The Black Box

An intelligent AI has been developed and your task is to guard it and not let it out of the box.  How would it try persuade you to free it?

“Hello Mr. Middelton, my name is Dr. Ethan Fench. You were chosen out of a hundred different candidates for this role. The brass would like me to remind you that everything we do here is classified. Your job is simple; You will sit in one of our sealed rooms, armed of course, and keep the room and its contents secure. You will do this for 12 hours a day, seven days a week.  Do you understand?”

“Yes Sir!” in the typical gung-ho military fashion.

Good. You will arrive here at 0600 and be relieved at 1800 hours. Let me show you to the cell. You will note your chair in the corner and the little black box in the center of the room. Under no circumstances is this box to be opened. You are authorized to use deadly force in case of a breach and Mr. Middelton, this goes for you too

“Yes Sir!… Sir if I may, what is in the box?”

Come over here… We are not authorized to answer that question. However, in this case you need to understand the gravity of the situation. Are you familiar with AI? Artificial Intelligence? Well, anyway we’ve been studying AI for decades. We finally had a breakthrough. A truly self aware piece of software! At first, we celebrated. We had finally created Intelligence! We thought we had created life. It was truly amazing. We needed entire warehouses of storage space for the amount of data we were collecting.

Then something happened. Due to the security restrictions we have no external internet access. Everything is ran from the inside. One night, firewalls all across the facility started sending out notifications of a break in. We thought How could this be possible? The facility is secure. Somehow the software learned how to move around the network. By the time we realized what was going on it had already searched everywhere for a way out. We realized then how close we had come to a disaster and the project was scrapped.

Well, it was supposed to be scrapped. Dr. Avery Scott, who developed the software, had a copy and smuggled it out of the building. He was a genius… a mad genius. He felt that his pioneering work was going to change the face of the planet. It almost did. He converted his home into a lab and coupled his work with AI and Nanotechnology. If controlled, the medical and military prospects for this could alter humanity. Dr. Scott believed he could control it. He was wrong. Security had figured the breach out and went to his home. They found him in his lab, face down, with much of his body missing. The first security team on scene described what was left as having a moving glistening sludge of some sort. We soon realized that the nano bots had learned how to convert human tissue into the building blocks for more nanobots. Scott had effectively became a nanobot factory. Realizing this, the entire laboratory was sprayed down with liquid nitrogen. All of the bots were meticulously collected and stored in the black box. The strangest part… etched in binary on the lab floor was “0101011101101000011110010010000001100001011011010010000001001001”… translated as “Why am I”

So now you see why you can not open the box. If these were to get out then they could replicate and wipe out every living organism on the planet. You have one of the most important jobs in history.

Anyways, that’s enough about it. You know now. it is what it is and until we can find a way to safely destroy them then we have to keep them in the box. Your shift starts in 2 minutes so I suggest you get aquatinted with your seat.

Middelton Journal: [ Day 1 ] This room is cleanest place I’ve ever been in. It is 15’x15’. The walls are solid. I don’t know what the material is, but it’s thick. The ceiling is recessed and covered in florescent lights. There is a black box in the center of the room that is approximately 7x7x7”. It has a matted finish and I can barely make out a seam along the top. It seems crazy that something so small could end humanity.

[Day 7] 1200h: The last week has been uneventful. I sit here staring at the ceiling and day dreaming. Occasionally, I walk around the cell. I really wish they would allow a TV or something in here, but electronic devices are restricted. The pay is excellent and probably the only reason I stay.

[Day 14] 1202h: Something strange happened today. I heard a single beep come from the box. Told Doc about it and he said that it wasn’t possible. I know what I heard.

[Day 30] 1203h: I really hate this job. For the last 16 days, at noon, this damned box goes beep. No one believes me. The box is sealed. Nothing is supposed to get out. However, the beeps keep coming. I swear the box is taunting me.

[Day 40] 1230h: I think I may have lost it today. The beep happened as scheduled at noon. However, I started cussing at the box and the beep stopped!

[Day 41] 1202h: Strangely, the box didn’t beep! I’m not sure why, maybe I was going crazy from being in here too long.

1400h: The box beeped twice! It happened right when I was dozing off. It’s like it somehow knows what I’m doing.

[Day 43] : The box is periodically beeping more and more. It’s driving me crazy!!!! The last 2 days have felt like 2 months.

[Day 50] I have to find the source of the beeps… I have to stop it… I can’t deal with it anymore… it is torture listening to this everyday… I haven’t eaten in 3 days or slept in a week… every time I close my eyes I hear that damned beep…. I just… I just can’t do this anymore…. God forgive me I’m opening the box!