the fireplace Doc?” Shen asked with a melodramatic sorrowful voice.
“Mr Shen, have you been drinking since you were 5?” Venkatesh asked with annoyance.
“I wish my old man had allowed, what a splendid childhood it would have been.” Shen retorted. “ But as you say, boss. Come quick and bring the food quicker, bye!”
“Oh wait! How was the interview with Susan Phillip, When are they gonna broadcast it?” Anna asked enthusiastically.
“I don’t think they will; they can’t show manslaughter on news network, can they?” Shen commented with a pretence of disappointment before Venkatesh could reply.
“It was nothing of that sort Shen, we were both mature adults, behaving professionally and discussing the experiment,” Venkatesh explained in a calm, diplomatic voice.
“ Ya, she screwed you like a pro, didn’t she?” Anna jibed, and Shen burst into a fit of laughter.
“ I knew an exclusive with Susan Phillip was a terrible idea.” Venkatesh let out a sigh “ Curses be in the moment when I agreed to it and on the person who suggested it.”
“Told you not to go drinking with the chairman!” Anna exclaimed triumphantly. “See you later professor.”
“ Ok Bye! The order is ready, got to go.” Venkatesh replied in a hurry.
“See your Doc,” said Shen quickly before Venkatesh disconnected. Then he went to the receptionist where the order was waiting at the table, paid for it. Put the phone in his pocket, left out of the door and then suddenly recalled that he forgot to pick up the order, he hurriedly went back to pick it up beamed a silly smile at the receptionist and headed towards his bicycle.
Venkatesh and Shen were busy with the final preparations before activating the A.I. Shen was running simulations for the tactile response of the Androids artificial skin whereas Venkatesh was debugging the last few hundred lines of the code when Anna walked into the lab with a large box of piping hot pizza.
The lab was a spacious one cluttered with all sort of machines, from 3D printers to CNC Lathe and Miller while on the opposite end laid the computers where Shen had designed the robotic shell, Venkatesh was sitting on the other end of the Lab on his System. Near about the Centre of the Lab was a plastic Chair on which the lifeless Android was placed with a placid expression, It’s Fibre skeleton and actuators were covered by a grey coloured artificial skin with an embedded grid of shiny silvery piezo-electric wires. Only its face and hands were covered with synthetic human-like silicone skin as Venkatesh considered functionality and economic feasibility more important than vanity. Its head was bald and so was its face, lacking any facial hair excluding the fake eyelashes. Its face was modelled after a 3D composite image of the faces of its three creators, one of whom had left his station and rushed towards the pizza as soon as it's delicious cheesy aroma reached him.
“You should have seen his interview” Anna suggested to Shen while looking at Venkatesh. “It wasn’t as bad as the doctor made it out to be, I would say he managed it well… Watch out, Shen! Thin crust!” Even before Shen could realise, a significant portion of cheese and toppings had slipped off the pointy edge of the slice which he was holding at the crust and fell on the floor.
“wastage of perfectly good pizza, that’s an omen from the gods”. Shen warned sarcastically, “and I have decided it. I am not putting ‘worked with Dr Venkatesh Iyer’ on my resume. Period.” Shen commented as he chewed on the remaining toppings and cheese on his decimated slice.
“If you guys are done, could you please put on the eyebrows and hair on it Anna, and finish with your simulations if you don’t want to sleep in this lab Shen.” Instructed Venkatesh from the far end of the lab.
“Who doesn't cheer up in the presence of pizza?” Shen asked with his mouth full.
“ You know who.” Anna rolled her eyes toward Vankatesh as both went to finish off their respective tasks.
About an hour later, all three of them were standing close together in front of the Android and looking at it.
“Do you guys think it will be the right time, or should we wait until the morning?” Venkatesh looked at them nervously.
“Doc, the simulations are perfect, and unless you doubt your coding skills, I guess it is ready to rise up and shine; or kill, depending on your codes.” Shen shrugged.
“Are we going to refer to the A.I as “it”? I think it deserves a name” Anna declared.
“What do you mean?” Venkatesh's eyes narrowed in surprise. “it already has a name, the name of our project, Artificial Intelligent Simulation of Human Awareness and Conscious, A.I.S.H.A.C for short.”
“Seriously Doc!” Exclaimed Shen. “How big of a nerd do you have to be to name an android as an acronym?”
“ What? it makes perfect sense, A.I.S.H.A.C is our project, this is our project, and hence this is A.I.S.H.A.C.” Venkatesh explained while pointing at the android.
“Isaac! That’s what it should be, Isaac!” Suggested Anna snapping her fingers.
“Cool, Isaac as in Isaac Newton and Isaac Asimov, Nerdy enough for the Doc, Sciency enough for the droid,” Shen affirmed while fist bumping Anna.
“Yes! Isaac is a good name…” Venkatesh was interrupted before he could finish
“And there for it be the name of the A.I.” declared Anna “ uh, uh uh, no if, no buts” she shut Venkatesh before he could raise an objection.
“Fine! But are you guys sure we should wake him up just now, I mean…” Vankatesh was interrupted again by Anna before he could finish.
“Look at him! The able doctor is as nervous as a first-time father” Anna mocked while pinching both of Venkatesh's cheeks. “That’s so cute.”
“It’s nothing like that.” Said vankatesh trying to brush off his awkwardness. “ I just think we should double check the codes one last time.”
“Doc, you have already triple checked and debugged the codes, go ahead man! We trust you, tap it.” Encouraged Shen.
Venkatesh looked at Anna for her opinion, she nodded.
“Very well” Venkatesh took out his tablet, unlocked the screen. “Here goes my life’s work.” he taped the ‘Activate’ button. The screen began to show the transfer of last few gigabytes of codes, the transfer was comparatively fast due to the photon based transfer of data that was trademarked under the name Li-Fi. But to them, it appeared to have taken an eternity to reach 99%, and when it did, the tablet screen locked itself and went black. All three of them stared at the Android and were impatiently waiting for the bootup process to finish. There was a death-like silence in the lab in which Venkatesh could almost hear his own heart racing. The calmness of their surrounding was in stark contrast to the storm raging in each mind and in this moment of palpable tension, Issac woke up.
First, the android raised its head and then slowly opened his eyes. The first thing he saw was Venkatesh's blue shirt; then he moved his head further up to look at Venkatesh's face. He blinked for the first time, then he moved his gaze onto Shen on the right and then Anna on the left. All three of them hunched over staring at him while Anna’s arms shot up in the air.
“It’s alive! It’s alive!” Anna announced triumphantly, shooting her arms in the air.
Venkatesh squatted down, eye level to Issac and smiled, Issac's stare was fixed on him, then Venkatesh lifted his right hand and forwarded his open palm towards Issac. Issac gaze quickly shifted to Venkatesh’s hand, and he jerked back his upper body abruptly, Venkatesh drew his hand back quickly and looked into Issac's eyes.
“It’s ok; we are not going to harm you, It's okay”. Venkatesh slowly moved his hand towards Issac again. This time, however, Issac didn’t move back, he kept his gaze on Venkatesh, and the Doctor slowly moved his hand closer to Issac’s silicon cheeks and stroked them lightly, Issac’s eye closed and a smile slowly formed on his lips.
“Is he smiling? Oh, look! He is smiling.” Anna stared at Isaac with widened and moist eyes.
“Yes, his tactile feedback is working, the smile is an automated reaction..” This time it was Shen who interrupted Him.
“Don’t spoil this moment Doc, I know what is happening, and it is still wonderful” replied Shen with a broad smile on his face.
“I know. It surely is” Vankatesh kept stroking Issac’s cheeks lovingly, and a smile crept from Venkatesh’s lips to his eyes which were staring back into Issac’s. Then all of a sudden Anna rose an alarm.
“ Why isn’t Isaac crying? You programmed it like a child, so it should cry. Shouldn't it?” Anna asked worriedly.
“Relax Anna!” Venkatesh replied calmly as he turned his head towards Anna and then back to Issac. “He is smart, he knows that all our attention is focused on him and he doesn't need to do anything to attract it.” Venkatesh gently pinched Isaac’s cheek. “Don’t you? smart little boy.”
“Uh, Doc! I have a question, how do you know Isaac is a ‘he’? I mean I didn’t design any specific parts for him so…” Shen enquired with a shrug of his shoulders while shaking his head. Venkatesh’s eyes opened wide as he turned towards Anna.
“I don’t, in fact, the only reason I have been referring Issac as a male is because his name is Isaac.”
“Don’t look at me!” Anna exclaimed crossing her arms. “ The only reason I called him Isaac was because it sounded similar to A.I.S.H.A.C and was a better name than that.”
“Okay, Nothing to panic!” Venkatesh breathed out heavily. “We will let Isaac figure out with time which gender does he or she want to identify with when he is capable of processing what genders are, till then we go about calling him Isaac until Isaac want’s to get his name changed. Cool?” Venkatesh suggested, gesturing with open palms.
“Wow!, I wish parents in your country were as liberal with their kids as you are.” Shen mocked.
“He is not my kid” Venkatesh reminded. “He is an expensive research project, our research project.”
“And that reminds me where will Issac stay tonight?” Anna asked, “Surely we can’t leave him in this lab, can we?”
“Of course not!” Venkatesh’s jaws dropped. “ He is programmed with the psychology of a child; he will cry himself to failure if he finds none to keep him company.” Just as Venkatesh had finished and even before he could take a breath, he heard a faint noise of crying. Turning back they saw Issac was crying even though his eyes were dry. What they didn’t notice was in between their discussion about Issac’s sex and his nightly accommodation, they had turned their attention completely away from Issac for quite a while. Issac processed this by the direction they were looking at and the angle of their body, and this was enough to get him to respond like a human baby would in such situation. His weeps were slowly getting louder until it got their attention back. Yes, Venkatesh's codes were running smoothly, and he was glad about it. But right now Vankatesh had to go down on his knees to pacify Issac.
“It’s ok! I wasn’t annoyed at you, It was Shen and Anna who got me distracted, You have our full attention now.” Venkatesh kept on pacifying Issac as Anna and Shen were giggling behind.
When his crying had stopped, Vankatesh got up and told Shen to keep Isaac busy while he was going to to have a drink by the water cooler. He called Anna along with him. Isaac had almost begun to cry a second time seeing Anna and Venkatesh leave, but Shen managed to get his attention focused on himself while they were gone.
“I guess I should take Issac with me tonight” Venkatesh suggested on the way to the water cooler, “That way I will be able to see if he is malfunctioning in any way.”
“Ya, like you have any idea how a baby functions that you will know if he is ‘malfunctioning’.” Anna quipped Venkatesh sarcastically.
“Why does everyone have to bring up my lack of parenting experience in this?” Venkatesh argued. “He is a scientific experiment, I know science, I have written his codes, I know what to expect of him.”
“ Yes you have written his codes, but you have written them so that he acts like a baby and learn from his experience, didn’t you?” Anna asked rhetorically. “And now he is experiencing and adapting to be something different from what you created but he is still a child, and I know his mind because that’s what I do.”
“I don’t doubt your qualifications, but he is not a human kid, You expertise in Human psychology, I know about Artificial intelligence.” Venkatesh explained while taking a sip of the cold water “ What if you get him home and he starts to behave abnormally, different from an ordinary child like he did when he didn’t cry.”
“you programmed it to act like a child, and then develop its own conscious with time, don’t you think it will be a problem if it does not act like an average child at this early stage?” Anna asked with concern. “Maybe we should both be together with Isaac tonight, I mean we each have very valid reasons to be with him.”
Venkatesh almost coughed up the entire gulp of water he had taken because of the shock. Anna quickly moved out of the way to dodge the spillage and began stroking Venkatesh on the back to relax his coughing.
“As in we be together in one house?” Vankatesh asked after the cough subsided. “are you sure?”
“ hold on to your horses Doctor.” Anna said teasingly as they started to walk back towards the lab “ You and Isaac will be in one bed, and I will be on the couch.”
“Why? Shouldn't you be on the bed and I on the sofa?” Venkatesh asked.
“ Oh! That’s because in case your programming malfunctions, I don’t wanna risk my life.” Anna raised her hands in mock deniability.
“Very well, I never thought that I would ever get to ask you this.” Venkatesh said coyishly “Your place or mine?”
“Don’t you think we should also ask Shen if we are going to have a…” Anna had stopped mid-sentence, surprised by what she saw up ahead when she opened the lab’s door to enter. In front of her was Isaac sitting on his chair but clutching the armrest firmly, looking keenly at Shen who was sitting opposite him on a similar chair in the exact same pose. At this moment Venkatesh who was walking just a few paces behind looked through the ajar door, and his jaws dropped. Shen was slowly and steadily pushing on the armrest and getting up, Issac was mirroring him exactly without any sense of fear or hesitation but keen focus until both Shen and Isaac were facing each other and standing straight up. Vankatesh was admiring the tall and lean-built of the humanoid which had never looked more fantastic till now. Within an hour of his birth. Isaac was on his feet.
Anna ran in and hugged Shen; Then she quickly turned to Issac with an ecstatic smile. Isaac smiled back too, First at her and then he turned his head to look at Venkatesh walking in with wide strides as if all the exhaustion of the long day had washed off him. He congratulated Shen and pat his back, then turning at Issac took a good look at his creation as he beamed in admiration.
“ How did you know, how did you ask him to follow you?” Venkatesh demanded, shaking Shen with excitement and urgency.
“I didn’t!” Shen explained. “After both of you had left he was almost brought back to tears. I tried to console him by baby talking to him, but he kept looking at the door as if he wanted to follow you. I thought why not try and see if Isaac could walk, but for that, first he had to get up, and since he is programmed like a kid, I thought the best way to teach him was to show him.
So, I bought this chair.” Shen pointed at the chair right behind him where he was sitting. “Sat on it got up and moved towards the door. This caught his attention. I repeated this once more and to my amazement, he was pushing on the floor hard enough to lift his body up in the air. Unfortunately not hard enough to stand up and hence he fell back into the chair. Fearing that he will push too hard and topple over, I sat back on my chair with his focus on me.” Shen began to demonstrate by sitting back in his chair. “Then I gripped the armrest rigidly and slowly pushed until I was on my feet and then I straightened up. Isaac followed the exact movements, and here he is, standing right in front of you.Now we know that the servos are running fine and my simulations were correct.”
“I never doubted them,” Venkatesh defended.
“Yes you did, or why else would you make me run them twice.” Shen retorted “Is it because you can’t bear my absence from the lab Doc? Awww.”
“Get a room you two, would you?” Anna mocked them. “Focus on the rising star now. Do you think we can teach Isaac to walk now? I mean right now.”
“I don’t see why we can’t,” Venkatesh assured with confidence.
“One little thing that I wanted to ask Doc?” Shen enquired “How is Isaac able to ‘focus’ I mean it is quite evident that Isaac is fond of you so why would he focus his attention on me when you guys were at the door?”
“That’s how I programmed him. Although he gets data from all of his sensors which will be at least in gigabytes, and that’s a conservative estimate, but he can choose to process some of that data on a priority basis whereas the other data does get stored for background processing.” He Looked at Anna and continued “Isn’t that how you said the focus, conscious and subconscious mind work?”
“That’s the leading theory,” Anna confirmed. “But let us concentrate on the task at hand. Who is going to teach Isaac to take his first step?”