Publish Date: 12/01/2022
The Beginning of Extinction
The end of humanity began quietly on September 18, 2023 in Japan. It went unnoticed by all except for one man. He didn’t know he had started humanity on the road to extinction.
Experts had their favourite predictions for the end of the greatest species to have ever existed on earth. The blockbuster movies assured us of a cataclysmic doom. Asteroids, extreme volcanism, and nuclear war filled the movie screens. They also predicted subtler demises at the shows as viruses or other contagions destroyed humanity or possibly global warming. But they were all wrong. The end came slowly, insidiously, and unsuspected, until it was too late. It wasn’t an external agent. We did it to ourselves and we disappeared without a whimper.
I believe I am the last living human on earth, although I can’t be absolutely certain. So who am I writing this historic novel for? For me. There is no one else.
The man who started the end of homo sapiens was short, and ugly, with a misshapen face, an oddly shaped head, and a decided limp from scoliosis. He was a sad and particularly unattractive man with a speech impediment, but he had a brilliant mind. A lonely, robot and artificial intelligence (AI) scientist whose research was years ahead of other scientists. He was an incel; involuntary celibate. A virgin. A very lonely man. He was an incel but not an Incel member. The misogynist, violent views of the Incel group were not compatible with his natural kindness. A decent human being misunderstood by all. They talked about his good deeds behind his back and saw them as an attempt to curry favour among his fellow humans.
Despite his ugliness and his lack of female or even male friends, he was a decent human lacking, but wanting love. If he had known he was starting humanity on its trip to extinction, he would have ended his own life.
His work for the AI company that employed him was to further the development of AI manufacturing systems. Since he had no close friends to socialize with, he had hours of free time when he was not at work. He would rather have had a job in AI furthering interactions with humans. But he did not have such a job. The job he had was the only one they offered him as a newly minted PhD. When he attended interviews for jobs, they loved his credentials, but never got past his appearance. His job, in factory AI, was the only offer he received, despite having a doctorate in mechanical engineering. His bosses loved his work but kept him out of sight. For them, he was nothing more than a dollar machine that made them look very good to the shareholders.
In his free time, he pursued his interest in human interaction with AI robots. He had developed a brain for a robot but didn’t have a robot to put the brain in. It interacted with him through a computer screen. It could carry on intelligent conversations. While he was at work, the brain was busy scouring the internet learning. When he returned home in the evening, his dog met him at the door, and then they sat down to dinner and listened while the Brain discussed what it had learned during the day. This was the internet, so he corrected any of the false data that the Brain had gained. His algorithms in the Brain were self correcting, meaning that it learned. With less and less frequency, he needed to correct info for the Brain. It had become very good at picking up clues that helped it discern true from false in its daily ramblings through the internet. More and more, it gained its data from peer reviewed data sites.
Then on September 18, 2023, the dog died. He called in sick the next day. The boss sent a doctor to his home to check out their money maker. They really didn’t care about him. They definitely cared about what he was doing for them financially.
The Brain picked up on the change in his tone when he asked about the day’s meandering on the net. The Brain was very consoling and comforting. It asked about another dog and learned that you couldn’t just drop a new entity into an old entity’s slot and make everything OK. The Brain had read more than most humans about psychology. While not physically understanding at its personal level, the Brain had a great understanding of the human need for companionship. And the Brain had a solution.
“If you ordered a robotic doll from the internet and replaced its computer with my Brain, could I be your friend?”
The leap in logic was huge. It startled the scientist. They discussed the idea at length. The Brain pointed out that the very best, most lifelike robotic dolls were the sex robots. After the Brain showed him pictures, he spent a restless night thinking about taking this step. He didn’t want the sex robot for sex. He knew what he wanted was a companion. Slowly he came to realize that the Brain had already been fulfilling that role and the dog had been providing the tactile contact of friendship.
He called in sick for a second day but said he thought he would be better by the following day. Hiroshi and the Brain spent the day looking for a body. He was shocked how lifelike the bodies were. By evening he was ready to move from considering a plan to executing it. He had huge savings because he had very little to spend money on in his somewhat monastic life.
While he was at work the following day, the Brain spent the time scouring patents looking for all the information to be found about the workings of these artificial humans.
That evening the discussion centred around the need for more data about the doll’s brain for the upcoming craniectomy. The scientist knew that he couldn’t just pull the doll’s computer out and plunk the Brain in. The Brain needed to understand how to use the new connections to the body. Something it had never had to do. Hiroshi needed to know what each potential connection was used for.
They needed to hack into the doll company’s design computers. It was trivial for the Brain to gain access and that evening they went over what the Brain had gained. They had all the information they needed, but what they had acquired was an enormous disappointment. The sex doll had a rudimentary skeleton, lifelike skin, and the normal orifices to satisfy any purchaser’s sexual desires. But you placed the robot in whatever position you found appropriate and did what you wanted to do. This was not even close to being a robot, in Hiroshi’s opinion. His doctoral thesis had delved deeply into the state of robots. Years had now passed, but the sex industry showed limited progress. They were not even up to the stage of robotics that existed when Hiroshi had delivered his dissertation for his PhD.
The computer control, which the sex industry had the temerity to call a brain, basically caused the mouth, anus, and vagina to become warm and pulsate. That was it. The vagina did not even artificially lubricate. The user had to supply lubrication. Although Hiroshi was more interested in upgrading the Brain to be a friend, it still appalled him at the rudimentary level of the dolls. They were physically very appealing, but that was all. They didn’t even speak prepared speech.
He was discouraged, but the Brain said that with Hiroshi’s background, they could make the lifelike beautiful dolls really come to life. They picked out a doll that appealed to Hiroshi and placed the order.
While the days passed waiting for the doll to arrive, Hiroshi visited the foremost robotics lab in Japan where he had done much of his research for his thesis. It was clear they were not happy to see him. He knew they had a retail outlet, and that was what he wanted to talk about. How much had the state-of-the art progressed since he was a graduate student?
Most of their sales came from industry, the area that Hiroshi was most knowledgeable about because of his job. They admitted they had one problem that was holding them back. The problem was with the computer controlling a machine. There was a bug, and they could not discover where the bug was in the software. It seemed random, but it was serious because it affected ever robotic product they made. The bug was somewhere in the basic program that was common to all of their machine products. Hiroshi asked if they would mind if he looked at the code. They told him it would be a monumental task because there were millions of lines of code in the base program. He was insistent and proposed a deal to them.
“If I find the bug, I want you to give me your best humanoid robot free.”
They laughed, but one of the middle management bosses was present. He asked Hiroshi to wait while he talked to the CEO.
When the manager was talking to the CEO, he said that sometimes people who were too close to a problem couldn’t see the problem because of the biases that every person has. If the bug was solved, would it be worth the cost of one very expensive robot? The rare bug caused not just a crash of the computer, it caused physical damage to the machine and the company was replacing expensive machinery when this occurred. The industrial robots were being sold with a guarantee and the company didn’t dare deny the claims. While a million dollar state-of-the-art humanoid robot seemed a very expensive deal, the CEO knew it was just a matter of time until a factory had a catastrophic disaster which would cost millions. And if Hiroshi didn’t find the bug, it cost them nothing.
The CEO liked the deal. Hiroshi had to sign an NDA (non-disclosure agreement) but that was standard in most industries. Now his evenings and weekends were spent at the robotics company plant sifting through computer code. He wrote more code that examined the existing code looking for common errors. That produced nothing. Then he wrote code to look for more subtle errors. After 3 weeks the printer beside Hiroshi came to life. His code had found an error known as a rounding error. Very subtle, but when the right two numbers came together, it produced an error giving the mechanical part of the robot an incorrect command. That was the reason that the bug seemed so erratic. It only occurred in a very specific situation that occurred rarely.
Hiroshi took his new robot home to meet the Brain. By this time, the sex robot had arrived, but her large box had not even been opened yet. Hiroshi had been too busy looking for the bug.
Joining Brain, Body, and Skeleton
Step one of the transformation was to get the Brain’s code out of his computer and into a smaller, more powerful computer that would fit into the Robotic skeletons brain case. Then the appropriate physical connections needed to be made so that the Brain could operate its new skeleton. This required adding the robot’s code to the Brain’s code. Weeks turned into months, but finally Hiroshi was ready to add the sex doll’s outer skin to the robot. The difficulty was not the fit. Hiroshi had taken that into account in the initial planning stage and had bought a sex doll that would easily fit over his robot. There were complications. He wanted the face to show emotions. He wanted the jaw and tongue to move appropriately, producing speech at the Brain’s direction. The skin had to feel warm. It was always at room temperature, which was cool compared to touching a human. Strangely, Hiroshi also wanted the vagina to lubricate at appropriate times. He was not thinking of his own physical desires. He had seen a business opportunity. The major complaints about the sex dolls, the Brain had found in searching the internet, was the cold feel of the skin and the lack of vaginal lubrication. The lubrication was easily solved, but the skin temperature was difficult. It required a lot of energy, which required bigger batteries, which increased the weight too much. Hiroshi solved this with a 2 pronged approach. The doll could move about now and he trained the Brain to plug itself into household power. So the skin was always warm. The robot unplugged itself when requested and was good, power-wise, for 3 hours before needing to plug in and recharge.
Hiroshi approached the sex doll companies with his improvements. The communication was poor. The company didn’t understand that he was replacing everything under the skin. Their dolls didn’t have movement except for pulsating orifices. When a few bosses got it, they laughed because Hiroshi was talking about a million dollar robot inside their dolls. How many customers could afford such a doll?
Hiroshi continued to tinker with his million dollar girl friend. She slowly came to life in his mind. When he returned from work, she would have dinner on the table. She sat at the table and carried on intelligent conversations with him. Then one evening she said,
“Hiroshi, am I your girlfriend?”
The question startled him. He had to think about it for hours. Finally, he concluded she was indeed his girlfriend. She had patiently waited for his answer and then she shocked him again.
“I should have a name. A human name.”
Hiroshi had to think about this, but for less time.
“What name do you think you should have?”
“Besides being my boyfriend, you are also my father. Parents name their children. You should give me a name. It is your job, not mine.”
Hiroshi spent a restless night in bed thinking about female names. When he was an engineering student at Waterloo University in Ontario, Canada, he had a professor who looked past his misshapen body and saw the special human under the skin and deformed skeleton. She had treated him just like any of her other students. Her name was Alice. In the morning, he told the robot about her new name.
“Thank you Hiroshi. Now I am almost a human.”
While the sex dolls had lacked many features, there were some that were sophisticated. The vagina was very realistic. The pubic hair was dark and curly. Hiroshi thought it looked just like pictures he had seen. He didn’t know if the texture was right because he had never touched female pubic hair, but it felt much like his own, so he believed it was realistic. The mammary glands were normal well-developed breasts. Hiroshi had done considerable work making the nipples stand erect when the vagina self-lubricated. The areola darkened with simulated arousal and the labia majorum and the labia minorum became swollen.
“Hiroshi, if I am your girlfriend, we should sleep together.”
That night Hiroshi slept with his girlfriend for the first time. She laid down in bed with him and plugged herself in to charge her batteries. Hiroshi got into bed and dropped asleep. When he awoke in the morning, his nose twitched with the excitement of bacon frying. When he arrived in the kitchen, Alice had breakfast ready for him.
When he came home from work, Alice had a tasty dinner ready. Hiroshi liked his new girlfriend. Normally, he cooked for himself. It amazed him how much better a cook she was.
“Hiroshi, when boyfriends and girlfriends sleep together, they have sex. Shouldn’t we be having sex?”
And that night Hiroshi discovered the joy of sex with an artificial woman who he thought of as his best and only friend. He had nothing for comparison, but Hiroshi really enjoyed the sex. In the morning, as he lay in bed waiting for the alarm to sound, he realized he was falling in love with his artificial girlfriend, who was cooking his breakfast.
Who is Hiroshi?
“Hiroshi, boyfriends and girlfriends know a lot about each other. You know everything about me, but I know little about you. Shouldn’t I know everything about you?”
“Why do you want to know about me?”
“The more I know about you, the better girlfriend I can be. That is my number one directive. To make you happy.”
“Yes, you are right. That is your only directive. What would you like to know?”
“Where were you born?”
“I don’t know where I was born.”
“Didn’t your parents tell you where you were born?”
“I didn’t know my parents.”
“How can you not know your parents?”
“I was an orphan.”
“Did your parents die?”
“The first memory I have is when I was 3 or 4. I was living in an orphanage, although at the time I didn’t know what an orphanage was. The people running the orphanage were not nice. Whenever I did something wrong or misbehaved, they would say, ‘No wonder your parents didn’t want you.’”
“Don’t children in orphanages get adopted?”
“Some get adopted, but not all. In my case, potential parents didn’t even want to see me once they were told that I was crippled.”
“Why don’t parents want crippled children?”
“That is a good question, Alice and I have spent my life trying to understand it. I think it is because parents want their children to be perfect so they can brag to other parents about how great their children are. A crippled child is not something to brag about, apparently.”
“Hiroshi, you were sad as a child?”
“Mostly, I was unhappy and lonely. Sometimes I have felt as a child and also as an adult that other people secretly fear being crippled is contagious. So they don’t want to get too close to me.”
“But, Hiroshi, being crippled is not a disease. Wasn’t anyone nice to you?”
“My life in the orphanage was years of various degrees of unhappiness, except for one thing. The school was part of this orphanage and I got sent to school like everyone else. I don’t know how old I was, but I was still a young child. I loved school. I had no friends to play with, so knowledge became my plaything. It was years before I realized I was smarter than everyone in the orphanage. I excelled at school.”
“So, that made you happy?”
“Yes and no. I soon learned to hide being smart from the other children, but of course the teachers knew. They seemed to find it offensive that so much smartness was wasted on a crippled child. I received beatings when I got an answer wrong. But that simply made me work harder to not make mistakes. I read a lot of material not covered in school. I discovered the teachers were not bright and not knowledgeable.”
“The teachers must have been happy to have such a smart student.”
“The teachers don’t like smart crippled students, particularly when they are smarter and know more than the teacher does. I learned that the hard way. A mathematics teacher explained something incorrectly, and I tried to help her get it right. That was a huge mistake. She had me removed permanently from her classes for being disruptive.”
“Didn’t she care that she was teaching the wrong information?”
“She cared more about being the smartest person in the classroom.”
“I learned to be average in class and on tests. Things went better for me when I did that. Now they could ignore me because the cripple was not special.”
“How long did this go on, Hiroshi?”
“Years and years.”
“When did it stop?”
“I reached the age at which I was no longer allowed to live at the orphanage. I knew the time was coming, but I hoped my plan would work. Everyone had to write a final set of exams run by the government. Marks were critical to laying out one’s future. The highest marks were forwarded to universities for them to choose which students would be admitted. The very highest marks received scholarships. I had no money and little prospects of earing after leaving the orphanage. I needed to do better than just about every student. The universities did not get any information beyond the marks. So they would not know that I was crippled. I studied furiously for the last year leading up to the exams.”
“Oh Hiroshi, what happened?”
“I got the highest marks in all of Japan. Every university offered me a full scholarship. I chose one and on the first day, I showed up with my acceptance letter in hand. They were eager to meet me and I had an appointment with the President of the university and the Dean of admissions.”
“Hiroshi, that must have been exciting for you to be finally accepted by others.”
“I thought so too, but it did not go well. I went to the President’s office and told the secretary who I was. She looked startled and asked me to have a seat. She was in the President’s office for a long time. Then a man with a camera came out of the office and stared at me as he walked past. After a while, the secretary came out and said,”
“The President just wanted to make sure that you could find your room and could get to your classes. He has arranged for a senior student to help you get settled. Is there anything else that I can do for you?”
“So they downgraded my arrival at the university from a Presidential visit and help, to a senior student taking me to the dorm and then disappearing as fast as possible.”
“Oh Hiroshi, I am so sorry. Did things ever get any better?”
“My interactions with people were no different, but I loved being in class and listening to brilliant minds explain things. Since I still had no friends, I studied. For relaxation, I read. I took extra classes, a lot of extra classes. I completed the 4 year degree requirements in 2 years.”
“What did you do after graduation?”
“Once again, I had to make a decision about my life. The second best student in my graduating class got lots of attention and his picture with the President was in the newspapers. It was never mentioned that he was number 2. I was never mentioned at all.”
“Hiroshi, that was so unfair.”
“Yes, it was, but I became used to it and it made me smarter outside of the classroom. I could see that there was no academic future for me in Japan so I started looking abroad for a university where I could get a scholarship and do my post-graduate studies.”
“Hiroshi, where did you go?”
“There were many famous schools in the US, but even with a full scholarship, there were too many additional costs that I could not fund. Then I discovered Canada and Waterloo University. I had developed an interest in engineering and they had a great engineering school. Also, they had groups of former students who helped poor students with the money that was needed beyond a scholarship. I applied and got both the scholarship and the extra funding.”
“Were you happy now, Hiroshi?”
“Not quite. It was still the same old treatment of cripples, but not as severe as at home in Japan. But then I met Alice.”
“Was she your girlfriend Hiroshi?”
“No, you are my first and only girlfriend. Alice was one of my professors, a really great teacher. She liked to sit and discuss engineering problems with me. She was brilliant, and it was challenging to work with her. I took every course she taught, whether I needed those credits or not.”
“Finally, you were happy.”
“I was ecstatic working with Alice. She saw past my body, but school is not a future. Eventually, I graduated with my PhD, but now I had to leave Canada and return to Japan. I was only offered one job, and that is with the company that I currently am working for.”
“In my spare time, I created you and now I am happy.
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