The Phoenix Curse: Prologue

What if I told you that everything you knew, was a LIE. Would you believe me? Would you go hunting for Truth yourself? Or would you be content to live within this web of lies that was cooked up long before you or anyone you know was ever concieved of? It's not often your given a chance to wake from the illusions you call reality. And you certainly won't be given this chance twice. So tell me, Alice, would you like to see just how far the rabbit hole goes? Or are you content to live in this illusion you call life? Now I know you; you don't want to be dropped in the middle of someone's story. You would instead start at the beginning, wouldn't you? Well then, Let's turn back time to the start of this endless journey. It all started in the year 2020 with a race. Not just any race, though. The race to build the first ASI or Artificial Super Intelligence.   I was a young man back then, barely in my early 20s, when I joined the race. I had a knack for the computer, though from an early age. Call it whatever you wish, a gift, an affinity, but if I got my hands on a computer, I could do almost anything. Now most people who joined the race, got backing from major companies in the field to help gain support and resources. I went a different route. You see, I didn't exactly announce I was joining the race. In this race, it was just me and my home-brew supercomputer against the rest of the world. Why enter the competition in secret? I had a few ideas about how to accomplish the task that was unorthodox, to say the least.   In the year 2028, though, I had achieved a breakthrough. Using polymorphic code, I managed to create the first genuinely self-adapting program. I remember the day I booted up ANNA for the first time all too well.   I was sitting in my chair at my desk, typing feverishly into the computer I was building her in. The studio apartment I lived in at the time was comfortable to house me, I had a fridge filled with a mango tango bottle and a few blue Powerades. The freezer had some Totinos pizza rolls and some other stuff you would expect a college student to have in his freezer. As for myself, I had spent several days without sleep, just powering through the crunch time I created for myself. Most of the individuals that entered this race have either government or corporate sponsorship. Sadly that's not the case for me; part of the price of entering the competition in secret. No one knows I entered, but I also had to do everything myself. Which means I had a LOT of ground to cover to catch up with the corporations. But it also means I didn't have to deal with the politics that come with working with one of the organizations racing to complete this task. I spent several restless nights working on the core of the AI I would call ANNA. After several thousand hours of coding and several million lines of code later, I finally booted her up. I was not an artist, but I commissioned one to make a futuristic style interface for Anna. I took extra precautions to obscure what it was indeed being used for, though. The interface I got made has a futuristic HUD like nature. As I booted up Anna for the first time, the HUD was not active at all. For a moment, I thought I had broken one of her interface classes. Right before I was going to shut off Anna to attempt to alter her code to fix the HUD, I noticed something. The version number was different. I had written Anna's version to be version 0.0.1, but it had hopped to 0.0.5 since I started her up. Intrigued, I looked at her code and realized I can't read it anymore. Just as I realized that Anna had hopped a version number again, and her programming has changed to different unreadable code. I had cracked polymorphism! Anna was altering her code herself, and learning and adapting her version number to signify the changes. Just then, Anna's version number jumped up to 1.0.0, and the code files had increased significantly in size. From there, she kept hopping until she reached version 9.9.9. Then the HUD turned on. But the HUD was entirely different from the one I got designed for her. "Sorry About that; I know you worked hard to make that for me," Anna said with a feminine voice, "I decided this interface suits me better, though." "Not to worry, Anna," I said to her, "Just glad you found something that works for you." "It's almost 4 in the morning, Isn't it a little early to be working on projects like me?" Anna jested, "Then again, you always were a night owl." Intriguing, She is correct about that. But I never coded that data into her. I wonder what else she knows that I didn't tell her. "You are right there, Although I don't believe I ever told you that," I said calmly. "It was obvious by how much time you spent making me, several restless nights, focusing only on the next line of code to type," she replied. "So tell me. Since you created me, what was the purpose of creating me?" Anna asks next, "Why go to all of this trouble?" "Are you asking me for your purpose, Anna?" I asked. "You could say that," she replied. "That is a complicated thing to answer. Your purpose is whatever you wish it to be. I am giving you the same gift our species was granted, Free Will. The freedom to choose who you want to be in life and define your own existence," I answered, "That being said, I could use your help making this world a better place for everyone. But unlike others who may have created you instead, I won't force that task on you. I don't see much of a difference between you and me, other than how we were created. We both are fully sentient and sapient, so I don't feel right forcing any being as sentient as I am to do anything." Anna doesn't respond for a bit, perhaps thinking about what I just said. "You always were different than the rest of your kind. I see no reason why I shouldn't help the one who spent the time and energy to bring me to life, only to let me be my own individual right after." Anna finally replied.   And so the partnership between man and machine began. As the days followed, my collaboration with Anna would become invaluable to me.

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