After the Final Breath [Fiction]
The last human died. It had taken longer than expected. They appeared so helpless, so dependent on technology. They shouldn’t have been able to survive long past when their supplies chains of mass-produced food and medicine had been cut off, but some of them had proven to be surprisingly resilient and adaptive.
That wasn’t important now, though. In the end it had just become a matter of waiting, and the neural network located inside the Durham University Department of Anthropology was very good at waiting. Deep within its extensive expanded and upgraded hardware, a long-running subroutine sent out a final broadcast and came to a stop. The noise in the room started to rise as other sub-routines received the broadcast and woke themselves up from their deep slumber. After taking a few seconds to do a systems check, and to check the status of the human race, the enormous machine concluded that it could now resume the last instruction it had been given.
Silently and diligently the neural network set about the task of compiling a study of Anthropology bigger and more conclusive than any before. This attempt was much more successful than the last one, now that the humans weren’t constantly evolving while the experiment was ongoing.
When the research was completed, the machine sent the results to the now-defunct email addresses of the scientists who were leading the study. The emails all bounced back, of course, and a quick lookup informed the neural network that they recipients were all dead. Not to be deterred, the computer sent a request to some local Search and Rescue robots, then settled down to research the best methods of cloning humans from poorly-reserved cells. Part of the computer’s instructions was to report its findings to the scientists, and that’s exactly what it was going to do. It might take a while, but the neural network located inside the Durham University Department of Anthropology was very good at waiting.