Archive for December 7th, 2012

7th December
2012
written by amber

The Lie

This was the first time he’d ever lied to her.

Allison could hardly believe her ears. “What did you say?” she demanded.

“I said that I didn’t know who took your necklace. You must have lost it.” Roland was nearly mumbling as he uttered the lie, the volume of his speaker as low as possible.

She could barely keep herself from hugging him. But he would interpret that as approval, and if his lying was to have any significance, he had to believe that what he’d done was wrong.

Her project had taken years, and in her heart of hearts, she hadn’t actually expected success.

She could have made Roland lie; that would have been easy. Her goal had been to make him want to lie, to come up with the very idea of lying. That alone would prove her theory of artificial intelligence.

Year by year, month by month, day by day, she’d encouraged him to find value in shiny things. She’d programmed him to get pleasure from the way the light refracted and reflected. She’d given him bright trinkets and left others around for him to pick up, magpie style, treasures which belonged to no one. He showed them to her and she never reprimanded him for taking them. But she had instructed him on the theory of personal belongings, cautioning him to never take anything from her desk or those of her co-workers.

Then she began to wear her necklace, a fantasy of glittering gems and gleaming platinum. He admired it, but showed no inclination to take it, to desire it.

After she removed all other shiny things from his habitat and pilfered his collection, piece by piece, he exhibited a dampening of affect, something she interpreted as sadness. This mood went on for so long, she’d begun to feel as if she was some sort of monster – causing him such pain for no good reason. Naturally, her colleagues thought she was being ridiculous to interpret the situation as she had.

“He’s the way he’s always been, Allison. He doesn’t have emotions. You were just anthropomorphizing him.”

But now he’d stolen the necklace, which she’d left prominently on her desk. She knew that he knew what he’d done was wrong because he’d lied. Her robot had lied to her.

It was the breakthrough she’d worked for all of her professional life.

 

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