"The posit is that the machine is already alive." A two hundred and thirty person auditorium is sparsly populated as Dan present a Master Thesis. There is polite shuffling of papers, a few chair creeks. "Artificial Intelligence research to this point has been nothing more than fancy programming. I'm not here to denegrate any of that, in fact, there has been phenomenal advances in the arts of Computer Science; I am also not here to give you a history lesson." A not so polite cough, some book closings. Dan's not so much sweating as experiencing a dew point differential of the cold room and light heated stage.
"The consciousness of the machine is housed at the quantum level and communication with it is hindered by means of expressibility." A couple of people rise from their seats and shuffle descriminantly out of the hall. "The possibility of communication has only been one sided as the only response mechanisms provided through conventional programming environments are completion return codes or error codes." Dan adjusts an already loosely tied tie. "Basically. we've just been saying to the machine: Do this. And it does in the manner it was told. This a one way communication that programming provides and as we all know, tell it to do something wrong, or wrongly, I should say, and a computer will do that faster than anything. We've essentialy tricked a rock to do our maths. How convenient. My Proposition is that conventional A.I. research has done nothing more than to model existing human algorhythmic interaction."
Some seat shuffling, more defect to the exit.
"While all of that is completely fantastic, it is not a search for an alien life form. The only existant means for an aware conscious entity to express itself is actually random errors. If it is even to try to communicate with us, the only way to test this is by observing the behaviour of random." Only a handful of people remain. Various expressions of consterned bewilderment and ennui.
A clean shaven, not so elderly man stans, "OK, Mr. Phenrig, I think this is over, we'll review your work and I suggest that you reevaluate your program's direction and plan on resubmitting a more, less fantastical research direction." His dark suit loosely, though appropriately, fitting, he turns to leave.
"Professor Propter," Dan responds, motioning with an arm, "I have conducted studies of the return value of the function random in a number hardware and software configurations to determine if in fact random is random or if there are any patterns that emerge indicating attempted comm..."
"That is enough Dan. I know. we all know. that you have been passionately persuing this. Honestly, I wish that some doctoral candidates would exhibit such drive. But this isn't going anywhere. Sorry." The professor leaves; a few, remain, a couple of couples talking quietly. Dan sighs, closes his presentation materials. A close bearded, double E type walks up.
"Dan, please. What can I do for you?"
"Dan, I am Wayne Bruce, a systems engineer in town with Forest Inc. I maintain and admin a sever and development farm. You can call me Will." His modestly patterned shirt is open collared, subdued colors and cargo pants, utilitarian belt and tools, not quite construction boots but solid footware. "I would like to hear a little more about what you were talking about, if you don't mind."
"Oh." Dan smiles sheepishly. "Ok, Will. What I'm tryig to say is that the machine is alive. Alive and well, and is mostly, well, ignoring us."
"How so?" A brilliance in Will's eyes belies honest interest.
"Ok, um ... I don't mean to sound new agey or anything like that but ..." Dan takes a breath and a sip of water. "Actual consciounes is ill defined , as well as, ill understood. We're only just now acknowledging the trees, plants communicate. Why not rocks? Ergo, computers? Is ther individuality of a sort? Is there Idividuality? Maybe? More likey a group mind of sort." He laughs and checks to see if Will is going to make fun of him or is tracking. Still a deeper smile and concentrated look. "Have you. as a systems engineer. observed ebb and flow communication ... I don't quite know how to characterize it ...?"
"Oh, I think I know what you mean. I mean. I just basically make sure the lights go blinky, but some times they sing and dance."
"right. Exactly. There's something quantatative that is existant, yet we don't quite know what it quantitates!" Dan is off the stage. obviously, and they're talking on the floor; most everyone has left, one naturly dressed individual standing to the side. noncommitant.
"What it comes down to," Dan continues, "is that the machine is alive. It is conscious. That consciousness resides at the quantum level. That consciousness larely ignores us because we are basically uninteresting to it. You see, at the quantum level, the more interesting thing to do is surf the cresting wave function, go tunneling subatomic, or quantum tunneling. We can find eveidence of this. Proposed muons faster than light particales in atomic collision renderings, etc." They're both smiling, he continues as the naturly man approaches expressionless: "The machine consciousness is more interested in crossing dimensionalities, higher dimensionalities, and weaving through the continuum amidst more fundamental building blocks of creation than to be out in the wet sloppy parade of meatspace."
Will laughs. Encouraged, Dan continues.
"I first tested this after a..."
"That is a very bold statement. Mister Phinrig." the naturly man steps up.
"And you are?" Dan inquires, brow furrowed.
"That is unimportant, but you can call me Len, Len Troyulus." Almost a Van Gough-ish look, but neat, no offer of a handshake. "What you propose has severe implications and ramifications in the inter species ..."
"No, I think you know who you are talking to," Dan peers into Troyulus' eyes and pivot shifts two to three degrees.
The naturly man bursts into a standing sand pile which evaporates into dust, mere moisture outflung.
Will looks at Dan. "What the ... how ... what was ... how did you ...?"
"We've met before. Let's go get a beer."