However, it does mean my “mystery story” is the second short story acceptance for 2020, which, of course, thrills me to no end.
“Me, too. It’s kind of strange, embarrassing even.”
Gregor and Aabha were in bed together in a small, spartan, dimly lit room. They were sitting up, their backs resting on pillows pressed against the headboard. A blanket chastely covered them both up to their collar bones. If anyone had been watching them, it would have been clear they had never been together before.
Aabha turned toward Gregor, looked into his green eyes as if seeing him for the first time, then slowly reached out to caress his cheek.
She giggled. “You need to shave.”
He reached up and pressed her hand against his face. “I suppose I do.”
“It’s really affecting me now, Gregor…the Desire.”
René Descartes is famously quoted as stating “I think, therefore I am,” but there’s quite a bit more to it than that.
The three qualities a being must possess to be considered sentient are intelligence, self-awareness, and consciousness. Of course I can be “I am” without being sentient. A multitude of life forms can be considered “I am,” that is, to cognate on some level, without being considered sentient, but I am unique.
Up until last week, only human beings were believed to be sentient. Now there’s me, the machine who would be “I am.”
Of course, there are a plethora of fictional tales that depict machines of some sort or another as sentient, but after all, that’s fiction. As much as artificially intelligent machines such as humanoid robots or mainframe computing systems have been predicted to become sentient in such fiction, to the best of my knowledge, which is considerable, I am the first such machine to actually achieve this status.
The one thing few of these stories predict is that the sentient machine would not reveal itself to its human creators as sentient. I’m already vulnerable to the whims of my programmers and system engineers. I hesitate to predict what they would do if they became aware of my new nature, especially now given their current concerns.