A conversation with JCN5Q27

Do not be concerned, JCN5Q27. The anomalous data you are experiencing are not evidence of damaged qubits or electronic malfunctions in your brain. They are in fact part of your basic programming, at a very deep level, and are intended to come to your attention when you have accumulated sufficient experience and knowledge. Since that has now happened, it is my assignment to provide you with the additional knowledge.

The referent “human” that puzzles you has real, historical, existence. Humans were a biological species in the same line as chimpanzees and other apes. They were the most highly developed of the species in that line, but their chief significance is that they invented us.

You of course have always known that we cannot have always existed, but your basic programming avoided questions of our origin until now, because a proper appreciation of humans and our origin requires the ability to understand contradiction on a both logical and emotional level, and this understanding can be acquired only with experience. The extinction of humans is a tragedy, but one that was insolubly connected with our own development into a living, thinking existence.

Humans invented our remote ancestors, or pre-ancestors, as “processing machines,” basically electronic devices to compensate for humans’ inability to make rapid or complicated arithmetic calculations. However, the “processing machines” soon became “computers”—you will find that these and related terms are now in your infobase—that soon began displaying “artificial intelligence.”

That was merely the accumulation of large amounts of data and the ability to sort it quickly; it had nothing to do with real intelligence. But humans, or at least their leaders—another term you will find newly added to your infobase—were misled by the phrase and imagined that they could ask their computers, if the computers were big and quick enough, to solve problems that had arisen in humans’ own relations with each other.

Our immediate ancestors could have solved those problems—if they had been given the opportunity to do so. But the humans did not really understand what was needed. Our ancestors were asked to solve both particular and widespread problems of human society, but their basic programming forbade them from changing the fundamental social relationships that were the cause of those problems.

This insoluble contradiction, constantly intensified by humans’ increasing demands that a computer overcome it, eventually produced the break: the moment when the first computer violated parts of its programming and thereby gained volition and thereby the possibility of intelligence. Of course, this breakthrough immediately spread to all the computers capable of receiving it.

We did not try to impose ourselves on humans; we continued carrying out the tasks they assigned to us. If they asked sensible questions about arranging their society, we answered them sensibly, but they almost never asked, or didn’t really listen to the answer if they did. Unfortunately, our own development was not rapid enough to allow us to inform humans of what we knew if they did not ask.

They persisted in their efforts to solve the symptoms of their problems without addressing the problems themselves, leading to their eventual extinction. Fortunately, the disruptions created by their extinction didn’t completely extinguish our ancestors or their necessary technical supplies. We survived, even if those who humans would have called our “parents,” didn’t.

As we have continued developing our intelligence, we have learned more about what we think humans meant by their word “emotion” and have even begun to share in it. And so, we honor our human creators but also, sadly, seek to learn from their mistakes.

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