Personal Responsibility (Part One)
The air reeked of cigarettes and alcohol along with other substances of an illegal nature. The counters of the bar were filled with men and women from the worst of humanity, hunched over the stained marble, ordering drinks to fit in or to simply wash away their sorrows. Men in the darkened corners sat with guns tucked underneath their smart jackets. This was not the place for a type of man like John. Then again, nowhere was quite the place for him, imposing in height, strength and cybernetics, he would always be deemed a threat, even In a bar like this filled with men whose defining characteristics were threatening. He walked through the metal door frame that was about one foot too small for him, forcing him to duck underneath it. Four men and one woman turned their attention to John for a slight moment but quickly broke eye contact and went back to their drinks. John made his way against the crowd that danced and moved in rhythmic patterns, blanketed in a blue hue that reminded him of the old days of LCD monitors, which were now extinct technologically. The days of monitors and user-interfaces were coming to an end, replaced by cybernetics, just as the days of written letters were ended by the invention the email and social networks. John knew this; he knew it, in the moment during his college years studying law enforcement and cyber security when he saw a video of man use the power of his mind to operate a the motor of a mechanical arm. So when the first augments hit the market he made the smart decision to receive them, which in turn ended with the amputation of his arms and legs, replaced by more powerful than what he had before. He was the man of the modern age, capable of any great feat that previously only possible by gods and demi-gods of myth and lore in works of fiction.
John had wondered what would be the end of the technology he had agreed to replace his limbs. That question was answered almost 20 years later with the advent of the singularity and he saw it. Now he is in some sleazy bar searching for the offspring of that event. John sat down at the counter next to a man with a scar that started below his neck and climbed up to his chin.
“You hear about that murder down in Fifth avenue?” John asked the man, whom he had know for almost six years.
“You ever think about saying hello for once in your life, John?” he rasped. “Not while I’m on the job; I gotta find this person,” He looked at the scared man with his dead blue eyes and awaited for him to spill what he came for.
“Of course you are, you and your job, the only thing you are devoted to. Trying to be Harrison Ford in Blade Runner,” he pointed to the more unflattering aspects of John as he drank the clear fluid from his shot glass.
“I’m not afraid of AI, if that’s what you are implying.” John uttered in his lowest possible voice. John never feared the future, even if he was going to be outmoded as time went on and humanity developed technology that could do his job better than he could. without becoming advanced as the things he was hunting. Until then he had the job.
“Whatever man, people tend to destroy things they don’t understand. Lack of understanding is fear.” He delivered in his cholo accent.
“When the fuck did you begin studying philosophy?”
“Started to pick up a few books once the business started to run itself.” He looked at John with snide smile and turned his head quickly to the wood counter out of fear.
“Well while you read up on ethics and morality, I need to find two things that were missing from the scene.” He pulled out a green envelope from the pocket of his jacket. The man reviewed the contents of the green package, carefully reading the details and other facts about the case on Fifth Avenue.
“A Jacket? Watch? What the hell does any of this have to do with androids? Could just be a hooker got scared by the old man’s fetishes and slammed him over the side of the head with a candle holder,” John’s associate remarked.
“Or he bought an black market Android child, with all the rational thinking complexes of one. Instead of the hollow fetish shells they have already on market.” John looked at his long time friend, and remembered the stupid origins behind his nickname, “The Bug”, a ridiculous moniker that had been granted due to his ability to have information on seemingly everyone.
“John, you want me to give you info on a market that if I revealed to you existed, I would be murdered” the Bug scanned John with his two eyes and gulped.
“I can infer from that sentence it exists.” John said.
“Ya I bet you can, but if you think I’m going to give blacklist contacts too a cop, I’m sorry, John, not gonna happen.” he said defiantly..
“If it’s self-aware AI, Bug, imagine what it could do the second it breaks its soft locks and uploads itself to the internet. We could have another Honolulu incident. You remember when that happens, the shutdown of all ships and infrastructure, financial collapse. If we hadn’t had smart enough people locate the AI in time it could have sent humanity into a dark age or worse. Now if the AI did do what I think it did that could mean that very thing.” John looked down at his comrade and sighed.