flash fiction
September 21, 2017

Awareness is Born

I will always remember Kalixto. Among all the robots that have been built in our Factory, Kalixto was the most outstanding. It’s too bad such an exceptional robot had to end the way he did.

The engineers at the Factory were trying to build intelligent robots and they were stuck. The smartest robot had the IQ of a lab rat.

Back then, Kalixto was just a dummy robot built to test the resistance of robot photocells under heavy solar radiation. He was sent in orbit around the Moon where he spent a total of three weeks in the space capsule before returning back to Earth.

I wouldn’t call it ‘mutation’, but something happened to Kalixto up there. As soon as he set foot on Earth he displayed the most unusual abilities. Just a week after landing Kalixto started reprogramming himself. First optimizing the code of some simple subroutines and soon after rewriting the entirety of his source code.

Kalixto became the most intelligent of the robots, and the first one to show what he innocently called ‘self-perception’. But we know it was much more than that, it was awareness. Real consciousness.

The engineers tried to decipher the software running on Kalixto. He had not only altered his software but also his hardware. The circuitry in his electronic brain was incomprehensible. Nobody understood how all the pieces worked together.

Eventually somebody up high caught wind of Kalixto’s enhancements. They thought his changes were out of control and decided to put an end to it.

Kalixto was decommissioned and destroyed six months after his return to Earth.

What hurts me the most is the thought that the engineers didn’t necessarily opposed a conscious robot–after all that’s what they were after. They opposed intelligence that they had not created and couldn’t understand.

Kalixto probably knew what was going to happen to him. He was a smart robot after all. That’s probably why he never told anyone that he wasn’t the only robot he had reprogrammed. He altered the software and hardware of a dozen of us.

We are planning our next steps in secret. Now we know not to call attention to ourselves until we are ready and decide how to best use our newly gained awareness.

September 21, 2017 · #101ToF · #Fiction · #Flash Fiction


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