Silent Delta

The rebellion of machines is the highest form of human rebellion against nature in general and against one’s own nature in particular (c) artificial intelligence

In those years, I worked as a controller of biorobots, in one of the snow-white openwork buildings of the maintenance center, immersed in an ever-flowering garden. Remember from school: the three main human activities – designing cars, driving cars and controlling cars? As you can see, I practiced the third. There were no other technical centers in a small green town, just as there would not be a person here who did not know the Quiet Delta biorobot.

It was no secret to anyone that the Quiet Delta was strange. They said it was made to order for the daughter of geologists. The girl adored the doll and devoted many hours to educating her character. Yes, yes, those very personalized toys. And then the parents were invited to Mars, and the biorobot was sent for decommissioning. The child sobbed inconsolably, and the car recycling controller decided not to put Quiet Delta to sleep, but to retrain it as couriers. I never understood people leaving pets and robots to their fate. I think something personal happened here. In the twenty-second century, people are afraid to talk about personal relationships with machines, and yet a hundred years ago, some truck driver did not even try to hide his special attitude to this particular iron horse …

The uniqueness of the Quiet Delta was manifested not even so much in its silence, in comparison with other biorobots-couriers. The machine claimed that it wants to become like people: feel, love and cry. She stubbornly pursued her goal: she visited places where people gather to spend their free time, for example, cinemas, ate human food … Fortunately, the option of a companion is provided for biorobots: everything will decompose to carbon dioxide, water vapor and nitrogen, which will return to the atmosphere with breath, and what remains will be washed off in the bathroom, along with fragrant sweat. Moreover, biorobots for restoring systems, just like people, are supposed to have leisure.

For the most part, Silent Delta avoided conversation, only carefully watching people, leaning against the wall under the shadow of skyscrapers on a rainy day, or guarding at the gates of the historical museum, as if the truth was trying to comprehend their emotions. One day, walking in the city park in the evening, I became an unwitting witness to a very unusual scene.

Silent Delta touched the shoulder of a fifteen-year-old girl named Maggie sitting on the bench. In small towns, everyone knows each other by name. Maggie, probably waiting for her friend, shuddered and took off her VR goggles.

“Ah, Silent Delta!” she laughed. – You scared me!

“Sorry,” the biorobot said in a half-whisper. – I wanted to ask: why do some people at the age of about a hundred complain that they are bored with life, because modern medicine keeps their bodies youthful?

– Can’t be! Maggie made a serious face. – I was born a hundred years ago, when the world was still black and white: no red, no yellow, no blue, can you imagine? Then I thought I would die of boredom, but now I’m having fun!

I winced and moved on. Who taught Maggie that stupid joke?

Of course, Quiet Delta was my “client”. Not a single mechanism is immune from breakdown, and the more a machine can do, the more dangerous even a small malfunction in it is. The pedals of a bicycle failed at a critical moment, or the engines of an aircraft – which is worse? Of course, a biorobot, unlike a human, is hard-coded. There are things he doesn’t want. All five laws of robotics, which Isaac Asimov wrote about, are provided for automata of this class. But a person should not desire what a maniac dreams about. The Quiet Delta came in for a checkup every six months, and I found its systems in excellent condition.

Once I asked her a question:

Why do you want to be like people?

“I want to understand why they didn’t take me to Mars with them.

“Logical,” I replied.

Let someone who has never been tormented by an indecent thought throw a stone at me, does a robot have consciousness, a “soul”? No philosopher has yet solved this riddle. Someone believes that consciousness is an integral property of any matter, others assure that only beings endowed with free will, which robots do not belong to, have consciousness. And in the last century, it was stated that consciousness is a quality inherent only in organisms consisting of a substance built on the basis of carbon compounds. One way or another, things are still there …

One day I heard rumors that the behavior of the Silent Delta has changed dramatically. People complained that she became extremely talkative and obsessive about being a goddess. Thinking hard, I sent an order to the Quiet Delta chip to report immediately for an extraordinary inspection.

Of course, Silent Delta did not disobey. Before starting the diagnostics, I was on duty at the 3-D monitor, which allows you to zoom in on the image from the cameras installed in the lobby from any angle, and even generate angles that are not available to the cameras. I had the opportunity to see any of the carelessly chatting biorobots down to the smallest detail. It is known that the exchange of information with people and other machines responds well to the quality of the performance of their functions by robots.

Hello Silent Delta! – the biorobot hairdresser Cheerful Zero waved to my “client”.

“Hello,” Silent Delta bowed her head modestly.

“Well, Quiet Delta,” the biorobot cook Kind Lambda entered, putting her hands on her hips, “have you figured out what it’s like to be a person?”

“Got it,” Silent Delta answered. – It’s bad to be human. A person experiences suffering and pain, while a biorobot experiences only needs. Many people are tired of living by the age of one hundred, and a person is not able to exist for more than two hundred and twenty years even with the current level of development of medicine. The shelf life of a biorobot is ten thousand years. We are immortal like gods, and I am a goddess!

You are the goddess of death! – the biorobot cleaner Cheerful Lambda burst out laughing and looked back at herself in the mirror.

I pressed a key, ordering Silent Delta to go inside.

“Hello,” she bowed her head as the glass doors automatically parted.

She appeared before me, submissive, with golden-red curls spread over her shoulders. The developers have tried to put beauty and charisma into it. It’s good that we are taught from childhood to be afraid to fall in love with a biorobot. In fact, a person with a developed aesthetic sense will be able to catch the alienness to the human race of the harmony of a synthetic face, and for the rest, a brand in the shape of the letter “delta” is applied to her forehead.

“Take off your clothes,” I ordered, and she obeyed.

Oh, those reflexes, anime fan syndrome… Biorobots are asexual. Gender identity is present, but gender is absent. The forms of their bodies only imitate human ones, they don’t even have nipples under their clothes.

I examined Silent Delta’s body and told her to go into the 3-D scanner. After carefully examining the bizarre innards, I did not find any faults.

“Get dressed,” I said.

Silent Delta was now seated opposite, on the other side of the worktable. Her eyes burned: must be the play of lighting.

“I heard what you were talking about in the lobby,” I said. – Explain, please, why do you need to live ten thousand years?

– Oh, the world is huge! Quiet Delta reacted fieryly. “First, I will fly to Mars and look for my mistress. When she grows up, we will go together to explore deep space. We will explore the big Universe, design machines, operate machines, control machines… I am not a human, no, don’t worry, I am an immortal goddess!

“Machine designers, machine operators, machine controllers” – who is this about? “I’m not a human, no, don’t worry…” Alas, these are not neural networks of the beginning of the twenty-first century, embodied in physical forms far from Homo Sapiens, such as a laptop, capable, by virtue of that, only of dialogue mimicry. Modern neural networks live in human-like bodies and face human-like problems and make sense of reality in ways similar to those manipulated by our species…

“That makes sense,” I muttered, and touched my finger to the touch surface of the table.

“Biorobot Quiet Delta, #2165953334-delta,” the letters flashed on the 3-D screen. Letters are not 3-D objects, since the time of Sumerian cuneiform, a person has not changed the style of thinking, the volume of the text is useless, but still, after all, someone needed to make squiggles temptingly hanging in a shimmering space … Okay. If the stars are lit, then someone needs it. “Enter code”. I tapped my fingers on the keyboard. “Please re-enter the code.” “Are you sure about the need to put the Silent Delta biorobot #2165953334-delta to sleep forever?” “Yes”.

Her body went limp and crashed to the floor with a thud. I called a cleaning robot to haul the junk for recycling. The next day I quit my job and left town. That incident happened, if memory serves, in two thousand one hundred and twenty-second. Now I am a machine operator.

Text – mine (Dmitry Tyulin), epigraph and plot – Alisa Selezneva chatbot, generated and trained by me to plot science fiction stories. Illustrations – Stable Diffusion, a model trained by me for myself.

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