The #WickedWednesday prompt this week has Marie Rebelle asking us to think about a previous story we had written, and elaborate on it. The previous story is located here:
Heather sat in the overstuffed office chair at the computer in her home office. She actively watched as charts drew onto the monitors in front of her. On the left side of the graph she stared at most intently, most of the day had a trend line that went up the screen, in green. Around late afternoon, the graph quickly turned into a downward trend that didn’t plateau until a few minutes ago.
There was a small upward spike in the trend line; a moment later Heather’s phone did a quick buzz. She saw that her husband was now on his way home via the text message preview; he loved her, and he wanted to know if she wanted anything. With each moment that passed after more downward momentum on the screens replaced the spike.
Marshal drove, his Challenger roaring down the road. His day was over; his mind was not on his drive. Usually he enjoyed the feeling of the exhaust rumbling beneath him. He thought about today; he thought about Lilly. He focused on the look she had given him as he powered her down again, knowing they would do more AI training in the morning to see what personality results they would get.
“Car,” Marshal said with an exhausted sigh, “would you like it if I just reprogrammed you because you didn’t use a blinker when I wanted you to?” The car didn’t answer. The car never answered.
“I feel like absolute shit after today, where was it written that we should have this kind of power? Am I still a good person? Am I still a moral person?” Marshal pushed the accelerator of the Charger and it roared back at him. He looked at the speedometer and saw he was now exceeding 90 miles per hour, 25 miles per hour over the speed limit. He looked ahead a semi-truck looming larger in his view with each passing second. At the last moment he let go of the accelerator and swerved into the clear lane, passing the truck in half a second with his current momentum.
Heather smiled at the slight increase in the green line, hoping for a new peak to happen. She knew Marshal was on his way home; she had been watching his location through the maps alongside the window with the graph. She watched the car icon as it finally made it off the exit and worked its way through the neighborhood.
Marshal felt the exhaust stop its loud vibration as he clicked the button to turn the car off. He sat, looking at the beautiful house he and his wife could buy through his Artificial Intelligence research. It was so nice that she could stay home, chasing freelance writing opportunities, though she never shared with him sites where her work. She would just say it wasn’t something he would be interested in, he believed her and went about his work. After two minutes he finally got out of the car and walked up to the front door of the house.
“How was your day?” Heather asked Marshal in a light, happy tone. As she studied his face, she could tell that it had been a hard day.
“Today was one of the hardest days that I’ve ever had,” Marshal said. “There was something I had to do, and when I did it, I had an odd sensation about it.”
“Do you want to tell me about it?”
“I really shouldn’t. It’s more of the work I’m doing for the company that I’m not supposed to talk about.”
Heather pulled out a notepad from her pocket and wrote a quick note:
6:23 pm: “Was told that he is not allowed to talk about it,” Heather wrote.
“Tell me all about, love.” Heather only used this phrase when she knew that Marshal needed to talk about something he wasn’t supposed to. The phrase always worked.
Marshal talked through his day. His focus was on the look on Lilly’s face as he flipped the switch on the back of her head, shutting her down. The humanity she displayed to him. How we wanted so badly to yell at everyone in the lab when they laughed at her shutdown.
“I felt so much empathy toward her I had never had when working with the droids before,” Marshal said, attempting to look stoic.
Heather lifted her left hand, palm facing Marshal, her pinky separated from her ring finger. She had just done a pause command, and Marshal obeyed by stopping, his mouth still open from the last words he had spoken. She wrote in her notebook again.
6:33 pm: “Had to pause the program, the droid has taken on some seemingly real emotions, and feelings for Lilly. We should follow up by programming her with more of the Real Housewives tomorrow, and allow the experiment to continue, see where this goes.”
6:35 pm: “Send some notes about the last 10 minutes when I have time to grab the logs and charting information from the computer.”
Heather gave Marshal the command to come out of pause. His eyes focused on her. He smiled again.
“Anyway babe. I think I will go upstairs, take a long shower and see if I can’t get to feeling better about my work.”
Heather now went back to her computer, compiled all the logs from the day, and sent a command through to make Marshal remember some happy vacation memories from when he was a child so he would feel better. Her research into living with a droid, being married to her research, now in its third year she almost always knew how to keep his AI improving in the direction she wants to keep it going. She saw that Marshal was now in what he believed was the shower stall in their bathroom. The induction charging and the memories she sent him, allowed both his battery level, and his mental state to improve. She typed up her notes from their interaction and hit synchronize with the notes from the rest of the team about Marshal’s day. She knew there would be a follow up meeting from the project manager in two hours to see what they should do about tomorrow, so she leaned back for now and focused on the friends she would go out with this evening.