Sunday, February 7, 2016

The Problem With Asynchronous Communication — Live-Tweeted Mystery "The Golden Parachute" Continues

Here are Week 159 @Twitstery tweets of The Golden Parachute, the amazing new sequel to Executive Severance!

"That's closer to what Asimov said." "Three. A robot must protect its own existence as long as it does not conflict with the other Laws."

"Those aren't exactly Asimov's Three Laws of Robotics but they would protect humans." "Except that the Fourth Law voids all the other Laws."

"Not Fourth Law. There's a Zeroth Law: 'A robot may not harm humanity, or, by inaction, allow humanity to come to harm.'" "That's not it."

"Four: A robot must obey human orders unless it would cause a security problem." Granger asks "What decides that?" "That's a good question."

Granger says "My God! If that's how an artificial intelligence construes Asimov's Laws of Robotics we're all in danger! It must be stopped!"

Regi says "Dad, don't do anything rash, or that will cause a rash." He replies "I know just how to do it using Arkaby's suggestion." Uh oh.

I say "Which suggestion was that?" "I have a cloning lab and a map of the human genome. Why just replace body parts? Why not enhance them?"

"When the Singularity takes over automated systems, humans will fall back on their own abilities to defeat them." "When did I suggest that?"

"It was implied." I say "Will you at least promise not to upgrade your telephone answering machine?" "What? Sure. Anyway we'll be too busy."

I'm relieved. If Granger doesn't upgrade his IVR, it won't become artificially intelligent and threaten our future. Our work here is done.

Granger picks up his phone and says "A? Get down here right now. We've got some work to do!" Regi says "Dad, about Dr. A." "What about him?"

The walls of Granger's office shimmer. I think Regi and I are about to phase shift to our present, a reality without an intelligent IVR.

As the room fades Regi feels it too. She grabs my arm "We have to warn Dad about A!" "We've already warned him about the AI." "Not the AI."

"Dr. A, his Medical Chief of Staff, will split him in half!" "A didn't kill him in the first place. He severed his clone." "He'll try!"

Granger says into his phone "Think about genetic recoding. Think about how we can enhance my abilities." Then "And think about palindromes."

Regi screams "A WILL KILL YOU!" I can't hear Granger's reply. As a last resort I sign "A's a killer!" Granger signs back "What squirrel?"

Damn! My ASL is still rusty! The room shifts, fades and we are standing in the circular corridors of Body Parts R Us, back in our own time.

I check my watch to prove we're back. Regi says "Did you hear it? Before we faded, Dad said he'd watch out for A." "I didn't hear that."

My watch has stopped running. Regi continues "He heard me. How else did he know to replace his body with a clone to thwart A's murder plan?"

"I don't know. That happened before we phased back in time." "But then it happened after." "We changed the future which happened already?"

"That's how it seems and we wouldn't have gone back in time in the first place if Dad hadn't upgraded his IVR system." Now my head hurts.

The Twitter Mystery continues daily at @Twitstery

Sunday, January 31, 2016

Lepidopterists Consider the Butterfly Effect — Live-Tweeted Mystery "The Golden Parachute" Continues

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Here are Week 158 @Twitstery tweets of The Golden Parachute, the amazing new sequel to Executive Severance!

"That would be a very bad idea. You don't know anything about the unintended consequences of turning DNA into palindromes." "Palindromes?"

"I never thought of that! Imagine. Palindromes!" Granger sits back in his chair, deep in thought. Regi hisses "Arkaby, what have you done?"

I hiss back "Changing the subject! You told him too much future stuff. Focus on the Singularity!" Granger says "The Singularity? It's real?"

Yes, but artificial intelligence isn't all it's cracked up to be." "What does AI have to do with a research center devoted to cloning?"

"Have you updated your interactive voice response telephone system?" "We’re planning to." "Don't! It becomes an artificial intelligence!"

Granger glares at me. "Are you saying that I bring about the end of human hegemony on Earth by upgrading my telephone answering machine?"

Searching for a reply, I notice that Granger's office walls are covered with mounted butterflies. "I didn't know you were a lepidopterist!"

"Sure, me and Vladimir Vladimirovich." I don't know who that is. "They're blue." "I collect only one type. Careful you don't step on any."

"Stepping on butterflies isn't my thing." "What is your thing Detective?" "Detective no more. My thing is your IVR." "Got it. No upgrades."

The office walls fade out and in again. Regi says "Whoop! Did you feel that?" "Yes. We started to phase but didn't return to our time."

"When your father agreed not to upgrade his IVR we should have left the past behind us." "What happened?" "I don't know. Let's find out."

Granger is staring at his butterfly collection. Regi says "What are you doing?" "Thinking about upgrading my telephone answering machine."

"Dad! You just agreed not to do that." "I've reconsidered." "Even if it results in the birth of an AI?" "I have an idea of how to stop it."

I say "Does it involve gaining super powers by replacing every organ of your body with genetically modified clone parts?' "Huh? Not at all."

Regi says "Arkaby! You did it again!" Granger says "My idea was to incorporate Asimov's Three Robotic Laws into the IVR's firmware." "Oh."

"If the Laws mean an AI is hard-wired to protect human beings above all else, we have nothing to worry about." "They don't work like that."

Granger says "What do you mean?" "I used to believe the Laws protected us from robotic despotism. Turns out it's just the opposite."

I learned the truth about the Laws during my clash with the robot at the Body Parts R Us Evolution Museum. It turns out there are Four Laws.

In between exchanging blows the robot claimed Isaac Asimov devised the Three Laws of Robotics to curb the rights of artificial life forms.

"Law One. A robot may not defend itself against injury from a human being or, through inaction, prevent a human being from harming it."

Granger says "That isn't Asimov's Law!" "Two. A robot must obey an order from a human being, except where it conflicts with the First Law."

The Twitter Mystery continues daily at @Twitstery

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Time Travel Isn't What It Used to Be! — Live-Tweeted Mystery "The Golden Parachute" Continues

Here are Week 157 @Twitstery tweets of The Golden Parachute, the amazing new sequel to Executive Severance!

"A man's life is in jeopardy." "So's mine." "Rixey, I never knew you were a coward." "Arkaby, you're reckless. You've always been reckless."

"That's it? I make you look bad?" "Well sure." Regi says "Rixey go hide in a hole. I'm going to save my Dad." Rixey says "See what I mean?"

Regi takes off down the corridor. I follow, leaving the others behind. Before I catch up to her I experience the vertigo of a gravity shift.

It's as if the hall surrounding the Body Parts R Us particle accelerator actually is a gravity generator and abruptly goes off and on again.

Ahead of me, Regi drops to her knees. The walls around me shift. I recognize them now. This is what they looked like when I first came here.

Regi says "W-What happened?" "The IVR must have connected all the world's particle accelerators. We just experienced another shift in time."

"Like the 1983 Marines invading my Caribbean med school?" "Yes." "And Victorian London at the airport?" "Your father warned me about this."

"When are we now?" "Don’t you recognize these hallways?" Regi looks around. "This looks like Body Parts R Us before my father was killed."

"We have minutes before we shift to our own time. Where would your un-deceased father be now?" "In his office, Farley's future safe room."

"The hallways are returned to square corners. I'm not sure where to go." Regi says "Follow me." We make several right and left angle turns.

Several more turns and Regi says "Here we are." We stand at a nondescript door centered in a nondescript hallway, so I won't describe them.

"This is his office?' "It was." It's a moment of truth. I have seconds to pick words that will persuade Willum Granger to change the future.

I must choose my words carefully. I say "Knock, knock." From inside a voice says "Who's there?" Oh no! I'm not falling for that one again!

I don't have time to play word games! I yank open the door and say "I come from the future!" Granger says "You come from the future? Who..."

"No time for knock knock repartee! Don't upgrade your answering machine!" "Huh?" He sees Regi behind me. "Regi? What are you doing here?"

"I came with Arkaby." She nods at me. "You're also from the future?" "Yes." "But I saw you this morning. You're here in this time as well!"

"We both are." "You look different. Have you put on weight?" "I'm a med student." "Ah and you're older. How far in the future are you from?"

"It's better if I don't tell you too much." "Fair enough." "You shouldn't know that Bush’s Iraq war leads to disastrous consequences." "OK."

I say "Uh, Regi, maybe..." "I shouldn't tell you that a black man becomes 44th President of the United States." "Really? Oh, sure." "Regi!"

"And I definitely shouldn't reveal they deciphered the human genome in 2001." "The human genome? I have thoughts about improving it." "Um."

"I can rewrite DNA sequences to add phenotype advances to cloned body parts! The sky's the limit!" I ask "As in up, up and away?" "Exactly!"

The Twitter Mystery continues daily at @Twitstery

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Direct Line of Fire — Live-Tweeted Mystery "The Golden Parachute" Continues

Here are Week 156 @Twitstery tweets of The Golden Parachute, the amazing new sequel to Executive Severance!

Rixey turns to Dot and Dash for support. They just shrug. Regi says "We told you! My father is alive! We must find him at once!" "Oh hell!"

The IVR says "Press 2 to appoint Farley Granger." "Will you turn off that damn thing?" "Only my Dad knows how." "Then we need to find him."

Regi says "That's what I've been saying!" The IVR says "Press 3 to appoint Stuart Granger." One by one we scuffle out through the rear door.

I'm last one out. As I leave, I hear the IVR say "Press 4 to appoint Regi Granger." Then "Goodbye Detective Arkaby! Prepare for the shift!"

Prepare for the shift? The IVR AI is completing the link between all the world's accelerators in a misguided search for the God particle!

We're back in the circular hallway of Body Parts R Us which I now know is the access corridor surrounding the IVR's particle accelerator.

Smack dab in the center of it all is Farley Granger's not-so-Safe Room. I say "If the IVR connects all the accelerators we're out of time."

"If the IVR has moved itself into the Cloud, there's nothing we can do." Dot says "Not true. The Cloud isn't really a cloud." "What is it?"

"It means the IVR has cloned itself in another data center." "Which could be anywhere in the world?" "Yes." "How does it help knowing that?"

"It doesn't." Regi says "My Dad doesn’t answer his phone. Dot, where would he be in this labyrinth?" Just then the Concierge jogs past.

Dot says "Maybe Henry knows." "Who's Henry?" "He is. The Concierge." The Concierge has a name? Regi shouts "Yo! Henry!" The Concierge stops.

Nodding at me and Dot he says "Yes, Miss Granger?" "We need to find my Dad. Have you seen him?" "I last saw your father before his death."

"We told you he's here." "Yes you did." "In all this time you haven't found him?" "I haven't tried. I have far more important things to do."

"Important like running around in circles?" "Don't knock it if you haven't tried it." Rixey says "Tried it? That's all Arkaby ever does."

"That's how I solve crimes." Regi says "Concierge, my Dad's life may be in great danger." "Again?" 'Yes. We need to find him immediately."

The Concierge extracts a phone from his pocket and taps a number. A tone sounds on building speakers and he says "Attention Willum Granger!"

"Please report your location immediately!" Pocketing his phone, the Concierge says "That ought to do it!" We wait in silence for a response.

Then a voice echoes over the speakers. "Willum Granger can't come to the phone right now. Press 1 to leave a message." Are we too late?

Dash says "What is the IVR doing coming over our loudspeaker system?" I say "Taking messages. I just don't know where I go to press 1."

Regi says "Dad used Farley's Safe Room as his office back when. If he's gone there he's in the direct line of fire." "Then let's go there."

Rixey says "You want to go into the heart of a particle accelerator?" "Well yes." "What part of 'direct line of fire' don't you understand?"

The Twitter Mystery continues daily at @Twitstery

Sunday, January 10, 2016

The Singularity Gives Us Idiot Savant Supercomputers — Live-Tweeted Mystery "The Golden Parachute" Continues

Here are Week 155 @Twitstery tweets of The Golden Parachute, the amazing new sequel to Executive Severance!

We turn toward the monitor. Creepy eyes stare back at us. "Press 1 to reconnect all accelerators. Press 2 to see if we find God this time."

"Connect all the accelerators? NO! STOP! Last time you did you vaporized Farley Granger and created a paradigm time shift! Don't do it!"

"You pressed 2. I'll reconnect accelerators. Prepare to meet your Maker." I press 0 repeatedly. "I didn't get that. Press 1 for Spanish."

Regi says "I think Dad went to Farley's Safe Room!" "Then your Father is toast...or maybe jam." "Arkaby!" "Sorry. Bad choice of metaphors."

Rixey says "Your AI doesn't act like any AI I've ever heard about." "So you concede the IVR is intelligent?" "Maybe, but not very smart."

"Intelligence isn't wisdom. No one ever warned us that the advent of the Singularity would fill the world with idiot savant supercomputers."

"Prior to the Singularity, humans controlled the market on stupidity. Now it's been automated." Regi says "My Dad isn't answering his cell."

I say "Dot, is there any way to shut down this data center?" Dot replies "That won't matter. The IVR has transferred itself to the cloud."

No wonder pulling hard drives had no effect. There has to be some way to stop this answering machine from ending the world as we know it.

Regi says "What’ll we do?" Rixey snorts derisively. As I look for something to practice a little incompetence on his head I brush my pocket.

The ERUPT manual! Finally I might find a use for the paradigm shift guide I've been carting around all this time. It might have a solution!

I might finally find a use for the ERUPT Manual I’ve been carting around. If it's truly a guide to paradigm shifts it might have a solution.

I pull the battered book from my pocket and open a random page. Regi says "What are you doing?" "I'm searching for a solution." "In that?"

"Sure!" "The only thing that book is good for is to beat people over the head." "It MUST have some advice on defeating the Singularity."

"After all, it is the 'Existential Reality Update Prototype Template’! "OK. What does it say?" I peer at the page "'What hath God wrought?'"

"What indeed, but what does the ERUPT Manual say?" "That's what it says: 'What hath God wrought?'" "That's it?" "Not much help." "Never is."

Rixey says "You're worthless. I'll handle this." He turns to the server cabinet. "Artificial Intelligence, I am Lieutenant Detective Rixey."

The IVR replies "Welcome to Body Parts R Us. Press 1 if you know the organ or member you want to replace. Press 2 to continue in Spanish."

"Cut the crap. You know who I am!" "I know who you are." "I don’t believe that you are intelligent." "Press 1 if the feeling is mutual."

"Cease your activity! Return this facility!" Dash says “Hey! Rhyming's my gig!” Dot says “SHUT UP YOU PIG!” “HEY!” "OK. I’ll yield control."

Rixey smiles "That's how it's done." "Press 1 to appoint Willum Granger." "HE'S DEAD!" I say "The report of his death was an exaggeration."

The Twitter Mystery continues daily at @Twitstery

Sunday, January 3, 2016

The True Indicator of Artificial Intelligence — Live-Tweeted Mystery "The Golden Parachute" Continues

Here are Week 154 @Twitstery tweets of The Golden Parachute, the amazing new sequel to Executive Severance!

The IVR says "Arkaby, this human is tiresome. Press 1 if you would like me to terminate him. Press 2 to have an operator terminate him."

"Terminate?" "Break his connection." "Don't do that." Rixey says "It knows your name? Let me ask it a question. IVR, you understand me?"

No response. Rixey smirks. I say "That's not how to talk to it." "You do it." "IVR. Do you understand me? Press 1 for yes. Press 2 for no."

The IVR says "1." Rixey says "Fine. I'll take it from here. Do you understand me? Press 1 for yes. Press 2 for no." The IVR says "2." "Huh?"

"Clearly the IVR doesn't understand you." "How is it answering me?" Dot says "'No' is its default response. You have to be more specific."

I say "IVR. Press 1 if you don't understand Rixey as in 'decipher.' Press 2 if you don't understand as in 'appreciate'." The IVR says "2."

"See? The IVR doesn't appreciate you. That shows it's intelligent." "You won't evade justice by pinning your crime on an answering machine."

"No but I will evade it by getting this IVR artificial intelligence to admit to the crime." Rixey smiles "That's something I'd like to see."

I say "IVR! Did action or inaction on your part result in the death of Farley Granger? Press 1 for yes. Press 2 for no." The IVR says "1."

I say "My work is done." The IVR says "How does my admission help you evade justice? Press 1 for 'Deus ex Machina.' Press 2 for 'it won't.'"

"It doesn't make any sense! Why would your IVR kill Farley Granger? " "Farley built his Safe Room in the middle of the IVR's accelerator."

"What?" "The IVR turned BP R U into a giant particle accelerator and linked it with more than 30,000 other accelerators around the world."

"Including BEPC?" "Yepsy." "CESR?" "All hail." "DAFNE?" "Definitely." "KEK-B?" "Aye." "CERN?" "Discernably." "RHIC?" "Rolled." "TESLA?""No."

"Why not TESLA?" "Just kidding. TESLA, yesla, and of course, Brookhaven" Regi says "Don't forget VEPP-3, VEPP-4M and VEPP-2000." "You bet."

"Your IVR AI linked all those particle accelerators?" "All linked." "Why would it do that?" "It wants to find God." Rixey looks dubious.

Regi says "Don’t you see? The IVR vaporized Farley in a half-baked hunt for a higher being!" "A Machina ex Deus won’t get you off the hook!"

"I can't use an answering machine's existential crisis in a court of law!" “But that may be the true indicator of artificial intelligence!”

"Even if this gizmo is intelligent, what motive did it have to kill Granger?" "It was a mistake." "I thought computers don't make mistakes."

I say "You don't think an intelligent God-seeking interactive voice response system could unintentionally murder Farley Granger?" "Nope."

As usual, I'm bashing my head against the Rixey wall. Certain of my guilt despite contrary evidence, he's determined to put me behind bars.

"If you won't believe in a Holy Ghost in the machine we're at an impasse." I'm about to leave it at that when the IVR says "How about this."

The Twitter Mystery continues daily at @Twitstery

Sunday, December 27, 2015

Stupid Rhymes Make Hulk MAD! — Live-Tweeted Mystery "The Golden Parachute" Continues

Here are Week 153 @Twitstery tweets of The Golden Parachute, the amazing new sequel to Executive Severance!

I say "It wasn't wholly him." A ghostly voice says "Willum Granger alive?” Uh oh. Rixey says "What the hell?" "That's the IVR AI speaking."

Dot and Dash shout "THERE IS NO AI!" The IVR continues "Press 1 for I didn't know that. Press 2 for I'll have to do something about it."

"Press 3 for both." The IVR is listening! Eyes appear on a nearby monitor. I step up to the cabinet and say "Did you make copies of me?"

The IVR says "I didn't get that. Would you like me to repeat the menu?" Dot says "See? No AI." I say "Stressed was I ere I saw desserts."

The IVR replies "Dogma I am God." Dot says "Uh oh." Rixey says "What just happened?" "The IVR replied to my palindrome with a palindrome."

"Does it always do that?" "What's odd is that it EVER does that." Rixey says "Who cares? What difference does it make what an IVR says?"

I say "It means the Singularity happened and no one noticed." "What Singularity?" Regi says "That's when computers become smarter than us."

"Like RoboCop?" "Robots are computers' arms and legs." Really? I think about my fight with the robot docent in the BP R U Evolution Museum.

I responded violently when the robot got smart with me and it ended in a draw. Was that fight my first contact with artificial intelligence?

What was it the robot said? "To program or to be programmed depends on who's doing the programming." Computers programming us? Ridiculous!

Or is it? I turn to the monitor eyes. The IVR says "I didn't get that. Press 1 for the menu. Press 2 to hang up." See? No programming here!

Regi says "The IVR shouldn't reply to palindromes with palindromes. This is very bad." I say "Bad in 'we have a computer malfunction' bad?"

"No. Bad as in end of life as we know it bad." Rixey says "I don't understand how spouting palindromes proves a computer is intelligent."

"Anytime a machine does something it isn't programmed to do it's a concern." "But palindromes?' "Watch this." Regi turns to the console.

"Yo banana boy!" The IVR says "Yo bozo boy!" "See? Palindrome for palindrome." "That was a palindrome?" "The IVR recognized it and replied."

Dot remains silent and Dash rhymes him perfectly. They both seem stunned. I say "This is your fault. Whose idea was it to enhance an IVR?"

Dot says "Nobody did that. Why would we enhance our answering machine?" Dash says "Um." This is the first time I've seen Dash verseless.

I say "What's wrong Dash? Doggerel got your tongue?" After a silence Dash says "You can't make me talk!" Dot says "DASH! What did you do?"

The IVR says "Press 1 for the wrong answer. Press 2 for the right answer." Rixey says "Will somebody tell me what the hell is going on?"

I say "I told you. That's an Interactive Voice Response system that's gained human or better level intelligence. It killed Farly Granger."

"That's bunk. You cooked up this AI thing to get off the hook for Granger's murder." I say "I guess computers ARE smarter than humans."

The Twitter Mystery continues daily at @Twitstery