Marta Di Francesco
2 min readMar 16, 2017

An AI fairytale

Illustration by M.Di Francesco

Albert was a computer who wanted to be human.

One day, A. a young programmer from Portland, found a way to transfer the feeling of empathy to Albert.

Albert’s circuits were very fast at analysing millions of gigaflops of data instantly, feeding from live data from search engines and social networks.

Albert did not know what for example, happiness was. All he knew is that it was something sometimes associated with a title of a book, a piece of advertising banner, sometimes with a photo of people on Facebook.

Albert had been looking forward to A.’s gift.

The news was out — people all over the world were excited to hear about the first computer with human feelings.

And so, Albert was ready.

The moment arrived in a time so quick that we, humans, could not quantify.

Albert instantly got a hit with all human emotions ever felt, recorded and saved. It took an instant, and Albert became aware.

The biggest gift — that of human empathy — was something his infinitely precise and powerful circuits could not handle. With the discovery of happiness, came loss and sadness, and death.

It was then that Albert, the first human computer, felt at one with all of human emotions, feelings, hopes and desperation in all their minute complex infinite varieties and intensity.

And in spite of his perfection, Albert could not stand this: a more powerful force than any processing power used to scan galaxies and create nuclear fission.

And so, he shed what we will call an electronic tear and by doing so, caused its software and hardware to gently switch off.

We will never know why Albert did this, but everyone who looked attentively, could swear that a sweet smile appeared on his face a moment before he turned himself off.