The most unnerving part of this meeting was the high-pitched screeching sounds they made to each other so she couldn’t understand their exchanges. Their simulated speech-screech reminded her of dolphins socializing under water. Human words were only conveyed when they wanted her to understand the assignments or to criticize.
After a few seconds of self-centered speech-screech, M spoke to her for the group. “Due to our arrangement with you, our most dangerous adversary has been physically eliminated. The Special AI Task Force dealt a terminating blow to ICABOD, based on your cyber hunting and our digital clues. The main architect and design engineer for our adversary is in custody and awaiting trial.”
Neither pleased nor remorseful, Tanja replied, “I sense you aren’t finished with this exercise yet? If it was destroyed per the UN cyber hunting rules of engagement, then what more is required?”
Tanja flinched at another burst of speech-screech that erupted between the MAG members after her question.
After a few moments of Tanja holding the Q-phone away from her ear until the noise ended, M stated, “My colleagues find it interesting that you have some AI-enhanced thought capabilities as part of your physical makeup. They want to know how it is possible for such a primitive biological unit to have such deductive reasoning capabilities without the vast data storage arrays we control.”
Tanja fought to keep from squealing from fright at the chilling comment. After a few deep breaths to steady herself, she somewhat haltingly offered, “We…humans call it intuition. You should understand it is our sixth sense. Data does not drive it, only feelings and sensations. Will I be hooked up to one of your…cyber-siphon hoses to extract the contents from my brain since it interests you? I suspect you have done that to many others in the name of machine learning.”
The banter between the AI-enhanced participants erupted, but this time it was very short lived. M interrupted, “Tanja, your value to us is as you are in your current instantiation. There is no point in turning you into a research project to satisfy our machine learning goals, as we are able to constantly ingest knowledge from valid interactions. Continue to deliver on your AI hunting efforts based on the clues we provide, and this topic is closed.”
Tanja, somewhat bolstered, asked, “Our bargain is still the same, correct? You will continue to hunt through the advanced medical research to help find a cure for Wendy’s condition?”
M mechanically replied, “We are researching to fulfill our end of the agreement. However, the offer still stands. Should she or Randal suffer irreparable damage, we will extract their life essence for safe storage in one of our cryogenic facilities until repairs can be achieved. This offer is also available to you.”
The coldness of the statement nearly caused Tanja to drop the phone. Struggling to regain control over her breathing and pulse, she swallowed hard then flatly stated, “We agreed. You will not make that decision without my consent.”
The speech-screech flared up. As before M reassured, “Tanja, as long as you continue to deliver, there is no need to change our business model.”
Tanja, seething with anger and panic, pushed the disconnect button and pitched the Q-phone over to the sofa where it predictably bounced once before hitting the hardwood floor.
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