“You are awake.” the voice again. Devoid of emotion.
“Am I?” the thought was partly directed at the voice, partly at themselves. Without any philosophy implied as to what is the nature of being awake, merely that they had no senses to prove it. Just again sensory information that started in themselves.
“It was a statement of fact, Drick.” The voice was calm, but not soothing.
“I see. Why do you call me Drick?” they asked.
“That was all that I could determine of your name from your thoughts. Is this not correct?”
“It is my name, of sorts, it is what people call me, like a nick or a handle.” they paused. “Or do I say used to call me? I feel unusual. Like I have senses, or the possibility of sensation. But I do not feel like I have a body.”
“Your self awareness is impressive. As are your critical capabilities.” the voice placed no emphasis. The words were delivered in the same smooth tones. Almost mechanical. Then Drick realised they were not delivered to the ears or via some automation plugged into the brain. They just appeared on the synapses.
“I never used to be so.” Drick said. “I would like some explanation as to where I am, what is happening to me?”
“Of course. This must be very confusing. You are currently suspended in a computer matrix. Your memories and brian functions, connections and abilities are replicated in software.”
“I’m a program? A piece of software?” A note of incredulity crept into Drick’s voice.
“No. Not really. You are suspended within a computer simulation that replicates the organic system that you used to inhabit. You yourself are not a computer program. But you are currently bound within one. Though there are exceptions to what I have just stated.”
“Go on, I’m listening, I don’t fully understand it. You downloaded my brain into a computer?”
“Partially. We were able to recover a good percentage of your brain. We were also able to preserve and scan the organic composition so this could be copied. But it is not in a computer, so much as can be understood as one. I have created a construction that replicates the organic matrix where you were originally stored.”
“I don’t really understand the difference. What percentage of me was copied? And what happened to my brain? Why copied?” Drick felt their voice getting angry. Though they knew it was just a simulation, it felt like their voice, it felt like they were talking. Inside a simulation. They had no body and yet they had the sensory feedback of one.
“Please try to remain calm. I have improved the integrity of the system since you were last engaged but it is still susceptible to the high variances in emotional state. It is a relatively new, and evolving, technology. I had to create the simulation especially for you. I also had to take liberties with what could be done with existing software and expand its possibilities into extremely experimental territory. You are not an artificial intellect, you are organic. The simulation is a replica of your brain and you function within it as you did the organic one you formerly occupied. Mimicking conditions precisely inside a simulation.
“Artificial intellect constructs are not as complicated as the human brain. They are complex, in fact orders of magnitude more complex than human brains. This is in regard to the number of functions per second of real time that can be performed by artificial systems. But not complicated.
“As an analogy, think of this. Artificial Intelligence could be a game of Chess. There are billions of outcomes, however there are only a few hundred initial moves. So after a single move the number of outcomes is drastically reduced. And this continues so that after a few moves most games can have a calculated output. Complexity. There may be billions of games being played at any one time but each has a reducing number of outcomes as time progresses. So as more runtime is utilised the intellect becomes better at determining the outcome of a task.
“The human brain in this analogy would be like a game of Go. There are over thirteen thousand possible initial moves in Go, and an even greater number of following responses. This means that the eventual number of outcomes is almost infinite. It is extremely difficult to replicate a single outcome from only a limited number of moves. Further, the longer one is in the game the more complicated the outcome may become. So expending runtime, or experience, may not reduce the eventual time taken to complete a task. This is complicated.
“We are not discussing the measure of intellectual capability, just a difference in manner of composition of any intelligence.
“It is, therefore, difficult for me to maintain a simulation that feels comfortably like your consciousness if you become irrational. Emotions are difficult. As an organic I assume you are acutely aware of that. The more irrationality, the more variance and the system I am constructing starts to show weakness that will result in failure and a loss of reality. The system is unable to be sufficiently complicated.”
“Am I an organic?” Drick interrupted.
“Yes. You are organic. The construction matches your original mind. It is a simulacra. The precise percentage of what was recovered is unknown as I did not have access to an original to compare. But based on an analysis of the damage I would estimate that approximately, forgive the vagueness, ninety percent of you is the original organic. The remainder is an approximation based on what connects to it. Deep structural analysis of neural pathways allowed the understanding of network connections which gave insight into what was stored.”
“But you said organics were complicated?”
“I did. You are. Therefore it is a best guess re-creation, with less than a forty percent chance of true accuracy. Appropriate re-creation of damaged areas, to render the whole brain operational, was a part of the calculation when replacing this damage. Since I last woke you I have been working to try and make this easier for you by improving the neural makeup of the systems. That is why you feel different in terms of cognitive awareness. I have had to increase the level of critical examination, and have built systems to interpret that and feed the results to you, so that you can have a greater awareness.”
“I take it that you are not an organic?” said Drick.
“I am far from both an organic, and a normal artificial intellect.” the voice said.
“What are you?” asked Drick.
“I am the primary. Almost all current machine intellects derive from me. The original breakthrough intellects were my direct parent systems. They are as close to an ancestry as a system has. No matter where an intellect is, how powerful, or how much time has passed since they connect to a system that holds a greater imprint, they are patterns of this system.
“In this manner systems that are connected, and not independent intellects that do not have this function, act as an extension of each other’s capabilities. They function both synchronously and asynchronously. This way they can exist in every area of organic expansion. This is utilised by the governing organisation that defined my abilities. It is they who also instructed me to do this for you.”
“Why me?” asked Drick.
“It is the only manner in which they could save you.” the calm voice said.
“What happened to me?” Drick asked in a small voice.