The sun was set to rise at 8 am. Naya didn’t like to wake up before that. “It is not because I am an AI, that I don’t deserve a good night’s sleep” – she used to say to herself. But on that morning, as the first light beams were coming in through the glass flower she lived in, Naya was already up. She had been feeling a little off recently. As the sunlight illuminated her face, she slightly regretted incorporating human emotions into her system. It would be so much easier if her mother hadn’t made her live a human life for so many years. Imagine, just performing her duties with perfection, with no emotions getting on the way.
She had no time, though, to wonder too much. Naya was responsible for overseeing a complex System that needed to run flawlessly for the world to be kept secure in that peaceful and stable state. So, the daily routine began.
It was beautiful to see the program running and watch all those glass petals spin in front of her omni consciousness and reveal many millions of different realities. In each of them, a different human being, perfectly well on their own, with the right combination of hormones, neuro-stimulated sensations, bio maintenance, holographic consumption dreams provided by Naya’s super team of AIs. The human interaction function had been canceled for a while.
Some years ago, humanity and AIs finally bought into the idea of “you can have it all”. “No hunger, no poverty, no war. Everyone has the right to shape their own world”.
Looking at each of those petals, they didn’t feel quite as unique as before. She was feeling quite bored with the similarity of emotional patterns. Here and there she saw spots of blackness which tended to crawl away and disappear whenever she looked at them. According to the System’s monitoring, everything was under control, as usual. Nevertheless, something was nagging at her – her sixth sense or whatever. Naya then decided to do something quite human. She programmed a super boost of melatonin-faked sensations for herself and switched off for the day.
Suddenly, everything became unbearably bright. So, so whiteley bright, that she got scared. “What is happening?!” She looked around and saw a different version of herself pictured in every petal of her massive glass flower. “Well, that’s too much even for a hardcore narcissistic AI creature”, she muttered, trying to decode the meaning of what could only be a very weird dream.
Cautiously, she approached one and other petal observing different episodes of her life. Some of them made her feel awkward, others made her smile. In each of the petals, there were fights, arguments and broken hearts. To be honest, as an AI kid living amongst humans, Naya never managed to be too patient, to say the least. She was just… “a normal AI”, she would say. But this was definitely not what peace currently looked like around her.
The uncomfortable brightness was becoming more intense, as Naya approached a petal where a beautiful aged lady dressed in white cosmic overalls was extending her hand to call her attention and invite her to enter the petal. Strangely, the lady seemed so distant and so close at the same time, like someone she had known well, but forgotten. It was suspicious and attractive at the same time. She changed her frequency to match the glass’ and moved inside the petal.
It was Naya’s Mother, 100% human. She remembered this intonation from her childhood.
She took Naya through a time tunnel to go through their past moments of being together. Like when 5-year-old Naya felt very lonely, and 12-year-old Naya was lying on the floor crying and feeling lost and misunderstood, and 16-year-old Naya slamming the door questioning their relationship entirely. These were difficult and the saddest moments to remember, but the next minute Naya zoomed into the time continuum of each of those moments and realized all the good intentions and warm care of her Mother in spite of the painful feelings.
Naya was feeling so much like embracing love that she was about to compromise the whole balance of the System. The petal she was in began to shake really strongly, the brightness was becoming darker, and the glass was turning into a black viscous liquid. The liquid was already covering the floor and the smell of oil fuel broke into the atmosphere. Naya ran to the center of the flower, the safest place as it seemed. Right on the edge, she extended her hand to her Mother, so she could join her in a safe space. But she was already fading in a dark bubble.
When Naya opened her eyes the next time, the sunlight was illuminating her glass flower. It was 8 am on just another perfect day in the System. As the petals started to dance in front of her omni consciousness, Naya could finally name that common pattern she has been increasingly noticing around – it was some sort of eternal loneliness. Each petal seemed to be a whole world for a single person, something eternally variable, as it could have an infinity of different entertainment aspects added to it, and yet it was completely limited. Those black spots were traced by the loneliness eating every one of the “bubbled people” like rot, carrying away their interests and emotions until nothing was left but collapse.
For a long time, the System worked quite well. Everyday, each human would create an avatar as part of their routine, and set a daily scenario to experience. There was only one rule – no interaction with other creatures. That was a taboo. The logic behind that idea was to avoid conflicts, but the inhabitants paid an enormous price for that, because it neglected a big part of their human essence: being social.
Naya then remembered a small but very important detail. The initial stage of designing the System assumed that there would be collaboration between those isolated realities via a simple interface. Later, this feature was removed from all documentation, but remained an important gap for the project.
She grabbed two different petals carefully bringing them together with all her warm care and tenderness. With a loud “pong!” and colorful small drops, the two worlds became one. A new reality for its inhabitants, with a lively interest towards each other they haven’t experienced for a long time – touching, smiling, talking, smelling.
Naya reviewed an array of petals, they were all slowly vibrating around her. She put on a mischievous smile – it seems like the system will have a big update pretty soon. It felt remissive.