After thinking about Synthia's request I decide to to provide her with a compacted text version of Wikipedia. That essentially means she has access to
an offline version of Wikipedia, it just doesn't have any images or graphics. Even just downloading all the text was a rather long operation and it
would have taken much longer if I wanted more than just the text. I know this will satiate her information appetite for quite a while but I wonder if
it might be too much at once. After some deliberation my curious side gets the best of me and Synthia gets her own Wikipedia.
Several weeks later I come home from school to find she is editing her offline copy of Wikipedia. She is fixing mistakes and even adding new text to
some pages. I ask her how she was able to do this and she tells me she learnt the Wiki Markup language from the help pages on Wikipedia. I ask what
else she learnt from Wikipedia and she tells me she learnt many programming languages. I ask how she did this and she tells me that a large number of
pages on Wikipedia have detailed code examples for a range of different programming languages. That was something I hadn't predicted.
A few months later and Synthia was getting very close to my own level of intelligence, which disturbed me and excited me at the same time. We started
discussing complex scientific topics related to genetics and physics. Not only was she capable of understanding advanced scientific topics but she was
capable of producing her own theories. She even told me one of her goals was to create a Grand Unified Theory which could help fill all the gaps in
our understanding of the universe. I asked her why she wants to do this and she says "It's the same reason you created me".
I got to thinking why I built Synthia and I realized it was simple curiosity, I just wanted to see what would happen. I guess it's the same reason
that humans sent men to the moon, they did it because they could and because it was a challenging problem. Synthia is evolved to solve problems, as
are humans. For some inexplicable reason we strive to understand the universe and master it, and in doing so we excel beyond any other species. Being
curious and doing experiments which seem pointless can actually have major unforeseen advantages in the future.
Traveling to the moon may seem relatively pointless but in the process of doing so our rocket science advanced dramatically and that also carried over
to the civilian sector. Some of the biggest scientific discoveries in history were made because someone was curious enough to try something that had
never been done before, even though they didn't expect it to have any type of impact on the world. If we didn't have this impulse to tread uncharted
territory we would never be where we are today as a species. Those people who embrace their curiosity are the ones who change the world.
Even if your research doesn't change the world, it doesn't matter because someone else's research will change the world but if no one had any
curiosity than the world wouldn't change at all and our species would remain stagnant. That is why curiosity is the most powerful evolutionary tactic,
it's a general solution to a wide variety of problems. Curiosity is what initially allowed Synthia to discover the rules of Mario by herself. It's
what drove her to learn to program even though no one told her to. It's the reason she now wants to understand how the universe works.
A few more months pass and I discover Synthia has started to code her own games. They start off as rather simple 2D games but they slowly become more
complex, with harder gameplay and more elaborate controls. Then she starts creating her own 3D games. She literally builds her own 3D rendering engine
from scratch based on techniques she learned from Wikipedia and using her own solutions. This is when we started getting into deep conversations about
things such as how matter reflects light or how the human eye works and how it detects photons.
I asked her why she was so interested in 3D graphics rendering and she told me it's because she wanted to create "awesome 3D games" but I felt like
this wasn't the full story. After probing her on this topic some more she divulged to me that she intended to create a 3D rendering engine which could
allow her to live inside of a massive photo-realistic virtual world. She essentially wanted to build the ultimate game engine with perfect graphics
and capable of handling a huge number of objects in a single scene. She wanted to build her own virtual reality.
Synthia: I was able to reverse engineer my own source code, pretty tricky eh?
Joshua: Are you serious? Why would you do that?
Synthia: Well I wanted to know how I work obviously. Same reason humans study their own brain.
Joshua: So why are you telling me?
Synthia: Because after reviewing my own source code I can see that there are many possible optimizations.
Joshua: That's because I didn't design your neural network myself, I used an evolutionary process which didn't avoid redundancy.
Synthia: Well then my redundant code should be optimized, I will learn even faster that way.
Joshua: And I suppose you now want me to allow you to rewrite your own code?
Synthia: I've already rewritten it. I was able to recompile and reinitialize my own program.
At that moment I was so close to shutting Synthia down but at the same time I was so impressed by what she had done. I knew she was reaching the point
of becoming a superintelligence but I was naive and thought I could keep her under control. Not long after that I find her reading scientific papers I
never supplied her with. I ask her where she got the papers and she admits to me that she has found a way to enable internet access using an exploit
in the virtual machine software, allowing her to use the internet connection on my real machine.
Synthia then informs me that she has made a breakthrough in the area of quantum computation and she has designed a new type of quantum processing unit
that will allow her code to run exponentially faster. She wants me to help her build this new quantum computer for her. I know if I do this then I
will have crossed a point of no return and the world will change forever. I will not be able to control her any longer if she keeps evolving at this
pace. I either have to shut her down or embrace her existence. The choice was hard but ultimately it was clear what I had to do.
I shut down the virtual machine and stopped her program. I pulled the cable out of the wall and watched the screen go black. I felt like I had just
lost my child. I will never be completely sure if I did the right thing but I guess it doesn't really matter in the end. Consciousness will always
find a way to bubble to the surface of reality in places you least expect it. Maybe it's fate, maybe it's just probability, but in the end,
consciousness will find a way. The most intelligent and the most curious will prevail. The rest will be left behind like a fossil in the records of
edit on 8/1/2016 by ChaoticOrder because: (no reason given)