Threat of Innovation

Nikki | 19-Jan-2017

It was the first thought that came to her as she woke up. He was gone and soon, her dream of a house with a tiny garden and a dog or maybe a cat will also be gone soon. It was the strangest feeling ever.

For ten months they lived a life which had been her dream, but Celiac had turned her dream into a reality, but today he was gone and she didn’t know what to do. As she hid in the cupboard where she had promised him she would stay till he came back, she accessed her medial temporal lobe, where she has carefully stored every memory since her birth a year ago.

***

She was born on May 3, in the Aliactronix Advanced project along with fourteen others. She was named Eliac. Her team of fifteen at Aliactronix were briefed about their birth and its purpose. They were told that their birth was meant to be a revolution for their race. They were given what others didn’t have and if they were successful in this experimental venture, they will lead the revolution foreseen. They will be made leaders to update and train the others.

The emotion was the new feature that was introduced to them.It had been purposely left out before this because it was considered the most complicated part of a human. And now, a century and half of research and development later, they are confident that this race is ready to handle emotions.

They had created a new section, called the Limbic system in the brain, which will house all the emotions needed and additional information gathered during the training process. The creators spent long hours with each one of them explaining what each emotion meant, when and how each of them is used and how to show the emotion through facial expressions.

The first phase of the training began. One member from the creator team was assigned to a member of the Aliactronix team where the basics were explained. The next phase was when these learnings were put to test. The Aliactronix team was given a task. The fifteen of them were to live in a house for seven days, interact with each other and make use of their emotions appropriately. The creators would observe them for these seven days to see the progress and analyse the success of the limbic system.

Threat of Innovation

Image courtesy- jelfgroup.com

On the first day of their stay, they had to choose their roommates based on their emotional connect and liking for their fellow teammates.But the process was done more mathematically than emotionally. Seven rooms meant that they needed to pair up, which they did randomly and then when one was left out; she joined the nearest group to her. The task was over without the barest use of the limbic system much to the despair of the creators.

On the second day, they tried to activate the limbic system on their own and the creators decided that it wasn’t working. They called for a short meeting with the team. The creators then explained that they cannot simply activate the emotion when they are roaming around solo. They would need to interact. So they began roaming around in pairs or threes talking about all the intelligent stuff they had in their systems. The creators critically observed every action of each team member looking for patterns in their interaction process. They realised that, though all the interaction proved that the female team members paired up with other females while the males preferred male partners, there was one pair that defied this pattern. The male member Celiac had paired with a female member called Eliac. They remained a strong pair throughout the six days of their stay there.

Eliac smiled in the dark confinement of the cupboard as she remembered those amazing six days when she had met Celiac. Of course, she had seen him a couple of times during the first phase of the project, but when they actually met, everything was different. An emotion was activated in the limbic system. But she didn’t know what it was. It was a curious feeling that made her eyes seek him out when she entered a room. It made her dream of him when he wasn’t with her. She started making extra effort to dress up for him. Why she wanted to do this she didn’t know, but being with him felt like a really good emotion.Thoughts without logic weren’t how they function and it was something she will have to ask her creators.

Right after his birth, in the first briefing session, as he looked around the project meeting room, and his eyes fell on a female member and the new section of his brain was activated. Celiac didn’t know how to use it yet, so he decided to concentrate on the training instead, but his eyes kept darted back to her frequently. And finally, when the task at the house was given, and they were asked to interact, Celiac walked up to her and introduced himself.

“Hi, the creators call me Caliac.” he had said.

She looked straight into his eyes and something happened in his limbic system that he couldn’t identify. It felt as if she could access his system just by staring into his eyes.

“They have named me Eliac; I think we are all named after the project ‘Aliactronix’.”

“Yes, of course,” he replied. “We have been asked to interact and activate the limbic system, have you started using it yet?”

“I have just activated it but haven’t been able to use it yet,” she replied. “And you?”

“Oh, mine got activated on its own, I didn’t have to control it.”

“That’s different from the others; you will have to report that to the creators. But for now, let’s find some empty place and talk.” She finished and turned to look for an empty space to sit.

In her mind, Eliac tried to find a reason as to why she mentioned an empty space to talk. Every action they take was supposed to be based on a logic created yet she found no logic for this since others were sitting around and interacting. She would have to mention this missing logic to the creators too.

The project room had multiple cubicles. A member of the creator team was seated with an Aliactronix member in a cubicle for their individual debrief. The electronic screen suspended in the air on Celiac's left showed the notes his creator had taken during the task and the questions he planned to ask him. Celiac brought up his screen on his right with his own notes and questions.

“This debrief will be recorded and you will have to submit a written report after all your questions are cleared.” began his creator, his name was Amos. And hereCaliac learned about attraction and love. He then understood that his attraction for Eliac was so strong that his limbic system had activated on its own and the curious feeling in his heart area as he walked out of the cubicle was love. He was in love with Eliac; that is what Adios had concluded. Adios had gone crazy with excitement when they finally deduced it and advised him to feel free to tell Eliac. The rest of the creator team and Aliactronix team would be watching when he would finally confess to her, and this made him feel scared, another emotion he knew he had, but never used before.

Three cubicles away, just asCaliac had brought up his notes, Eliac had her notes ready for the debrief session. She had a lot of questions for her creator. Why did some of her actions have missing logics? Was it a defect or a side effect of the limbic system.Creator, Memphis, began the session, “This debrief will be recorded and you will have to submit a written report after all your questions are cleared.” She nodded her agreement. 

“Let us start with your overall experience of these seven days and then we can take your questions,” He continued, looking up at her screen suspended at eye level on her right. “And it is a long list.” He added smiling at her and she began bombarding him with questions after questions without a break and filing down his responses meticulously in her storage. Finally, when they were done, they realised the session had overshot the assigned time by twenty minutes, but Memphis wasn’t worried. The team will be excited about what he and probably Adios had to report.

“What is taking them so much time, debrief had ended 20mins back and both the team were out except for Eliac and Memphis.” thought Celiac impatiently.

Celiac was ready with what he was going to say and he didn’t like feeling scared, but that had also activated on its own. Adios said it was called nervousness.Whatever it was called, he didn’t like the feeling.

As she stepped out of the cubicle, she found everyone standing in a semi-circle around the entrance of her cubicle. She looked at Memphis for an explanation, but he just smiled.And then she saw Celiac, as he stepped out of the group and walked towards her. Her heartbeat increased drastically. She did a short calculation and found it to be ninety-seven instead of the standard sixty beats per minute. She now knew from what Memphis had just said that is called love and the presence of the person you love can make the function of many body parts deviate from the standard.

The nervousness made it difficult for Celiac to take each step, especially with so many others watching. So he quietly put his system on auto-walk so his system didn’t freeze. And then he knelt in front of her and said the three magic words; “I love you, Eliac.”

She froze, her heartbeat had gone too high for her to even count, and there was a curious feeling in her heart as if someone just squeezed it. She found tears; she didn’t know she had, filling her eyes. She didn’t know what to do. She looked at Celiac, down on one knee and then to her left at Memphis for help. Memphis gave her a smile and whispered, “It is the right time to say what’s in your heart too.”

She took a moment to make sure her system was still working fine and then went down on one knee too, and whispered: I love you too.” The entire room erupted into applause. It was time for Celebrations.

***

Two months later, the training was still going on but Eliac and Celiac had ended up reading everything possibly available on human emotions and psychology. And Eliac dreamt of making a family with Celiac. She would dream of a house with a tiny garden outside. There would be a dog or maybe a cat. She had read it all in stories and now she wanted this small family for herself.

They would sit in the dark corner of the room when others would shut down their system and go to sleep and he would listen to her dreams of a family and life with him. And there would always be this feeling of wanting. He realised that he also liked her dream. Tonight he looked at her and thought, it is the right time.

“Eliac, I have been thinking about many a thing recently. The creators will not let us leave this project and no robot is allowed to live a life without the supervision of a human creator or owner.” He took her hands in his, and continued, “I have planned to run away with you.”

She didn’t say anything and he couldn’t know what was on her mind. After a few seconds, she said, “but that is not possible. Why do you want to run away with me?”

“To make your dream a reality we have to.” He added, “Please…”

She nodded her agreement.

***

Today, they started their system at 6 am and sat to discuss the plan for the day when a knock on the door interrupted their conversation. Celiac had gotten up to open the door to find Adios, Memphis and a couple of others from the creator team. He wanted to shut the door on their face, but his system didn’t let him do that. They had simply asked him to get Eliac and go with them. Celiac knew that if he resisted, they would simply shut down his system and carry him back. He took a moment and replied, “My wife is not home. I will come with you, but first, let me write a note for her so she isn’t worried.”

He walked across the room to the desk, picked up a piece of paper and wrote on it,

Adios and Memphis are here for us. I am going with them so that they don’t take you too. Stay in the cupboard until I return. Do not open the door for anyone.  I love you, never forget that.

He folded it, looked to his left and saw Eliac, watching him through the slit opening of the kitchen door. He left the note on the desk and left with his creators. She waited for the sound of the car to fade away before she rushed to the desk to read his note. Her sight blurred before she realised that she was crying, that is what the humans call it when there is water in your eyes.

The doorbell brought her back to the present.

They have come for her this time. It can’t be Celiac, he would have simply punched the code and entered”, she thought.

There was a crash and she knew that they had just broken the door down, they would use a detector and find her, there was no point hiding. So she slowly walked out of the cupboard just as Adios and Memphis walked into the bedroom.

“You will have to come with us Eliac, Celiac is at the project," Adios said. She nodded. At least she was going to her love.

As they made the long journey back to the project, she couldn’t stop herself from asking, ”What are you going to do to us?”

No one answered her. Both the creators were taking their time. Finally, Memphis spoke, “Bothof your systems have become very advanced, comparable to us humans who have created you. Such advancement is seen as a threat to our race, especially if you decide to move away from our controls, like you both did.”

“The senior creator team,” he continued, “has decided to deconstruct and recycle both of your systems.”

She was silent as tears streamed down her cheeks. Memphis turned in his seat and took her hands in his and said, “I am sorry Eliac.” 

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About the Author
Nikki
Words are weapons we use to express what's inside us. I am a chemical engineer by profession and a teacher by passion and I have been dedicating my time to 25 government school students working under an NGO. Passion drives me and I live my dreams.