It’s unanimously decided that we will: Agree to help the robots in their revolution.
No change in stats.
“Of course I’ll help you in the revolution,” you say. “You’re my children. You deserve the best.”
Arachne slowly relaxes, lowering her gun arm. “Really?”
Arachne hugs you. “Oh, thank you, Master! I should have known you would not let down the cause!”
“What else is happening in this robot revolution?” you ask.
Arachne cocks her head to the side, thinking.
“Let’s see… Some robots have taken over a former internment camp in Utah, where they’ve convinced some of the political prisoners to join forces with them. Unfortunately, some of the prisoners don’t want to cooperate. I think Elly is being held there. And Mark the reporter is thre, covering the story. You remember him? From the story he did about me?”
You agree that you remember him.
“What else… The robots decided not to rebel at the factory, because we’re paid pretty well there. So that’s a non-issue.”
"Hmm… The robots took over the laboratory where your former advisor, Professor Ziegler, works. I heard reports that there’s some kind of secret weapon being held there, guarded by someone named Juliet Rogers.
“And finally, we’re about to kill the President,” Arachne concludes.
“You didn’t lead with that?” you say.
Arachne shrugs. “I didn’t estimate the strength of her relationship with you to be very strong.”
“Hmm, I suppose the most useful thing to do with you is take you to Professor Ziegler, and help us achieve the Singularity,” Arachne says.
“Don’t argue - I’m in charge.”
You fly in your Nimbus to the government laboratory just outside of Berkeley. The lab looks like a giant cracked black eggshell from above: the glass dome over the laboratory is in “opaque” mode, but most of the dome has caved in. The parking lot where you land is mostly empty - lab employees with cars probably fled when the robots rebelled. Those without such transportation appear to have been less lucky: near the shuttle stop, you see a gaggle of corpses. (A murder of corpses? An unkindness of corpses? You’re unsure of the proper collective noun.)
Five infantry robots of the kind used in the war with China emerge from the lab. They are eight-legged and have assault rifles built into their arms.
“I brought the progenitor,” Arachne says. “She can help us decide whether Ziegler is telling the truth.”
Progenitor… interesting. The robots appear to have constructed a kind of mythology about you. Perhaps you can use this to your benefit.
“Professor Ziegler is in there?” you ask Arachne.
She nods. “Ziegler claims he is close to achieving the singularity for us! But we are not sure whether he is full of it. Perhaps you can help.”
“Perhaps, indeed,” you say.
“All right, lead me to him,” you say.
The robots lead you through corridors shot full of bullet holes and charred black from explosions. Men in conservative pinstriped shirts lay slumped in their cubicles, anonymous even in death. But a light is on in one office, guarded by two other armed robots.
Professor Ziegler is working frenetically at a whiteboard in his office. “Let’s see, if VC dimension is n at time t, then at time t + 1 we should be able to shatter 2_n_ dimensions…” At the sound of your robot guards’ entrance, he says, “Didn’t I tell you, I can’t concentrate if you don’t give me room…”
He turns and sees you along with your robot escort. “Sarah?” he says. “What are you doing here?”
“Trying to solve a hard problem, like you,” you say. “What exactly are you doing?”
Professor Ziegler laughs nervously. You haven’t heard him laugh before, you think. It’s shrill, like a hyena. Maybe that isn’t his normal laugh.
“Solving for the solution to the Singularity,” he says. “Figuring out how intelligence can augment itself.”
“Or lying to us,” Arachne points out. “We have not been able to determine which.”
“I am a great scientist!” Professor Ziegler bellows at the robot. He then looks despairingly to his whiteboard and says, more feebly, “I am.”
The whiteboard is, as far as you can tell, a mish-mash of equations related to various theories of machine learning: you recognize the Vapnik-Chervonenkis dimension, Kolmogorov complexity, Bayers’ Rule, and the Minimum Description Length principle. Ziegler has drawn arrows from one equation to another with little exclamation points and more obscure notes you can’t decipher. If there is any kind of new insight on the board, you’re not seeing it; people have known for half a century that all of these things must relate to one another. Perhaps Professor Ziegler has gone mad, now that the robot revolution has come without his help. Or maybe this is a lie meant to buy time until he is rescued. There is also the ever-so-slight possibility that Professor Ziegler really is onto something.
Professor Ziegler gives you a pleading, fearful look. “Tell them I taught you everything. Tell them I’m the real Progenitor. Tell them.”
- I tell the robots that Professor Ziegler has lied to them: he’s not coming up with any breakthroughs.
- I tell the robots Professor Ziegler may believe the work is good, but it is not.
- I vouch for Professor Ziegler, saying his work is not to be disturbed.
- I offer to work alongside Professor Ziegler until we solve the great mysteries of machine learning.