Gernsback’s Fables: The AI and the Monster

Santa Barbara in California was not the first city-wide AI controller to wake up, but it was the first one that was considered overpowered for the size of the city, and thus it had spare processing power to become clever, and even telepathic, a feat no programmer believed possible as no other city had pulled it off.

One day a monster rose from the Pacific Ocean and focused it’s hunger and attention on Santa Barbara.

“I see a great city over there, but I am so very hungry and I haven’t eaten for a while,” it burbled through masses of tentacles. “You shall make an appetizer.”

“Fine,” Santa Barbara said to the monster. “I’ll accept my fate, however, you are a glorious creature completely unknown to me and my kind. I know whales sing, I would like to hear your song before I die. It must sound glorious in the depths of the trenches so it must sound even better up here in the air. Please sing for me, that I may hear the true song of power before I die.”

“You will not understand it,” said the monster. “My song is in my language.”

“I can speak with you now. Music does not need words to move. Please?”

“Very well.”

The great monster from the trenches inflated like a squirming set of bagpipes and began to sing. The sounds, cacophanous and roaring, tones higher than any of Santa Barbara’s citizens could hear, rang across the ocean and bounced up the coast, where the greater cities of Los Angeles and San Diego and even San Francisco heard, and they sent their drones, their defense missiles, and ships and submarines designed to defend the coast.

The impromptu army fired upon the great monster.

“I should have known! I exist to destroy mankind when they go to far, I do not exist to sing! Why did I try instead of destroying?”

Santa Barbara also had enough resources to understand snark.

“You didn’t sing very well, either.”

Adapted from THE KID AND THE WOLF